Whangaroa College

Whangaroa College

Findings

The college has made good progress and will transition to ERO’s Te Ara Huarau | Evaluation for Improvement process.

1 Background and Context

What is the background and context for this school’s review?

Te Kāreti o Whangaroa

Ko Kaeo te awa
Ko Pohue te Pa
Ko Maungaemiemi me Taratara ngā maunga

Ko Ngati Kahu, Ngāpuhi-nui-tonu ngā tāngata whenua.

Whangaroa College is a Years 7 to 13 secondary school located in Kaeo. The current roll of 130 is predominantly Māori.

The college’s vision is ‘to enable all learners to achieve wisdom with honour’. It seeks to promote the values of ‘respect, responsibility, commitment and perseverance’, and promotes tikanga Māori. Features of the school include a focus on supporting student hauora and a kaupapa relating to Positive Behaviour for Learning (PB4L). The school operates under a leadership structure with a principal and four directors. The college is undergoing significant property redevelopment.

ERO’s November 2018 review identified several improvement priorities. These included continuing concerns related to teaching, learning and governance. ERO has provided ongoing monitoring and evaluation support for college improvement throughout the review process.

ERO’s visits to the college have included meetings with the board of trustees, the principal, senior leadership team, staff, students and whānau. The Ministry of Education (MoE) has provided targeted resourcing to support teachers to further engage students in their learning.

Whangaroa College is a member of the Whaingaroa Kāhui Ako I Community of Learning that includes four schools and one early learning service.

2 Review and Development

How effectively is the school addressing its priorities for review and development?

Priorities identified for review and development

The terms of reference for this longitudinal review are based on key next steps and recommendations identified in the 2018 ERO report. These include:

  • accelerating student progress and promoting valued student outcomes

  • enacting effective teaching practices schoolwide including differentiation, assessment for learning, and building teaching capability in literacy and mathematics

  • developing and documenting a Marau-a-Kura o Whangaroa that offers students greater breadth and depth of curriculum opportunities, especially for National Certificate of Achievement (NCEA) mathematics and science

  • building teaching and leadership capability

  • developing learning-focused partnerships with whānau

  • strengthening governance decision making to raise student achievement and to meet the board’s legal obligations

  • developing internal evaluation processes.

Whangaroa College has made good progress towards addressing some key improvement areas. It would be useful to consolidate systems, structures and teaching practices to ensure improvements are embedded, evaluated and further developed.

Progress
Accelerate student progress and promote valued student outcomes

Whangaroa College is continuing to develop a positive learning culture, and students report being more supported in their learning. Student attendance has improved, and the level of stand-downs and suspensions has reduced. Ngā Ara Whetu, a new academic counselling programme, supports student success and career pathways. 

NCEA information indicates that over the last three years there has been an increase in achievement in NCEA Levels 1 and 3, and University Entrance. Leaders and staff are committed to sustaining this achievement.

Students benefit from increasingly flexible assessment processes, particularly in NCEA. In 2019, the college received a positive Managing National Assessment Report from the New Zealand Qualifications Assessment (NZQA).

Leaders and teachers are aware of the low levels of achievement and the high levels of transience in Years 7 to 10. Leaders now need to prioritise increasing the reliability of Years 7 to 10 achievement information. Further work is required to build teachers’ collective capability and capacity to gather, analyse and use this information. This should help teachers to more quickly identify students and effective teaching strategies, that will help to accelerate the progress and achievement of students who need this.

Teachers are committed to monitoring and promoting student hauora/wellbeing. A whānau focus group provides daily support to ensure student wellbeing is prioritised. Student success is celebrated regularly in assemblies and newsletters. Students participate in a range of co-curricular activities organised by the PB4L team of staff and students.

Enact effective teaching practices schoolwide

The college is beginning to use a framework to build teaching capability. Teachers’ reflections and goal setting are documented, and regular discussions on effective teaching strategies are the focus of staff meetings.

Teachers have participated in regular schoolwide and subject-specific professional learning (PL) to develop effective teaching practices. The initial PL focus to increase clarity in the impact of teaching on students’ learning is continuing. Teachers receive useful feedback to develop effective teaching practices. They now need to embed these practices more consistently to accelerate progress and achievement, and improve student learning outcomes.

Document the Marau-a-Kura o Whangaroa | Whangaroa Curriculum

Leaders are continuing to develop and document the school’s curriculum. Teachers have been involved in schoolwide professional learning to respond to constraints impacting on student success. This has directly influenced curriculum decision making to better meet student needs. School leaders acknowledge that further work is needed to develop a more engaging and relevant curriculum for students in the junior school.

Students benefit from increasing curriculum coherence, relevance and choice. The timetabling, reviewed and improved in 2019, now better meets students’ learning needs. Curriculum delivery has been restructured to improve students’ wellbeing and engagement in learning. ERO observed examples of student engagement in learning that was student-led and collaborative. Teachers are integrating digital learning where relevant in some classes.

There is an increasing amount of local content in the curriculum. Students have opportunities to learn te reo Māori me ōna tikanga at all year levels. Students and the community benefit from increased student participation. They show pride in the mana of kapa haka, Māori tourism, hauora, art and history. 

Build teaching and leadership capability

Leaders have taken a more strategic approach to strengthening teaching and learning practices. Targeted professional development has started to lift the quality of teacher practice. Higher expectations for teachers are beginning to be more formalised through the use of the professional growth cycle. Documenting these expectations would help leaders and teachers to build and sustain quality practice.

Leaders are beginning to build their capability to improve outcomes for students. They regularly participate in professional learning to grow leadership skills. The distributed leadership structure, developed in 2018, has promoted opportunities for leaders to help improve teachers’ professional practice. This is contributing to a more positive school culture.

Directors regularly report to the board on how well the school is progressing against strategic goals. School leaders now need to improve the quality of these reports so trustees can scrutinise reliable student data and evaluative information to make informed decisions to improve student outcomes.

Develop learning-focused partnerships with whānau

The focus on whānau engagement is an expectation in each teachers’ professional growth cycle. Teachers are beginning to provide more relevant information to whānau about how well students are progressing and achieving. Student-led conferences with whānau are building better learning relationships. Teachers now need to further promote strategies to help whānau support learning at home. Leaders recognise the need to provide whānau with more reliable achievement information for students in Years 7 to 10.

Participate in board training to strengthen decision making

The college has an alternative constitutional board of trustees that includes four Ministry appointed trustees. This supports the board to carry out its stewardship roles and responsibilities. Trustees apply sound financial management practices and use appropriate personnel and complaints processes. They continue to access targeted governance training.

The board prioritises student wellbeing and provides additional resourcing for teacher aides and learning resources. The board needs to scrutinise the Years 7 to 10 student achievement data to identify priorities and targets for this cohort of students. Processes have been strengthened in response to the review of the Stand-down, Suspension and Exclusion policy by the Board.

Development of evaluation processes

Evaluation capability is developing, and evaluation processes are increasingly systematic and coherent. Leaders are beginning to provide more evaluative reports to the board related to NCEA achievement information.

Key next steps

School leaders and teachers should continue to:

  • build a positive learning culture to support student wellbeing and achievement

  • further develop consistency of effective teaching practices to engage students and accelerate progress

  • strengthen teachers’ and leaders’ data literacy capability

  • improve assessment systems and processes in Years 7 to 10

  • design and document a relevant Marau-a-kura o Whangaroa that provides students with meaningful career pathways

  • build the Ngā Ara Whetu initiative to increase student success.

3 Sustainable performance and self review

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

Whangaroa College continues to improve its performance. The college is developing systems, structures and processes to promote a sustainable cycle of school improvement and evaluation.

Leaders, staff and trustees have made some improvements in the college’s culture, curriculum delivery, teaching, learning, stewardship practices and community engagement. The college now needs to consolidate these improvements by embedding initiatives to promote sustained growth and improvement of student learning outcomes.

Key next steps

School leaders should continue to:

  • ensure leadership is supported by professional learning, mentoring and guidance

  • provide more evaluative reporting on the progress of the school’s strategic goals

  • develop systematic internal evaluation to support continuous improvement.

Board assurance on legal requirements

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

  • board administration

  • curriculum

  • management of health, safety and welfare

  • personnel management

  • financial management

  • asset management.

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

  • emotional safety of students (including prevention of bullying and sexual harassment)

  • physical safety of students

  • teacher registration

  • processes for appointing staff

  • stand-downs, suspensions, expulsions and exclusions

  • attendance

  • school policies in relation to meeting the requirements of the Children’s Act 2014.

Actions for compliance

The board and ERO identified an area of non-compliance in the Board Assurance Statement.

4 Recommendations

Recommendations, including any to other agencies for ongoing or additional support

The quality of teaching requires further development and embedding to improve student learning and wellbeing outcomes. ERO recommends that the school continues to work with the Ministry of Education to support ongoing curriculum development and initiatives.

Conclusion

The college has made good progress and will transition to ERO’s Te Ara Huarau | Evaluation for Improvement process.

Filivaifale Jason Swann
Director Review and Improvement Services (Northern)
Northern Region - Te Tai Raki

22 July 2022

About the school

The Education Counts website provides further information about the school’s student population, student engagement and student achievement.

Whangaroa College - 27/06/2018

Findings

Whangaroa College is a small secondary school that has made good progress to address the 2016 ERO review findings. The school has a settled school environment. Students are benefiting from a more inclusive and relevant school curriculum. The school needs continued support to maintain momentum.

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

1 Background and Context

What is the background and context for this school’s review?

Whangaroa College is a small secondary school catering for students in Years 7 to 13. Located beside Kaeo Primary School, the college serves students who are predominantly Māori. The school roll has fluctuated over the last two years posing challenges for school leaders.

In 2016, the college was placed on an ERO longitudinal review. The key areas for improvement included student progress and achievement, curriculum design, effective teaching, school leadership, effective stewardship, personnel management and a positive working environment. The school received more frequent visits from ERO and ongoing evaluation support. ERO has a positive working relationship with the board and school.

The college has a history of Ministry of Education (MoE) interventions and external support. The MoE continues to provide a number of ministerial appointees to the board of trustees. There have been several new trustees join the board in the last year, including a new chairperson. The MoE has also continued to provide professional learning opportunities for leaders and teachers.

Following the 2016 ERO evaluation, the MoE provided informal school support (ISS) to help manage leadership change and redesign the curriculum. The New Zealand School Trustees Association (NZSTA) has also provided support through a human resources audit of school systems and ongoing advice and guidance.

Led by the principal, the college has begun a significant redesign of the curriculum and implemented a new distributed leadership structure. The board has agreed that continued support by ERO over the next 1 to 2 years would help the success of the significant changes that have begun to accelerate student learning and secure pathways to further education or employment.

2 Review and Development

How effectively is the school addressing its priorities for review and development?

Priorities identified for review and development

The school priorities for review and development included:

  • accelerating student progress to increase student outcomes
  • implementing a curriculum to better respond to learners’ strengths, interests and aspirations
  • promoting effective school leadership, personnel, school management systems and processes
  • improving stewardship, including the board assurance processes and self review.
Progress

The school has made good progress to address many of the areas for improvement from the 2016 ERO external evaluation. School plans are in place to continue to address the findings. These are also supported by a MoE plan and through appropriate professional development.

Staff are working towards establishing the conditions to accelerate student learning and to support students to achieve a wider range of valued outcomes. They have made very good use of external professional learning support. The principal has established a more collaborative and consultative staff culture, and empowered staff to contribute to the school’s decision-making.

Several wide ranging initiatives are being implemented in 2018. This includes the new curriculum design and school leadership structure. Several leaders are new to their roles and responsibilities, and other teachers also have leadership responsibilities. These are critical changes strategically designed to better meet students’ learning and wellbeing requirements, and to drive initiatives.

The school curriculum is now much better aligned with the principles, values and key competencies of the New Zealand Curriculum. It is also underpinned by culturally responsive and more inclusive teaching practices. The curriculum is now more learner centred and research informed. Its key features include:

  • literacy and mathematics supported by ongoing professional development to increase teacher effectiveness across Years 7 to 10
  • connecting Years 7 and 8 learning with the senior curriculum to promote more coherent learning pathways
  • personalised and integrated curriculum learning opportunities
  • student directed learning projects
  • a construction pathway to employment for senior students
  • timetable changes to promote urgency and momentum for learning
  • whānau classes to promote a sense of belonging and pride
  • the principles of tuakana teina and whanaungatanga underpinning learning approaches
  • teachers grouped together for parts of the day to promote collaborative teaching practices.

As the new curriculum is implemented, teachers and leaders could revisit ways to promote a place-based and stronger bicultural curriculum. The context of the school, and the rich history that surrounds the learners and their whānau, provide meaningful learning opportunities. It also offers ways to engage with the local and wider community including whānau, hapū and iwi.

Leaders value community input and have consulted with the community to inform curriculum change. Finding ways to develop ongoing learning partnership with families is a high priority for leaders to help accelerate student learning. Academic counselling is in place, and the effectiveness of this strategy, along with others to engage with whānau, is a key area for further consideration.

Over the past two years, other significant areas of school progress include:

  • a more orderly, caring and settled school environment
  • higher expectations of learners, teachers and leaders
  • more restorative and supportive student management practices
  • evidence of improved student outcomes in Years 7 and 8
  • useful assessment processes, and better systems for tracking and monitoring student progress
  • a more sustainable and growth-orientated leadership approach
  • improved personnel management supporting a more positive work environment
  • increased accountability for teacher performance and student outcomes, underpinned by performance management processes that align with Education Council requirements
  • the use of external partnerships, links and networks to build leadership and teacher capability
  • a strengthened policy and procedure framework and increased reporting to support school governance and management.

Work has also begun to develop several new initiatives that will take the school forward. These include plans for a digital curriculum by 2020 in partnership with another school, and online, distance learning opportunities for students.

Key next steps

For sustained improvement and future learner success, priorities for further development include:

  • managing the pace and timing of changes to maximise improvement, accelerate student progress and promote valued student outcomes, particularly for Māori students
  • documenting the new Marau a kura o Whangaroa, the Whangaroa College Curriculum, to consolidate and enact effective teaching practices schoolwide
  • continuing to build teachers’ individual and collective teaching capability, particularly in literacy, mathematics, differentiated teaching and the consistent use of assessment for learning practices
  • continuing to build leaders’ individual and collective leadership capability in their new roles and responsibilities
  • ensuring the new curriculum offers breadth and depth towards coherent pathways in National Certificates of Educational Achievement (NCEA), particularly in mathematics and science, alongside the challenge of managing the financial resources of a small school.

To achieve these improvements, the school needs further staffing resourcing to help leaders and teachers implement the new curriculum design over the next two years. This would support learners to access a wider range of curriculum areas, and pathways beyond secondary education.

3 Sustainable performance and self review

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

The school is becoming better placed to continue improving and reviewing its performance. After some significant improvements, school leaders and trustees are becoming more focused on scrutinising the impact of changes on student learning and adapting practices.

The board is better placed to continue improving its performance, and focusing on sustainable change and improvement. Trustees have ensured external appraisal for the principal is in place, meeting their obligations as a good employer. The board has made good progress even through personnel changes. New board members bring a range of expertise, and several are strongly connected with the local community.

The principal is providing the board with useful and well-organised information to inform decision-making and strategic planning. Ongoing board training is essential to help induct new trustees, and develop the board’s overall effectiveness in raising student achievement, and continuing to meet their legal and statutory obligations. As this is a significant time of change for the school, the board should receive further reports on staff and student wellbeing, at least twice a year.

School leaders have identified a key next step is to develop evaluation processes for reviewing the effectiveness of new initiatives and their impact on student outcomes. Planned and emergent evaluation processes are required.

Therefore, leaders and trustees appreciate the opportunity to continue to engage positively in an ERO longitudinal process. The main aim is to ensure student achievement outcomes develop a stable trajectory of improvement for learners to achieve equitable and excellent outcomes.

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.

4 Recommendations

Recommendations, including any to other agencies for ongoing or additional support.

ERO recommends that the MoE continues to provide highly targeted support and professional learning to support leadership and improve the effectiveness of teaching that accelerates student learning.

ERO also recommends that the MoE consider further staffing resourcing to help leaders and teachers implement the new curriculum design over the next two years. This would support learners to access a wider range of curriculum areas, and pathways beyond secondary education.

Conclusion

Whangaroa College is a small secondary school that has made good progress to address the 2016 ERO review findings. The school has a settled school environment. Students are benefiting from a more inclusive and relevant school curriculum. The school needs continued support to maintain momentum.

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

Julie Foley

Deputy Chief Review Officer Northern (Acting)

Te Tai Raki - Northern Region

27 June 2018

About the School

Location

Kaeo, Northland

Ministry of Education profile number

4

School type

Secondary (Years 7 to 15)

School roll

88

Gender composition

Girls 46 Boys 42

Ethnic composition

Māori
Pākehā
other

73
14
1

Review team on site

May 2018

Date of this report

27 June 2018

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review
Education Review
Education Review

June 2016
May 2013
December 2010