Mountainview High School

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

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

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

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

Find out which schools have upcoming reviews.

Findings

The school is in the early stages of adopting a progressive new curriculum framework. A high level of strategic understanding is guiding decisions, with student wellbeing and learning at the centre of improvement initiatives. An inclusive and positive school culture supports student learning. This evaluation identified several areas that require ongoing attention to support the implementation of new initiatives and maintain the momentum of positive change.

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?

Mountainview High School is a Year 9 to 13 coeducational secondary school. The school hosts 15 international students.

The school’s culture is inclusive and caring and students express and display a pride in their school. A significant change to curriculum delivery and design by the school at the end of 2016 improved student engagement.

Since the 2013 ERO report a new principal and deputy principal have been appointed. A change of some trustees has also occurred.

As a result of a falling roll staffing at the school was reduced in both 2015 and 2016. The year 9 intake increased in 2017.

In response to the areas for review and development in the 2013 ERO report the school has:

  • developed a more strategic direction and set more specific targets that support students’ learning needs
  • improved the principal’s appraisal and the reports to the board
  • developed a curriculum that engages the students and meets their needs and interests.

2 Learning

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

School leaders use a wide range of student achievement and wellbeing information to promote effective teaching strategies. These strategies include differentiation of programmes to extend and support learners and a more consistent, respectful and positive response to managing student behaviour. Outcomes include improvement in student attendance, retention and engagement in learning.

Teachers are increasingly supporting student progress through sharing high expectations and a vision for valued student outcomes. Many are embracing the progressive changes introduced to improve student achievement, including a curriculum that is more responsive to students’ needs and interests, and informed through carefully considered research.

Senior student achievement information in the National Certificate of Educational Achievement (NCEA) shows in-school disparity for Māori and for boys. Achievement data for Māori shows some improvement, but disparity persists. Trends over time for NCEA levels 1, 2 and 3 reflect an overall decline in achievement. Progress towards the roll-based national target of 85% achievement at NCEA Level 2 by 2017 is slow.

A consistent system for recording and reporting junior student achievement over all learning areas has been recently introduced. It is too early for this information to show cohort progress and trends over time. Individual progress for Years 9 and 10 students in mathematics and literacy show that some students are making accelerated progress.

The school’s pastoral leadership and systems are a strength. A culture of care for students’ sense of belonging, engagement and wellbeing is evident.

Next Steps

There is an ongoing need to lift overall student achievement. This needs to be a priority focus for the board, school leaders and teachers.

Trustees and school leaders acknowledge, and ERO agrees, that they must now:

  • further extend the use of data analysis to inform next steps for students, teaching practice, decision making and evaluation
  • lift student ownership, understanding and monitoring of their own learning
  • develop and adopt a more cohesive approach and overview for the Learning Support programme
  • ensure equity of learning success for all students.

3 Curriculum

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

Recent changes in the curriculum have been made to ensure students are provided with broad, flexible and responsive learning opportunities. It is too soon to know how effective these curriculum changes are in promoting and supporting student learning. Early indications are showing an increase in attendance and a reduction in pastoral care referrals. Many teachers are in the process of adjusting to changes in expectations in the way they plan and deliver the curriculum.

Notable strengths of the curriculum include:

  • students contributing to curriculum design
  • the introduction of an inquiry process for students
  • learners being central to decision making
  • the development of more authentic contexts for learning
  • increased opportunities to learn in and beyond the school.

The innovative adaptation of the curriculum to best meet students’ needs is particularly evident in the junior school and in the way students continue to be encouraged to independently manage their learning. Teachers are collaborating well to develop this integrated approach to the curriculum. Changes in systems and practices have been adopted to enable greater interaction and opportunities for deeper learning and support of student wellbeing.

Students' academic, sporting and cultural successes are well celebrated.

Leaders and teachers have ensured that there are deliberate structures and practices in place to support student wellbeing. Processes that enable early identification of concerns and effective communication strategies to support students’ pastoral care needs are effective. Specific health and wellbeing initiatives include practices such as peer support, restorative justice and the school’s whānau system.

Senior leaders and department heads are managing the change to curriculum provision very well. They have a clear vision, and the management of the pace of change is appropriate.

Next Steps

ERO has found, and the board and school leaders agree, that there is variability in teaching practice that needs to be addressed. The sense of urgency noted by school leaders to ensure the curriculum is meaningful to all learners' needs to remain a priority.

There is also a need to strengthen the evaluation of the new structure of the curriculum so the board and parents can be assured of its effectiveness in promoting positive outcomes for learners.

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

The school has made significant steps towards improving the way it promotes educational success for Māori, as Māori. This work needs to be maintained and further built upon so that it becomes embedded as a strong component of the school culture.

Māori students’ progress and achievement is closely monitored. The school’s curriculum ensures Māori students experience aspects of their identity, language and culture in school life and learning. There is an increased bicultural component within learning programmes.

School leaders and trustees recognise the need to strengthen their relationships with Māori whānau to celebrate successes, gather their views and aspirations, and work together to plan and achieve shared goals. They have worked with a Ministry of Education advisor to further develop culturally responsive practice. Increasing Māori mana and cultural identity within the school is a specific strategic focus.

Next Steps

There is a need to work in consultation with Māori to develop a strategic plan showing how the school will work towards promoting Māori success. Progress in achieving the planned goals can then be closely monitored and targeted feedback reported to the board and whānau.

4 Sustainable Performance

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

The school has many effective systems to help it sustain and improve its performance.

The board maintains a good strategic direction. The focus is on school improvement and raising student achievement. The charter and its targets have been refined to make them more relevant and useful. Trustees are knowledgeable in their roles. Resourcing decisions are promoting equity.

Teachers are benefiting from the principal’s strong pedagogical leadership together with his unrelenting focus and high expectations for teaching and learning.

Many opportunities are given to teachers and students to grow their leadership capabilities and to take on important responsibilities.

Senior leaders and teachers have built some useful connections with local businesses that support students’ career pathways.

Next Steps

Trustees and school leaders must now extend their inquiry and their internal evaluation practices. This includes:

  • continuing to strengthen capability in evaluation and data analysis and use across the school
  • building on the reflective culture that is emerging
  • further developing effective partnerships for learning with families, students and teachers
  • promoting, gathering and making greater use of whānau and community voice and involvement
  • strengthening appraisal processes and ensuring all staff are provided with regular, meaningful appraisal
  • ensuring that the board has reliable ways to be assured of staff and student wellbeing, especially during a time of change and redevelopment.

Leaders need to further develop the appraisal process for teachers, to ensure it meets all the requirements of the Education Council and is implemented consistently.

Provision for international students

The school is a signatory to the Education (Pastoral Care of International Students) Code of Practice 2016 (the Code) established under section 238f of the Education Act 1989. The school has attested that it complies with all aspects of the Code.

At the time of this review there were 15 international students attending the school.

The students receive a high level of pastoral care. The school has effective systems for orientation, homestay arrangements and for individual concerns. The students are assessed on arrival and given good support for improving their English if required. Learning and achievement is continually monitored with regular reporting to students and parents. Students are placed with buddies on their arrival and are integrated into the school through a carefully managed whānau system. Students are actively encouraged to, and many do, access sporting and cultural groups.

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.

School processes for appraisal need to be strengthened. This includes reviewing the school policy and procedures to align with the expectations of the Education Council and ensuring all staff have undertaken regular, meaningful appraisal consistent with the Education Council Aotearoa New Zealand expectations. [s77C State Sector Act 1988 and NAG 3. Part 31 Education Amendment Act 2015].

Conclusion

The school is in the early stages of adopting a progressive new curriculum framework. A high level of strategic understanding is guiding decisions, with student wellbeing and learning at the centre of improvement initiatives. An inclusive and positive school culture supports student learning. This evaluation identified several areas that require ongoing attention to support the implementation of new initiatives and maintain the momentum of positive change.

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

Dr Lesley Patterson

Deputy Chief Review Officer Southern (Te Waipounamu)

29 June 2017

About the School 

Location

Timaru

Ministry of Education profile number

359

School type

Secondary (Years 9 to 15)

School roll

481

Number of international students

15

Gender composition

Boys 58%

Girls 42%

Ethnic composition

Māori
Pākehā
Pacific
Asian
Other

14%
77%
2%
4%
3%

Review team on site

March 2017

Date of this report

29 June 2017

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review
Education Review

October 2013
August 2010 

 

1 Context

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

Students at Mountainview High School continue to benefit from the well-established whānau structure that organises students into groups, in a family-like arrangement. This structure is valued by students, staff and parents and contributes to the settled atmosphere in the school.

The layout and high quality of the school’s physical environment also encourage students and staff to take pride in the school, meet high expectations for behaviour, and show an awareness of the school’s values.

The school’s pastoral and support systems contribute to an inclusive culture that allows students to feel valued, to experience success and to have their achievements acknowledged.

Staff set high expectations for students’ learning, progress and achievement. Students respond well to these expectations. Staff are committed to the school and work collegially in planning programmes to engage students in learning and to improve what happens for them.

The school has responded positively to the recommendations in the previous ERO report. School managers continue to:

  • work towards spreading good-quality teaching practices across the school
  • improve self-review practices
  • consult with the Māori community to make known the policies, plans and targets for improving the achievement of Māori students that result from this consultation.

2 Learning

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

There are examples of teachers and students making good use of learning information. In these classes, teachers plan learning at the appropriate levels. The teachers and students are able to describe how much progress is made in the learning. Some teachers evaluate the impact of strategies used so they can determine what has contributed to students’ progress.

Improved understanding and use of achievement information by teachers and senior managers would assist the board of trustees to:

  • set more specific targets for student achievement
  • evaluate the effect that initiatives have on student progress over time.

Better use of student-achievement targets would help trustees, senior leaders and teachers place a stronger emphasis on students at risk of not making sufficient progress.

Entry information, both pastoral and achievement, is used to group Year 9 students into classes. This information is made available to teachers to assist with their curriculum planning and delivery. The school has a useful system for identifying and recording how students are building the competencies required to support their learning. Students and their parents see this system as motivating and rewarding.

Teachers and school managers make good use of NCEA information to review senior subject choices. They provide students with courses in successive years that lead to further purposeful learning or employment related training. The school tracks NCEA achievement information over time to identify trends and patterns. Achievement levels are comparable to those in similar schools.

3 Curriculum

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

The school’s curriculum is planned to be responsive to student and community needs. Students have opportunities to join enrichment programmes and to receive support for their learning.

The school has developed a set of values in consultation with parents, staff and students as part of a behavioural programme introduced by the school three years ago. These values underpin all aspects of the school’s operations. Key competencies from the New Zealand Curriculum are an important feature of the school’s curriculum.

Teachers:

  • monitor the progress students make in developing the competencies
  • report to parents regularly about how well students are developing their learning behaviour
  • help students prepare well for the demands of achieving senior qualifications.

Responsive decisions are made about subjects offered so that courses can meet students’ interests and aspirations. The timetable is used flexibly to allow students to make individual course decisions. A strong transition department supports students to experience work and further training outside the school.

School leaders and teachers review the curriculum school-wide and within subject areas. This process of review would be improved by gathering the views of students, their parents, whānau, and staff about how well aspects of the curriculum engage and meet the needs of students.

Strengthening the quality of the school’s appraisal system, including how all teachers reflect on their own practice, is needed. Students would benefit from school leaders and teachers:

  • developing clear ideas about what good teaching practice looks like
  • sharing and reflecting on the effectiveness of approaches used to engage students and support their progress
  • using the good models of practice that exist in the school to support more teachers to extend the range of learning and assessment strategies they use.

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

Māori students make up approximately 12 percent of the school roll. The school has considered Ka Hikitia (the government’s Māori education strategy) as a guide to setting targets for Māori students to succeed as Māori.

In 2012, there was an increase in the percentage of Māori school leavers with NCEA Level 2 or above. This was significantly above the Ka Hikitia target. The school has exceeded the target for retention of Māori students into year 13. The percentage of students leaving with University Entrance has varied over recent years and is yet to reach the target set.

Teachers identify and track the progress of Māori students with a view to raising their achievement. Leaders of all subject areas analyse and report on the achievement of Māori students to the principal and board of trustees.

Parents/whānau have been invited to share their views and aspirations for their tamariki. Students value opportunities to be in the kapa haka group, study te reo Māori, and maintain the links with the local marae.

To improve the ways the school promotes success for Māori as Māori, school leaders need to:

  • make links between the rich information already gathered from Māori students on their views about learning and teaching with the guidelines offered for teachers in Tātaiako (a ministry resource about cultural competencies for teachers of Māori students)
  • find more comprehensive ways of consulting Māori families about their aspirations for their tamariki
  • document and sustain the learning about new ways to promote success for Māori.

4 Sustainable Performance

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

The school will be better placed to sustain and improve its performance when aspects identified below in areas for review and development are improved and evaluated for their effectiveness in promoting positive outcomes for students.

Areas of strength

The principal has managed the school well and enabled other staff to develop their leadership skills and influence. Senior leaders have built useful systems and structures to support school operations, communications and decision making.

The heads of faculties effectively lead and support their departments by:

  • providing useful guidelines for learning and teaching
  • monitoring and tracking student progress and achievement
  • evaluating the effectiveness of learning programmes in years 11 to 13
  • leading departmental discussions to share good practice.

Trustees have mostly had some experience in their governance role. They know the difference between management and governance. They regularly receive reports about the school from a range of sources, including the principal. The board and staff are strongly committed to providing a safe and inclusive school for students.

Areas for review and development

The board and ERO agree that, to remain focused on continuous improvement, a number of matters need to be strengthened. These include the:

  • quality of the strategic and annual plans and their links to other areas of school operation
  • robustness of the principal’s appraisal in line with the principals’ professional standards and performance agreement expectations
  • usefulness of reports to the board in supporting decisions for future improvement or development, particularly those relating to student-achievement targets.

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 27 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.

International students benefit from high-quality pastoral care. Their home-stay provision, education, involvement and integration into the school and its community are closely monitored and well supported.

Board assurance on legal requirements

Before the review, the board of trustees and principal of the school completed the ERO Board Assurance Statement and Self-Audit Checklists. In these documents they attested that they had taken all reasonable steps to meet their legislative obligations related to:

  • board administration
  • curriculum
  • management of health, safety and welfare
  • personnel management
  • financial management
  • asset management.

During the review, ERO checked the following items because they have a potentially high impact on student achievement:

  • emotional safety of students (including prevention of bullying and sexual harassment)
  • physical safety of students
  • teacher registration
  • processes for appointing staff
  • stand-downs, suspensions, expulsions and exclusions
  • attendance.

The board delegates responsibility to the assistant principal, for overseeing the preparation and planning of Education Outside the Classroom (EOTC) activities. To improve current practice, the board of trustees should make sure they are fully informed of their legal obligations and those of the principal and staff as outlined in the Ministry of Education’s EOTC Guidelines, 2009. This will provide better support for those directly responsible for the health and safety of students and staff involved in any activities associated with EOTC.

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

30 October 2013

About the School

Location

Timaru

Ministry of Education profile number

359

School type

Secondary (Years 9 to 13)

School roll

558

Number of international students

27

Gender composition

Male: 54% Female: 46%

Ethnic composition

NZ European/Pākehā

Māori

African

Asian

British

Pacific

80%

12%

3%

2%

2%

1%

Review team on site

August 2013

Date of this report

30 October 2013

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Supplementary Review

Education Review

August 2010

February 2007

November 2005