Shirley Boys’ High School - Ngā Tama o Ōruapaeroa

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Education institution number:
321
School type:
Secondary (Year 9-15)
School gender:
Single Sex (Boys School)
Definition:
Not Applicable
Total roll:
1294
Telephone:
Address:

209 Travis Road, Christchurch

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1. Context

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

There is a strong school culture that focuses on positive relationships at all levels. This has enabled the school to confidently respond to challenges from the past, and build sound learning opportunities for the future.

Boys benefit from a strong sense of belonging to their school, confidence in their identity as a member of the school community, and pride in their own school-wide achievements. There is a well developed philosophy for boys’ education.

Consequences from the 2010 and 2011 earthquakes and historic building problems are still causing challenges for the school. The school is currently planning to relocate to a purpose-built facility in 2018. Planning to achieve this move can be more focussed when the school has certainty about future developments.

2. Learning

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

The school is making good use of learning information to make positive changes to learners’ engagement, progress and achievement.

Students achieve well in NCEA, particularly at Levels 1 and 2. Achievement levels in literacy and numeracy at Level 1 are significantly higher than national comparisons. Māori achievement levels for NCEA Levels 1, 2 and 3 are better than national levels for Māori. Pacific students achieve well in Levels 1 and 2 as do Asian students at all levels.

A useful range of learning information is gathered for students when they enter at Year 9. This helps teachers to identify learning needs and to group students within class programmes to better meet their learning needs. Students with additional learning needs receive extra support within class programmes. Senior students identified as not having quite enough credits to complete a certificate by the end of the year benefit from a targeted approach to help them achieve the credits they need. High performing students are also supported to excel.

Teachers are engaging more in learning conversations with students so they can improve their teaching practices that help raise achievement levels. Some teacher initiatives are also focusing on developing teaching approaches that strengthen students’ literacy levels.

The school is giving priority to engaging parents more in their sons' learning. Student achievement information is regularly reported to parents and they can have access to this information electronically.

Areas for review and development

The school has made improvements in the areas identified below. Leaders agree with ERO that to further strengthen the use of learning information they should:

  • continue to improve merit and excellence levels for NCEA, and to increase numbers of students achieving UE
  • extend the use of achievement information to identify the impact of school-wide programmes and initiatives on Years 9 and 10 students
  • ensure learning support initiatives are monitored and evaluated.

3. Curriculum

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

The school’s curriculum effectively promotes and supports students’ learning.

The concept of the ‘Shirley Man’ encompasses the values the school uses to underpin learning and wellbeing for students. There are deliberate ways the school links classroom learning to learning beyond the classroom. Sporting, creative, environmental and service activities extend the ways boys' interests and needs are used to educate the ‘whole’ boy. There is regular celebration of success of the ‘Shirley Man’.

Student feedback about their learning is valued and regularly sought. Students’ ideas and opinions are gathered and responded to within the classroom and in the wider life of the school. This is leading to teachers improving their teaching approaches to better support boys’ various learning needs.

Current initiatives by some heads of department and teachers are effectively investigating how the curriculum can be more responsive to student learning needs within a modern learning environment. Improved use of digital technologies is helping students and teachers to effectively use and integrate these as learning tools.

Students at risk of not succeeding in the senior school are well supported from Year 10. The school supports those boys in the senior school who would benefit from strong links between their course choices and their likely career pathway beyond school. Each student is closely monitored by his form tutor teacher. Parents are included in decision making about course choices and, there is guidance to help students make a successful transition beyond school.

Students are very well supported by high quality pastoral care and mentoring. There are effective links to community organisations and support agencies. Senior boys mentor junior boys to help them integrate and participate fully in the life of the school. This approach closely reflects the school’s vision for tuakana-teina relationships.

Areas for review and development

The board and headmaster have identified the need for a full review of the school’s curriculum as the school plans to move to a new purpose-built facility. ERO and school leaders have agreed that steps can be taken to:

  • develop a plan for the review of the school-wide curriculum
  • clarify and extend understanding of what a successful 21st century learner looks like and can do
  • further develop ways the school’s curriculum can help each student to plan purposefully towards work, or further education
  • develop guidelines for appropriate teaching and learning approaches, and the contexts needed to achieve the desired outcomes for boys
  • improve the consistency and quality of evaluation and reporting by departments
  • implement an effective school-wide professional learning programme that gives opportunities for all leaders and teachers to develop a shared understanding for learning and teaching in the new context.

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

The school provides very good opportunities for Māori students to achieve educational success as Māori. The school successfully incorporates Māori concepts into its vision. Teachers and trustees participate in professional learning conducted by Māori experts in authentic contexts such as the marae. Teachers are supported to do post graduate study and attend conferences relating to Māori education. Whānau, past students and members from the community are encouraged to contribute to and support school initiatives.

The school has established a Māori and Pacific leadership team, and school-wide systems to support students’ education.

Benefits for students include the:

  • celebration of their language, culture and identity
  • celebration of academic, cultural and sporting successes.

To further support Māori students to achieve as Māori the board should:

  • document strategic goals and planning for Māori education
  • monitor the effectiveness of actions to implement this planning
  • continue to report fully to the Māori community.

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

Pacific students are well supported in their language and culture. There are strong links between the school and the Pacific communities. Pacific students achieve well when compared with other students in the school.

To further support Pacific students to achieve, the board should:

  • document strategic goals and planning for Pacific education
  • monitor the effectiveness of actions to implement this planning
  • continue to report fully to the Pacific communities.

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.

The board and school leaders have provided strong leadership in response to the challenges of earthquake damage and the redevelopment and redirection of the school. They have strongly committed themselves to see the school through major challenges in recent years.

The headmaster provides confident leadership with a strong vision for the future. He works collaboratively with the board, leaders and staff to maintain a firm focus on boys’ learning. The senior leadership team works collaboratively in response to well-developed expectations for their leadership responsibilities.

Students confidently take on various leadership roles in the school. This is enabling boys to more fully participate in the life of the school, and to fulfil the school’s vision for the ‘Shirley Man” as an active all-round participant and leader.

There is a reflective culture at leadership and teacher levels. Many teachers are involved and well supported to improve outcomes for students’ learning and wellbeing. Teachers participate in a sound school-wide appraisal programme that is helping them to build their capacity to improve teaching and learning.

The board has consulted regularly with parents. Trustees are well poised to gather ideas from all stakeholders, including students, about the future direction relating to 21st century learning and teaching. Parents are provided with good information about school activities that support them and their sons. They have many opportunities to participate in a range of school activities and to engage in parent education.

Areas for review and development

The board and headmaster are working closely with the Ministry of Education (MOE) to achieve a successful relocation to a new school site in 2018. The board and leaders are very aware of the need to plan for this move and to ensure teachers are prepared to teach in a modern learning environment. To achieve this successfully there needs to be:

  • clear expectations between the school and MOE
  • a shared understanding and commitment by all staff to the vision for the ‘new’ school
  • an extensive, coherent and well-resourced approach to planning.

Planning should include:

  • finalising with the MOE the framework within which planning and school development can take place
  • further development of the board strategic and annual planning, and the evaluation of the impact of their work
  • succession planning for board membership and ongoing training and support for trustees in their stewardship role for the school
  • completion of the senior leadership team restructure and their performance management programme.

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, the school was reintroducing its programme for international students. The school has maintained processes that allow it to meet the Code. There is currently one international student enrolled at the school.

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

Effective leadership and commitment from staff have enabled the school to maintain a strong focus on boys’ wellbeing and achievement. Boys experience a well-balanced curriculum. Their feedback and participation in learning and wider school activities is encouraged, valued and respected. Initiatives to make sure teachers and boys are prepared and able to learn in the school's new context are well supported and valued by leaders and the board.

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

Chris Rowe

Deputy Chief Review Officer Southern (Acting)

2 November 2015

About the School

Location

Christchurch

Ministry of Education profile number

321

School type

Secondary (Years 9 to 13)

School roll

1201

Number of international students

1

Gender composition

Boys 100%

Ethnic composition

Pākehā

Māori

Pacific

Asian

Other ethnicities

61%

17%

7%

5%

10%

Review team on site

September 2015

Date of this report

2 November 2015

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

October 2012

December 2007

June 2005

1. Context

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

Shirley Boys’ High School has a long tradition and sense of pride in its history as a successful boys’ school. The school’s effective use of current research on what works well in boys’ education and the students’ strong sense of belonging help ensure that students are generally enthusiastic supporters of their school. The strength of relationships between staff and students underpins all teaching and learning. This was really appreciated and reinforced by students in their conversations with ERO.

The school takes a very wide view of what makes a successful student. A high value is placed on developing all-rounders, young men who leave as great citizens, and success in a mixture of academic, vocational, social, cultural and sporting arenas.

Although the school is large, with a roll of over 1200 students at the time of the ERO visit, the division of the school into five houses means that effective structures are in place to support students pastorally and as learners. Pacific students show real pride in their culture and heritage. Senior Pacific students are strong role models and effectively guide and support their younger peers.

The Canterbury earthquake of 2010 and 2011 caused significant damage to school buildings and infrastructure. Recovery is ongoing and is being well managed. The school sees this challenging time as providing opportunities for review and innovation. Staff and students are determined to minimise the impact of the earthquakes on students’ learning. Despite the major challenges and stresses, the school heart and spirit remain strong.

2. Learning

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

Students are generally learning and achieving very well across academic, cultural and sporting areas. Most students are well engaged in their learning and in the life of the school.

The Headmaster, senior leaders and staff have a broad definition of achievement. They use school-wide approaches, such as "The Shirley Man" and "Better than Before," to promote personal growth and reinforce high aspirations for achievement in its broadest sense. Each student’s acceptance and development of "Shirley Man" qualities over time is regarded as central to the school’s success.

School leaders and teachers actively promote student engagement by setting clear and high expectations for student learning. They use a number of successful ways to make learning purposeful and enjoyable for students. These include:

  • building and maintaining strong learning relationships with students that reflect teachers’ high levels of care and commitment to successful outcomes for all students
  • using a variety of strategies to challenge and engage students, such as high-interest practical activities, multimedia technologies and group work
  • adapting learning programmes to meet students’ strengths, needs and interests
  • providing extensive support for co-curricular learning outside the classroom.

These measures contribute to a learning culture that is focused on developing confident young men who have a strong sense of belonging and commitment to their own success.

School information shows that students generally make good to very good progress across their senior years. Achievement for 2011 in the National Certificate of Educational Achievement (NCEA) was much higher than in previous years and was above that of similar schools. This was especially so in externally assessed achievement standards. Senior leaders have identified that increasing the number of NCEA merit and excellence grades remains a priority.

Reports to parents clearly identify achievement to date and contain comments that show teachers know the students well. Some reports include a focus on lifting performance to a higher level. The school’s next step is to ensure there is greater consistency in the way next learning steps are conveyed to students in class and in their reports.

Areas for review and development

Departments gather a range of information about the achievement of students in Years 9 and 10. They use this to group students appropriately and to plan programmes to meet students’ needs. The information departments have is not currently aggregated and analysed to demonstrate students’ progress over time and to inform school leaders and trustees about levels of progress and achievement during Years 9 and 10.

The school is increasingly seeking and responding to students’ views about many aspects of school life. Some feedback from students is usefully linked to appraisal of teachers’ performance. Students ERO spoke to are most appreciative of the extensive efforts made on their behalf, but also expressed some ideas that teachers could find useful in improving their performance. Teachers should now develop more formal and anonymous opportunities for student feedback about the quality of teaching and the level of challenge in learning programmes.

3. Curriculum

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

The school’s curriculum effectively supports students’ learning through a clearly defined vision for boys’ education, high expectations and strong support for student learning in academic and co-curricular areas.

Teachers work in cooperation with students through their curriculum programmes to enable students to become "Better than Before" in terms of their learning and personal development. The concept of the "Shirley Man" underpins the school’s curriculum design and development. This involves a shared set of beliefs regarding how students develop their skills, knowledge and character during their time at the school. These beliefs align well to the direction of The New Zealand Curriculum and to educational research findings.

School leaders and teachers are very responsive to students’ needs and interests. This includes flexible timetable arrangements, a wide range of subject choice and an expanding range of options for students. The school is building close links with tertiary institutions to help provide a wider range of learning and career pathways for students. Students ERO spoke to said how much they appreciated the steps that the school is taking to provide a wide range of curriculum choices. Leaders and teachers are also strengthening their links with local primary and intermediate schools to help build curriculum continuity for students from Years 8 to 9.

There are regular and varied opportunities for students to develop their leadership skills, including in sports and cultural groups, and in service activities. A group of students also works cooperatively with students internationally on projects related to aspects of global interest.

Leaders and teachers clearly demonstrate a shared expectation that students will learn and achieve. Most teachers use a range of effective strategies to promote students’ learning. This includes:

  • sharing the purpose of lessons with students
  • checking students’ understanding through useful discussion and questioning
  • making effective use of information and communication technologies (ICT) to support learning
  • providing feedback to students about their progress.

There is some variation in how well these strategies are implemented across the school. Senior leaders are aware of the need to continue to encourage teachers to make best use of a range of strategies in their lessons.

A next step for leaders and teachers is to make further use of students’ views to help guide curriculum development, and to help define aspects of the school’s vision for boys’ learning.

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

The school provides a good range of opportunities for Māori students to achieve educational success and experience success as Māori.

Students are able to learn te reo and tikanga Māori and participate in events such as Ngā Manu Kōrero (Māori Speech Competitions), Mātāriki, Māori language week, kapa haka and waiata. They benefit from the positive relationships with staff and within the whānau-like support networks of the school’s vertical groupings. Senior students provide support and leadership to the younger students.

Staff have high expectations that Māori students will succeed. Students have a range of educational, cultural, creative, sporting and leadership opportunities where they can experience success as Māori.

Senior managers have identified and ERO agrees that the next steps for the staff is to develop further their use of te reo Māori, and increase teachers’ awareness of the ways they are currently promoting opportunities for Māori students to succeed as Māori. The school is continuing to investigate more effective ways to engage with its Māori community.

4. Sustainable Performance

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

The school is very well placed to maintain ongoing school improvement. The board and school leaders are effectively managing an extended period of change and disruption at the school, resulting mainly from the Christchurch earthquakes of 2010-11.

Features that contribute to the school’s effective performance include:

  • strong professional leadership provided by the headmaster and senior leaders
  • effective school-wide systems and organisation, including pastoral-care systems
  • a strong school vision, culture and spirit of mutual respect
  • a widespread willingness to innovate and accept change
  • sound internal reporting practices, for instance from departmental heads.

The board is well led and has good systems in place to guide its operation. It receives a wide range of useful information about curriculum matters and school-wide developments from the headmaster and school leaders. Trustees are very supportive of the staff and students, and work collaboratively with senior leaders to ensure that learning programmes are sufficiently well resourced.

A next step for the board to help strengthen its practices is to implement a more planned, formalised approach to self review. This should help it to systematically evaluate the impact of learning programmes and practices on outcomes for students.

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 seven 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 self-review process for international students is thorough. The international students are provided with good quality pastoral care. They are well supported in their education and integrate well within the school community.

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.

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

9 October 2012

About the School

Location

Christchurch

Ministry of Education profile number

321

School type

Secondary (Years 9 to 13)

School roll

1234

Number of international students

7

Gender composition

Male 100%

Ethnic composition

NZ European/Pākehā

Māori

Pacific

Asian

Other

70%

15%

5%

5%

5%

Special Features

Host School for Adult and Community Education

Review team on site

August 2012

Date of this report

9 October 2012

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

December 2007

June 2005

May 2002