Piopio College

Education institution number:
162
School type:
Secondary (Year 7-15)
School gender:
Co-Educational
Definition:
Not Applicable
Total roll:
132
Telephone:
Address:

18 Aria Road, Piopio

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Piopio College - 05/09/2017

Findings

The new principal, leaders, staff and trustees at Piopio College are committed to working in partnership with parents and the wider community to provide educational success for students, including those with additional learning needs. A wide range of authentic learning is offered in this small, inclusive, rural college.

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

1 Context

What are the important features of this school that have an impact on student learning?

Piopio College is co-educational secondary school catering for students in Years 7 to 13 from the King Country settlement of Piopio and surrounding rural areas, The college is situated on an extensive and attractive site which adjoins the main contributing primary school. The roll is 171, which includes 97 students who identify as Māori, the majority of whom whakapapa to Ngāti Maniapoto. The on-site wharenui ‘Whakaara kia Mataara’ provides a focal point for the cultural identity of the college and its students.

The principal was appointed at the start of 2017, following a year when the college was led by an acting principal. A new deputy principal has been appointed since the last ERO review, and seven staff members were appointed at the start of this year. The board actively represents and gives voice to the school community it serves, including strong representation of whānau and iwi. Trustees sought external support and guidance from the Ministry of Education in year 2016. The board has worked successfully with a Limited Statutory Manager to manage school governance through a time of significant change. The college has joined the recently formed Waitomo Kāhui Ako (Community of Learning), which includes another high school and a large number of contributing primary schools.

Charter statements are described in Te reo Māori and English and include Te Ihi o te Mātauranga (Learning for Life) which reflects an understanding and commitment to te ao Māori. The five school values are captured in the acronym PRIDE (Perseverance, Respect, Integrity, Diversity and Excellence).

In response to recommendations in the 2014 ERO review the college has strengthened appraisal processes, reviewed the policy framework and supporting procedures, and increased leadership opportunities for senior Māori students. Systems and practices relating to the monitoring of student achievement and progress over time and evaluating the effectiveness of programmes remain as areas for further development. 

2 Learning

How well does this school use achievement information to make positive changes to learners’ engagement, progress and achievement?

The use of achievement information to make positive changes to learners' engagement, progress and achievement has been strengthened in 2016 and 2017, and can be further developed for greater effectiveness.

College staff gather achievement and background information on students entering Year 7 from contributing schools. This information is well used to identify students at risk of not achieving National Standards in Years 7 and 8, and to plan in-class support programmes and interventions provided by trained teacher aides. Teachers use evidence from a range of standardised tests, assessed work and observations to make overall teacher judgements (OTJs) about student achievement in relation to National Standards in reading, writing and mathematics. Teachers collaborate to make OTJs in writing. A next step is to extend these collaborative moderation processes to include other curriculum areas. Teachers intend to undertake inter-school moderation through the Waitomo Kāhui Ako, which should add confidence and dependability to teacher judgements.

National Standards data from 2016 indicates that overall achievement levels at Years 7 and 8 are below national averages, especially in the area of writing. Girls continue to achieve at higher levels overall than boys in aspects of literacy. Māori students achieve as well, or at higher levels than their non-Māori peers in writing and mathematics, but lower in reading. School data shows that approximately half of students in Years 9 and 10 are achieving at expected levels in reading and mathematics. Of particular concern is the low proportion of students achieving at expected levels in writing. Achievement targets for 2017 are inclusive of all students in Years 7 to 10 achieving below expected levels, and clearly state the goal that all these students will make more than one year’s progress by the end of 2017.

Leaders recognise the need to review the overall management of assessment and reporting, especially at Years 7 to 10. The college is not yet able to monitor and report on student progress beyond the current year. Having greater confidence in data from previous years should allow leaders and teachers to reduce the number of assessments completed, while clarifying the progress information provided for parents.

The Special Needs Coordinator (SENCO) works collaboratively with year level deans and classroom teachers to coordinate support for students whose learning needs accelerating. Additional testing is carried out as necessary, parents advised and informed, action plans developed and appropriate support provided. The Accelerated Learning in Literacy (ALL) initiative is focused on providing additional support for students whose learning needs acceleration. The senior academic dean closely monitors the progress of credit achievement for students in Years 11 to 13, ensuring they are meeting expected deadlines.

National Certificate of Education Achievement (NCEA) Data from 2016 indicates that the proportion of students completing the Level 1 and 2 qualifications, is above that of similar schools. This data also shows minimal disparity in levels of achievement between Māori/non-Māori and boys/girls. A very high proportion of students gain the compulsory credits in literacy and numeracy. The college recognises that the proportion of students gaining merit or excellence endorsements, or completing the Level 3 qualification is lower than schools of similar profile, and has established these areas as an appropriate priority focus for 2017/2018.

The college continues to build productive partnerships with parents, to support student learning. Parents access to achievement information and attendance and learning records through the online parent portal allows relevant information to be shared in a timely manner and any concerns to be recognised and addressed.

3 Curriculum

How effectively does this school’s curriculum promote and support student learning?

Leaders recognise that the college curriculum is effective for some students, but can be further developed to respond to the learning needs of all students.

Parents, whānau and community members are welcomed and involved in school activities, and this allows students to have access to a wide range of sporting, social, cultural and academic experiences. The relatively small roll allows teachers to get to know students well, and this is reflected in effective pastoral care. The college staff are in the early stages of the Positive Behaviour for Learning Initiative (PB4L) with an increased emphasis on restorative approaches to any conflict.

College leaders and staff have strengthened their focus on building productive partnerships with the community to extend the range of authentic learning opportunities available to students. The curriculum includes vocational pathway academies, gateway, secondary tertiary partnerships with Wintec and Taratahi, Te Kura correspondence and local business placements.

The academic programme within the college is being positively supported by the increased use of information technologies to support student engagement and learning. Leaders have taken a considered approach to introducing innovative learning environments at Years 7 to 10. Collaborative teaching and learning approaches are being strengthened and promoted. They recognise that programmes to support literacy across the curriculum are needed to raise overall levels of student achievement, especially at Years 7 to 10. A remaining challenge in Years 11 to 13 is to sustain the range of academic courses available to senior students.

Professional learning for college leaders and staff is strongly focused on improving practice and accelerated outcomes for children. Professional learning has involved teaching as inquiry, culturally responsive practice and teaching strategies associated with innovative learning environments. Appraisal processes have been reviewed and strengthened to include teacher reflections and gathering evidence on educational outcomes for students.

How effectively does the school promote educational success for Māori, as Māori?

The college is successful in promoting educational success for Māori, as Māori. Trustees have undertaken significant training on culturally responsive governance practices, including the Hautū programme and the adoption of tikanga protocols. The principles of Ka Hikitia are woven through charter documents, and the board engage in regular consultation with their Māori community.

Leaders are modelling and actively promoting culturally responsive pedagogy and practices. They ensure staff have access to ongoing wānanga on te reo and tikanga Māori. Links with local Māori communities are strengthening the provision of kapa haka and regular school powhiri to welcome visitors and new families. 

4 Sustainable Performance

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

The college is well placed to sustain and improve its performance. Positive factors include:

  • trustees who have a clear focus on raising overall levels of student achievement, with a priority on Māori and other students at risk
  • college leaders who have rebuilt relational trust and effective collaboration with staff, students, parents and whanau, and trustees
  • teachers who are developing culturally responsive practices to engage students in meaningful learning
  • strong intergenerational support from the local community and current parents to work in partnership with college staff
  • internal evaluation processes which have brought a clear school-wide focus on accelerating the learning of students, especially in Years 7 to 10.

ERO, college leaders and trustees agree the important next step is to continue with a consistent focus on raising overall levels of student achievement, especially at Years 7 to 10. This focus should include:

  • strengthening the use of existing achievement information to better monitor student progress over time
  • using this progress information to evaluate the effectiveness of school programmes and initiatives
  • aligning staff appraisal goals and department achievement targets with current charter aims.

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.

Conclusion

The new principal, leaders, staff and trustees at Piopio College are committed to working in partnership with parents and the wider community to provide educational success for students, including those with additional learning needs. A wide range of authentic learning is offered in this small, inclusive, rural college.

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

Lynda Pura-Watson

Deputy Chief Review Officer Waikato/Bay of Plenty

5 September 2017

About the School 

Location

Piopio, near Te Kuiti

Ministry of Education profile number

162

School type

Secondary (Years 7 to 13)

School roll

171

Gender composition

Boys 57% Girls 43%

Ethnic composition

Māori
Pākehā
Fijian
Other

57%
41%
1%
1%

Review team on site

June 2017

Date of this report

5 September 2017

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review
Education Review
Education Review

December 2014
May 2013
May 2010

Piopio College - 03/12/2014

Findings

Piopio College has implemented significant, positive changes. The recently appointed principal has played a key role in the successful management of change. She has worked with staff and the community to extend and enhance the educational opportunities for students.

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?

Piopio College is a co-educational secondary school for students in Years 7 to 13. Students come from the township of Piopio, and the surrounding rural King Country areas. The current student roll is 190. Approximately half of the roll identifies as Māori, and most are affiliated to Ngāti Maniapoto. There has been a slight decrease in the roll since the 2013 ERO review, and the college may be required to reduce its overall teaching staff levels for 2015.

The principal and senior managers have continued in their positions, and there have been significant changes of teaching and support staff since the 2013 ERO review. The leadership and composition of the board of trustees has remained stable. Through an extensive process of consultation involving all sections of the college and wider community, the mission, vision and values statements have been redefined. Strategic priorities for the college as it moves forward are to:

  • improve levels of student achievement
  • develop modern teaching and learning environments
  • continue to be an outwardly focussed school
  • ensure it is a culturally and linguistically responsive school.

These strategic priorities are clearly reflected in key governance and management documentation, and college action plans.

Trustees, school leaders and staff have responded very positively to a sustained programme of advice and support coordinated by the Ministry of Education (MOE). The Student Achievement Facilitator (SAF) has worked with a change team on site. In addition, other personnel and consultants have worked with the college staff and board on:

  • developing digital technologies
  • college practices that are responsive to different cultures and languages
  • attendance, retention and transition.

This report acknowledges the significant progress made by the college in addressing the issues identified in the 2013 ERO report, and identifies areas for further consolidation and development.

2 Review and Development

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

Priorities identified for review and development
Management of assessment information

The 2013 ERO report identified that student achievement information at Years 7 to 10 was not being used effectively by school managers, teachers or trustees to inform decision making and raise student achievement.

Considerable progress has been made in this area. Teachers have greater access to student achievement information, and have been supported to make effective use of this data. There is an expectation that achievement information is used to plan for the different learning needs of students. This includes the identification and close monitoring of students at risk of not achieving their potential. Teachers report to parents on student achievement in Years 7 and 8 against National Standards, and in Years 9 and 10 against The New Zealand Curriculum levels.

Curriculum leaders are required to complete appropriate annual reports that analyse student achievement in their department, and set relevant targets and goals for the coming year. These reports are monitored by the principal and shared with the board.

Next step

Further consideration should be given to monitoring student achievement as they progress through the school.

Self review

Substantial progress has been made in strengthening self-review systems at all levels of the school. This was an area for improvement identified in the 2013 ERO report.

With the assistance of external expertise, the board completed a review of support staff. This led to rationalisation and greater efficiencies in school operations. In addition, a complete review and upgrade of the board’s policy framework has been undertaken.

School managers and staff have worked cooperatively on a curriculum review that resulted in significant changes to curriculum design and the length of instructional periods. External expertise was used to support school management and staff as they reviewed performance management processes. In 2014, trials were completed on ‘Te Ara Poutama’ an appraisal initiative, which balances accountability with teacher professional development and improvement.

Next steps

The school recognises the need to extend the Te Ara Poutama trial to all teachers in 2015. The principal also acknowledges that school operational procedures need to be reviewed with reference to the changes made in the policy framework, curriculum review and other initiatives.

Parent and contributing school partnerships

The school has made deliberate and strategic progress in developing productive partnerships with its parent and wider community.

The principal and special needs coordinator have made professional visits to the two main contributing schools. Strategies to support students as they transition to the college have been reviewed and strengthened. An emphasis aimed to help those students at risk of not transitioning successfully. The sharing of achievement and other relevant information between these schools and the college has been improved.

The principal has taken a lead role in building constructive partnerships with community and business groups in the area. These partnerships are enhancing the range of educational opportunities available to students through the special Tuesday programmes that include sports activities and other initiatives involving the college and community.

The principal has also built her own professional networks through the Waitomo Principals’ group.

Next step

School leaders recognise that a next step in building constructive partnerships with their contributing schools is to extend shared understandings and confidence in assessment practice and curriculum design. This is likely to provide more seamless or coherent learning, especially for students at risk, as they transition to college.

Bicultural perspectives

The 2013 ERO report recommended the continued integration of te reo and tikanga Māori into school documentation, operations and environment. Substantial progress has been made in this area, particularly the strengthening of links with Ngāti Maniopoto.

The redefined 2014 school charter states that the school shall be culturally responsive to the needs of Māori students and whānau. A senior manager has been given specific responsibility for overseeing and promoting this across the school. The college has increased the number of Māori teachers, all staff have undertaken professional development in te reo and tikanga Māori, and the Maniopoto Education Plan is being incorporated into curriculum design.

The principal attends regular whānau group meetings, and Māori whānau are being encouraged to have meaningful input into school matters.

Next step

School leaders recognise that a useful next step is to build the leadership opportunities for senior Māori students.

e-learning opportunities

Important progress has been made to extend e-learning opportunities for students. The school has recently been connected to the Network 4 Learning and this has considerably increased information download and upload speeds on site. Most areas of the school now have wireless internet connectivity.

Staff continue to work with the Ministry of Education to build increased confidence and capability in the effective use of digital technologies to enhance teaching and learning.

Next step

School leaders recognise that further development in the area of e-learning is still required to increase the electronic access to achievement information by students, and their immediate access to digital technologies.

3 Sustainable performance and self review

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

Progress

The school is now well placed to sustain and continue to improve and review its performance. Factors that support this are:

  • trustees who are strongly supportive of the principal, and focussed on its strategic priorities
  • a principal who brings energy and a clear vision to her professional and ethical leadership
  • staff who are prepared to embrace and adopt change to enhance educational outcomes for students
  • a community, including Māori, who have responded positively to the opportunity to increase their contribution to, and partnership with, the school.
  • students who articulate a sense of pride and belonging in the school
  • the strengthening of self-review processes.
Areas for further development and consolidation

Student achievement data in Years 7 to 10 shows improvement from 2012 to 2013. However, overall achievement remains below national comparisons. Achievement levels in writing are of particular concern. The board and school leaders recognise this as a matter of strategic priority.

The principal has been pivotal in driving the changes and recent improvements in the school. In order to sustain these significant changes it is important to:

  • extend the leadership capacity and professional confidence of staff across more levels of the school
  • evaluate the improved educational outcomes for students
  • recognise and review any unintended consequences of change.

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.

Conclusion

Piopio College has implemented significant, positive changes. The recently appointed principal has played a key role in the successful management of change. She has worked with staff and the community to extend and enhance the educational opportunities for students.

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

Dale Bailey

National Manager Review Services Northern Region

3 December 2014

About the School

Location

Piopio, King Country

Ministry of Education profile number

162

School type

Secondary (Years 7 to 13)

School roll

190

Number of international students

1

Gender composition

Boys 55% Girls 45%

Ethnic composition

Māori

NZ European/Pākehā

Pacific

Other Asian

Other European

49%

47%

1%

1%

2%

Review team on site

October 2014

Date of this report

3 December 2014

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

May 2013

May 2010

June 2007