Hurunui College

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Findings

Students at Hurunui College benefit from positive relationships across the school. Teachers provide very good support for students’ learning and wellbeing. Achievement at junior and senior levels is generally continuing to improve. The school’s curriculum is becoming more flexible and responsive to students’ needs and interests. A number of useful initiatives to improve student learning and achievement are helping the school to move ahead positively. The areas identified for improvement in this report are likely to further strengthen the progress being made. 

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?

Hurunui College provides education for Years 1 to 13 students from a wide geographical area in North Canterbury. The school has close relationships with the local and wider community and is an important focal point for the area. The community and school share some resources and facilities.

Most students travel to school by bus. The increasingly-diverse student roll has remained stable over recent years. School values of respect, integrity, service and excellence are well promoted and encouraged. Service to the community and the school’s motto, "Enter to learn. Leave to serve", are given a high priority.

Changes since the last review include a new principal and deputy principal and some new staff. The school is an active member of a rural schools’ cluster and a community of learning.

The school has made significant progress since the 2012 ERO review. Many of the areas identified for improvement in the 2012 report have been addressed. Some areas remain the focus of ongoing improvement.

2 Learning

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

The school is making better progress in the way student achievement information is collected, analysed and used. Leaders are aware that ongoing development in this area must be sustained, embedded and regularly evaluated so that all students benefit.

Achievement information against National Standards in 2015 shows that the majority of students are at or above the standard, with achievement being highest in reading. School leaders are focused on continuing to raise achievement in writing and mathematics.

Achievement in the National Certificate of Educational Achievement (NCEA) reflects that:

  • very good NCEA literacy and numeracy achievement has been sustained over recent years
  • achievement at NCEA Levels 2 and 3 is above national and similar school comparisons
  • the school is well on track to achieve the Level 2 national target of 85% by 2017
  • the percentage of students gaining merit or excellence endorsements is highest at Levels 2 and 3.

Students who are at risk of lower achievement benefit from the improved school-wide support systems. These include early identification of students with learning needs, the good range of support teachers and teacher aides provide in classrooms, and regular use of external support for students who need additional help. This is especially evident in the primary school area.

Areas for review and development

The board, school leaders and ERO agree that the next steps for improvement include:

  • continuing to build teacher capacity and a deeper understanding of effective data analysis and use
  • improving the acceleration and tracking of student progress over time
  • strengthening evaluative reporting to the board so that the impact of initiatives and programmes are clearly identified
  • ensuring robust reporting to the board of Year 9 and 10 student progress
  • evaluating how effectively the needs of all secondary students are being met, especially for students at risk of lower achievement.

3 Curriculum

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

The school’s curriculum is increasingly promoting and supporting student learning. School systems and programmes across many learning areas are becoming more flexible and responsive to students’ needs, interests and aspirations. Students have access to an interesting range of learning opportunities within and beyond the school.

Initiatives introduced by school leaders in recent times are beginning to have a positive impact. The introduction of learning communities is strengthening collaborative and consistent teaching practices. This initiative is also helping students to make effective transitions through the school. The use of a national programme that promotes positive behaviour has had a noticeable impact on students’ engagement in their learning.

School leaders have introduced a school-wide approach to strengthening students’ understanding of themselves as learners. Digital technologies are being used to support and extend students’ learning.

The secondary school curriculum is becoming more responsive to students’ needs. School leaders are broadening NCEA programmes, opportunities and choices for students. There is a stronger focus on developing individual learning pathways for senior students. The senior school timetable is increasingly based on students’ learning interests and needs. Partnerships with education and employment providers continue to be strengthened to increase opportunities for students.

Teachers know students and their families well. Students are positive about the way teachers provide extra support for them. They benefit from a wide range of well-targeted pastoral needs. There are good links with external agencies to provide assistance for students who need additional support. Older students actively support younger students in a variety of ways.

Areas for review and development

School leaders are aware that a curriculum review needs to be completed. Review priorities could include:

  • documenting the unique characteristics and richness of the local curriculum and linking them to the school’s vision and values and the NZC
  • identifying clear curriculum guidelines and expectations for teachers to promote clarity and consistency
  • embedding bicultural perspectives across all learning areas.

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

The school has been making good progress with promoting educational success for Māori, as Māori.

Māori students generally achieve at similar levels to their peers at the primary level in reading and writing. While the number of Māori students is lower at NCEA Level 2, their achievement is proportionally higher.

The teacher of Māori is effectively leading a range of improvements to promote Māori culture and tikanga. These include:

  • students and teachers having increasing opportunities to learn about te reo and tikanga Māori
  • establishing a whānau group as a forum for parents of Māori students to share ideas and suggestions
  • establishing a kapa haka group that is actively involved in a number of cultural events.

Areas for review and development

In consultation with whānau, the school now needs to develop a Māori responsiveness plan that identifies priorities and planning for building success for Māori, as Māori. This should include a focus on continuing to strengthen culturally competent practices in all classrooms.

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. Although at an early stage, the strengthening of school systems, programmes and practices is putting the school in a better position to improve opportunities and outcomes for students.

The board is focused on supporting the learning and wellbeing of students. A number of board members have had board training. The system for policy review has recently been improved. Positive relationships between the board, principal and senior leaders are evident. Staff members are positive and supportive of the school’s strategic focus and direction. An improved appraisal system was introduced at the beginning of 2016.

The principal is initiating and leading a range of improvements to students’ learning and wellbeing. Senior leaders provide very good support for these developments. Appropriate priority is being given to teachers becoming increasingly reflective about their teaching programmes and practices. Leaders are effectively managing change at the school.

There is strong community support for school activities and events. The principal and senior leaders are actively developing closer connections and relationships with the local and wider community.

Areas for review and development

While there have been examples of ongoing self review at the school since the last review, the board and school leaders agree that building capacity in internal evaluation is a key priority. This should include:

  • developing an identified process and schedule for internal evaluation
  • regular evaluation of governance and leadership effectiveness
  • ensuring that student voice and other perspectives contribute to all internal evaluations.

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

Students at Hurunui College benefit from positive relationships across the school. Teachers provide very good support for students’ learning and wellbeing. Achievement at junior and senior levels is generally continuing to improve. The school’s curriculum is becoming more flexible and responsive to students’ needs and interests. A number of useful initiatives to improve student learning and achievement are helping the school to move ahead positively. The areas identified for improvement in this report are likely to further strengthen the progress being made. 

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

Lesley Patterson
Deputy Chief Review Officer Southern

23 August 2016

About the School 

Location

Hawarden

Ministry of Education profile number

0311

School type

Area School

School roll

241

Gender composition

Boys 57%; Girls 43%

Ethnic composition

Pākeha
Māori
Pacifica
Asian
Other

188
  42
   3
   7
   1

Review team on site

June 2016

Date of this report

23 August 2016

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review
Supplementary Review
Education Review

2012
2009
2008

1 Context

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

The school provides full primary and secondary education for students from a wide geographical area. Teachers use the school’s very attractive rural environment to expand students’ learning opportunities and make learning meaningful and interesting. Students have many ongoing opportunities to participate in sporting competitions and other activities beyond the school.

The extensive and well-planned upgrading of school’s buildings and facilities is promoting student engagement in a wide variety of creative and career-focused programmes.

The school’s close relationship with the local community includes the shared use of some facilities and strong support from the local Parent Teacher Association. This is contributing to students’ sense of belonging and pride in the school.

The school has a positive and settled culture. Students describe the school as family-like, inclusive and safe. These aspects of the school’s culture strongly support older students looking after and relating well to younger students.

2 Learning

How well are students learning – engaging, progressing and achieving?

Students are generally well engaged in their learning. The school has identified concerns about the rate of progress of some students across the school. Other students are making satisfactory progress.

In Years 1 to 8, about 70% of students are achieving at or above the National Standards for mathematics and reading, and about 50% of students achieve at or above the National Standards for writing.

In Years 11-13, achievement is closely analysed in relation to the expected performance of students. National Certificates of Educational Achievement (NCEA) results vary widely from year to year, partially in relation to the small number of students at each level. The school reports that NCEA data for 2011 showed pleasing results for Levels 2 and 3 while Level 1 was lower than that of the previous two years. The school has yet to analyse NCEA performance against comparable schools.

Areas of strength

Overall, ERO observed positive learning relationships and settled classrooms across the school. School leaders and teachers use a number of successful approaches to make learning purposeful and enjoyable for students. These include:

  • senior leaders and teachers having a very good knowledge of students and their families
  • good systems for identifying and supporting students whose learning and progress are at risk
  • effective management of NCEA assessment systems and accountability processes
  • adaptation of learning programmes to better meet students’ interests, strengths and needs
  • promoting an inclusive school culture, especially in regard to students with special learning needs.

Areas for development and review

Students spoken with by ERO said they valued the extra support many teachers provided outside of class time. Some students said that noise levels in some classes were distracting them from their learning.

Senior leaders and teachers should:

  • provide students with more opportunities to give feedback about teaching and learning
  • extend the use of high-quality teaching practices observed in some classrooms so that all students benefit
  • further extend the current initiatives to raise the achievement of students in Years 1 to 8
  • enhance opportunities for students to take greater responsibility for their own learning.

3 Curriculum

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

Students experience a varied and interesting curriculum that makes good use of the local environment and is generally effective in promoting and supporting students’ learning.

ERO observed that in some classrooms there is variability in the quality of curriculum programmes and related teaching and learning practices.

Areas of strength

Senior leaders and teachers ensure that the curriculum is increasingly responsive to students’ learning needs and interests. Some of their good practices include:

  • very good use of local expertise and resources in learning programmes and activities, especially those with an environmental focus
  • expanding curriculum opportunities for students through a flexible timetable and the development of distance learning technologies and programmes
  • providing effective programmes for students most in need of extra learning support
  • a well-structured professional development programme for teachers that is linked to curriculum objectives
  • making significant efforts to further develop career pathways, especially for non-academic students in the senior school.

Areas for development and review

In order to build on and further improve curriculum programmes and the way they are delivered, senior leaders should now:

  • develop clearer expectations and guidelines for planning, monitoring and accelerating students’ learning across the curriculum, especially for priority learners
  • address variable teaching practice to ensure that all students have access to high quality curriculum programmes and practices
  • ensure that there is more consistent use of assessment data to meet the range of abilities within classes
  • provide ongoing professional learning opportunities for teachers in the junior school to continue to develop their understanding and skills in working with National Standards.

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

The school has made some progress in promoting the educational success of Māori students. The board and principal have identified this area as a priority for improvement.

Across the school, there are mostly low numbers of Māori learners at each year level. Senior leaders informed ERO that school data showed that Māori students generally enter the junior school with lower levels of literacy and numeracy than their peers. Compared with some other groups of Years 1 to 8 students in the school, Māori students generally have lower levels of achievement against the National Standards.

There are small numbers of Māori students at NCEA levels but achievement is generally comparable with their peers.

A recently-completed survey of Māori students showed that most Māori learners valued their relationships with teachers and enjoyed being at the school. Māori students spoken with by ERO said that the school was a safe place and that they were respected by others.

Visibility of the Māori culture in the school environment is increasing through the use of signage, the use of te reo Māori in some classes, a new school waiata and kapa haka performances.

Areas for development and review

The board and senior leaders must now:

  • develop targets and plans for Māori achievement and success as Māori
  • continue to strengthen cultural responsiveness in curriculum content by extending the very good practices observed in some classrooms
  • further integrate te reo and tikanga Māori in all class programmes
  • continue to seek ways to involve whānau in planning for success as Māori
  • provide ongoing opportunities to involve Māori students in planning and decision making that affects them.

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.

Areas of strength

The school’s positive response to the previous external review includes the introduction of a school- wide behaviour management programme. This is contributing to the positive school tone and culture. Significant improvements have also been made to self-review practices.

The board has sound governance structures and processes and receives comprehensive reports from the principal regarding progress towards annual goals. Trustees are also well informed by the rigorous three-yearly review of curriculum and review of other areas of the school’s operations.

Areas for development and review

In order to further sustain current improvements, the board and senior leaders should now develop an identified process to consistently follow up on recommendations from self-review reports and board meetings.

A more formalised and regular evaluation of senior leadership effectiveness should enable senior leaders to more critically review the extent to which, as a team, they are contributing to the school’s leadership, management and ongoing improvement.

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
  • stand-downs, suspensions, expulsions and exclusions
  • attendance.

1. Develop plans, policies and targets for improving the achievement of Māori students 

National Administration Guidelines 1(e)

2. Report to students and their parents on the student’s progress and achievement in relation to National Standards in writing at least twice a year.

National Administration Guidelines 2A(a)

When is ERO likely to review the school again?

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

Graham Randell

National Manager Review Services Southern Region

8 November 2012

About the School

Location

Hawarden, North Canterbury

Ministry of Education profile number

311

School type

Composite (Years 1 to 13)

Decile

7

School roll

227

Gender composition

Boys 129; Girls 98

Ethnic composition

NZ European/Pākehā

Māori

Asian

Cook Island

193

29

1

Review team on site

September 2012

Date of this report

8 November 2012

Most recent ERO report(s)

Supplementary Review

Education Review

Education Review

March 2009

June 2008

August 2005