Marlborough Girls' College

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Education institution number:
289
School type:
Secondary (Year 9-15)
School gender:
Single Sex (Girls School)
Definition:
Not Applicable
Total roll:
917
Telephone:
Address:

21 Mclauchlan Street, Springlands, Blenheim

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Findings

Marlborough Girls’ College continues to be a high-performing school. Girls are proud of the college’s history, traditions and the school-wide theme of mana wahine. Progressive and strong leadership is contributing to a range of significant school developments. A rich school curriculum, very effective pastoral care and a sustained focus on knowing the strengths and needs of every student are contributing very positively to the learning and wellbeing of the girls at the college.

ERO is likely to carry out the next review in four-to-five years.

1 Context

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

Marlborough Girls’ College is a high-performing secondary school in Blenheim. The college’s vision is focused on being a community of lifelong learners who are empowered, engaged and successful. This is evident in its sustained culture of high expectations and continuous improvement.

School values of respect, resilience, reflection and responsibility are actively promoted, as is a strong school-wide focus on inclusion. Girls respond very positively to the school theme of mana wahine that encourages them to aspire to become young women of courage and service to others. This is contributing to the pride students have in their school.

Girls attend the college from a wide geographical area. The effective transitions programme has been tailored to match and meet students’ needs for settling into the school and developing a sense of belonging. Increasing cultural diversity in the school’s roll is evident over time. Cultural groups such as Pacific girls make a vibrant contribution to the life of the school.

A number of initiatives aimed at improving outcomes for all girls are in place. Some of these are at an early stage of development. Through its principal, the school is actively involved in the leadership of the Blenheim Community of Learning, a group of 21 schools that are working together to improve educational outcomes for students. The Ministry of Education has advised the school that it will be co-located with Marlborough Boys’ College to a new site in 2021.

The college has had a stable reporting history with ERO for many years. School leaders and teachers have responded positively to the areas for improvement identified in the 2013 ERO report. The strengths outlined in that report have been retained and further developed.

2 Learning

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

This school is using achievement information very effectively to make positive changes to learners’ engagement, progress and achievement.

There is a relentless school-wide focus on the timely use of data, including assessment for learning. Parents and students are receiving more frequent and useful information likely to improve outcomes for students. The school’s student management system is very well used by staff to share achievement and wellbeing information as students transition into and progress through the school.

Leaders and teachers are collecting, analysing and reporting a comprehensive range of information about many aspects of students’ learning. This is used effectively to make data-informed decisions and contribute to ongoing school inquiries. School-wide targets, however, could more usefully focus on the students who are receiving extra support to accelerate their progress. Student learning information is very effectively shared to contribute to teachers’ planning.

An ongoing school-wide tracking system is operating very well to regularly identify, closely monitor and support students who are not achieving to their potential. This strong focus on individual student achievement is having a significant and positive impact on students’ progress. Students are also provided with useful systems, frameworks and support to track their own attendance, achievement and progress. This is helping to build independence and personal responsibility for aspects of their learning.

The junior certificate programme, designed to build motivation and support engagement for students in Years 9 and 10, is particularly effective for Year 9 students. Achievement in all learning areas contributes to students’ attainment of the certificate, with specific emphasis on literacy and numeracy. Comprehensive analysis of information shows that, overall, most junior students are achieving the certificate which has been appropriately linked to curriculum levels within the New Zealand Curriculum (NZC). Senior leaders are addressing aspects of the programme, especially for Year 10 and Māori students that need to be strengthened. This is an area of ongoing focus for the school.

Senior student achievement overall in the National Certificate of Educational Achievement (NCEA) continues to be very positive. Roll-based achievement information shows:

  • a consistent pattern of achievement that is higher than national comparisons such as decile band, national and girls
  • increasing proportions of students are achieving NCEA at all levels
  • students’ achievement in literacy and numeracy is very high
  • some increase in students’ achievement of endorsements, with this being an ongoing focus
  • high retention rates with the proportions of leavers with NCEA Level 2 being at or above the national target of 85%
  • 11 scholarships in 2015, including one at an outstanding level.

3 Curriculum

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

The school’s curriculum is very effective in promoting and supporting student learning. It is responsive, and provides a range of rich opportunities for student learning and enjoyment. This is particularly evident in the:

  • wide range of courses and subjects within and beyond the school
  • flexible school-wide curriculum design and examples of innovative timetabling
  • diverse vocational options for senior students
  • very useful educational partnerships with local businesses and training organisations
  • shared learning activities and subjects with Marlborough Boys’ College
  • considerable student leadership and management of key school events.

There is a strong focus on building and maintaining positive relationships, care and respect between teachers and students. Students take many opportunities to work with and support other students, especially in the sense of tuakana teina where older students support younger ones. Students value the positive relationships they have with their teachers.

The eight principles of the NZC are widely evident in the school curriculum. Of particular note are those relating to high expectations, the Treaty of Waitangi, inclusion and coherence. There is an increased emphasis on developing students’ NZC key competencies. Managing self, relating to others and participating and contributing are fostered, in part, through the well-developed and very effective pastoral care system.

High-quality professional development is very well aligned to the school’s vision and goals. Staff see this as a specific school strength. The board’s commitment to excellent teaching and learning is clearly seen in the way professional learning programmes for staff are prioritised for resourcing.

Responsiveness to the wellbeing needs of students is a significant school strength. Pastoral staff are gathering and effectively using a wider range of information about students’ wellbeing. The close monitoring and support students receive through very well-developed pastoral systems is improving their outcomes. Students’ views about aspects of their learning are regularly sought and responded to. Student choice and a drive towards personalised and 21st century learning strategies are effectively supporting student engagement.

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

The school is making very good progress with promoting success for Māori, as Māori. A strategic plan is in place to guide priorities and planning for current and future developments.

The kaiārahi in charge of Māori is very well supported in her role by the principal and senior leaders who are driving improvements in this area. Many positive shifts are occurring within the school to support progress for Māori students. These include:

  • increasing the use of te reo Māori and visibility of te ao Māori in the school
  • inquiring more deeply into the engagement and achievement of Māori students and responding in a more evidence-based way to their needs
  • increasing professional learning for staff that has also included opportunities for Māori students to directly contribute their perspectives, experiences and suggestions
  • increased communication with whānau and the Māori community
  • the development of a vertical form class in response to the voice of Māori students.

The school is aware of the need to continue to embed current developments so that improvements are sustained in ways that increasingly benefit all Māori students and their whānau.

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

School leaders, staff and other students highly value the contribution that Pacific students make to the life of the school. They are making very good progress over their time at the college. Pacific girls are given strong support to be together as a Pacific family through their Pasifika form class, and to express and celebrate their culture.

As the roll of Pacific students grows, it will be increasingly important to continue to strengthen learning relationships with their families and the local Pacific community.

4 Sustainable Performance

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

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

Trustees bring considerable experience to their roles. They make good use of training opportunities to build their understanding and capability. The principal and other school leaders provide comprehensive, well-analysed information to the board that is used to inform planning and decision making. Records of board activities are thorough and promote sound governance. Trustees seek a range of feedback from the community. This is helping to increase their awareness of, and responsiveness to, the needs of students and their families, including Māori and Pacific.

The board actively participates in future schooling development projects that have long-term potential benefits for students and the school. This includes its active support for the school’s involvement in the Blenheim Community of Learning and the future co-location of the College.

College leadership is progressive and improvement focused. Senior leaders work collaboratively and with sustained commitment to promote the school’s vision, values and goals for all students to achieve to their potential. They are very focused on continuing to strengthen systems, practices and programmes aimed at promoting high-quality teaching and learning. Leadership opportunities are being extended beyond the leadership team.

The principal leads and models high expectations. She accesses considerable external expertise to support school developments and consistently uses research, evidence and data to inform planning and decisions. Ongoing prioritising of what matters most to improve outcomes for students is another strength of school leadership. The principal also has a major role in leading and promoting purposeful collaboration across the schools involved in the Blenheim Community of Learning.

Internal evaluation is being embedded through a culture of inquiry and continuous improvement. It is promoting deeper thinking about ways to improve the progress and wellbeing of all students. This can be seen through the:

  • rigorously-implemented curriculum reviews that scrutinise and support departments to make continuous improvement
  • very effective use of data, including student voice, to respond to and inform inquiry
  • many ongoing inquiries that are contributing to school improvement.

Continuing to build evaluative capacity at middle management levels has been identified by senior leaders as a next step for development. ERO also recommends that the board and senior leaders extend the scope of internal evaluation to include:

  • a regular evaluation of the effectiveness of stewardship and school leadership that includes a variety of perspectives
  • regular, robust and formalised opportunities for staff to convey their feedback about how well the rate of change is being managed, evaluated and responded to.

The performance-management system is well developed and managed. There is evidence of some high-quality practices, especially regarding feedback to teachers and frameworks for teachers’ support. A particular strength of the performance-management system is the high-level analysis of common school-wide themes and needs that emerge from scrutinising appraisal information. The use of this analysis to inform future planning for professional development has the potential to contribute strongly to ongoing improvements to students’ learning, achievement and wellbeing.

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 12 international students attending the school.

The school has attested that it complies with all aspects of the Code.

ERO’s investigations confirm that the school’s self-review process for international students is very good. Regular reporting and evaluation of how well the needs of girls are being met is a strength.

Students’ pastoral care, learning and achievement are proactively promoted and supported. They have very good opportunities to improve their understanding and use of English language skills, and are encouraged and supported to participate in school events and in the wider life of the school. International students make sound progress and achieve well.

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

Marlborough Girls’ College continues to be a high-performing school. Girls are proud of the college’s history, traditions and the school-wide theme of mana wahine. Progressive and strong leadership is contributing to a range of significant school developments. A rich school curriculum, very effective pastoral care and a sustained focus on knowing the strengths and needs of every student are contributing very positively to the learning and wellbeing of the girls at the college.

ERO is likely to carry out the next review in four-to-five years. 

Chris Rowe

Deputy Chief Review Officer Southern (Acting)

12 May 2016

About the School

Location

Blenheim

Ministry of Education profile number

289

School type

Secondary (Years 9 to 15)

School roll

970

Gender composition

Female 100%

Ethnic composition

Pākehā

Māori

Pacific

Other ethnicities

72%

18%

4%

6%

Review team on site

March 2016

Date of this report

12 May 2016

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

June 2013

July 2010

June 2007

 

1 Context

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

Marlborough Girls’ College, Blenheim, provides single sex secondary education to students from a large geographical area. The school roll is becoming increasingly diverse and includes a wide range of ethnic groups. Nearly twenty percent of students identify as Māori and four percent as Pacific.

The areas of strength identified in the July 2010 ERO report continue. Students benefit from an extensive range of opportunities, including academic, cultural, sporting and leadership roles across the school. Students’ successes and accomplishments are regularly celebrated with the school community. A focus on students’ leadership and service to the school are strong features. The pastoral curriculum encourages many students to help each other in mentoring programmes and to provide service to the community. The school enjoys high levels of parental involvement in many events and activities. Students are proud of their school and its traditions.

2 Learning

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

Senior leaders and teachers demonstrate a commitment to increasing their use of assessment to make positive changes to support learning. They are using a wider range of assessment tools in Years 9 and 10 to consider the strengths of, and next learning steps for, individual students. The school is leading a local professional learning community network that supports the transition to secondary education of Year 8 students.

Senior leaders and deans share assessment information from contributing schools with teachers to help them better plan for the needs of Year 9 learners. Teachers in Years 9 and 10 take time to get to know learners' interests in order to better inform teaching programmes. The Junior Certificate system successfully tracks and monitors individual progress and provides valuable preparation for study in senior courses. Students are purposefully engaged in their learning through teachers’ improved use of assessment strategies.

Students in Years 11, 12 and 13 continue to achieve high levels of success in National Certificates of Educational Achievement (NCEA). This includes an increase in the percentages gaining NCEA qualifications over time in Years 11 and 12. Increased numbers of students obtain endorsements in NCEA certificates and in individual subjects. University entrance rates are in line with similar girls’ schools. In 2012, Year 13 students achieved eleven Scholarships, including one outstanding result.

Sound systems are in place to monitor and support Māori student progress. School improvement targets contribute to progress in improving Māori success as Māori. Teachers, curriculum leaders and the board carefully track their progress. As a result, more students are staying on to complete higher levels of qualification.

Pacific students are well-known as a group and closely monitored by teachers and curriculum leaders. Centralised support, provided by two tutors in the homework centre, leads to increased levels of achievement and success. Trustees are well-informed about Pacific students' progress and place priority on improving their learning outcomes.

ERO's external evaluation affirms school-identified next steps:

  • to formally report to the board the progress and achievement of Years 9 and 10 students in literacy and mathematics, based on standardised assessment tools
  • to implement robust annual school improvement targets for Years 9 and 10 students in mathematics
  • that senior leaders support teacher use of assessment information and data, to further improve how they meet Years 9 and 10 learners’ needs.

3 Curriculum

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

The school has made very good progress in broadening the senior curriculum to better cater to the range of learners’ interests, needs and career plans. A school focus on developing 21st century learning is enabling more students to self manage their learning through using an inquiry approach and information and communication technologies (ICT). Review of the junior and senior curriculum, in conjunction with Marlborough Boys' College, included recent consultation with students, parents and staff. A more flexible timetable structure is the result. Teachers are more responsive and informed in their teaching practices.

Senior leaders and trustees have increased the range of senior school courses and vocational pathways. This includes providing new opportunities to achieve the literacy and numeracy requirements for NCEA. The school is a part of a regional trades academy cluster and is accessing local education community providers to better cater for individual career aspirations. Notable improvement in the alternative education provision is evident. School staff and the provider carefully monitor and support these learners in a more flexible, individualised and responsive programme.

A wide range of support and pastoral service remain a key aspect of the school curriculum. This includes careers, guidance and a learning centre.

Provisions by the board and senior leaders for priority learners, including Māori and Pacific students, have been strengthened through specific initiatives. These initiatives recognise and celebrate learners’ unique cultures and involve whānau, aiga and families.

Teachers actively engage in valuable professional learning and development. Areas of focus include: teachers formally inquiring into the effectiveness of their teaching practices; e-learning; and culturally responsive teaching. Teachers participate regularly in te reo Māori lessons to improve their language use and understandings. Specific training in Ka Hikitia, the Ministry of Education's Māori Education Strategy and the Pasifika Education Plan 2009-2012 increases teacher awareness of the uniqueness of Māori and Pacific cultures and languages.

Appraisal provides a useful process to support and affirm growth of teachers' professional practices. There are plans to strengthen the appraisal process to address areas of individual need.

Senior leaders undertake thorough reviews of departments and curriculum areas. This process affirms strengths and leaders provide support to areas where improvements are required. The school has identified that the Learning Centre requires review and further development in order to better cater to the needs of learners. A new head of department has just been appointed to lead these changes. Senior leaders express their commitment to improving schoolwide support for learners who require additional assistance.

ERO's external evaluation affirms school-identified next steps to:

  • use the principles of The New Zealand Curriculum as a basis to review and develop schoolwide expectations for 21st century learning, the role of inquiry learning and ICT
  • complete the planned review and redevelopment of the Learning Centre
  • continue to respond to robust curriculum reviews that focus on improving learning outcomes and effective teaching programmes.

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

The school has improved the range of opportunities for Māori students to experience success as Māori. Students appreciate the positive role modelling from two teachers who are Māori. A combined Years 11 to 13 te reo Māori class has been offered at the school since 2011. A Māori performing arts course, started in 2011, has been expanded to a full year course in 2013 in response to students and whānau requests. Students appreciate the introduction of a whānau form class for senior students and having the wharenui as their learning space. Regular whānau hui provide opportunities for senior leaders, trustees and parents to share information. These hui contribute to a more strategic learning partnership with whānau.

The school continues to work in partnership with Marlborough Boys’ College and local iwi in the development of a community Māori Education Plan. This plan seeks to provide a more coordinated approach to initiatives to support Māori success in secondary education.

The board and senior leaders should continue to consult specifically with whānau of Māori learners to consider their views in developing the new school strategic plan.

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

Thirty nine students identify as Pacific, including learners from the Cook Islands, Fiji, Niue, Samoa and Tonga. Improved provisions include a homework centre operated by two tutors, who provide valuable support and monitor each student’s progress and participation in Pacific performances. The recently introduced Pacific Performing Arts Course and other opportunities contribute to improved student engagement and participation. Students report that their families value the information from College staff they receive at regular fono.

The board and senior leaders should continue to consult specifically with Pacific families to consider their views in developing the new school strategic plan.

4 Sustainable Performance

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

Senior leaders provide strong leadership focused on supporting staff, students and parents to achieve school improvement targets in a wide range of areas. They regularly collect, monitor, analyse and report on many aspects of the school’s performance. Extending self-review practices to include evaluation of the impact of initiatives should assist senior leaders to identify which actions make the biggest difference for learners.

Recently strengthened departmental reviews contribute to deeper thinking about what went well during the year and what needs to be done to improve. Senior leaders undertake thorough reviews of departments by identifying areas of strength and next steps. Classroom teachers are becoming more reflective and some are developing models of more thorough unit and course evaluations based on data and other sources of evidence, including student feedback.

Experienced trustees are very clear about their roles and responsibilities. The board is well informed about senior student achievement and progress in NCEAs. Trustees are involved in developing and monitoring annual improvement plans, targets and policy review. The board undertakes regular training in key areas that keeps trustees up-to-date with effective governance practices. An external facilitator provided advice on rationalising policies and procedures through review. This process is particularly robust in relation to policies and procedures for health and safety, property and finances. The board formally reflects on governance effectiveness.

The principal provides trustees with comprehensive reports about a range of student participation and engagement statistics. The annual plan and principal's reports provide clear information on progress towards targeted initiatives. Trustees continue to monitor key areas that contribute to better outcomes for students.

The board reports that the school has positive and long-standing community relationships. Strategies to increase partnerships with parents to support learning are developing. Parent access to more useful information has increased through a parent portal on the school student data system, recently made available to them. Parents value initiatives that assist them to take an active role in their daughters' learning.

ERO's external evaluation affirms school-identified next steps to:

  • complete the review of policies
  • more fully evaluate the impact of specific initiatives provided for priority learners, including Māori, Pacific and those with special needs
  • extend school processes for parents, whānau and aiga to be active partners in their daughters' 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 thirteen international students enrolled. They are from a wide range of countries, including Germany, Hong Kong, Japan and Korea. Three staff members are involved in running this programme. They provide strong pastoral support and assist students to learn English as a second language. The school has attested that it complies with all aspects of the Code.

Subject selection is based on the aspirations of parents and students. Individual goals are well known and appropriate programmes provided. Students appreciate the wide range of student mentors who help international learners integrate into their programme of study and school life.

Trustees receive useful information about the progress and activities of international students. This includes annual presentations by staff and students. International Department staff regularly reflect and review their practices to make sure students enjoy their time at the school.

ERO’s investigations confirmed that the school’s self-review process for international students is thorough.

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.

When is ERO likely to review the school again?

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

Joyce Gebbie

National Manager Review Services Central Region (Acting)

7 June 2013

About the School

Location

Blenheim

Ministry of Education profile number

289

School type

Secondary (Years 9 to 15)

School roll

1063

Number of international students

13

Gender composition

Female 100%

Ethnic composition

NZ European/Pākehā

Māori

Pacific

Asian

Other ethnic groups

72%

18%

4%

3%

3%

Review team on site

February 2013

Date of this report

7 June 2013

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

July 2010

June 2007

May 2004