Gore High School

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Education institution number:
396
School type:
Secondary (Year 9-15)
School gender:
Co-Educational
Definition:
School with Boarding Facilities
Total roll:
373
Telephone:
Address:

Coutts Road, Gore

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Findings

Gore High School effectively supports most students to experience academic success and transition into future pathways. It is increasingly responsive to a range of students' learning needs. Leaders and teachers focus on continuing to strengthen the conditions that promote learning and achievement. The school is well placed to sustain its performance and make improvements.

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?

Gore High School is located in eastern Southland and caters for students from Years 9 to 13. Students are drawn from the district or travel by bus from the surrounding rural area. The roll is 487 students at the time of this review, with 15% identifying as Māori. Two international students are enrolled.

The school has been involved in the Ministry of Education (MoE) programme “Positive Behaviour for Learning” (PB4L) and has established the school wide values of “Courtesy, Effort and Responsibility”.

Since the July 2014 ERO report, the school has closed and demolished the long established school hostel. Boarding students are now accommodated at a neighbouring hostel through a partnership with a local secondary school.

The school is part of the Gore East Community of Learning| Kāhui Ako (CoL) with 12 other schools in the Gore area. The CoL is in its establishment phase and has recently appointed a foundation leader.

2 Learning

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

Leaders and teachers are continuing to strengthen their use of achievement data to make positive changes to learners’ engagement, progress and achievement.

Most students at Gore High School are experiencing success in National Certificate of Education Achievement (NCEA). Overall statistics for students leaving the school having gained Level 1 and Level 2 NCEA have steadily improved since the previous ERO review. In 2016, results were well above national averages for all schools, with 85% of school leavers attaining at least Level 2 NCEA. Students have increased the number of endorsements at the higher grades. The number of students leaving having gained Level 3 qualifications has fluctuated and in 2016 around a third of students gained university entrance qualification.

Māori students have been increasingly successful in leaving the school having gained NCEA Levels 1 and 2. However, there remains a disparity between their achievement and that of their peers, particularly at Level 3. Leaders have identified that achieving equity of outcomes for Māori students is a priority.

There is a well-considered approach to transitioning students and their families into the school at Year 9. Through strengthening partnerships with students' previous schools, leaders have increased the range and improved the quality of information they gather about learners’ achievement and wellbeing before they arrive at the High School. Membership of the CoL provides opportunities to work collaboratively with other local schools to raise achievement of all students in the town.

More accurate assessment data and achievement information is now shared between schools. This is used for class placement and identification of learning needs. A range of useful assessment data is gathered and collated in Years 9 and 10. Teachers have increased access to this information. It has the potential to be used to show rates of progress of students, particularly in literacy and numeracy.

Teachers and leaders are aligning school-based assessments at Years 9 and 10 to a wider range of The New Zealand Curriculum levels. This should provide a clearer and more coherent approach to measuring achievement, progress and identifying next steps for improvement. Strengthening moderation of judgements about curriculum levels to further improve accuracy and consistency, is a next step.

Students are encouraged to take more responsibility for and to make more decisions about the direction of their learning. Student voice and feedback are valued and increasingly sought. Better use of achievement information in three-way conference meetings should promote understanding between teachers, parents and students and focus on collaboration to further support learning and achievement.

Leaders have identified next steps to strengthen their analysis and use of data to consistently:

  • inform teaching practices and actions
  • individualise learning programmes
  • track and monitor student progress over time
  • evaluate the impact and effectiveness of actions taken to raise achievement.

Strategic planning provides a clear direction for school improvement. Annual targets focus on overall levels of achievement at NCEA levels for whole school and Māori student achievement. Priority students who are at risk of underachieving increasingly feature in these targets.

Leaders and ERO agree that strengthening targeted action to accelerate progress for students who need it the most is required. Targets should be more explicit, specifically in Years 9 and 10. Clearer expected outcomes should enable better evaluation of the impact of planned actions on improving achievement. 

3 Curriculum

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

The Gore High School curriculum effectively supports most students to experience success and transition to future pathways. It offers a wide range of extracurricular opportunities in sports and the arts. The rich natural and local environments are increasingly used to enhance contexts for learning.

Ongoing review and development has made the curriculum more responsive to a diverse range of student strengths, needs and interests. The school has increased the variety and relevance of both vocational and academic pathways that support successful transition beyond the school. More students have access to different pathways linked to employment, including the Hokonui Tertiary High School and the Murihiku Trades Academy.

There is a positive tone and climate in the school. It is welcoming and inclusive. Respectful and considerate relationships are clearly evident. Classrooms visited by ERO were calm, with purposeful teaching evident. Students observed were well engaged in their learning.

School values are explicit and well understood. Values form the basis for learning conversations and teachers increasingly use restorative practices. Vertical house groups promote positive relationships among students across the school.

The school has strengthened processes to respond more effectively to students' learning needs, particularly for those at risk of underachieving. Many make good progress and in some cases, accelerated progress. Teachers are becoming more innovative about approaches to planning and assessment. New technologies are being introduced to enhance learning.

The recently introduced mentoring for Year 10 students encourages collaborative goal setting between students, parents and their teachers and focuses on improving academic outcomes. Senior students also volunteer to work with and peer mentor at risk younger students.

A sustained focus on promoting student wellbeing continues to be a high priority. There is a coordinated approach to cater for the pastoral care needs of all students. Effective targeted additional classroom support is provided when required. External agencies are appropriately used when needed.

Students with significant needs are well catered for within the “learning hub” that includes a range of special needs facilities. Their care and wellbeing are strongly promoted through a holistic approach. Programmes are guided by individual education plans, developed in consultation with specialist agencies, parents and whānau. Some students are successfully mainstreamed for adapted activities.

The school has a strong sense of its place in the local community and seeks to engage strongly with all stakeholders. Leaders identify the desire to increase the range of opportunities for communication with parents and students, focused on learning. Digital developments have provided opportunities to extend ways to connect and provide information. Continuing to build partnerships that promote improved achievement are recognised as a next step. 

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

Steps have been taken to integrate aspects of te ao Māori into learning and school culture. The school has established strong links to the local runanga. Teachers and leaders are aware of the need to continue to build culturally responsive capacity and practice. Including Tātaiako: Cultural Competencies for Teachers of Māori Learners as part of the teacher appraisal process, should assist.

Consideration should be given to developing a strategic direction for success for Māori as Māori in consultation with whānau.

4 Sustainable Performance

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

Gore High School is well placed to sustain its performance and make improvements to outcomes and success for all students.

Trustees are knowledgeable, well informed by the principal and work in close partnership with senior leaders to improve outcomes for students. Trustees bring a range of strengths to fulfil their roles and responsibilities.

Strengthening evidence-based evaluation of the impact of planned actions on improving achievement and progress should show what makes the biggest difference to achieving equity and excellence for all learners.

Senior leaders have continued to further develop the appraisal process. They have sought external advice to clarify aspects of the process for staff. Teachers' goals are increasingly aligned to school priorities for raising student achievement and growing their practice. Leaders are promoting deeper reflection and a collaborative approach to improve outcomes. They should further strengthen the rigour of the process and explore ways to provide quality feedback and feedforward.

A process to assist teachers to examine the effectiveness of their practice is becoming established. Continuing to build a shared understanding of evidence-based teaching as inquiry and how it would help to improve practice is a next step.

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 there was two international students attending the school. The school’s practices and processes well support the pastoral care, quality of education, student involvement and integration into 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
  • processes for appointing staff
  • stand-downs, suspensions, expulsions and exclusions
  • attendance.

Conclusion

Gore High School effectively supports most students to experience academic success and transition into future pathways. It is increasingly responsive to a range of students' learning needs. Leaders and teachers focus on continuing to strengthen the conditions that promote learning and achievement. The school is well placed to sustain its performance and make improvements.

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

Alan Wynyard Deputy Chief Review Officer Central (Acting)

27 June 2017

About the School 

Location

Gore

Ministry of Education profile number

396

School type

Secondary (Years 9 to 13)

School roll

487

Number of international students

2

Gender composition

Male 50%, Female 50%

Ethnic composition

Māori
Pākehā

15%
85%

Review team on site

May 2017

Date of this report

27 June 2017

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review
Education Review
Education Review

July 2014
February 2011
September 2007

 

1 Context

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

Gore High School provides education for students from Years 9 to 13. Students come from the town and the wide surrounding rural area, with about 40 students staying in the school hostel during the week. Plans are in place to re-configure some learning spaces into modern learning environments, and to modernise the hostel.

The school is responding positively to changes in the makeup of the school roll. Managers and teachers take a personal approach to encouraging and developing students’ learning, especially for those at risk of not achieving. This is helped by the very good relationships between most students and teachers.

The collaborative leadership style of the new principal is ensuring that developments are at a pace that teachers and students can manage and that developments focus on enhancing student achievement.

2 Learning

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

The school uses a wide range of learning information well. Achievement information guides school-wide planning and review practice. It is used:

  • as a key indicator of school performance, when compared with similar schools and the school’s own performance
  • to monitor the value added to students’ achievement over their time at school
  • to monitor students’ engagement and lift achievement
  • as a current focus for targeted teaching and to review the quality of classroom learning
  • to inform decisions made to support students’ learning.

The effectiveness of the school’s use of achievement information is evident in its positive results in NCEA over time. The NCEA results for 2012 and 2013 indicate that targeting of areas of lower achievement has been successful.

Subject department heads and teachers are placing a stronger focus on the learning and achievement of groups of students in their classes. To support this initiative, the board should extend the school-wide Year 11, 12 and 13 student achievement targets down into Year 9 and 10. This should provide the board with a broader view of school-wide achievement across the year levels, and a more refined measure to support school self review.

Students receive regular information from a variety of sources about their progress in learning in subject areas. They have many opportunities to monitor their own rate and level of learning. This includes self assessing their performance against known criteria for learning. Senior students are well supported to monitor their own progress in achievement toward NCEA. The level of engagement of students in Years 9 and 10 is also closely monitored. For example, they are regularly informed about development of the key competencies and their progress toward achieving their graduation diplomas.

A strength in the use of achievement information is the close monitoring and support for all students, especially those identified as ‘at risk’ in their learning. Teachers and senior leaders use a range of information to closely monitor the progress of students receiving individual support.

Assessment information is the key driver of school-wide planning and review practice. Senior leaders closely monitor the overall levels of value added to students’ achievement over their time at school. They have continued to increase the focus on achievement information as a key indicator of school performance and driver of learning and teaching. They are assisting trustees and teaching staff to be more evaluative in their analysis of data. As a result, the school reporting and review processes are becoming more informative. Trustees and teachers are well placed to make informed decisions to support teaching and learning.

3 Curriculum

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

The school’s curriculum is effectively promoting students’ learning. There is a strong emphasis on providing students with personalised programmes that are responsive to their interests, needs and strengths. Senior students are role models and some volunteer to help younger students in classes.

Key features of the school’s curriculum include:

  • the range of innovative programmes and initiatives designed to keep students actively engaged in learning
  • the breadth of subjects students can select from to support their career aspirations and interests
  • the extensive support systems for students identified at risk of not meeting achievement expectations.

Teachers have high expectations for students. Senior leaders are focused on establishing consistency in what effective teaching and learning looks like in this school. The current literacy initiative provides a good model for improving teaching and learning.

ERO supports the school’s stated priority for enhancing school-wide effective teaching practices. As the senior leaders and teachers further develop the school’s approach for effective teaching and learning, they should consider the following:

  • how the cultural competencies for engaging Māori students are reflected in teaching guidelines for the benefit of all students
  • how teachers respond to students’ views as part of reviewing the impact of their teaching on achievement and progress
  • how the school’s expectations for teaching and learning are reflected in teacher appraisal.

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

The school is making good progress in promoting educational success for Māori.

NCEA results for 2013 show that Māori students at the school achieved higher than national expectations in Level 1 and 2. To raise achievement levels further, senior leaders are taking a leading role in raising teachers’ awareness about how they can support their Māori students’ achievement and progress.

The school leaders and staff are increasingly valuing Māori language and culture in the school. They have made use of some self review to continue to improve the success of Māori students. The views of Māori students are sought and used to show progress in relation to their engagement and learning.

The school has been part of He Kakano, an initiative to raise Māori student achievement and progress. In order to sustain the school’s practices as a result of this initiative, the board, senior leaders and teachers should develop and regularly review a shared understanding of how to promote success as Māori.

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.

Factors that contribute to this view include:

  • the quality and effectiveness of leadership and relationships
  • the clarity and pace of past and planned developments
  • the focus on success for individual students
  • the quality of information the board receives and the use trustees make of it
  • the managed way the school is evolving.

Provision for students in the school hostel

The school hostel currently accommodates 36 students, 7% of the school roll. It is owned by the Gore High School Board of Trustees. The hostel owner, through the principal, has attested that all the requirements of the Hostel Regulations are met. The board is working through a process of rationalising and renovating the hostel. It has secured funding for major capital work to address overdue maintenance, reorganise the buildings to better meet the needs of students and to develop the hostel to cater for students on a seven-days-a-week basis.

Goodwill to improve the hostel and support students is very strong. Trustees and managers acknowledge the importance of establishing and building effective relationships between hostel staff and students and between the students themselves. The next task is to define how this might be achieved.

Board documentation to plan for hostel developments and to guide the administration and operation of the hostel is in need of development and/or review. This should help clarify expectations about roles and responsibilities for employees and provide a structure for the board to review the performance of the hostel.

The Board of Trustees should investigate ways of providing further opportunities to enhance student learning for hostel boarders. For example, consideration should be given as to how hostel students might benefit more from the adjacent school facilities. Student could be asked to suggest how they might contribute their time and energy to make improvements to the environment and what could be done to improve their experience as boarders.

ERO identified and discussed several outstanding maintenance issues, beyond the need for refurbishment, and gaps in record keeping, for example in relation to students’ whereabouts. ERO suggest that the board carry out regular anonymous surveys about students' wellbeing. Taken altogether, the number of details to be addressed is significant enough to warrant a full review of the hostel to identify current strengths, matters that can be quickly rectified and issues that will need to be addressed over a longer period of time. This will ensure that all reasonable steps are in place to ensure students safety and welfare.

Recommendation

ERO recommends, and the board agrees, that the board:

4.1 carry out a full review of all aspects of the hostel’s management and operation, including, but not restricted to, compliance with Sections 3 and 4 of the Education (Hostel) Regulations 2005 and how the hostel supports students’ learning.

ERO intends to carry out another review of the hostel over the course of one-to-two years.

Board assurance on legal requirements

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

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

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

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

When is ERO likely to review the school again?

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

Graham Randell

National Manager Review Services Southern Region

8 July 2014

About the School

Location

Gore, Eastern Southland

Ministry of Education profile number

396

School type

Secondary (Years 9 to 13)

School roll

535

Gender composition

Male 51% Female 49%

Ethnic composition

NZ European/Pākehā

Māori

Pacific

Other

81%

15%

1%

3%

Special Features

School hostel

Review team on site

April 2014

Date of this report

8 July 2014

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

February 2011

September 2007

June 2004