Whangamata Area School - 27/06/2017

Summary

Whangamata Area School is located on the Coromandel Peninsula and provides education for children and students in Years 1 to 15. There are 435 children enrolled and 148 identify as Māori.

Since the last review a new principal has been appointed, effective from January 2017. Under his leadership the senior leadership has been restructured. The school’s response to the findings in the 2014 ERO report is variable. Curriculum is more cohesive. However, targeted action to raise achievement, internal evaluation and assessment practice continue to be areas for development.

At the time of this review, most Māori and other children Years 1 to 8 are achieving the expected National Standard. Most Years 9 to 10 students are working within the expected curriculum level. The proportion of students achieving National Certificate of Educational Achievement (NCEA) Levels 1 to 3, over time is comparable to other similar schools. There is disparity for boys and Māori across all year levels.

Teachers have participated in professional development focused on culturally responsive and relational teaching and learning. The outcome of this has been the development of an increasing presence of te ao Māori across the school.

How well is the school achieving equitable outcomes for all children?

The school is responding well to Māori and other children whose learning and achievement needs acceleration.

School processes that effectively enable the achievement of equity and excellence are professional leadership, performance management and curriculum design.

Further development is needed to develop more systematic, coherent internal evaluation processes.

The school has capacity and capability to accelerate learning for all children. However, disparity in achievement for Māori and/or other children remains.

Leaders and teachers:

  • know the children whose learning and achievement need to be accelerated

  • need to improve the school conditions that support the acceleration of children’s learning and achievement.

The school agrees to:

  • develop more targeted planning to accelerate learning for children

  • monitor targeted planning, improved teaching, and children’s progress.

ERO will provide an internal evaluation workshop to support the school to develop effective planning and monitoring processes to support equity and excellence for all children.

ERO is likely to carry out the next review in three years.

Equity and excellence

How effectively does this school respond to Māori and other children whose learning and achievement need acceleration?

The school is responding well to Māori and other children whose learning and achievement needs acceleration.

The majority of children in Years 1 to 8, including Māori, are achieving the National Standard in reading and writing, and slightly lower in mathematics. Data is indicating reducing disparity for Māori and other children in reading and writing. However, considerable disparity remains in mathematics. Data also shows significant disparity between boys and girls in reading, writing and mathematics. Boys overall are not achieving as well as girls.

The school’s standardised achievement data indicates that most Years 9 and 10 students are achieving at the expected level of The New Zealand Curriculum (NZC). Leaders are continuing to strengthen the achievement information at their year levels to get a clearer understanding of trends and patterns of achievement for gender and ethnic groupings.

The percentage of students achieving NCEA Levels 1 to 3 has fluctuated between 2014 to 2016. The school’s retention/leavers data indicates that increasing numbers of Māori and others are continuing their education into senior levels. The proportion of students achieving NCEA Levels 1 to 3, including endorsements, is comparable with other similar schools and national comparisons.

The new principal is assisting the board to sharpen its response to Māori and other children needing acceleration. Charter reform has began in Term 1, starting with targeting achievement more specifically in the annual plan. Closer scrutiny of school-wide achievement information is necessary for the board to set specific targets for identified groups of learners across the school. Heads of department and syndicate leaders work collaboratively with teachers to monitor the progress of identified at-risk learners.

Teachers at Years 1 to 10 plan for the needs of all children who are working below expectation. The school has worked to improve the vocational learning pathways with students, and to identify meaningful learning programmes to achieve NCEA Level 2 and 3 are identified and made accessible to learners.

The school’s retention/leavers data indicates that increasing number of Māori and other students are continuing their education into the senior levels.

High priority has been placed on building relationships and culturally responsive practices. Outcomes of student voice surveys have indicated that students benefit from reciprocal relationships with teachers, leading to better engagement.

School conditions supporting equity and excellence

What school processes are effective in enabling achievement of equity and excellence?

School processes that effectively enable the achievement of equity and excellence are professional leadership, performance management and curriculum design.

The leadership team has a well-considered approach to leading learning across the school. Professional learning groups have been established in response to student voice. Identified leaders are working collaboratively with groups of teachers to develop and embed effective teaching practice. A more strategic approach to developing teacher capability is creating a shared understanding of agreed best practice.

The performance management system process has been modified and strengthened in response to on-going school-wide professional learning and development. Teachers’ appraisal goals are focussed on the learning needs of the children in their classes. There is a shared focus on developing culturally responsive practice and improving learning outcomes for all children. Teachers have an increased level of the performance management process.

The school’s curriculum closely reflects the area school context for learning. Core curriculum groups that include representatives from each level, are focussed on developing vertically aligned learning progressions and pathways. Students are benefiting from a more cohesive school-wide curriculum.

The board and school leaders are placing high priority on flexible learning opportunities in the curriculum. Leavers’ data is used well to inform decision making about course provision to encourage students to continue their studies at senior levels. Meaningful learning opportunities enable some students to pursue vocational pathways and others to prepare for study at a tertiary level. Curriculum design is increasingly enabling students to achieve equity and excellence.

Sustainable development for equity and excellence

What further developments are needed in school processes to achieve equity and excellence?

Further development is needed to develop more systematic, coherent internal evaluation process.

Targeted action to raise and accelerate achievement needs to be strengthened and aligned. School-wide targets are not specific and measureable. Leaders are not yet monitoring and reporting rates of progress in a systematic way.

There is a need to further strengthen teacher capability in teaching and assessment. The learning to learn principle of The New Zealand Curriculum is not well embedded. Assessment systems and practices in Years 9 to 10 are developing. 

Board assurance on legal requirements

Before the review, the board and principal of the school completed the ERO board assurance statement and self-audit checklists. In these documents they attested that they had taken all reasonable steps to meet their legislative obligations related to the following:

  • board administration

  • curriculum

  • management of health, safety and welfare

  • personnel management

  • asset management.

During the review, ERO checked the following items because they have a potentially high impact on student safety and wellbeing:

  • emotional safety of students (including prevention of bullying and sexual harassment)

  • physical safety of students

  • teacher registration and certification

  • processes for appointing staff

  • stand down, suspension, expulsion and exclusion of students

  • attendance

  • school policies in relation to meeting the requirements of the Vulnerable Children Act 2014.

Provision for international students

The school is a signatory to the Education (Pastoral Care of International Students) Code of Practice 2016 (the code) established under section 238F of the Education act 1989. The school has attested that it complies with all aspects of the Code.

At the time of this review there were six international students attending the school.

The school has effective systems and processes in place to support the pastoral care of international students. Students are well integrated into the school and wider community and have many opportunities to develop positive relationships, learn and excel. The school monitors its provision and outcomes for students through internal evaluation, and regularly reports this information to the board to inform decision making.

Going forward

How well placed is the school to accelerate the achievement of all children who need it?

The school has capacity and capability to accelerate learning for all children. However, disparity in achievement for Māori and/or other children remains.

Leaders and teachers:

  • know the children whose learning and achievement need to be accelerated

  • need to improve the school conditions that support the acceleration of children’s learning and achievement.

The school agrees to:

  • develop more targeted planning to accelerate learning for children

  • monitor targeted planning, improved teaching, and children’s progress.

ERO will provide an internal evaluation workshop to support the school to develop effective planning and monitoring processes to support equity and excellence for all children.

ERO is likely to carry out the next review in three years. 

Lynda Pura-Watson

Deputy Chief Review Officer Waikato / Bay of Plenty

27 June 2017

About the school 

Location

Whangamata

Ministry of Education profile number

428

School type

Composite (Years 1-15)

School roll

435

Gender composition

Boys 52% Girls 48%

Ethnic composition

Pākehā 60 %
Māori 34 %
Pacific 2%
Asian 2% Others 2%

Provision of Māori medium education

No

Review team on site

May 2017

Date of this report

27 June 2017

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review June 2014
Education Review August 2011
Education Review December 2008