Spotswood College

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School Context

Spotswood College, Te Kura Tuarua O Ngamotu, is a co-educational secondary school in New Plymouth. At the time of the ERO review there were 700 students of whom 29% identify as Māori. The school values its links with the local iwi, Te Ātiawa and continues to build community relationships with hāpu. Nearly 10% of the roll have moderate to high learning needs.

Diversity, inclusion and care principles underpin the school’s vision and philosophy. The E Tū motto values of matauranga, whai wahi, and kotahitanga guide the school culture and overarching expectations for teaching and learning. These values and associated competencies are promoted, recognized and reinforced throughout school life.

Current strategic priorities are related to:

  • strengthening learning partnerships with students, parents and whanau
  • improving teachers’ use of culturally responsive and relational practices.

The charter goals for 2017 relate to:

  • all graduating students achieving at least a Level 2 National Certificate of Educational Achievement (NCEA) to provide access to tertiary and other learning pathways
  • raising attendance to 90%
  • increasing rates of literacy achievement in Years 9 and 10
  • increasing numbers of students learning te reo Māori.

Leaders and teachers regularly report to the board schoolwide information about outcomes for students in the following areas:

  • achievement of all and groups of students in New Zealand qualifications
  • end of year achievement in all curriculum areas
  • literacy and numeracy achievement and progress at Years 9 and 10
  • student engagement and wellbeing
  • progress against school goals for valued student outcomes.

Evaluation Findings

1 Equity and excellence – valued outcomes for students

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

The school has made very good progress, to achieve high levels of equity and excellence in outcomes for diverse groups of learners.

Steady improvement since the 2014 ERO review has led to high numbers of students gaining NCEAs. In 2016, achievement for students overall in the school at NCEA Level 1 was 82%, with 95% at Level 2 and 80% at Level 3. Students achieve well above national rates at all NCEA Levels. Achievement of University Entrance is lower at 41%.

In 2016, most students left school having gained Level 2 NCEA with a significant increase in the percentage of students leaving with Level 3.

Māori student achievement has continued to improve across all NCEA Levels and is comparable with students overall in the school at Levels 1, 2 and 3. However, disparity remains in University Entrance.

Over the past three years boys and girls have achieved equity at Level 1 and 2, with a significant reduction of gender disparity for Māori boys at Levels 1 and 2.

Year 9 literacy data shows significant disparity between groups on entry. Many students at Years 9 and 10 make accelerated progress to achieve at expected levels. The school has identified a priority to raise overall literacy achievement in Years 9 and 10, with an emphasis on improving equity for Māori and increasing the choice of learning pathways for all students.

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

The school has established effective processes to identify and respond to those Māori and other learners whose learning and achievement need acceleration, especially in Years 11 to 13. An holistic and personalised approach to these students enables the school to better respond to the diverse needs and interests of these learners. As a result, nearly all achieve success.

NCEA data since 2014 shows rates of Māori achievement have continued to improve, especially at Years 12 and 13.

A strong focus on inclusion and care and the provision of a wide range of individualised programmes supports learners with additional needs to gain success and for many to accelerate their rates of learning and progress.

2 School conditions for equity and excellence

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

Trustees and senior leaders relentlessly promote the enactment of the school’s vision for equity and excellence. They purposefully select, develop and review strategies to drive improvement. Highly collaborative practices are evident across the school. Future focused trustees and leaders have complementary skills and experience that contribute to ongoing improvement in outcomes for diverse groups of learners.

Students’ wellbeing and pastoral needs are well supported to promote their engagement in learning and inclusion at school. Teachers make good use of a wide range of information about students to address and respond to their needs, strengths and challenges. Close tracking and monitoring of progress and achievement, especially in the senior school, improves partnerships for learning and success. Whānau structures, rewards systems and E Tū values expect, encourage and support students to be their best.

Improved and flexible curriculum provision together with increased opportunities and learning programmes enable most students to be successful. Students make well-informed choices from learning pathways that are responsive to their needs and aspirations. Students with high or complex needs receive individualised support in consultation with families, whānau and health specialists to achieve successful learning outcomes.

Leaders and teachers continue to build close relationships with a wide range of providers, agencies and specialists to cater for different learners’ needs. A cohesive response by leaders through responsive professional learning and development (PLD) and meaningful appraisal processes increase teachers’ knowledge and expertise to promote the school’s vision.

There is a deliberate focus on providing a culturally responsive learning environment, relationships and values that support Māori to achieve success and equity. This has been evident through:

  • a strategic approach to building professional capability and collective capacity
  • high expectations for cultural competencies to be embedded into practices
  • increased focus on curriculum perspectives and contexts that reflect te ao Māori
  • programmes and interventions that engage and retain students at risk of poor educational outcomes.

Leaders and teachers are making increased use of inquiry, and evidence based review and evaluation to promote equity and excellence. In some cases practices lead to measureable improvements in outcomes for targeted students. Faculty reviews are increasingly focused on improvement in outcomes for priority learners. Leaders and trustees are beginning to model the use of evaluation tools to measure effectiveness of processes and programmes and to inform schoolwide priorities for ongoing improvement.

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

Key next steps for trustees, leaders and teachers are to:

  • align student target setting from classroom through to department and strategic levels to improve measures and reporting of success for priority learners
  • continue to strengthen teaching, and tracking and monitoring of identified groups students in Years 9 and 10, to increase accelerated rates of progress in literacy and numeracy
  • continue building schoolwide processes and capability in inquiry and internal evaluation to better inform school planning for resourcing and decision making
  • extend inquiry into the valued outcomes of Māori students as defined by iwi, whānau and students to further promote success through their identity, language and culture.

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.

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 nine international students attending the school, including 2 exchange students.

ERO’s investigations confirmed robust systems and processes appropriately guide the provision for international students. Programmes of learning are suitably designed to meet the aspirations of individuals and their families. Achievement is regularly monitored and reported. Students receive good quality pastoral care with a clear focus on promoting their wellbeing and positive inclusion. Their cultures are valued and celebrated across the school and in the wider community. The school makes positive changes in response to its self-review findings that further strengthen the provision for International students.

4 Going forward

Key strengths of the school

For sustained improvement and future learner success, the school can draw on existing strengths in:

  • collaborative and equity focussed leadership and governance

  • culturally responsive teaching and relational practices

  • systems and structures that promote and respond to students’ wellbeing needs

  • responsive learning programmes and interventions.

Next steps

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

  • the systems and processes to better identify, respond and monitor the acceleration of literacy and numeracy achievement of target students in Years 9 and 10

  • strengthened partnerships with whānau and iwi to inform and support the promotion of the language, culture and identity of Māori learners

  • internal evaluation processes and practices. [ERO will provide an internal evaluation workshop for trustees and senior leaders.]

ERO’s next external evaluation process and timing

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

Alan Wynyard

Deputy Chief Review Officer Central (Acting)

Te Tai Pokapū - Central Region

15 January 2018

About the school

Location

New Plymouth

Ministry of Education profile number

173

School type

Secondary (Years 9 to 13)

School roll

700

Gender composition

Male 52%, Female 48%

Ethnic composition

Māori 29%
Pākehā 59%
Asian 3%
Pacific 2%
Other ethnic groups 7%

Provision of Māori medium education

No

Review team on site

November 2017

Date of this report

15 January 2018

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review, October 2014
Education Review, September 2011
Education Review, September 2008

Findings

How effectively is this school’s curriculum promoting student learning - engagement, progress and achievement?

A strong focus on responding to the individual needs and aspirations of students is evident. Senior achievement has improved significantly since the 2011 ERO review. The school is well placed to sustain and improve its performance. The main priority is to continue to embed and expand initiatives to improve outcomes for students.

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?

Spotswood College (Te Kura Tuarua O Ngamotu) is a co-educational secondary school in New Plymouth. At the time of the ERO review there were 728 students and 28% are Māori. The school values its links with the local iwi, Te Ātiawa. Increasing community involvement in the school is a strength.

The school prides itself on being diverse, inclusive and caring. Creating a supportive environment for learning that identifies and responds to the needs of individual students is a focus. The E TŪ programme teaches critical skills that help students to become competent and responsible young people. A feature of the school is the large special education faculty that includes approximately 10% of the roll.

An improved financial situation provides the board with greater flexibility in resourcing to support teaching and learning. The five year property plan has been recently signed off and tendering is under way for a major renovation of one of the main teaching blocks.

The September 2011 ERO report identified the need to raise student achievement, particularly for Māori. This report indicates a range of initiatives have contributed to significant improvement in outcomes for learners.

2 Learning

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

Increased use of achievement information to track and respond to individual student needs has been a key contributor to raising levels of achievement. Strategies are in place to ensure students are monitored and better catered for. Sharing information more explicitly with students and parents is a priority.

Individual learning plans are collaboratively developed. They focus on identifying challenges and appropriate next steps to support engagement, learning and achievement. The process is working well for some students and making a genuine difference. Continuing to build consistent application of the strategy and increasing the effectiveness of whānau groups should further improve outcomes.

Year 9 and 10 student achievement information is collected and collated within learning areas. Analysis is becoming more focused on considering progress and the impact of teaching on learning.

There is an appropriate emphasis in Year 9 and 10 programmes on building the literacy and numeracy capability of students. Numeracy data is collated to show progress. Literacy development is a schoolwide focus and is supported by teacher professional development. Specific interventions are in place for those most at risk. Literacy skills are an integral part of many lessons. However, a number of students do not make the expected progress in literacy in the junior school.

Building teacher knowledge and practice to support improved student literacy should remain a schoolwide priority. The focus on reading, writing and oral language in Year 9 and 10 should continue to be extended in order to better support achievement in both the junior and the senior school.

Literacy data should also be more effectively used across the junior school to inform deliberate acts of teaching and to consider the impact of literacy initiatives, particularly for students at risk of under-achievement. The board should have specific literacy targets for Years 9 and 10 to support acceleration for those most at risk.

Since the previous ERO review, improved senior achievement has resulted from:

  • ensuring courses are more appropriate for the strengths and future goals of individuals
  • improved systems for identifying students at risk of not achieving and support then put in place
  • parents of at risk students being better informed of their child’s progress towards National Certificates of Educational Achievement (NCEAs).

Retention of students into the senior school has improved in the past three years to similar to national levels. Continuing to develop a curriculum that is responsive to individuals to improve leaver qualifications is a school priority already identified.

The percentage of students gaining NCEAs Level 1 and 2 has improved significantly. The results for Māori students are similar to their non-Māori peers. The results at both levels are above national comparisons. Seven New Zealand Scholarships were gained in 2013. However, overall NCEA Level 3 results continue to be significantly below national levels. In 2014, tracking and monitoring has been extended for Year 13 students in order to improve performance. Increasing NCEA merit and excellence endorsements has also been targeted.

A significant number of seniors are special education students who are not involved in a full NCEA programme. Most of these students make significant progress over time in their individualised programmes.

Appropriate systems are in place to monitor attendance and follow up on issues that are identified. Data should be used more to consider the impact of attendance processes and to respond more effectively to at-risk individuals or groups of students.

3 Curriculum

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

The curriculum effectively promotes and supports the learning of most students. There is ongoing commitment to providing a curriculum that successfully caters for a range of student needs and interests. The New Zealand Curriculum key competencies and values are highly evident within programmes.

E TŪ principles support the teaching of skills and values that underpin a safe and caring learning environment and develop behaviours for learning. The school is continuing to build consistency in implementing schoolwide expectations linked to the E TŪ framework.

A flexible and sometimes innovative approach to establishing programmes for individual students ensures most interests and strengths are supported. Links to other institutions, businesses and the wider community help students develop self awareness and explore opportunities that may be relevant to their future aspirations. Effective processes support learners to transition to education, training or employment.

ERO’s classroom observations indicated positive, respectful and affirming relationships between teachers and students. Variable engagement and involvement in learning were also apparent. Increased teacher inquiry and embedding of E TŪ have contributed to a greater emphasis on effective teaching practice. This has included deliberately building the extent to which classroom programmes consistently engage students in interesting and well-planned learning experiences. Elearning strategies are part of a planned approach to improve engagement and achievement.

A schoolwide caring culture effectively enables students with special needs to be integrated into a positive social environment and achieve personal success. Individual strengths and needs are highly evident in programmes. A good level of communication and collaboration between the school, families and external professionals supports students’ progress.

Wellbeing is a shared responsibility across the school. Respect and concern for those of diverse backgrounds and beliefs are apparent. Students generally feel well supported and positive about their relationships with others. Student voice should continue to be considered as part of ongoing evaluation of school effectiveness.

The whānau class structure is a key component in supporting students’ pastoral care, curriculum choices and academic progress. The school has identified that it should continue to strengthen the effectiveness of whānau teachers in carrying out the expectations associated with their role.

Procedures to support student safety are comprehensive, carefully considered and well monitored. E TŪ values and a restorative approach are an integral part of relationships.

Students and families are well supported as they become part of the school community. Parents are well informed about their children’s academic and social learning. Continuing to build genuine twoway partnerships should further promote student outcomes.

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

Initiatives that support Māori students to be successful are strongly linked to whānau, hapū and iwi. A wide range of deliberate strategies successfully engages whānau and the community to benefit students, including:

  • ongoing contact with local hapū, Ngāti Te Whiti
  • Komiti Māori providing the opportunity for whānau to provide feedback on school direction and priorities
  • liaison with local iwi through kaumatua and kuia
  • developing a working relationship with Tu Tama Wahine O Taranaki to deliver vocational pathways programmes
  • Ngāti Te Whiti and Komiti Māori representation on the board of trustees.

Māori students' identity is valued. Staff professional learning includes building understanding of te ao Māori concepts.

Māori student achievement in the senior school has improved significantly. Continuing to highlight and embed the strategies already identified should build further success for Māori, as Māori.

4 Sustainable Performance

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

The school is well placed to sustain and improve its performance.

Purposeful and systematic self review contributes effectively to improving outcomes for students. Review is:

  • focused on improving student learning and wellbeing
  • based on valid information and increasingly data driven
  • linked to the values, goals and culture of the school community
  • responsive to external evaluation and best practice research.

Well-considered initiatives are in place to improve outcomes for learners. A continuing priority identified by the school and agreed by ERO is to apply these initiatives consistently and embed them schoolwide.

Appraisal increasingly supports teacher improvement. It encourages teachers to reflect on their practice. A teacher inquiry focus, currently in place, is linked to school priorities and should strengthen the consistent use of effective teaching practice across the school. It makes a significant contribution to increased professional discussions amongst the adults.

The principal has a clear vision for continual development of the school that focuses on ensuring there are high quality individual student outcomes. Senior leaders are a collaborative and cohesive team. Their commitment to Māori success is highly evident. They are focused on continuing to improve teaching and learning.

The charter provides clear strategic direction through its identified objectives and education priorities. The framework for sustainability and improvement is in place. Trustees are committed to the vision and values of the school and to ongoing improvement. They are appropriately involved in a range of decision-making groups and well informed about curriculum and student achievement.

Provision for international students

The school is a signatory to the Code of Practice for the Pastoral Care of International Students (the Code) established under section 238F of the Education Act 1989. The school has attested that it complies with all aspects of the Code. The international department regularly reviews and improves practices in response to feedback from students and homestay parents. ERO’s investigations confirmed that the school’s self-review process for international students is thorough.

At the time of this review there were 21 international students, including one exchange student. The students come from eight countries, with half from Germany and Japan.

The international student department is managed by an experienced director who has sound processes to monitor the education and wellbeing of students. Teachers and homestay families build positive and productive relationships with students.

International students achieve well throughout their time at the school. They are provided with an appropriate educational programme and are well supported by a suitable number of specialist staff. Students integrate well into school life and participate in a range of sporting and cultural events.

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

A strong focus on responding to the individual needs and aspirations of students is evident. Senior achievement has improved significantly since the 2011 ERO review. The school is well placed to sustain and improve its performance. The main priority is to continue to embed and expand initiatives to improve outcomes for students.

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

Joyce Gebbie

National Manager Review Services

Central Region

17 October 2014

About the School

Location

New Plymouth

Ministry of Education profile number

173

School type

Secondary (Years 9 to 15)

School roll

728

Number of international students

21

Gender composition

Male 54%

Female 46%

Ethnic composition

Māori

NZ European/Pākehā

Asian

Pacific

Other ethnic groups

28%

64%

5%

2%

1%

Review team on site

August 2014

Date of this report

17 October 2014

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

September 2011

September 2008

June 2004