Zayed College for Girls - 30/10/2015

Findings

Zayed College for Girls has made very good progress since 2013. Targeted support from the Ministry of Education has assisted the board and senior leaders to improve governance and leadership practices. Teaching and learning practices and the school’s curriculum design is increasingly fostering students’ academic performance and wellbeing.

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

1 Background and Context

What is the background and context for this school’s review?

Zayed College for Girls in Mangere, South Auckland, opened in 2001 as a private school offering education for girls from Years 7 to 15 in an Islamic environment.

In 2011, the college moved from having private school status to being a state integrated secondary school. The 2013 ERO report stated that the school was still in the process of transition and was having some difficulty managing its legal obligations as a newly integrated state school. This ERO report identified concerns about school governance, aspects of health and safety, and employment processes that were not meeting legislative requirements or good practice expectations. In addition, ERO identified concerns about school and curriculum leadership.

As a consequence of these concerns, ERO made the decision to conduct a longitudinal review of the school over the course of one-to-two years. Since August 2013, ERO has visited the school a number of times to evaluate the progress made in addressing the areas identified for improvement.

In October 2014 the board of trustees had further difficulties in meeting its governance obligations and responsibilities. In response, the Ministry of Education (MoE) requested that the board of trustees produce an action plan outlining how it intended to make improvements identified in the 2013 ERO report.

Since 2014 the board has accessed significant external support through the MoE to assist with school improvements. This support, that includes a specialist adviser to the board, a mentor for the principal and curriculum and assessment facilitators, has been used well by the school.

In August 2015 ERO returned to the school to evaluate the extent to which the priority areas identified in the board’s action plan for improvement had been addressed.

2 Review and Development

How effectively is the school addressing its priorities for review and development?

Priorities identified for review and development

The five key priority areas for the school included:

  • implementing effective personnel systems and structures
  • building governance capability to support on-going school improvement
  • improving curriculum leadership, including teaching, learning and assessment
  • promoting a safe and inclusive school culture
  • engaging with parents and the community.

Progress

Personnel systems and structures

The board has developed a good policy framework that has helped it make important changes to personnel systems and structures. In addition, the board has made progress in building trust between members of the board, school leaders and teachers.

Governance and management roles are now more clearly defined. The principal has responded well to her mentor’s guidance and, as a consequence, communication between the principal and trustees, and senior leaders has improved. The principal's mentor has also been effective in helping to improve professional relationships and accountabilities within the leadership team. In particular, a new school leadership model is providing the principal and her senior team with clearer delegations so that they can manage their roles and provide appropriate leadership in the school.

The board and senior leaders agree that the following areas require ongoing and careful development:

  • the building of professional and trusting relationships between senior leaders and staff, and between teachers
  • the establishment of clearer expectations for staff in terms of teaching and learning.

Building governance capability

The board of trustees has made good progress in developing understanding of its legislative requirements with respect to the New Zealand National Education Goals and Administration Guidelines. Trustees have made effective use of external support and they are building sustainable governance practices. Trustees now have a clearer sense of their purpose and the importance of well aligned governance systems and structures.

The board is now receiving much clearer reports from senior leaders about student progress and achievement. Trustees are using this information to make relevant resourcing decisions and to improve learning opportunities for students. Trustees have also been proactive in consulting the community and in gathering information that will assist them in setting the school’s future direction.

Improving curriculum leadership

Senior leaders have established good systems to support the implementation of the Zayed College curriculum. It is now appropriately aligned to The New Zealand Curriculum (NZC) as a key requirement for all state integrated schools. The school’s curriculum now provides a clear balance between its Islamic special character and the learning areas of the NZC.

The curriculum offers a broad range of subjects that provide students with pathways to further study or vocational pursuits. Students also have access to personalised programmes that support their transition through and beyond the school.

Awareness of Māori perspectives and contexts is evident across the curriculum. Teachers and curriculum leaders continue to work with the MoE facilitator to provide te reo Māori programmes at Years 7 and 8.

Senior leaders have developed clear guidelines to support the delivery of the curriculum and have improved their expectations of professional learning and teacher appraisal. Teachers are making better use of student achievement information to reflect on and improve their practice. Valid, reliable assessment data, combined with teachers’ knowledge of individual students, allows teachers to provide students with targeted, relevant learning opportunities.

Safe inclusive culture and engagement with parents and the community

A more positive school culture is evident at the college. A pastoral network is contributing well to promoting and supporting student wellbeing. Students report that school is now a more positive, learning focused environment.

The board and school leaders are becoming more proactive in communicating and consulting with their parent community. The board is responsive to information generated by external surveys.

The board now has the appropriate health and safety policies in place to support the physical and emotional safety of students. These policies include attendance, stand downs, suspensions expulsion and exclusion, teacher registration, performance management and staff appointments. Procedures have also been developed to ensure that policies are appropriately implemented.

3 Sustainable performance and self review

How well placed is the school to sustain and continue to improve and review its performance?

Zayed College is now well placed to continue improvements. The board of trustees and school leaders have made significant progress in each of the key priority areas. The board has taken deliberate steps to meet the goals identified in its 2014 action plan and has used external assistance constructively to improve governance and leadership in the school.

The board and senior leaders agree with ERO that continued use of external expertise is required for the school to sustain and further improve areas of governance and leadership, embed the board’s operational and strategic plans, and further promote student achievement.

Board assurance on legal requirements

Before the review, the board of trustees 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:

  • board administration
  • curriculum
  • management of health, safety and welfare
  • personnel management
  • financial management
  • asset management.

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

  • emotional safety of students (including prevention of bullying and sexual harassment)
  • physical safety of students
  • teacher registration
  • processes for appointing staff
  • stand-downs, suspensions, expulsions and exclusions
  • attendance.

4 Recommendations

Recommendations, including any to other agencies for ongoing or additional support.

ERO recommends that the Ministry of Education continue to provide external expertise that supports the school to sustain and further improve in the areas of governance, leadership, and teaching and learning.

Conclusion

Zayed College for Girls has made very good progress since 2013. Targeted support from the Ministry of Education has assisted the board and senior leaders to improve governance and leadership practices. Teaching and learning practices and the school’s curriculum design is increasingly fostering students’ academic performance and wellbeing.

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

Graham Randell
Deputy Chief Review Officer Northern

About the School

Location

Mangere, Auckland

Ministry of Education profile number

471

School type

Secondary (Years 7 to 13)

School roll

102

Gender composition

Girls       100%

Ethnic composition

Māori
Pākehā
Indian
Middle Eastern
South East Asian
African
Sri Lankan
other Asian

  2%
  1%
40%
15%
  9%
  5%
  5%
23%

Review team on site

August 2015

Date of this report

30 October 2015

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review
Private School Review
Private School Review

May 2013
September 2010
August 2007