Gisborne Girls' High School

Gisborne Girls' High School - 24/07/2019

School Context

Gisborne Girls’ High School is located in central Gisborne. It is predominantly single sex and caters for girls in Years 9 to 15. The roll of 791 students includes 60% Māori, 3% Pacific and 30% New Zealand European.

A small number of boys are enrolled as part of the Tairawhiti Services Academy. Some senior classes are shared with the neighbouring Gisborne Boys’ High School in order to extend subject options and curriculum choices.

The community has articulated its vision for the school as ‘Success for All’ and the aspirations and desired outcomes for student success are expressed through the ‘Hinetu’ graduate profile.

Strategic goals for the school focus on improving: a culturally responsive, personalised and future focussed curriculum; relationships for teaching and learning; innovative leadership; and provision of a safe and stimulating learning environment.  

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

  • attainment of National Certificates of Educational Achievement (NCEA)
  • achievement and progress in literacy and numeracy in Years 9 and 10
  • attainment of the school-developed Junior Certificate of Educational Achievement in Years 9 and 10 
  • wellbeing
  • engagement and attendance.

The school takes responsibility for the governance of Turanganui-A-Kiwa Activity Centre and is the lead school for the Gisborne/East Coast Resource Teacher: Learning and Behaviour cluster.

Teachers and leaders have participated in centrally funded professional learning focused on being more responsive to students’ culture, language and identity, implementing restorative practices, building evaluative capability, teaching practice that matches individual student learning needs, and improving outcomes in reading.

The school is a member of the Taha Hinengaro (Gisborne) Kāhui Ako | Community of Learning.

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?

Students have generally achieved consistent levels of success in gaining NCEA Levels 2 and 3 since the 2016 Education Review. There was a slight drop in results at Level 1 in 2018.

In 2018 most students gained NCEA Level 2, the large majority achieved Levels 1 and 3, and less than half achieved the University Entrance qualification. By the time students finish their schooling, the large majority have gained Level 2 or above.

Many Māori students, who are the largest group in the school, achieve well. However, they achieve less well when compared to New Zealand European/Pākehā students across all areas of performance. In NCEA the disparity is reducing at Levels 2 and 3 but has widened and is significant at Level 1.

School leaders have recognised and acknowledged the disparity in outcomes for Māori students in achievement, engagement and attendance, and have established targets for improvement.

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

The school is building its effectiveness in accelerating progress for those who need it. Students who need to improve their rate of progress are clearly identified by leaders and teachers, and a range of interventions and strategies is put in place to respond to their needs.

The school reports that the majority of students who join in Year 9 are assessed as not meeting curriculum expectations in literacy and numeracy. The proportion of Māori students who are not meeting expectations on entry is greater than that of their peers, and has increased over recent years. The school has been more effective in increasing the proportion of these students to make accelerated progress in literacy, and supporting them to be successful in achieving NCEA Level 1 in Year 11.

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?

Students experience an inclusive curriculum that offers a broad range of opportunities, choices and pathways that respond to their interests, needs and strengths. Participation in co-curricular sporting, arts and cultural activities is actively promoted.

The school has recently developed a well-considered plan to enact the school vision and desired outcomes for successful learners at Gisborne Girls’ High School. It provides a useful framework that has the potential to guide all aspects of school operations, curriculum and teaching and learning. The leadership team sets a clear strategic direction for the school and have established cohesive systems and processes that closely align to schoolwide targets and goals, and reflect the shared vision and values. Leaders and teachers are strongly committed to improving outcomes for all learners, especially those at risk of underachievement.

Students with high and additional needs are well catered for through tailored and responsive provision. Pastoral care systems and practices provide good support for students’ wellbeing and care. Staff work collaboratively with families and a range of agencies to promote a positive learning environment.

Relationships across the school are positive and respectful. Leaders and teachers work deliberately to promote a sense of connection and belonging. They respond well to students’ ongoing needs and provide personalised support to improve their wellbeing and learning.

Teachers are aware of the need to strengthen their response to Māori learners individually and as a group. There is an extended range of opportunities to be involved in cultural activities which promote te reo and tikanga Māori. These are well supported by families and the community. Increased provision is occurring through the newly-introduced bilingual programme that has been developed in response to whānau and students’ aspirations.

A well-structured appraisal framework is in place that supports leaders and teachers to grow and develop their capabilities. Staff have had good opportunities to participate in purposeful and relevant professional learning that reflects the school’s strategic priorities for improvement. There is an appropriate inquiry process for them to reflect on their effectiveness to share, enhance and strengthen aspects of practice.

Leaders have strengthened processes for gathering and sharing learning information. They use an appropriate range of assessment tools and now have a more systematic approach to tracking and monitoring student achievement and wellbeing information. Teachers are building their use of this data to respond more effectually to individual student needs.

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

Leaders recognise that the recently-introduced ‘learning framework’ that integrates the vision and desired outcomes for students, requires further development. Articulating clear and detailed indicators of what best practice and success look like to guide teacher and leader practice, is a key next step. This should assist the school to strengthen:

  • teaching practices that improve learning and engagement, particularly for at risk learners
  • culturally responsive practices
  • the localised curriculum and provision of relevant and meaningful pathways for students through and beyond the school.

Senior leaders recognise the need to strengthen the capability and collective capacity to do and use evaluation inquiry, and knowledge building to promote improvement and innovation. Their ongoing work to develop this should include:

  • reframing targets at strategic and faculty level to focus on improving rates of progress for priority learners
  • better use of achievement information to show accelerated progress, particularly for those whose learning is most at risk
  • stronger analysis of evidence and evaluation to show the impact of strategies and interventions on improving student outcomes.

The school has developed good relationships and communicates well with families. The next step is to continue to strengthen partnerships that promote learning with parents, whānau, iwi and community.

The areas for further development should support the school to increase the pace of change to further reduce the disparity in achievement, wellbeing, engagement and retention, especially for Māori students.

3 Other Matters

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 and meets all aspects of the code.

At the time of this review there are 5 international students. Both long term and short stay students are drawn largely from Europe.

Processes for transition and orientation to the school are well considered. Systems for identifying and responding to individual learning needs are effective. Care is taken to provide courses that respond to the aspirations and interests of students and their families.

Student’s pastoral and wellbeing needs are catered for. Students are actively involved in the life of the school, participating in a range of sporting, cultural and social activities. They are encouraged to contribute to the wider community. They share and celebrate their cultures with other students formally through planned events and informally through interactions with their peers.

4 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.

5 ERO’s Overall Judgement

On the basis of the findings of this review, ERO’s overall evaluation judgement of Gisborne Girls’ High School’s performance in achieving valued outcomes for its students is: Well placed.

ERO’s Framework: Overall School Performance is available on ERO’s website.

6 Going forward

Key strengths of the school

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

  • an inclusive curriculum that offers a broad range of opportunities, choices and pathways that respond to students’ interests, needs and strengths
  • valuing and promoting students’ own language, culture and identity
  • positive and respectful relationships across the school
  • pastoral care systems and practices that promote students’ wellbeing
  • an unrelenting focus on promoting success for all learners, particularly Māori students.

Next steps

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

  • establishing a shared understanding of best practice and what success looks like to guide teachers and leaders to continue to improve outcomes for students
  • strengthening the capability and collective capacity to use evaluation, inquiry and knowledge building to promote improvement and innovation
  • further reducing the disparity in achievement, wellbeing, engagement and retention, especially for Māori students.

Phillip Cowie

Director Review and Improvement Services Central

Central Region

24 July 2019

About the school

Location

Gisborne

Ministry of Education profile number

210

School type

Secondary (Years 9 to 15)

School roll

791

Gender composition

Female 99%, Male 1%

Ethnic composition

Māori 60%

NZ European/Pakeha 30%

Pacific 3%

Other ethnic groups 7%

Students with Ongoing Resourcing Funding (ORS)

Yes

Provision of Māori medium education

Yes

Review team on site

May 2019

Date of this report

24 July 2019

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review May 2016

Education Review August 2014

Gisborne Girls' High School - 03/05/2016

Findings

An extensive curriculum successfully supports success for high numbers of students. A relentless, strategic focus has raised Māori student achievement over time. The new senior leadership team is managing change and raising professional capability through collaboration. The school is well placed to continue to raise achievement and sustain school improvement.

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?

Gisborne Girls’ High School caters for students from Years 9 to 13, in Gisborne city. Students are drawn from the wider Tairawhiti district with 58% of the roll identifying as Māori and 3% Pacific. A very small proportion of the school roll is male. These students are part of the Tairawhiti Services Academy, which provides students with a pathway towards military and related careers.

Hinetu embodies the philosophy of Gisborne Girls’ High School. It reflects school understandings of the range of opportunities, connections and ways of working that explicitly develop young women to be ready for the world they will move forward into and allow them to ‘stand tall.’

Teachers participate in Kia Eke Panuku: Building on Success, as a continuation of Te Kotahitanga, an in-depth professional development programme aimed at raising Māori student achievement.

Several changes to senior leadership and governance occurred following the August 2014 ERO report. A Limited Statutory Manager (LSM) was appointed to support board governance and school leadership. A newly appointed principal took up her position during 2015, following a period of time with an interim principal. The 2016 senior leadership team now includes a recently appointed assistant principal. The board comprises both experienced and recently elected members, including a new board chair.

The board of trustees and school leaders have actively addressed the areas of concern outlined in the previous ERO report. These include specific focus on assessment practices, review and appraisal processes, financial operations, board operations and relationships between staff and managers.

2 Learning

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

The school successfully uses achievement information to make positive changes to learners’ engagement, progress and achievement.

The percentage of students achieving National Certificates of Educational Achievement (NCEA) at Levels 1, 2 and 3 exceeds national figures. A relentless strategic focus on raising Māori student achievement has resulted in significant improvement over time of the percentage of Māori students achieving NCEA. The rate of increase has exceeded that of other ethnic groups.

Close monitoring of student progress at Years 11 to 13, and prompt intervention to individually support those students most at risk of poor educational outcomes, contributes to many students’ success at Years 11 and 12.

There remains some disparity of outcomes for Māori learners, when compared to Pākehā. This is especially evident for those students who leave without NCEA Level 2 qualifications and for a number of students not yet achieving NCEA Level 3 or University Entrance. Further exploration of the curriculum pathways chosen by Māori learners is required. Teachers must continue to target and strategise for students’ accelerated progress from Year 9, in order to prepare them for later success in qualifications.

Assessment data is gathered for students at Years 9 and 10 to establish their achievement levels and learning needs in reading, writing and mathematics. This data is shared with classroom teachers and there is a clear expectation that they will adapt programmes to meet students’ needs. Additional literacy and mathematics support for those students needing to make the most rapid progress in learning shows good success for some students. A range of special educational needs is recognised and a variety of programmes and interventions provided in response.

Currently, targets are set to raise the percentages of students meeting national expectations in specific assessments for reading, writing and mathematics at Years 9 and 10. Some accelerated progress was evident in writing for Year 9 students over 2014 to 2015. Very good progress was made in raising the percentage of Year 9 students meeting expectations in mathematics during 2015.

Senior leaders are committed to accelerating literacy and mathematics progress for a greater number of Years 9 and 10 students. Reframing strategic goals to focus explicitly on these students should allow better alignment between the strategic goal and all teachers’ classroom practice.

3 Curriculum

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

The school provides a diverse curriculum, with a tradition of balancing academic, cultural and sporting success. The approach is successful for high numbers of learners.

The special education needs coordinator (SENCO) leads a comprehensive range of student support initiatives that includes: a pastoral care service; a Learning Support Centre for students with high needs; innovative services for at-risk students; health services; and links to many community agencies.

The SENCO systems of support are well organised and student progress is comprehensively tracked. A wide range of special needs is recognised, and responsive and individualised approaches help students transition to the school and achieve success.

Staff in the Learning Support Centre implement well targeted programmes based on individual education plans for each student. Teachers are developing ways to assess student progress against school-developed matrices for pre-Level One of The New Zealand Curriculum. Education is inclusive and students are in mainstream when appropriate.

The careers faculty is pro-active in its approach to preparing students for their transition to future programmes, tertiary learning and the work place. Comprehensive careers education programmes cater for all year levels. Opportunities available for all students include Gateway, Secondary Tertiary Alignment Resource (STAR) courses and Trades Academy. These complement the wide range of other courses in the curriculum. Strong links are maintained with external providers. An established relationship with Gisborne Boys’ High School allows reciprocal teaching of specialist subjects across the two campuses.

Year 9 students are carefully transitioned to the school in a process that deliberately involves parents and whānau. A Hinetu programme of events brings whānau into school, with initial powhiri for new students.

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

Involvement in Kia Eke Panuku: Building on Success is important and significant in fostering culturally responsive relationships and teaching practice. The school has undertaken inquiry into the effectiveness of its approaches to promoting educational success for Māori through Te Kotahitanga and now Kia Eke Panuku: Building on Success. Both programmes have had a positive impact and made valuable contributions to curriculum enactment. Staff benefit from the professional learning involved. These programmes and a restorative practices approach to managing behaviour have relationships at their core, strongly aligning with school vision and values.

Students appreciate opportunities to learn te reo me ngā tikanga Māori. Students develop a sense of belonging and connection with the school and community through the Year 9 Te Raukura course and Hinetu programme.

Positive Māori role models support students’ engagement in learning. Two whānau-based form classes provide for students to grow leadership and to share and develop their skill in te reo Māori.

Whānau relationships are valued. The board and leaders are focused on improving consultation to make sure that whānau aspirations for their children are reflected in strategic direction.

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

Twenty-six Pacific students attend the school. They identify as Tongan, Samoan, Cook Island Māori, Tokelauan and Ni-Vanuatu. A performance group, organised and led by Pacific students, has recently restarted.

There is a need for a more strategic approach to providing for Pacific learners and their families. In 2014, a full Pacific hui was held for students and their families. Student feedback was positive about the encouragement they received to consider possibilities for learning and careers, to achieve and to be proud of their cultures.

The board and staff monitor Pacific students’ progress, achievement and participation in school life. Self-review processes should include evaluation of how well the school’s curriculum supports and affirms their languages, cultures and identities.

4 Sustainable Performance

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

The school is well placed to accelerate students’ progress, continue to raise achievement and sustain school improvement.

The board, working alongside the LSM, has significantly improved governance. Trustees participated in a wide range of professional development to strengthen understanding of their roles and responsibilities. A comprehensive portfolio of policies and procedures supports efficient conduct of school operations and board business. Sound systems for financial management are now in place.

Since the previous ERO report, the board has developed relationships and restored trust with the school community. A positive working relationship exists between trustees and the principal. Trustees regularly receive a wide range of information from school leaders about student outcomes and school operation. They scrutinise the data and information shared and provide a good level of challenge to leaders about the effectiveness of curriculum provision. Open discussion characterises the approach to deciding school priorities and resourcing.

The board and leaders have appropriately consulted the community, teachers and students to gather feedback about progress made and to develop its vision, values and a clear strategic direction for 2016 and beyond. They recognise the need to continue to develop partnerships with key stakeholders.

Members of the new senior leadership team bring a diverse range of skills to their roles, and work collaboratively. They recognise the need to further build the capability of middle managers to lead changes in teaching pedagogy, and to support inquiry and evaluation. They are reviewing current systems and structures to strengthen information sharing and student support. Leaders take a considered approach to change, emphasising collaboration, valuing teacher input and building productive working relationships.

Teachers are knowledgeable and committed to student success and improving outcomes for those at risk. They are at the early stages of using evidence to critically inquire into the effectiveness of their teaching practice. Encouraging teachers and leaders to ask themselves more explicit questions about what is working well in the classroom and what they could do differently to accelerate student progress, is a key next step.

Appropriate professional development choices are made in response to school development needs. The appraisal process is a useful model for raising teacher capability and schoolwide teaching capacity.

Regular review occurs at all levels of school operation. Senior leaders gather and share a wide range of information to establish actions taken in the school and the results of those actions. Students and parents have input into review. Encouraging a more evaluative approach, focusing on the quality of outcomes should strengthen internal evaluation and development.

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.

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

The school has appropriate systems in place for the pastoral care and the education of international students. Sound processes for monitoring student wellbeing, achievement and progress in relation to their individual goals are evident.

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

An extensive curriculum successfully supports success for high numbers of students. A relentless, strategic focus has raised Māori student achievement over time. The new senior leadership team is managing change and raising professional capability through collaboration. The school is well placed to continue to raise achievement and sustain school improvement.

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

Joyce Gebbie

Deputy Chief Review Officer Central

3 May 2016

About the School

Location

Gisborne

Ministry of Education profile number

210

School type

Secondary (Years 9 to 13)

School roll

755

Number of international students

8

Gender composition

Female 99%, Male 1%

Ethnic composition

Māori

Pākehā

Pacific

Asian

Other ethnic groups

58%

36%

3%

2%

1%

Special Features

Attached Activity Centre

Tairawhiti Services Academy

Review team on site

February 2016

Date of this report

3 May 2016

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

August 2014

May 2009

November 2005