Rodney College

We maintain a regular review programme to evaluate and report on the education and care of young people in schools.

We are in the process of shifting from event-based external reviews to supporting each school in a process of continuous improvement.

There may be delays between reviews for some schools and kura due to Covid-19 and while we transition to our new way of reviewing.

Read more about our new processes and why we changed the way we review schools and kura.

Find out which schools have upcoming reviews.

School Context

Rodney College, in Wellsford, caters for students from Years 9 to 13. The school has strong links to the community. Students from the local area and surrounding rural and coastal areas attend the school. Thirty percent of students are Māori.

The school’s mission statement “educating learners today for a better tomorrow” aims to develop confident and connected 21st Century learners. This is underpinned by the school’s vision and values, which include respect, risktaking, creativity, excellence and independence.

Since the 2015 ERO review several new members have joined the board of trustees, including a new chairperson. The board and the principal have overseen extensive property refurbishment. Trustees and school leaders plan to review the school’s mission statement, vision and values. They intend to engage in widespread community consultation during this review process.

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

  • achievement within the New Zealand Qualifications framework

  • achievement data for Year 9 and 10

  • progress and achievement in relation to school targets

  • pastoral and wellbeing information about student groups and cohorts

  • outcomes relating to identity, culture and language

  • achievement, wellbeing and engagement of Māori students.

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?

Rodney College is working towards achieving equitable and excellent outcomes for all students.

National Certificate of Educational Achievement (NCEA) data over the last three years show high levels of achievement in numeracy and literacy for all groups of students. This level of achievement has been sustained over time.

The majority of students achieve NCEA Level 1 and NCEA Level 3. Most students, including almost all Māori students, achieve NCEA Level 2. The number of students achieving NCEA Levels 1, 2 and 3 with merit or excellence endorsement is steadily improving.

There is disparity in achievement for Māori students, particularly at University Entrance. However, equitable outcomes for Māori at Level 2 have been achieved, and this level of achievement has been sustained over time. Girls achieve at higher levels than boys at NCEA Levels 1 and 3, and University Entrance (UE).

In 2018, achievement in NCEA Levels 1 and 3, and UE, was below the school’s targets. School leaders have responded with a range of approaches to improve parity in outcomes and further promote the acceleration of learning and achievement for students.

Achievement information indicates that some groups of students enter the school below expected curriculum levels in literacy and numeracy. School leaders use systems and processes to track and monitor the progress and achievement of Years 9 and 10 students. Longitudinal achievement information indicates that most of these students are making expected or accelerated progress and they can access meaningful pathways and achieve NCEA.

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

The school is working towards achieving parity of outcomes for those Māori and other students whose learning needs accelerating.

NCEA achievement information shows that while there is some disparity in achievement outcomes for Māori students in Years 9 to 10, NCEA Level 1 and University Entrance, outcomes are equitable in NCEA Level 2 and increasingly equitable in NCEA Level 3.

The school is successfully implementing culturally responsive and relational practices. Positive and respectful relationships support student engagement, build connection to the school and promote positive outcomes for Māori students.

Learning support for students with additional needs is well-coordinated. The school’s inclusive learning culture helps all students to participate fully in a broad range of learning experiences.

Senior leaders and teachers have established effective and comprehensive ways to track and monitor student achievement and progress. Students and teachers work together to design and deliver individualised programmes, leading to meaningful pathways and successful transition through the school.

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?

The school is well led. Leaders promote a collaborative and respectful school culture. Leaders across all levels are working to strengthen conditions to support equity and excellence and positive outcomes for all students. They actively promote practices that focus on increasing student confidence in their identity, language and culture, connection to the school community and engagement in their learning.

Students learn in a positive and inclusive environment. They are supported in their learning by teachers who know them well. Respectful and positive relationships between teachers and students are evident. A strong wraparound pastoral care network provides students with high levels of support. This promotes an environment in which adults and students have a strong sense of place and belonging.

Students have access to a broad curriculum that continues to provide good opportunities for individualised pathways. Teachers are developing relevant and contextualised curriculum programmes which increasingly provide authentic learning opportunities. Teachers and leaders reflect on and respond well to achievement information, adapting and evolving programmes to meet student needs.

The school proactively identifies and draws on community resources to enhance student learning opportunities. Students have multiple opportunities to engage with and participate in community events and activities. They benefit from a range of sporting, cultural and co-curricular educational learning experiences. School leaders and staff build strong relationships and connections with the school’s community, parents and whānau.

School leaders recognise the positive impact te reo me ōna tikanga has on student success. Leaders continue to consider ways to support Māori learner success through growing connections and partnerships with whānau Māori.

The board of trustees actively supports the school. Trustees and school leaders work collaboratively and share a strong commitment to continuing to move the school forward. Trustees are well informed and have a good understanding of student achievement information. They scrutinise the school’s work regarding student achievement and are increasingly focusing on student and staff wellbeing.

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

The school has the capacity and capability to accelerate learning for all students.

Areas for continued development include:

  • continuing to identify and implement strategies to support the acceleration of learning for those students who need it

  • embedding evaluation practices to ensure purposeful, systematic and coherent internal evaluation to sustain ongoing improvement.

3 Other Matters

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 seven international students attending the school.

Rodney College has good systems to provide education and pastoral care for international students. They are supported to achieve educational success. Course selections, progress and achievement are well monitored. Students have many opportunities to participate in school activities and integrate well into the school and wider community.

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 Children’s Act 2014.

5 ERO’s Overall Judgement

On the basis of the findings of this review, ERO’s overall evaluation judgement of Rodney College’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:

  • a positive school culture that responds to students’ needs, promotes their wellbeing and supports their learning success

  • an increasingly responsive and relevant curriculum that allows for students to access meaningful pathways

  • community connections and partnerships that work to enhance student engagement and achievement.

Next steps

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

  • continuing to embed key strategies to accelerate learning and achieve equitable outcomes for all students

  • embedding coherent and systematic evaluation practices to help sustain ongoing improvement.

Steve Tanner

Director Review and Improvement Services Northern

Northern Region

12 September 2019

About the school

Location

Wellsford

Ministry of Education profile number

23

School type

Secondary (Years 9-15)

School roll

388

Gender composition

Girls 52% Boys 48%

Ethnic composition

Māori 29%
NZ European/Pākehā 61%
Pacific 5%
other ethnic groups 5%

Students with Ongoing Resourcing Funding (ORS)

Yes

Provision of Māori medium education

Yes

Review team on site

August 2019

Date of this report

12 September 2019

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review June 2016
Education Review May 2013
Education Review September 2010

Findings

Rodney College promotes student learning well. The curriculum responds well to student strengths and interests, with a greater focus on activating ‘the academic learner’ at an earlier stage. Highly effective school leadership is enabling increased momentum for change to meet the diverse needs of the modern learner.

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?

Rodney College, in Wellsford, caters for students from Years 9 to 15. Students have strong links to the town and surrounding rural areas. Nearly 34 percent of students are Māori. Two percent have Pacific heritage.

Since the 2013 ERO report, the board has successfully managed the school through a period of leadership change. A new principal was appointed in 2014. The board and school leaders have focused on retaining the school’s strengths and considering what the school can do further to raise student achievement. This focus has resulted in changes in curriculum management, allowing individual teacher strengths to be used to target school improvement.

The board and senior leaders have consulted with many stake holders as part of reviewing the school’s mission statement, vision and values. This consultation has resulted in the new mission statement: educating learners today for a better tomorrow, and a clearly stated vision of the Rodney College student learner that sums up the school’s commitment to creating confident, connected 21st century learners.

2 Learning

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

Improved use of student achievement information by the board, senior leaders and teachers is supporting a sharper focus on raising students’ academic performance.

Achievement information is used to set school priorities and appropriate achievement targets, and to design curriculum programmes. Data is used for early identification of students at risk of not achieving. Changes to school systems and structures to support closer monitoring of student data by academic counsellors, year level deans and classroom teachers are placing greater responsibility on staff to improve student achievement and provide a stronger support network for students. Staff receive ongoing professional development in the use of assessment tools giving greater rigour to the school’s achievement data.

School information shows that achievement in literacy and numeracy is increasing across all year levels. The challenge for the school is to increase levels of student success in the National Certificates of Educational Achievement (NCEA) at Levels 1 and 2. School data show an upward trend in students receiving Level 3 qualifications and an increase in the number of endorsements at Levels 1 and 2. Course changes, rationalising credits available, and the introduction of an external component in NCEA in all curriculum areas, are positive initiatives to enable students to access tertiary studies.

There are good levels of student engagement in learning across the school. Classrooms are settled places for learning. Students are resourceful, and increasingly self-managing their learning pathways. The school has an appropriate focus on helping students set higher academic expectations for their own achievement. Rodney College is a caring and respectful learning community. The school has an holistic, strengths-based approach to student wellbeing and is proactive in supporting students to be successful learners. The college’s increasingly inclusive and responsive practices support students with special learning needs well. Teachers and learning assistants share a commitment to and responsibility for these students’ progress. This shared approach helps to ensure students with special learning needs participate fully in appropriate learning programmes and the wider school curriculum.

3 Curriculum

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

Rodney College curriculum is becoming increasingly effective in engaging and promoting successful outcomes for all students.

The curriculum responds to student strengths and interests, providing them with meaningful contexts for learning and assessment. Students have relevant choices and pathways that support successful transition through school and on to further education, training and employment. School leaders continue to introduce new courses in response to changing employment and tertiary study requirements. Strong community involvement supports curriculum opportunities and vocational pathways for students. A current strategic focus for the school is to explore better ways to use digital technologies to enhance learning for students.

The school’s Gateway programme is a strength of the curriculum that empowers students to seek qualifications and employment opportunities. The curriculum has good coherence and connectedness between Gateway, careers and vocational pathways. Teachers are beginning to plan learning opportunities to engage students from the Gateway programme in other subject areas, to support the schools increased academic focus.

In Years 9 and 10 a Junior Certificate of Educational Achievement (JCEA) has been introduced to engage ‘the academic learner’ early in their college life. This certificate has a well-considered framework that:

  • identifies the skills and behaviours necessary to be a successful learner
  • provides progressive sequential pathways for learning and assessment
  • supports student ownership and teacher clarity of expectations at each level.

The certificate is in the early stages of implementation, and staff are undertaking professional development to support teachers to recognise student progress towards relevant curriculum levels, and explore ways to achieve common understandings about the kind and quality of work needed for success in JCEA.

The school is strengthening the way staff have conversations with parents about their child’s learning. ERO recommends senior leaders continue to investigate strategies to engage parents more effectively in learning partnerships.

Learning experiences that reflect the bicultural heritage of Aotearoa New Zealand have a place in some curriculum areas, the environment and daily life of the school. Te reo Māori is offered in Years 9 and 10 as six-month student option choices. ERO recommends senior leaders review how effective this structure supports students who want to follow a successful NCEA te reo Māori pathway.

Teachers enact the curriculum well. Teaching approaches and ideas are shared among staff in a professional culture of collaboration. The school has good systems and useful professional learning and development programmes to help teachers develop effective practices to meet the diverse needs of students. The teacher performance management system introduced in 2014 supports good professional practice and growth. High levels of relational trust between students and teachers are underpinned by strong, positive connections and relationships.

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

The school is effective in promoting educational success for Māori, as Māori, in many ways. School data show an increase in Māori students’ Level 1 and 2 NCEA achievement levels and attendance. The data also show there is an increasing trend of Māori students remaining at school to Year 13.

Māori students are well supported in their learning. Teachers know them well and have high expectations for them as learners. Ongoing professional learning and development that focuses on cultural competences for teachers of Māori learners reflects the school’s expectations.

The school’s strong kapa haka group is a source of pride for students, the school and its community. It provides good opportunities for Māori student leadership, and promotes discipline, team work, the arts and a deeper understanding of tikanga Māori.

Māori students are over represented in school stand-down data, suggesting school leaders need to more deeply investigate the impact of school initiatives for Māori and further explore with whānau their aspirations for Māori student wellbeing.

There is Māori representation on the board and the school seeks guidance from local kaumātua to ensure tikanga Māori is respected and maintained.

4 Sustainable Performance

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

Rodney College is well placed to sustain and improve its performance.

Leadership in the school is highly effective. The principal is instrumental in building leadership capability and influence across the school. This high quality school leadership is enabling increased momentum for change to meet the diverse needs of students. All layers of school leadership, including student leadership, contribute at the strategic decision-making level, and there is shared ownership of outcomes to support the school’s overall improvement focus.

Trustees are well informed about curriculum developments and student achievement. Board decision making is strategic and has a focus on improving outcomes for all students. Very good working relationships help the work of the board. School management is well coordinated through the school’s strategic and operational planning. There is a systematic and collaborative approach to establishing coherent and sustainable practices.

Internal evaluation is used well. Ongoing critical reflection and the outcomes of school-wide internal evaluation provide clear rationale for positive change. Students, staff and the school community are consulted as part of review processes.

The school has identified appropriate future priorities to continue raising student achievement. These include:

  • investigating further ways to engage the community in partnerships to support student learning
  • continuing to develop JCEA and build shared understandings of curriculum and assessments for Years 9 to 15.
  • more deeply scrutinize longitudinal student achievement information for cohorts, groups and individuals to evaluate the effectiveness of initiatives and inform teaching and learning.

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. At the time of this review there were eight international students attending the school. The school has attested that it complies with all aspects of the Code. ERO’s investigations confirmed that the school’s internal review process for international students is very thorough. The school has coherent and sustainable systems in place to support good provision and care for international students.

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.

The board of trustees must ensure that non-teaching and unregistered employees are police vetted every three years.Education Act 1989, s78.

Conclusion

Rodney College promotes student learning well. The curriculum responds well to student strengths and interests, with a greater focus on activating ‘the academic learner’ at an earlier stage. Highly effective school leadership is enabling increased momentum for change to meet the diverse needs of the modern learner.

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

Graham Randell

Deputy Chief Review Officer Northern

16 June 2016

About the School

Location

Wellsford, Northland

Ministry of Education profile number

23

School type

Secondary (Years 9 to 15)

School roll

370

Number of international students

8

Gender composition

Girls 53% Boys 47%

Ethnic composition

Māori

Pākehā

Pacific Nations

other

34%

57%

2%

7%

Review team on site

April 2016

Date of this report

16 June 2016

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Supplementary Review

Supplementary Review

May 2013

September 2010

September 2009