Fiordland College

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.

School Context

Fiordland College is a Year 7 to 13 state co-educational secondary school in Te Anau with a roll of 223 students.

Since the 2013 ERO review, most departments have new leaders and many members of the board of trustees have changed.

The school’s mission is to provide wide-ranging learning opportunities within the school, the community and the local environment, so that all students fulfil their individual potential. These aims are underpinned by the school’s values of Effort, Respect, Integrity and Curiosity.

Leaders and teachers regularly report to the board, school-wide information about outcomes for students in the following areas:

  • progress and achievement in each curriculum area for students in Years 7-10

  • senior student NCEA achievement

  • annual and triennial reports for all curriculum areas.

Fiordland College is a member of the FiNSCoL Community of Learning | Kāhui Ako. The principal of the college is a co-leader of the Kāhui Ako.

Evaluation Findings

1 Equity and excellence – achievement of valued outcomes for students

1.1 How well is the school achieving equitable and excellent outcomes for all its students?

The school works effectively to achieve equitable and excellent outcomes for all students.

Most students achieve at the expected levels of the New Zealand Curriculum. In the senior school almost all students, particularly girls, achieve to high levels. Students’ individual levels of achievement and engagement are closely monitored, supported and reported on.

Leaders and teachers have placed a schoolwide focus on encouraging students to aspire to achieving excellence in their learning. An increase in levels of engagement and excellence is being noted in a number of areas across the school.

An increase in overall levels of achievement in reading, writing and mathematics is evident for students in the junior school. Students at this level, particularly boys, achieve less well in writing. Students in Years 9 and 10 have their learning progress and levels of engagement closely monitored and reported on.

1.2 How well is the school accelerating learning for those Māori and other students who need this?

While processes for monitoring and supporting Māori and other students whose learning need acceleration are in place, the school needs to better show how well it is achieving positive outcomes for these students.

2 School conditions for equity and excellence – processes and practices

2.1 What school processes and practices are effective in enabling achievement of equity and excellence, and acceleration of learning?

Throughout the school there is a caring and inclusive school culture, where values are intentionally taught. A well-managed pastoral support system supports student wellbeing, and closely monitors each student’s attendance and engagement with school. Good relationships between senior and junior students and between teachers and students help to support the school culture of care and inclusion. Transitions into the school and within the school are well managed. Class sizes are small and teachers know students well as learners. Students with additional learning and wellbeing needs are identified and closely monitored and supported.

Students benefit from a strong localised curriculum which is connected to the community, the local environment and a range of out-of-school activities. The flexible curriculum design is tailored to students’ interests and to meet individual learning needs. Student opinion is sought and used to inform teaching practice. The curriculum in action reflects the school’s strategic vision to be a centre of environmental excellence.

Students in the junior school benefit from specialist curriculum teaching. Appropriately qualified teachers teach at a variety of levels, and sometimes across subjects. Teachers are well supported by professional development opportunities (targeted to identified needs and schoolwide priorities) and heads of department who have relevant curriculum and assessment knowledge.

The board has made strategic appointments to leadership positions within the school. The principal and senior leadership team empower staff, which is engendering professional trust. Leadership is building the capability of teachers to be leaders within the school. A robust and consistently well applied appraisal process is in place, which affirms and supports teacher practice. Senior leaders are promoting further innovation, such as cross department collaboration.

School systems are comprehensive, transparent and consistently applied. There is a strong alignment of planning to practice at all levels of school operation. The school vision is clearly articulated through strategic and annual planning. School assessment and moderation practices are very effective and capably led by senior leaders. This, coupled with a sound internal evaluation framework helps inform school improvement.

The school demonstrates its value of Māori language and culture in the school programmes and experiences. Students have increased opportunities to learn te reo Māori. The board has formed beneficial links with local iwi/runaka. Trustees and staff have undertaken te reo and tikanga Māori training.

Trustees work collaboratively and have a good knowledge of their roles and responsibilities for stewardship. They proactively develop networks that enable the school to extend and enrich the curriculum and increase learning opportunities for students. The college’s strategic goals and targets are closely aligned with those of the FiNSCoL Community of Learning | Kāhui Ako. The board is responsive to local needs, and constantly ensures the school connects effectively with its community context and local natural environment. The links developed with the community and other local schools have enhanced the school’s plan to be a centre of environmental excellence. The board evaluates how effectively it is fulfilling its stewardship role and plans for ongoing improvement.

2.2 What further developments are needed in school processes and practices for achievement of equity and excellence, and acceleration of learning?

A next step is for department and learning area reports to clearly show the:

  • sufficiency of progress in achievement made by students, including Māori, receiving targeted support
  • impact that strategies and programmes are having on progress and achievement for students.

The school should strengthen from strategic planning for Māori success, that includes opportunities for all Māori students to learn about their language, culture and identity.

3 Board assurance on legal requirements

Before the review, the board 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 the following:

  • board administration

  • curriculum

  • management of health, safety and welfare

  • personnel management

  • finance

  • asset management.

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

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

  • physical safety of students

  • teacher registration and certification

  • processes for appointing staff

  • stand down, suspension, expulsion and exclusion of students

  • attendance

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

Provision for international students

The school is a signatory to theEducation (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 four international students attending the school, and one exchange student.

International students’ learning and wellbeing are closely monitored and supported. International students achieve well. They are well integrated into the school and community.

4 Going forward

Key strengths of the school

For sustained improvement and future learner success, the school can draw on existing strengths in:

  • a strong localised curriculum connected to the community and the local environment
  • an inclusive school culture underpinned by school values that promote students’ learning and wellbeing
  • leadership building the capability of teachers to be leaders within the school
  • the board’s approach to its stewardship role that strengthens opportunities for learners.

Next steps

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

  • showing sufficiency of progress in achievement made by students, including Māori and other students receiving targeted support

  • evaluating the impact that strategies and programmes are having on progress and achievement for students

  • strategic planning for Māori success, that includes opportunities for all Māori students to learn about their language, culture and identity

  • strengthening Māori success that benefits all Māori students.

ERO’s next external evaluation process and timing

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

Dr Lesley Patterson

Deputy Chief Review Officer Southern

Te Waipounamu - Southern Region

16 July 2018

About the school

Location

Te Anau

Ministry of Education profile number

400

School type

Year 7 to 13 Secondary School

School roll

223

Gender composition

Boys: 54%

Girls: 46%

Ethnic composition

Māori: 13%
Pākehā: 75%
Other Ethnicities: 12%

Students with Ongoing Resourcing Funding (ORS)

Yes

Provision of Māori medium education

No

Review team on site

May 2018

Date of this report

16 July 2018

Most recent ERO reports

Education Review December 2013

Education Review August 2010

1 Context

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

Fiordland College takes pride in its place at the edge of the Fordland National Park and in the significant role it plays in its local community. School leaders and teachers make good use of the school’s location to help provide a wide range of opportunities for students to engage in their learning and in the wider life of the school. Such learning experiences include outdoor pursuits, sports, and other education opportunities outside the classroom with a clear focus on the environment. These shared interests and pursuits build the sense of belonging that is evident in the school. The interest many students show in taking an active responsibility for the wider environment is a key factor in many curriculum developments.

The Te Anau community provides significant opportunities for students to broaden their learning through work placement and outdoor activities. Students, in return, frequently contribute to local community activities. Students benefit from engaging in an appropriate range of curricular and co-curricular opportunities that lead to their personal development and advancement.

The school’s high expectations for learning and behaviour are shared by the wider community. These expectations are made explicit in the school’s values and in the introduction of a school-wide professional development programme focused on behaviour for learning.

Since the previous ERO review, there has been significant change in school leadership. The current principal took up her position in 2012.

2 Learning

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

Senior leaders and teachers make effective use of learning information by focusing on individual students, their needs, and their aspirations to achieve well.

Teachers gather a variety of information about the progress and achievement of students in Years 7 and 8. They identify levels of student achievement in relation to the National Standards and implement some strategies to accelerate progress. They monitor student progress throughout the year and report on how the achievement levels of individuals and groups of students have improved over time. Information about achievement is recorded and shared with teachers so that students’ achievement can be monitored as they move into Year 9 and above.

In the senior school, students monitor their progress towards NCEA goals, including towards achieving merits and excellences in NCEA. In 2012, students who entered NCEA achieved well compared with students in similar schools at Levels 1, 2 and 3, and in University Entrance.

Some teachers effectively review their teaching practices using achievement information. All subject areas use NCEA information to review the effectiveness of senior courses offered and to consider appropriate changes to meet students’ needs.

The school collects comprehensive information about school leavers and their pathway from school into employment, further education or training. The school celebrates these outcomes and is aware that they present an opportunity to deepen the understanding in the wider community of what success looks like for Fiordland College students.

The next step should be to review the purpose and effectiveness of assessment tools used in Years 7-10. An effective review process would support:

  • teachers to decide on different strategies to support students at risk of not making sufficient progress by the end of the year
  • students to use the information provided by the assessment tools to understand and take greater responsibility for exactly what they need to do to improve
  • students and deans to make better use of learning information during the meetings that are scheduled to discuss each student’s goals and progress
  • students at all levels to be more actively involved in revisiting and monitoring their learning goals.

3 Curriculum

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

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

Curriculum choices. Students benefit from a wide range of learning opportunities, considering the size of the school. Senior leaders and teachers ensure that course planning for students in the senior school is responsive to students’ needs, wishes, and career aspirations. Wide subject availability is achieved by:

  • continuing to run classes in the senior school, despite small numbers
  • making good use of tertiary providers beyond the school
  • courses that link well with vocational pathways
  • other distance learning.

Teachers’ support for students. Students benefit from the positive, respectful relationships teachers have with students. Teachers support the school’s vision to be ‘a place where all can thrive’ by:

  • knowing students well and having useful, frequent links with families
  • having regular discussions with students and their parents about each student’s learning goals and progress in achieving them
  • providing a wide range of learning activities in the outdoor environment beyond the classroom
  • being actively involved in a wide range of co-curricular activities that are of high interest for many students.

Teaching practices. ERO observed examples of good to very good teaching practice. Teachers showed best practice when they:

  • made the purpose of learning clear and returned to it
  • ensured students were often actively at the centre of learning that offered choice and variety
  • provided useful feedback about how well students achieved and how they could improve
  • asked for and responded in a timely fashion to students’ opinions about the learning.

The next step is to ensure that the guiding documents for all aspects of the curriculum:

  • include well-considered shared understandings about all aspects of teaching and learning
  • provide benchmarks for teachers to evaluate their own performance and that of others
  • are used to identify the professional learning needs of teachers
  • help teachers make best practice become common practice across the school for the benefit of all students.

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

Individual Māori student achievement at all levels is comparable to that of non-Māori. The small numbers of Māori students in the senior school make comparisons as a group difficult but individual subject reports include analysis of NCEA data for Māori and the implications of this for course review and planning.

Deans and teachers communicate regularly with the parents of individual Māori students about their learning and progress. The careers counsellor keeps Māori students well informed about opportunities for tertiary study and for vocational pathways.

Māori students spoken to by ERO were enthusiastic about being recognised as Māori and the opportunities offered in the school for experiences such as visiting marae and contact with the Māori youth worker.

The next step for the school is to extend the ways school leaders gather and respond to the views of Māori students and their parents about:

  • what success as Māori means for them
  • how their aspirations can be included in school targets and documentation.

4 Sustainable Performance

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

The school is suitably placed to sustain and improve its performance. ERO’s findings that support this judgement are as follows.

Governance. The work of the board of trustees is well supported by:

  • long and short-term planning to guide the school towards its vision for future learning
  • clear and well-documented guidelines for trustees in their governance role
  • useful processes for considering reports about what supports learning for students.

The next steps for the board include:

  • refining the way student-achievement targets are set so there is a greater focus on identifying and supporting students who need to make accelerated progress
  • strengthening the focus on evaluation of impact when reviewing initiatives to improve students’ wellbeing or achievement
  • clarifying how evidence from a wider variety of sources contributes to self review.

Leadership. The principal has made good use of the first year in her role to take a well-considered approach to planning next steps for school development. She is now well placed to:

  • select priorities for the next stage of school development
  • implement action plans to bring about the desired changes
  • determine expected outcomes so that the success of next steps undertaken can be evaluated
  • evaluate the effectiveness of the senior leadership team
  • make best use of the strengths of the school’s curriculum leaders.

Performance management. Senior leaders have redeveloped the appraisal system so that it is comprehensive and robust. It effectively integrates the teachers’ professional standards and the registered teacher criteria. The next step is for all teachers to ensure that what they do for the appraisal process:

  • is part of their agreed understandings about good teaching practice
  • focuses primarily on improving what happens for students
  • comes from the ongoing gathering of evidence from a range of sources about the impact of their teaching
  • empowers teachers to improve their practice in a sustainable way.

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 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 and well documented.

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

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

12 December 2013

About the School

Location

Te Anau, Fiordland

Ministry of Education profile number

400

School type

Secondary (Years 7 to 13)

School roll

200

Number of international students

3

Gender composition

Male: 55%

Female: 45%

Ethnic composition

NZ/Pākehā

Māori

Asian

Other

76%

8%

6%

10%

Special Features

Provider of technology curriculum for a local primary school

Review team on site

September 2013

Date of this report

12 December 2013

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Supplementary Review

Supplementary Review

August 2010

June 2008

December 2006