Albany Senior High School

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Education institution number:
563
School type:
Secondary (Year 11-15)
School gender:
Co-Educational
Definition:
Not Applicable
Total roll:
819
Telephone:
Address:

536 Albany Highway, Albany, Auckland

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School Context

Albany Senior High School is a large suburban school that provides education for nearly 800 students in Years 11 to 13. The roll (which is growing) comprises a small proportion of Māori and Pacific students. The school recently celebrated its 10th year anniversary.

The school’s vision is to “Nurture, Inspire, Empower” students to achieve highly and be good citizens. The school aims to be future-focused and innovative, providing students with learning that is visible, deep and inclusive. The vision and aims are aptly captured in the school’s words, “It’s not if you are bright, it’s how you are bright”.

Students benefit from learning in purpose-built learning environments that are innovative and well designed.

Albany Senior High School’s achievement targets focus on increasing the quality of achievement through improved endorsed certificates in the National Certificate in Educational Achievement (NCEA).

In 2018, a new principal was appointed. There is also a new board of trustees governing the school comprised of both new and experienced members.

Leaders and teachers regularly report to the board schoolwide information about outcomes for students in the following areas:

  • NCEA achievement for all students and groups of students (Māori, Pacific, students with additional needs)
  • achievement in impact projects
  • progress and achievement against school targets
  • outcomes for engagement/wellbeing
  • destination data for students leaving school.

The school is a member of the Kāhui Ako | Community of Learning (COL) – Whānau ki te Ako. Its Achievement Challenge targets include improvement in NCEA Levels 1-3.

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?

Teachers have a relentless focus on achieving equitable and excellent outcomes for all students. Most students achieve NCEA at the relevant year level. In 2018 there were high levels of achievement in NCEA literacy and mathematics with endorsements. School data indicate an increasing number of students are on track to achieve NCEA and endorsements in 2019.

A number of Māori students achieve merit and excellence endorsements in NCEA.

It is evident that the valued outcomes of the school, including competencies such as self-management, communication, collaboration and problem solving, are achieved by many students.

The school’s emphasis on inclusion promotes a learning culture that scaffolds and supports student success. Established strategies that successfully support equity within the school include:

  • early identification of students with additional needs

  • close monitoring of students’ achievement

  • differentiating and adapting the curriculum

  • flexible assessment processes

  • collaboration with parents/whānau.

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

There is increasing parity for Māori and Pacific students in NCEA achievement, particularly in endorsements when compared to the non-Maori cohort.

School data indicate good evidence of accelerated learning progress for some students.

Acceleration of learning is well supported by school conditions that focus on effective learning through:

  • a student-centred, responsive curriculum that encourages student leadership and agency

  • an increasingly culturally responsive curriculum that promotes te ao Māori

  • an inclusive and supportive school culture

  • recognition of the importance of valued learning outcomes such as social skills, critical thinking and creativity.

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?

The school processes and practices that effectively promote and support equity and excellence include a responsive curriculum, strong educational leadership, collaboration and professional capability building, and focused and strategic evaluation and decision-making.

Students experience a rich, broad and relevant curriculum that challenges their critical thinking and creativity. The school’s integrated approach to learning means that the curriculum is connected and coherent and promotes students’ depth of learning.

The curriculum is inclusive and designed to inspire and empower students. Students experience interactive learning in class and through Impact Projects, Education Outside the Classroom (EOTC) and work experience.

There are frequent opportunities for students to develop leadership and grow their social skills, particularly communication and collaboration. Students have a direct and positive influence on shaping the school’s curriculum and learning environments.

A key feature of the curriculum is the focus on personalised project learning. These projects create authentic and relevant learning opportunities which challenge and build students’ deep learning, lateral thinking and problem solving. Student-centred learning with significant student agency and choice, leverages off student interest nurturing their engagement in learning.

Students and the local community benefit from learning that often has an expectation of social relevance, action and connection. Students frequently achieve valued outcomes that promote lifelong learning and attitudes of responsibility, altruism, and persistence. Because they take responsibility for their learning, students also experience good opportunities to develop self-management skills, confidence and resilience.

The curriculum is becoming increasingly culturally responsive with kapa haka, powhiri and te reo Māori. Students are also encouraged to pursue Māori learning contexts in impact projects where relevant.

School leadership is highly effective in promoting and enacting the school’s vision to nurture, inspire and empower students. Leaders are strongly committed to equity, excellence and inclusion. They build relational trust with students, teachers and the community, and promote leadership that is distributed and collaborative. They are continuing to build teacher and middle leader capability.

Some school leaders are influential leaders in national and learning area networks driving improvement in curriculum design and review. Coherent organisational structures and systems also promote a strong belief in students’ potential to grow through leadership. Students are encouraged to contribute and be involved as leaders.

Teachers work in open and collaborative ways that promote reflection and drive improvement in teaching both schoolwide and within learning areas. Teachers are committed to developing professionally and are open to learning and willing to innovate to improve students’ success. Appraisal processes support teachers’ reflection, responsiveness and adaptative practices well. Opportunities for teachers to undertake further professional learning and educational leadership are well supported by management and the board of trustees.

Internal evaluation is multi-layered and promotes reflection and responsive improvement in key areas of the school’s operations and curriculum. The board and school leaders’ decisions are well informed, strategic and considered. Well-coordinated and coherent systems and processes mean that decisions can be implemented flexibly and innovatively to support students and create a positive culture of learning.

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

Senior leaders have identified relevant areas for further school improvement. They will:

  • enhance and enrich students’ access to, challenge and engagement in learning to promote achievement

  • continue growing the effectiveness of middle leadership to guide and support innovation for student success.

Provision for international students

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

At the time of this review there were 20 international students attending the school.

International students are integrated well into the school community. They benefit from high quality pastoral care and education. Their progress and achievement are well monitored and reported to the board of trustees.

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 Children’s Act 2014.

4 ERO’s Overall Judgement

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

ERO’s Framework: Overall School Performance is available on ERO’s website.

5 Going forward

Key strengths of the school

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

  • a responsive and dynamic curriculum
  • strong, distributed and collaborative leadership
  • a professionally capable and committed teaching staff and culture.

Next steps

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

  • enhance and enrich students’ access to, challenge and engagement in learning to promote achievement

  • grow the effectiveness of middle leadership to guide and support innovation for student success.

Steve Tanner

Director Review and Improvement Services Northern

Northern Region

31 October 2019

About the school

Location

Albany, Auckland

Ministry of Education profile number

563

School type

Secondary (Years 11-15)

School roll

863

Gender composition

Girls 54% Boys 46%

Ethnic composition

Māori 4%
NZ European/Pākehā 65%
South African 10%
Korean 7%
Chinese 10%
other ethnic groups 4%

Students with Ongoing Resourcing Funding (ORS)

Yes

Provision of Māori medium education

No

Review team on site

August 2019

Date of this report

31 October 2019

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review December 2014
Education Review August 2011

Findings

Albany Senior High School is a high performing and innovative school for students in Years 11 to 13. High levels of student engagement, achievement and success are evident. The school is well led and ongoing improvements continue to contribute to the school’s inclusive and personalised approach to promoting student learning.

ERO is likely to carry out the next review in four-to-five years.

1 Context

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

Albany Senior High school caters for students in Years 11 to 15. The school opened six years ago and aims to remain a new school through continual development based on high quality and current educational research.

The school nurtures, inspires and empowers students. It has a highly innovative curriculum designed for students and with students. The well designed, purpose-built facilities and open spaces encourage learning that is co-operative and collaborative.

High expectations for student achievement and success underpin a strong school culture of inclusion and respect. Bicultural practices and values are interwoven with the school’s philosophy. Partnerships with other culturally diverse schools enhance students’ bicultural understanding.

The school is regularly visited by a wide variety of educational leaders and organisations. School leaders are prominent in educational communities, both locally and internationally. Staff are regularly engaged in high quality and meaningful professional development based on current educational research and change management theory.

The school's professional inquiry model supports teachers to reflect on the quality of their teaching and developing learning partnerships with students. Student input is highly valued and responded to by educators who are focussed on having meaningful conversations with students.

2 Learning

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

The school continues to review and develop the use of achievement information and is continuing to review and develop its systems to make positive changes to student learning. Achievement information is robust and reliable. School leaders have effective and sustainable systems to monitor and support student achievement.

Students are highly engaged as leaders of their own learning and collaborate effectively with other students. Achievement information is thoughtfully shared with families to promote a sense of partnership in learning. In depth three-way conferences offer students meaningful opportunities to talk with families about their learning and next steps.

In National Certificates of Educational Achievement (NCEA), high achievement is very evident and has increased over time. Many students achieve well above local, regional and national levels. The increase in the quality of achievement at merit and excellence levels is also to be commended.

Māori students achieve well and some reach high levels of success. The school’s focus on knowing the learner, using student input, and working in partnership with whānau provides a useful foundation for further extending the success of Māori students.

While the school has small number of Pacific students, they are well supported to experience very positive outcomes. They achieve high levels of achievement and are closely monitored in school tracking processes.

The school continues to attract students with additional learning requirements or preferences. The school effectively supports these students and those who have higher learning needs. Individualised approaches are evident and provided by dedicated and skilled teachers.

To sustain school success, the board could further develop their self review and also receive more regular, evaluative reports on:

  • the success of interventions and resourcing for students with additional learning requirements
  • patterns and trends of student achievement, for specific groups over time.

3 Curriculum

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

The school curriculum is highly effective in promoting and supporting student learning. The curriculum is well aligned to the vision, values and key competencies of The New Zealand Curriculum (NZC). It is original and flexible, successfully meeting individual student learning needs.

The well considered curriculum design includes tutorials, specialist subjects and impact projects. An innovative timetable allows students to be mentored by skilled teachers. Teachers work respectfully and collaboratively with students. They support individualised and personalised learning pathways very well. Positive relationships and a future focus are evident in student-teacher interactions.

High quality teaching in a wide range of specialist subjects thoughtfully engages students. Specialised programmes and career education is high quality and responsive to students needs.

Impact projects are personalised and based on student choice. Students report that impact projects offer a way to succeed and allow them to be assertive while managing a wide range of ideas and perspectives. Students also value projects because they encourage deep thinking in a creative and relevant context. Many projects demonstrate a strong sense of community service and social good.

Refinements to tutorial processes have clearly strengthened students’ self management and thinking skills. Students are confident and capable learners who demonstrate a strong sense of belonging in the school and motivation in their learning.

Effective business, community and educational partnerships are highly evident. Transition to the school is strengthening through building partnerships with local schools.

A significant area of success is the school’s approach to promoting teachers’ self review. Teachers thoughtfully evaluate the impact of their decision making and the quality of student learning. School leaders recognise that annual performance management processes must include the teaching professional standards.

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

The school has a strong commitment to improving educational outcomes for Māori students. The school’s physical design and its culture are clearly aligned to the values of whanaungatanga and manaakitanga. As part of the charter review, these values could be made more explicit to all students so that they deepen their understanding of biculturalism.

Individual Māori students are well known and supported by leaders and teachers. Impact projects offer authentic opportunities for Māori students to better connect their learning with their cultural heritage.

The school is developing useful relationships with a variety of schools where there are higher numbers of Māori students. Information gathered from Māori students’ about their ideas and aspirations should provide further insights into ways that their sense of identity and belonging.

Leaders are increasing teachers’ understanding of te ao Māori through regular and purposeful professional development. Teachers are beginning to use Ministry of Education self review tools to evaluate how well they promote Māori success. These tools are likely to contribute positively to the bicultural perspectives teachers bring to their practice.

4 Sustainable Performance

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

The school is a high performing student-centred learning organisation that is well placed to sustain and improve its performance. Self review is used effectively to increase the quality of outcomes for students and to ensure continual improvement for those traditionally underserved in education.

The school is well led by an effective leadership team. Several new team members, promoted from within the school, are developing their leadership and personnel management skills. New leaders are mentored by highly skilled senior leaders. The school continues to make very good use of research and educational networks to inform school development.

Since ERO’s 2011 review, several trustees are new to the board. Trustees demonstrate a high level of commitment to the school’s mission and vision. They are continuing to develop an understanding of their roles and responsibilities and have made good use of training.

The board has identified and begun to plan for a charter and strategic plan review. This review should help to sustain the school’s vision and high levels of success. Increasing consultation with the community is appropriate and has been planned for.

ERO recommends that the school now seek to further develop the quality of documented evaluative reporting to promote ongoing and sustainable improvements. This development could include more frequent reports to provide assurance on the quality of student and staff wellbeing.

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 were 11 international students attending the school.

The school continues to offer very good quality care and education for international students. Students are well integrated into the life of the school. Ongoing review is used to improve social, academic and wellbeing outcomes for these students. It would be useful for an evaluation of these outcomes to be better documented and reported to the board.

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.

To improve and strengthen current practice, the board of trustees should:

  • ensure all senior leaders are appraised annually and performance management for teachers includes the professional standards
  • receive regular reports on student wellbeing and transitioning processes, trends and patterns in student attendance data, and staff wellbeing.

Conclusion

Albany Senior High School is a high performing and innovative school for students in Years 11 to 13. High levels of student engagement, achievement and success are evident. The school is well led and ongoing improvements continue to contribute to the school’s inclusive and personalised approach to promoting student learning.

ERO is likely to carry out the next review in four-to-five years.

Dale Bailey

National Manager Review Services

Northern Region

5 December 2014

About the School

Location

Albany, Auckland

Ministry of Education profile number

563

School type

Secondary (Years 11 to 15)

School roll

718

Number of international students

11

Gender composition

Girls 54% Boys 46%

Ethnic composition

Māori

NZ European/ Pākehā

South African

Korean

Chinese

Indian

other European

other

8%

55%

7%

6%

5%

2%

10%

7%

Review team on site

August 2014

Date of this report

5 December 2014

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review 

August 2011