Mount Hutt College

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Findings

Mount Hutt College makes very good use of its rural environment to extend learning opportunities and enjoyment for students. Staff, trustees and students have a shared understanding of the school's vision and values. The school's curriculum effectively promotes and supports students' learning. This report identifies the range of progress the school has made since the 2012 ERO review. It also signals that further progress is needed in some areas to ensure positive outcomes for all students.

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?

Mount Hutt College is a rural coeducational Year 7 to 13 secondary school in Methven, Mid Canterbury. The college is adjacent to the local primary school and uses the nearby Mount Hutt Skifield as part of its curriculum programmes.

The school's roll is becoming increasingly diverse due to changes in farming and associated community businesses.

Since the 2012 ERO review, there have been a number of changes in staff. This includes department leaders and deans. The board also has responsibility for nearby Lauriston School and has had relatively stable trustee participation. The school's Outdoors Pursuits Centre closed in December 2012.

The school has made good progress in a number of areas since the last review. This includes:

  • further developing the charter to ensure a clear vision and specific improvement goals
  • developing a strategically-planned approach for the wider review of school operations
  • an increasing visibility of Māori culture in the life of the school.

The school has yet to meet the recommendation in the 2012 ERO review to develop a vision and planning for Māori success in consultation with the school’s parents and community.

Mount Hutt College is in the early stages of working with other schools in Mid Canterbury to develop the Opuke Community of Learning.

2 Learning

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

School leaders and teachers are improving the use of achievement information to make positive changes to learners’ engagement, progress and achievement. Senior leaders are aware that this remains a focus for ongoing development.

National Standards achievement information provided by the school for Years 7 and 8 students in 2015 shows that:

  • achievement is highest in mathematics and lowest in writing
  • girls achieve very well in reading, writing and mathematics
  • boys' achievement in writing is considerably lower than girls, and their achievement in reading is also lower
  • the achievement of Māori students needs to be accelerated in writing and mathematics.

The leaders and teachers of Years 7 and 8 have been strengthening assessment practices and the processes used for moderating the National Standards.

Achievement information provided by the school for Years 9 and 10 students does not provide a coherent profile or analysis of achievement in and across these year levels. From the information received, boys' achievement, overall, is lower than that of girls, especially in writing.

The school’s National Certificate of Educational Achievement (NCEA) annual targets for 2015 were all met. Reports to the board show:

  • very good literacy and numeracy achievement has been sustained over recent years
  • improved overall achievement results at NCEA Levels 1 and 3
  • lower achievement by boys in Levels 1 and 2.

Individual programmes and initiatives are in place to support Māori student achievement at Level 1.

Students with additional learning needs are well identified, supported and closely monitored across the school. These students benefit from a good range of programmes delivered by the learning support teachers. The school makes good use of external support for students who need additional help.

The next steps for leaders and teachers are to:

  • develop, evaluate and report against more specific targets to accelerate the achievement of identified groups such as boys and Māori students in Years 7 to 10
  • regularly report the analysed progress and achievement of Years 9 and 10 students to the board, and the rates of progress these students are making at and across these two year levels
  • continue to improve the NCEA achievement of any students who are not achieving to expected levels, and regularly report progress to the board.

ERO also recommends that leaders and teachers develop clear guidelines and expectations that promote high quality assessment and moderation practices in Years 7 to 10.

3 Curriculum

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

The school’s curriculum effectively promotes and supports students' learning. Clear guidelines and well-established systems guide teaching and learning.

Students, staff and trustees have a shared understanding of the school’s vision and values. This shared understanding and a range of specific programmes have strengthened positive relationships between students and teachers and among students. The school’s values are well embedded into the curriculum.

Leaders and teachers have high expectations for student engagement. They have developed evaluative processes to reflect and make appropriate changes to practices and programmes to meet identified learning needs. They work collaboratively to plan and share practices, including the use of digital technologies that help to engage students in their learning in interesting ways.

Students have opportunities to engage in well-planned class and school-wide programmes. This is helping them to extend their thinking, and to support the development of their social skills and relationships with others. Student learning is further enhanced through a wide range of sporting, cultural and outdoor education programmes.

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

Positive relationships and a caring, inclusive culture help to promote educational success for Māori, as Māori. There is some integration of tikanga and te reo Māori in the curriculum and in the environment.

The next steps to better support Māori students to achieve educational success as Māori include:

  • consulting with, and responding to, Māori students and their whānau about their priorities and goals for improvement
  • using this information to develop school goals and planning that includes strengthening the use of te reo and tikanga Māori in learning and teaching
  • regularly evaluating and reporting progress against the priorities and goals to the board and Māori community.

4 Sustainable Performance

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

While the school has a range of strengths to help sustain and improve its performance, some key areas must be addressed. These include developing a more strategic approach to promoting educational success for Māori, and addressing disparities in achievement as identified in this report.

The board has a strong focus on fulfilling its governance role. The links between the school’s strategic direction and annual plans are focused on raising student achievement and supporting professional practice.

Trustees have developed a clear framework for reporting and evaluation. This framework has strengthened expectations for reporting and increased evidence-based decision making.

Teachers are provided with significant resources and support. They have a range of opportunities to involve students in the development of an environment that supports their learning, leadership skills and wellbeing.

The school’s leaders are developing processes for teachers to critically reflect and evaluate teaching and learning practices. An improving appraisal process has linked teachers' professional development and evaluation of teaching practices to the school-wide goals.

Parents and the community are provided with regular and useful information about their children’s progress and achievement. Leaders and teachers involve parents and the community in school decision making in a variety of ways.

To further improve the school’s ability to sustain and improve its performance, the board and leaders should ensure that there is:

  • a robust process for consulting and communicating with staff, and responding to any concerns in a timely and effective manner
  • continued strengthening of internal evaluation capability for sustained and ongoing improvement, including the regular review of governance and school leadership effectiveness
  • a regular opportunity for staff and the community to provide feedback to the board about school strengths and priorities for improvement.

Provision for international students

The Education (Pastoral Care of International Students) Code of Practice 2016 (the Code) was introduced on 1 July 2016. The school is aware of the need to update its policies and procedures to meet the new Code requirements, and has begun to align its policies and procedures in this regard.

At the time of this review, there were 18 international students attending the school.

Staff responsible for international students use suitable processes to ensure that students are well supported in their learning, including English language support when necessary, and make good progress towards their learning goals. Students have many opportunities to experience a broad range of curriculum activities within the school and in the local environment and 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
  • processes for appointing staff
  • stand-downs, suspensions, expulsions and exclusions
  • attendance.
Action

In consultation with the school’s Māori community, develop and make known policies, procedures, plans and targets for improving achievement of Māori. [National Administration Guidelines 1]

Recommendation

To ensure good practice, the principal and school leaders should follow the school’s complaints policy for responding to complaints clearly and in a well-documented manner.

As an outcome of ERO's evaluation, ERO requires the board and senior leaders to provide an action plan that addresses the following recommendations:

  • develop strategic planning for supporting educational success for Māori, as Māori
  • develop planning and approaches to accelerate the achievement of underachieving groups of students, as identified in this report
  • in consultation with staff, evaluate current processes for consulting and communicating with them, and provide regular opportunities to review and report progress in this area to the board.

Conclusion

Mount Hutt College makes very good use of its rural environment to extend learning opportunities and enjoyment for students. Staff, trustees and students have a shared understanding of the school's vision and values. The school's curriculum effectively promotes and supports students' learning. This report identifies the range of progress the school has made since the 2012 ERO review. It also signals that further progress is needed in some areas to ensure positive outcomes for all students.

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

Dr Lesley Patterson

Deputy Chief Review Officer Southern/Te Waipounamu

27 January 2017

About the School 

Location

Methven, Mid Canterbury

Ministry of Education profile number

348

School type

Secondary (Years 7 to 13)

School roll

473

Number of international students

18

Gender composition

Boys 54%; Girls 46%

Ethnic composition

Pākehā

Māori

Asian

Other ethnicities

79%

11%

9%

1%

Review team on site

September 2016

Date of this report

27 January 2017

Most recent ERO reports

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

August 2012

November 2007

June 2004



1 Context

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

The school plays a central role in its local community and has a strong focus on promoting citizenship and lifelong learning. The school curriculum reflects the rural setting and the values of the local community. It provides a wide range of opportunities for students to engage in a variety of outdoor pursuits and sports. These factors contribute to the positive and friendly culture at the school.

A new leadership team has been established since the November 2007 ERO review. School leaders and teachers have maintained a strong focus on integrating school values and beliefs into all school operations.

The relatively smaller school roll enables staff to know students well and recognise and respond to changing needs and circumstances. This has resulted in strong programmes of support for learners with specific needs, especially in junior classes.

Continuing redevelopment of school buildings and facilities is providing students and the community with an increasingly high-quality learning environment. The extensive grounds and range of nearby recreational facilities extend the opportunities available to students.

2 Learning

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

Students are well engaged in their learning and in the wider life of the college. Students spoken with by ERO said that the range of opportunities at the school is a significant strength.

ERO observed high levels of on task learning behaviour in the classrooms visited. Settled classes contribute to positive relationships and interactions that promote purposeful learning and achievement. Teachers place a strong emphasis on school values and qualities that build motivation and maintain engagement.

Senior leaders report that Year 11 students achieve very good results in Level 1 of the National Certificate of Educational Achievement. Year 11 literacy and numeracy results exceed those of similar schools. Year 12 and 13 students’ achievement is comparable to that of students in similar schools.

Year 7 and 8 students achieve good results against National Standards in reading and mathematics and are making good progress in these areas. Teachers have identified that assessment results for writing are below expected levels, especially for boys.

School targets are set to improve the achievement of students who are not performing as well as expected and to extend the number of students achieving above expectations, including increasing the number of merit and excellence endorsements in National Certificate of Achievement (NCEA).

Most students receive useful teacher feedback to provide them with an understanding of their learning progress and are aware of their next steps for learning.

Students benefit from good quality teaching in most classes. During the review, ERO also observed many examples of very good quality teaching. These included:

  • making the purpose of learning clear
  • good use of achievement information to plan for the different needs of students
  • opportunities for students to work together
  • the effective use of questioning.

Teachers and leaders are increasingly making good use of analysed student achievement information. They are using this data to identify priority groups of students, and to plan programmes of learning that address their identified learning needs. Faculty heads use this information to evaluate progress against faculty and school goals, and to report to the board.

Teachers meet regularly to share good practice and extend their knowledge and understanding of effective teaching and learning.

A next step for teachers is to seek the students’ views about the quality of their class programmes and other school activity.

3 Curriculum

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

The school curriculum effectively promotes and supports students’ learning. The curriculum includes programmes that use the unique local environment for courses based on agriculture and outdoor pursuits.

The curriculum provides clear expectations and guidelines for learning areas. Heads of Faculties have responsibility for curriculum design and review in their subject areas. Faculty planning is developed from the requirements of the New Zealand Curriculum and school-wide goals and targets, and reflects subject specific priorities.

Teachers have developed a range of relevant learning pathways for students. In the senior school students are supported through a range of pathways towards further education, training or employment. In the junior school teachers analyse and use achievement information to identify individual and group learning needs, and to provide relevant learning programmes.

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

Senior leaders ensure that the board receives regular information about the progress and achievement of Māori students. School leaders told ERO that small numbers make it difficult to get accurate information about the achievement of Māori students. However, the school is aware that it needs to do more to support some Māori students to achieve better results in national qualifications.

Teachers take part in professional development in te reo and tikanga Māori through a teacher professional learning group. They use reflective journals to monitor the impact of strategies to increase the engagement and achievement of Māori students in their classes. They share their learning with the wider staff.

Māori students told ERO that they felt safe and enjoyed a wide range of opportunities at the college. They also said that they would like to see a greater visibility of the Māori culture in school programmes and activities and were keen to work with staff to achieve this.

Area for review and development

The college has yet to develop a clear vision for Māori success. Trustees, leaders and teachers, in consultation with their community, must now develop a vision, targets and plans to enhance Māori student engagement and success. Teachers and trustees have indicated their readiness to further develop cultural responsiveness at the college to more fully support Māori students to succeed as Māori.

4 Sustainable Performance

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

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

Trustees have a good understanding of governance and a good range of skills and have established clear expectations and guidelines for board responsibilities and procedures. Their major focus is on raising student achievement. They are developing processes to gain more information about progress towards their long-term goals to inform discussion and decision-making. They have set priorities and directions for the college.

The principal is working well with the board to develop a shared understanding of school priorities.

Areas for review and development

The leadership team has changed significantly in the last two years. With the appointment of new deputy principal it is now time for the leadership team to develop a clear vision and specific goals to lead ongoing school improvement.

While there are some good elements of curriculum self review in place using student achievement and progress information, a next step is to develop a strategic planned approach to wider review of all school operations.

Provision for international students

The college provides an effective English language programme for international students. Students' achievement, progress and pastoral needs are regularly monitored through meetings with and between all staff involved with the international students and their programmes. Any appropriate support and guidance needs are identified and appropriate support is provided. There are opportunities for international students to learn in mainstream classes, where they achieve and progress well. Overall, international students are well integrated into the life of the college.

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 three 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.

Provision for students in the school hostel

The school hostel, Mount Hutt College Lodge, accommodates 16 students from Years 12 and 13, (3% of the school roll) all of whom are participants in the college’s Outdoor Pursuits course. The hostel is governed by the Mount Hutt College board of trustees. The principal has oversight of the hostel. He is supported by a lodge manager and an assistant manager, both of whom are instructors in the outdoor pursuits course.

Students live in a supported flatting environment which supports the development of independent living skills. They receive supervised mentoring for their learning and study, and take part in regular personal development sessions as part of the course. There is close liaison between the lodge students and the college teaching and pastoral staff and systems.

The board of trustees has started a full review of the Outdoor Pursuits course and the Lodge policies and procedures.

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.

The board has not consulted Māori about their aspirations for their children, or se targets for Māori student achievement.

The board must now consult with the school's Māori community, develop and make known to the school's community policies, plans and targets for improving the achievement of Māori students [National Administration Guidelines 1 (e)]

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

About the School

Location

Methven, Mid Canterbury

Ministry of Education profile number

348

School type

Secondary (Years 9 to 13)

Decile*

8

School roll

502

Number of international students

3

Gender composition

Boys      50%
Girls       50%

Ethnic composition

NZ European/Pākehā
Māori
Asian

86%
  8%
  6%

Special Features

School Hostel - Mount Hutt College Lodge

Review team on site

June 2012

Date of this report

28 August 2012

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review
Education Review
Discretionary Review

November 2007
June 2004
December 2000