Pukekohe High School

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Findings

On the basis of the findings of this review, ERO ‘s overall evaluation judgement of Pukekohe High School’s performance in achieving valued outcomes for its students is: Developing.

1 Background and Context

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

Pukekohe High School is a coeducational secondary school catering for students in Years 9 to 15 from Pukekohe and its surrounding areas. At the time of the review the school roll of 1708, includes 23% of students who are of Māori descent.

The school’s vision is to provide a positive place of learning where students are challenged, become equipped to fulfill their potential and achieve their aspirationshe wāhi whaimana ki te rapu mātauranga. The strategic goals of the school are to:

  • accelerate student achievement
  • extend community partnerships
  • strengthen engaging teaching
  • enhance student wellbeing.

Since September 2018, the school has been part of a longitudinal evaluation process with ERO to support building capability for school operation. In addition, the Ministry of Education and the New Zealand School Trustees Association have provided targeted support to address the areas identified in the 2018 ERO report.

2 Review and Development

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

Priorities identified for review and development

The 2018 ERO report identified key areas for improvement as:

  • developing a robust targeted response to raise and accelerate achievement, particularly for Māori, Pacific and males school-wide
  • embedding high-quality culturally responsive practice
  • building understanding for the effective use of data to inform appropriate decision-making at all levels
  • extending stewardship and leadership capacity and capability
  • strengthening internal evaluation practices.

ERO identified non-compliance in relation to the endorsement of teachers’ practising certificates, analysis of variance completion and submission, and staff appointment procedures.

Progress

Positive progress is evident in all areas.

A recently established collaborative and cohesive leadership team is effectively guiding schoolwide improvement. Leadership capability across the school is being recognised and successfully built to support the strategic direction of the school. More collaborative and inclusive ways of working are evident schoolwide.

Leaders and teachers are regularly monitoring and tracking achievement information. Strengthened systems and improved processes are ensuring students’ progress and wellbeing is at the forefront of decision-making. Target students are clearly identified and known. Middle leaders and teachers are making better use of student achievement data to inform practice and meet the learning needs of targeted students.

Responsive programmes and initiatives are being introduced to better meet the needs of those students most at risk of underachievement. Strong connections with tertiary providers and local businesses are increasing the diversity of the senior curriculum for both vocational and university pathways for students. The school has identified that developing an authentic localised curriculum to guide high-quality teaching, learning and wellbeing is a priority for improvement. This needs to include:

  • deepening knowledge of effective teaching practices for equitable and excellent outcomes
  • recognising and responding to learners’ cultures, languages and identities
  • ensuring Mātauranga Māori and authentic connections to local whānau, hapū and iwi are evident throughout learning programmes
  • building students’ knowledge and confidence in their learning pathways.

Māori and Pacific cultures are increasingly valued throughout the school and are more visible in the learning environment. Increasing visibility of te reo and tikanga Māori are evident across the school and are supporting an improving response to, and recognition of, students’ languages, cultures and identities. Through more effective communication, leaders and teachers are increasing connections with the community to strengthen responsive practices for Māori and Pacific learners.

Leaders and teachers are continuing to build their confidence and competence in te reo and tikanga Māori. Ongoing engagement with professional development to understand high-quality culturally responsive practice is evident. This is having a positive impact on strenthening relationships with students. Significant growth is evident in the number of students engaging in Te Wahanga Whakaako to learn and extend knowledge of te ao Māori. Further development of culturally responsive and relational pedagogies for schoolwide improvement is an ongoing priority. This needs to include:

  • further exploration of how educationally powerful partnerships for learning are enacted
  • trustees growing their understanding of culturally responsive practice through Te Tiriti ō Waitangi partnership
  • knowing the impact teaching practice has on accelerating student progress and achievement
  • normalising te reo and tikanga Māori.

3 Sustainable performance and self review

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

The school has the capability to sustain and continue to improve and review its performance.

Trustees are extending their knowledge of effective governance. Roles and responsibilities have been established to action change and improvement.

Evaluative capacity is developing through improved analysis of student achievement information. Growing positive outcomes for Māori, Pacific and males are at the forefront of faculty inquiry for equitable outcomes. Improved use of the student management system is enabling senior leaders, curriculum leaders and classroom teachers to better inquire into effective interventions and strategies for learning.

Trustees, leaders and teachers need to extend their understanding and implementation of effective evaluation to inform ongoing and sustainable improvement. This needs to include:

  • clarifying indicators of success across initiatives to better inform progress towards intended strategic outcomes
  • consolidating the changes made to systems and processes to build shared understanding schoolwide for consistency
  • embedding expectations for high quality practice schoolwide.

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

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 18 international students attending the school.

Well considered and caring support for international students’ wellbeing is highly evident. Learners are encouraged and empowered to be active participants in the life of the school and community. Meaningful self-review informs ongoing improvements to best meet the needs of students.

Conclusion

Pukekohe High School has made positive progress in all areas identified in the September 2018 ERO report. More effective use of student achievement information is ensuring students’ progress and well being is at the forefront of decision making. A more collaborative leadership and teaching team, focused on improving practice to better meet the needs of learners, is contributing to an improving school culture.

On the basis of the findings of this review, ERO ‘s overall evaluation judgement of Pukekohe High School’s performance in achieving valued outcomes for its students is: Developing.

ERO’s Framework: Overall Findings and Judgement Tool derived from School Evaluation Indicators: Effective Practice for Improvement and Learner Success is available on ERO’s website.

Phil Cowie

Director Review and Improvement Services (Central)

Central Region - Te Tai Pūtahi Nui

2 February 2021

About the school

The Education Counts website provides further information about the school’s student population, student engagement and student achievement.

School Context

Pukekohe High School is a coeducational secondary school catering for students in Years 9 to 15 from Pukekohe and its surrounding areas. At the time of the review the school roll was 1673 including 21% of students who are of Māori descent. In 2018, the roll has increased by more than 100 students.

A new whare wānanga, Te Hikoi, was opened in December 2017. The school acknowledges the importance of building authentic relationships and interactions with Ngā Hau e Whā o Pukekohe marae and Ngāti Tamaoho. The school is part of Te Waikato Tainui Kawenata.

Since the previous ERO evaluation there has been significant staff turnover, including several acting positions in the leadership team. A new principal began at the school during the onsite phase of the 2018 ERO review.

The school’s mission is to provide a positive place of learning – he wāhi whaimana ki te rapu mātauranga. The vision empowers students to be confident, connected, actively involved, life-long learners. The school’s aims are that each student:

  • improves their academic performance
  • gains qualifications and competencies to equip them for a successful future
  • experiences a school community that is safe and respectful
  • has opportunities for personal growth and development.

Leaders and teachers regularly report to the board, school-wide information about outcomes for students in the following areas:

  • achievement in the National Certificate of Educational Achievement (NCEA) and University Entrance (UE)

  • aspects of achievement across the curriculum for Years 9 and 10.

The school has been involved in a range of professional learning and development initiatives including Kia Eke Panuku; Culturally Responsive and Relational Pedagogy; Restorative Practices; Secondary Achievement Contract; ART– Achievement, Retention and Transition; and the introduction of a new student management system.

Evaluation Findings

1 Equity and excellence – achievement of valued outcomes for students

1.1 How well is the school achieving equitable and excellent outcomes for all its students?

The school is not achieving equitable and excellent outcomes for all students.

2017 achievement data indicates that the majority of students achieved well in NCEA. Less than half of Year 13 students achieved UE. At each level of NCEA and UE there has been a downward trend of overall attainment since the 2015 ERO evaluation.

2017 achievement information also shows a small majority of Māori students achieved NCEA Level 1 and half achieved NCEA Level 3. Less than half of Māori students achieved NCEA Level 2 and UE. Māori students achieved at significantly lower rates than Pākehā at all levels of NCEA and UE. This trend has continued over time. However in 2017, the disparity in UE was significantly reduced.

The majority of Pacific students achieved NCEA Level 1, half achieved NCEA Level 2, and a few achieved NCEA Level 3 and UE. Of concern is the low attainment rates at NCEA Level 3 (17%) and UE (0%) in 2017. Pacific students achieved significantly lower than Pākehā at all levels of NCEA and UE. Significant disparity at all levels of NCEA and UE between these two groups has continued over time.

School leavers’ data shows that Māori and Pacific students have lower retention rates to senior levels than Pākehā students. Fewer Māori and Pacific students leave school with NCEA Level 2 qualifications than Pākehā students.

Male students achieve less well than female students at all levels of NCEA and UE. There is a significant gender disparity at Levels 1, 3 and UE and this gap has widened over time. NCEA attainment rates for male students at all levels is declining.

Achievement information for Years 9 and 10 shows that overall the majority of students achieved well in relation to the expected curriculum levels for writing and half of students achieved in mathematics. However, significant disparity is evident for Māori and Pacific students’ achievement in relation to Pākehā in writing and mathematics. Females achieved at significantly lower levels than males in mathematics.

1.2 How well is the school accelerating learning for those Māori and other students who need this?

The school is not accelerating learning for those Māori, Pacific and other students who need this.

2 School conditions for equity and excellence – processes and practices

2.1 What school processes and practices are effective in enabling achievement of equity and excellence, and acceleration of learning?

ERO is not confident in the school’s processes and practices necessary to achieve equity and excellence for all students.

2.2 What further developments are needed in school processes and practices for achievement of equity and excellence, and acceleration of learning?

Several processes and practices need urgent development as follows:

Developing the understanding of leaders and teachers about the effective use and analysis of achievement information to accelerate learners’ progress and achievement is needed. Raising student achievement for Māori, Pacific and male learners school-wide must be prioritised. This should include:

  • establishing clear targets that are focused on accelerating progress and achievement for at-risk students at all levels of the school

  • developing a shared understanding of accelerated progress to improve outcomes for learners most at risk

  • building and implementing an effective and consistent tracking and monitoring system of students at risk from Years 9 – 13

  • ensuring that robust processes for internal moderation for NZQA standards are embedded.

Strengthening the capability and capacity of leaders and teachers to inquire into their practice in order to improve learner outcomes. This should support prioritising the effective strategies and indicators of high-quality practice at Pukekohe High School.

Consulting with key stakeholders about the approach to and embedding of effective culturally responsive and relational pedagogy and practice at all levels of the school, and ensure it is appropriate, meaningful and coherent. This needs to be the key school priority for improving student outcomes.

Establishing reciprocal partnerships with Māori and the local community to inform school-wide change and improvement. Priority must be placed on developing a coordinated, collaborative and purposeful approach to improvement and effectively communicate this schoolwide.

Building stewardship and school-wide leadership capability and capacity to lead change and improvement for Pukekohe High School. This should include developing clear lines of responsibility, reporting and accountability, and communicating these schoolwide.

Ensuring effective differentiation in programmes of learning to respond to student need is a key next step. Developing more authentic learning experiences to facilitate students building meaningful pathways through and beyond the school.

Establishing school-wide understanding of evaluation, inquiry and knowledge building is needed. This should support knowing the effectiveness of appraisal, professional learning and development, interventions, initiatives, and programmes of learning have on improving teacher capability and raising student outcomes. Prioritising the effective initiatives and innovations and ensuring they are embedded in practice is essential for sustainability and inform ongoing improvement and innovation.

Many of the areas identified for development in the 2015 ERO report remain.

3 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

  • finance

  • 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.

Appraisal audit

Building leaders’ and teachers’ understanding of Education Council requirements for the endorsement of practising certificates is urgently required.

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 38 international students attending the school, including three exchange students.

International students receive good-quality pastoral care. They enjoy being part of the Pukekohe High School community. Self review is used well to develop and refine processes for supporting international students. An identified next step is to improve liaison between the international student department and other areas of the school.

Actions for compliance

ERO identified non-compliance in relation to the endorsement of teachers’ practising certificates, analysis of variance completion and submission, and staff appointment procedures.

In order to address this, the board of trustees must:

  1. ensure appropriate procedures are developed and implemented for the issuing and renewing of practising teacher certificates as required by the Education Council
    [Part 31 Education Act 1989]
  2. provide a statement of the analysis of variance between the school’s performance and the relevant aims, objectives, directions, priorities, or targets set out in the school charter
    [NAG 8]
  3. ensure that appointments made follow school policy and formally include all aspects of the safety checking requirements
    [Vulnerable Children Act 2014]

Areas for improved compliance practice

To improve current practice, the board of trustees should:

  • ensure the practices and procedures of the school are robustly reviewed to align with the recently purchased policy package

  • develop clear lines of accountability to strengthen reporting to trustees the assurances required. Of urgency is the requirement for health and safety, student wellbeing, and progress and achievement of at-risk students.

4 Going forward

Next steps

For sustained improvement and future learner success, priorities for further development are in:

  • a robust targeted response to raise and accelerate achievement, particularly for Māori and Pacific and boys school-wide

  • embedding high-quality culturally responsive practice

  • building understanding for the effective use of data to inform appropriate decision making at all levels

  • extending stewardship and leadership capacity and capability

  • strengthening internal evaluation practices.

Recommendation to other agencies

ERO recommends that the Ministry of Education and New Zealand School Trustees Association consider providing support for the school in order to bring about improvement in:

  • understanding of stewardship roles and responsibilities

  • leadership of learning to accelerate progress of all at-risk learners

  • culturally responsive pedagogy

  • managing change.

ERO’s next external evaluation process and timing

ERO intends to carry out a process of ongoing external evaluation to support development over the course of one-to-two years.

Adrienne Fowler

Director Review and Improvement Services

Te Tai Miringa - Waikato / Bay of Plenty Region

20 September 2018

About the school

Location

Pukekohe

Ministry of Education profile number

103

School type

Secondary (Years 9–15)

School roll

1673

Gender composition

Boys 51%, Girls 49%

Ethnic composition

Māori 21%
Pākehā 58%
Asian 9%
Pacific 7%
Other 5%

Students with Ongoing Resourcing Funding (ORS)

Yes

Provision of Māori medium education

No

Review team on site

July 2018

Date of this report

20 September 2018

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review June 2015
Education Review August 2012
Education Review June 2010