Wainuiomata High School

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Findings

On the basis of the findings of this review, ERO ‘s overall evaluation judgement of Wainuiomata High School’s performance in achieving valued outcomes for its students is: Developing.

1 Background and Context

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

Wainuiomata High School is a medium sized, co-educational Years 9 to 13 secondary school located in the greater Wellington region. Most of the students live locally and many are of Māori and Pacific nation heritage. The school provides English and Māori medium educational opportunities.

The ERO 2017 report highlighted ongoing difficulties the school was experiencing to promote equity and excellence and improve learner outcomes. As this was the second longitudinal review for the school, the Limited Statutory Manager (LSM), appointed in 2015, remained in place.

However, since 2017, several significant changes have occurred including the appointment of a new, first-time principal, recruited from within the school. The school progressed work to design and develop a new curriculum approach, based on research and deep consideration of the intent of The New Zealand Curriculum (NZC) vision and values, in alignment with school’s aspirations and values. In 2018, the Ministry of Education (the Ministry) revoked the LSM and full powers returned to the board.

The new principal appointed senior leaders and developed leadership roles to support Māori and Pacific learners and to connect with whānau. School leaders, working closely with staff, used external expertise and support to implement the new curriculum and to make changes to better support student wellbeing and learning.

Significant staff changes occurred over the past three years has now stabilised for 2021. The board continues to experience changes in representatives which poses an ongoing challenge for sustainable practices. Trustees support a strong kaupapa and commitment to Māori medium and bilingual educational pathways alongside an increasing focus on student achievement outcomes.

A $42 million dollar property redevelopment and rebuild across most of the school is beginning in 2021. This is a major development for the school and due to last for at least four years. The design reflects the new curriculum approach within attractive modern learning facilities.

In 2019, ERO met with the school to monitor their progress. Since 2020, ERO has worked closely with senior leaders, developing an evaluation partnership. In late 2020, ERO began the conclusion to the longitudinal evaluation which was completed in February 2021.

Throughout the evaluation, ERO has met with students, school leaders, including middle and pastoral leaders, trustees, whānau, fono and community members, staff and the local Ministry staff. ERO also completed classroom observations, evaluated key documentation and shared findings with leaders and the school during the process.

2 Review and Development

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

The school is effectively addressing its areas for review and development.

A systematic and student-centred school curriculum is in place. The refinement for consolidation and ongoing improvement phase is underway. To improve learner outcomes, and secure pathways for future success, leaders are continuing to develop the school conditions for learner success and engagement.

Priorities identified for review and development

The agreed priorities included:

  • improving the curriculum, teaching and learning, and promoting effective, culturally responsive teaching that enhances learning, progress and engagement
  • improving learner outcomes by reducing disparity, and achieving equity and excellence for Māori, Pacific and all learners
  • developing effective leadership that provides a coherent, aligned direction, manages change and promotes improved outcomes for students
  • enhancing evaluation, inquiry and knowledge building to support innovation and sustain improvement.
Progress
Curriculum, teaching and learning

The curriculum promotes more effective, culturally responsive teaching practices that enhance student learning and engagement. An innovative curriculum design provides more authentic and meaningful learning opportunities. The three key parts of the curriculum now include:

  • course learning time with subjects grouped together in relevant combinations
  • manaaki time for personal and group pastoral care, career education and pathways support
  • my personal learning day (MPLD) allowing students to work on extended individual projects, access teacher support and build their key competencies.

Work to connect curriculum learning areas into relevant and interesting contexts has been a key success in the school’s approach. The other key areas of curriculum success and progress include:

  • a student-centred approach providing a range of authentic and engaging learning contexts
  • a holistic approach to the curriculum valuing wellbeing for learning as demonstrated through:
    • a revised pastoral care and manaaki teacher system to provide long-term care and connections with students and their whānau
    • the Positive Behaviour for Learning (PB4L) programme, which is moving to tier 2 in 2021, to provide positive guidance and supports for learning
    • the range of individual learning and wellbeing student supports, with thoughtful guidance and counselling provisions
    • teachers increasingly know their students well and responding to their learning interests
  • meaningful opportunities for students to make choices and decisions about their curriculum pathways and courses
  • expanded subject options, and teachers offering a range of courses with student-led problem solving and creative learning activities based on popular student-centred culture
  • shared and integrated curriculum planning particularly evident in the junior curriculum
  • the development of a graduate profile to inform and guide internal school evaluation
  • culturally responsive teaching evaluation tools and resources
  •  learning support systems and processes that respond to students most at risk and:
    • inform teachers about students’ learning requirements and strengths
    • target supports and strategies to enable students to access a broad curriculum
    • are inclusive for students with high needs.

The curriculum is becoming more effective in engaging learners. Rising patterns of attendance during 2020 and also student input highlights students’ connection with and sense of belonging at school. A more settled school environment is visibly supporting engagement in education. There is a well-considered approach to supporting student wellbeing and valuing student voice and contributions.

Te Wharekura provides learning in a te ao Māori and te reo Māori context for students. The commitment to valuing Māoritanga and this growth for Māori and all students includes a newly developed strategic plan. The Māori immersion and bilingual curriculum pathway is developing and is increasingly well resourced by the board.

Māori learners have sufficient access and opportunity to learn in te reo Māori and also move between Māori medium and English medium provisions based on their aspirations. Continuing to extend the confidence and capability of all staff to use te reo is part of the schools’ bicultural strategy moving forward. This strategy is guided by strong leadership.

Teaching is becoming more effective at engaging learners. ERO observed some effective teaching that involved working with learners on their learning goals, offering more individual learning tasks to better meet students’ learning requirements. Teachers are becoming reflective and inquiring into their practice and to use data to inform their decision making.

Other teaching strengths included relational practices as teachers worked and learned alongside students, building collaborative and inclusive learning environments. Teachers who grouped students and used data effectively, tailored their teaching and helped students quickly begin their learning. Lessons were generally well organised and connected to the school values.

In some areas of the school, the learning expectations of junior students should increase. Ensuring adequate challenge in learning activities, providing quality examples and using time cues could help accelerate the learning pace and momentum. Junior students moving from one digital platform to another also requires more intentional induction and support.

Teaching, in some areas, is effectively using digital learning opportunities. Students still require greater autonomy and opportunities to self-manage when they learn. Students’ access to digital devices for learning at home is also important to further facilitate their decision making and support the philosophy behind ‘my personal learning day’ (MPLD) approaches.

The school is now working towards consistency in the use of effective teaching strategies. An annual goal is to formalise and document the school’s effective teaching profile. This should help to systematically improve the overall quality of teaching by clarifying expectations and using rigorous monitoring and evaluation approaches.

Learner outcomes

An increased focus on monitoring learners’ progress is beginning to contribute to improved outcomes. The 2021 annual plan includes specific targets and strategies to further improve achievement.

Years 9 and 10

Schoolwide data in reading and mathematics is collected to show progress and achievement. In 2020, some students below expectation accelerated their learning in reading by making more than one year of progress, particularly in Year 9. Mathematics remains an area for ongoing targeting for similar patterns of success.

School analysis identifies some factors contributing to student progress in the junior school. Interventions have been identified for 2021 to improve achievement. Future analysis should continue to focus more on the progress individual students make and the impact of the curriculum and teaching on this.

The school is continuing to extend the range of assessment tools used in Years 9 and 10 to show progress in key learning areas. Greater tracking of junior students’ goals with Manaaki teachers is a recent strategy to increase students’ progress across a range of learning.

Years 11 to 13

Since 2018, the school has strengthened internal assessment processes for National Certificates of Educational Achievement (NCEA). Student progress is now closely tracked and additional actions identified to support learners. NCEA course changes and ongoing refinements are helping students to balance assessments throughout the year.

NCEA Levels 1 and 3 achievement improved slightly between 2018 and 2020. NCEA results remain below similar schools. Year 13 students gaining University Entrance has declined significantly. In 2020 the gap between females and males reduced. Disparity between ethnic groups remains variable. Small numbers gain excellence or merit endorsed NCEA certificates. Improving NCEA achievement of Māori and other priority groups of students, is an ongoing school priority for targeted actions and reporting.

Learning support systems and processes respond to students most at risk through:

  • informing teachers about students’ learning requirements and strengths
  • providing teachers with literacy strategies
  • being inclusive for students with specific requirements.

To achieve equity and excellence for all learners, students would benefit from a schoolwide focus on writing. This would complement ongoing teacher professional development in literacy. Ensuring literacy strategies are part of the effective teaching profile is essential. These strategies could improve students’ overall progress, achievement and broaden future pathways beyond secondary education.

Leadership

The school is developing effective leadership that provides a coherent, aligned direction and strategy to improve outcomes for learners. School leadership is data-informed and more focused on student outcomes as the school enters a stage of curriculum refinement and consolidation.

Managing the pace of change is now the key priority for leaders. The key areas of leadership progress include:

  • a culture of high expectations and an unrelenting focus on learners at the centre of decision making
  • an increased accountability and improvement focus, and a strong sense of urgency for improvement
  • the growth of new leadership capability, including several new curricula, cultural and pastoral leaders, operating within a collaborative, connected and distributed professional leadership approach
  • a focus on extending teacher capabilities, skills and knowledge to respond effectively to learners through well considered teacher growth and development processes
  • expanded professional learning opportunities, and connections with networks to design, develop and implement the school curriculum
  • improved school organisational and operational systems including data collection, collation, analysis and use to inform change.

Student leadership is an area the school is continuing to develop. Courses such as Māori activism are also promoting leadership, in authentic ways, and in different contexts. The school could now consider the ways junior students have meaningful leadership opportunities, extending on their intermediate school experiences.

Opportunities for staff to lead and contribute are valued and encouraged. Staff are supported to engage in leadership development and take opportunities to share and inquire into their practice. Staff input is gathered regularly and used to inform leadership decisions.

Leadership provides opportunities for the community to engage through whānau hui and fono. There is engagement with, and a commitment to, meeting Māori aspirations. A collective school response to valuing Māori culture, heritage and identity includes building on the knowledge and capability of teachers, leaders and whānau in te ao Māori.

Fono are established, and further opportunities to engage with Pacific families are being extended. Samoan language courses that value and support cultural identity are in place to serve students and their aspirations. Engaging with the Ministry of Education Action Plan for Pacific Education 2020-30 will also help strengthen the school’s response to the key government goals and aspirations and offer valuable consultation opportunities.

Evaluation

The school’s journey over the past three years has successfully relied on building a culture and climate of inquiry and knowledge building to support innovation and improvement. Closer monitoring and inquiry processes are established. Enhancing evaluation to make targeted changes for groups of learners is a key priority.

The key areas of evaluation progress include:

  • the responsiveness of leaders to information as it emerges through change
  • the range of useful data and other information used to base decision making
  • regular monitoring feedback from leaders to middle leaders and staff to inform improvement
  • ongoing student surveys to monitor and inform decision making
  • more purposeful and regular review in curriculum areas and of the key curriculum components such as MPLD Manaaki time.

Strengthening strategic decision making for implementing school initiatives is needed to sustain ongoing improvements. Students would benefit if teacher inquiry and evaluation becomes strongly aligned to student outcomes and to the school’s effective teaching profile. Supporting teachers to regularly consider the impacts of their teaching and how much progress students are making will be key to raising outcomes further.

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 much better placed to improve and review its performance. The school has made considerable progress over the past three years. Sustainability of initiatives and approaches is critical over the next period of time. Retaining skilled staff and managing the pace of change is essential along with consolidating improvements.

Leaders are future focused and made challenging decisions to reset the school’s direction and focus. Leaders have a high level of relational trust with staff.

School leaders and the board have carefully revised and reset the strategic and annual plans to ensure coherent alignment. Student achievement targets are more specific. The board and leaders should continue to develop their targeting, monitoring and reporting cycles.

The board has established a useful new policy framework and supported change well in the school. Trustees improved their level of scrutiny and are becoming more student outcome focused. They are aware that filling current board vacancies is important. This would help ensure complementary expertise and skills to carry out their individual and collective stewardship roles and responsibilities. The significant property development underway will provide a period of additional challenge for the school moving forward. Some assistance from the Ministry of Education, at this critical time, would also help the school to sustain momentum for improvement.

Continuing to expand the connections and messaging with local networks and the wider community is key to the ongoing improvement, school growth and sustainability. Ensuring successful transitions through the Wainuiomata schools’ networks will be critical to grow the roll and provide for the students in the community.

4 Overall key next steps

The key next steps include:

  • improving all student outcomes in NCEA, maximising student success during the school year, and increasing the level of endorsements and University Entrance
  • continuing to consolidate curriculum approaches and manage the pace of change
  • building student leadership and self-management of their learning
  • creating the school effective teaching profile and using this to improve the quality, consistency and impact of teaching on student outcomes
  • further reaching out to the local community, to build understanding of and interest in the developments at the school
  • ensuring board continuity and sustainability by seeking trustees with a range of skills and expertise including human resource management, property and health and safety.

5 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.

6 Other Matters

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 534 of the Education and Training Act 2020.

The school has attested that it complies with all aspects of the Code and has completed an annual review of its implementation. At the time of this review there were 10 international students attending the school, all from Japan and in homestay accommodation.

The school’s internal review process provides reliable information about provision for international students. This information is regularly reported to senior leaders and the board. Changes are made to address any identified issues.

Students’ welfare needs are well met. They receive high quality pastoral care that includes effective orientation, learning and accommodation support and comprehensive monitoring. Students enjoy participation in the inclusive environment and in cultural, sporting and wider community activities.

7 Recommendations

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

ERO recommends that the Ministry of Education:

  • provide support to the school for the Māori medium pathways development
  • support the board in the form of Ministry of Education appointed trustees to help provide continuity of stewardship over time
  • assist the board and school access the Youth Worker in Schools initiative through liaison with other relevant government agencies.

Conclusion

On the basis of the findings of this review, ERO ‘s overall evaluation judgement of Wainuiomata High School’s performance in achieving valued outcomes for its students is: Developing.

ERO will maintain an ongoing evaluation partnership with the school to support leadership and the board until the school moves into the ERO Evaluation for Improvement approach.

Dr Lesley Patterson
Director Review and Improvement Services (Southern)
Southern Region - Te Tai Tini

26 May 2021

About the school

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

Findings

Wainuiomata High School has made some progress in developing sustainable systems that have improved the achievement, engagement and presence of students. However, the school has yet to provide a curriculum and teaching that deliberately promotes equitable and excellent outcomes for all students.

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?

Wainuiomata High School, in the Wainuiomata Valley, provides secondary education for students from Years 9 to 13. The roll of 757 students in 2015 has dropped to 635 at the time of this November 2017 review.

The ERO review of October 2012 found that the quality of provision for students was poor, resulting in low engagement and achievement. Since that review, the school has been involved in an ongoing process of evaluation undertaken by ERO. A report written in 2015 showed that some progress had been made in:

  • National Certificate in Educational Achievement (NCEA) attainment
  • processes to monitor student progress
  • curriculum review
  • development of an appraisal process.

However, ERO identified that the school was yet to sufficiently improve:

  • student achievement at all year levels
  • collection and use of achievement data to gain a clear picture of school effectiveness
  • processes to build the capability of teachers.

In 2015, a Limited Statutory Manager (LSM) was appointed by the Ministry of Education (MoE), to support the board in its stewardship role, with particular oversight of governance and leadership to improve outcomes for students. The LSM remains in this position. The board has continued to govern the school with support from the LSM.

Substantial staff turnover has impacted on change since 2012. The senior leadership team is not settled, with the principal, a deputy and an assistant principal leaving at the end of 2017.

2 Review and Development

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

Priorities identified for review and development

The June 2015 ERO report noted areas for ongoing development or action, to:

  • improve students’ learning, engagement, progress and achievement
  • strengthen governance, leadership and management of change
  • use internal evaluation to prioritise, plan and know about the effectiveness of actions designed to improve outcomes for students and respond to emerging issues
  • provide a safe physical and emotional environment for students
  • ensure MoE planning and reporting requirements are met
  • complete the principal’s appraisal.
Progress

Roll-based data from 2016, shows that for NCEA Levels 1 and 2 achievement has remained similar to previous years and that rates of achievement are below national figures. At NCEA Level 3 improvement has been made, with rates of achievement increasing since the previous review to be above schools of similar decile. Equity of outcomes for Māori and Pacific learners is yet to be achieved.

In 2017, a process has been put in place to better monitor students’ progress towards achieving NCEA qualifications. This process supports trustees, leaders and teachers to:

  • know about the progress of individuals, provide alerts for students who are at risk of not achieving and predict possible outcomes
  • talk with students and their whānau about their progress, to encourage and identify what else may be needed to support them, mainly through a planned process of advice and mentoring (Manaaki time)
  • provide a picture of progress that assists teachers, leaders and trustees to reflect on the effectiveness of curriculum decisions.

The predictive information, collated for 2017 in relation to NCEA, suggests a lift in achievement for Levels 1 to 3. However, the trend of disparity between groups within the school is still evident.

Achievement data for Years 9 and 10 in reading and mathematics is collected using standardised assessment tools. The board receives information at the year’s end to show where the whole year group is achieving compared to national figures. Significant numbers of these students are not at expected curriculum levels in reading and mathematics.

Information reported is not sufficiently clear to show whether students most at risk of not achieving equitable outcomes, are making accelerated progress during Years 9 and 10. A deliberate, detailed response to disparity and low levels of literacy and mathematics achievement in Years 9 and 10 is needed.

Reorganisation of the senior leadership team has strengthened the management of change across the school. New performance agreements have increased the clarity of leadership roles, with outcomes clearly linked to strategic priorities. Opportunities to be leaders of learning have been taken. Building leadership capability and accountability will need to be considered with pending new appointments.

Key curriculum initiatives, introduced to support increased student presence, engagement and achievement are continuing to develop. Pastoral, attendance and achievement information shows these are having a positive impact. Student leaders are confident, articulate and committed to strengthening the school culture. In discussion, they stated that a culture of success has developed in the past four years.

The school’s strategic goals and targets focus on improving equity for Māori and Pacific learners. This clear priority is beginning to align to other systems schoolwide. Further work is needed to develop a coherent, connected approach to achieving the school’s targets. It is time to use available evidence about the quality of teaching to initiate a collaborative, purposeful strategy to transform practice so that teaching consistently promotes learning and success across the school.

Review, reflection and evaluation result in organisational changes to programmes, contexts and procedures. Internal evaluation requires strengthening so that trustees, leaders and teachers can use evidence to know about what works and what needs to change to promote equity and excellence.

A useful appraisal process has been implemented for teachers. In 2017, the principal has not been appraised. The board have addressed issues related to the provision of a safe emotional and physical environment. They have met MoE planning and reporting requirements.

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 not yet in a position to sustain and continue to improve and review its performance. ERO recommends that the school continue to receive the support of the LSM until the staffing of the senior leadership team is settled and the direction, approach and work programme of the team are established.

The new principal, senior leaders, LSM and board should prioritise development in:

  • raising achievement through effective, culturally responsive teaching that promotes learning, progress and engagement
  • leadership that relentlessly focuses on achieving equity and excellence
  • using evaluation, inquiry and knowledge building to sustain improvement and innovation.

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 principal’s appraisal has not been undertaken. The board should:

  • implement policies and procedures for the appraisal of staff.
    [s77c State Sector Act 1988]

4 Recommendations

ERO recommends that the Secretary for Education continue intervention under Part 7A of the Education Act 1989 in order to bring about improvements in:

  • student progress and achievement at all year levels
  • leadership for school organisational conditions and achievement of equity and excellence
  • internal evaluation for knowledge building to inform decision making for future development.

Conclusion

Wainuiomata High School has made some progress in developing sustainable systems that have improved the achievement, engagement and presence of students. However, the school has yet to provide a curriculum and teaching that deliberately promotes equitable and excellent outcomes for all students.

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

Alan Wynyard

Deputy Chief Review Officer Central (Acting)

Te Tai Pokapū - Central Region

29 January 2018

About the School

Location

Wainuiomata

Ministry of Education profile number

478

School type

Secondary (Years 9 to 13)

School roll

635

Number of international students

12

Gender composition

Male 53%, Female 47%

Ethnic composition

Māori
Pākehā
Pacific
Asian
Other ethnic groups

42%
37%
13%
6%
2%

Review team on site

November 2017

Date of this report

29 January 2018

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review
Education Review
Education Review

June 2015
January 2013
August 2009