Albany Junior High School

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Education institution number:
6948
School type:
Secondary (Year 7-10)
School gender:
Co-Educational
Definition:
Restricted Composite (Year 7-10)
Total roll:
1170
Telephone:
Address:

Appleby Road, Albany, Auckland

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School Context

Albany Junior High School is a large suburban school that provides education for over 1300 students in Years 7 to 10. The school is culturally diverse. An enrolment zone is in place to assist the board to manage considerable roll growth.

Satellite classes attached to Wilson School also operate within the school.

The school mission statement aspires to empower students to “excel in a fast-moving world”. The school’s valued outcomes are to develop learners who are ‘literate, numerate, curious and happy’.

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

  • achievement in literacy and numeracy
  • achievement in science, social sciences and health & physical education
  • participation and success in academic, sporting and cultural events.

Three new appointments have been made to the senior leadership team in the last 18 months.

The school is a member of the Whānau ki te Ako Kahui Ako | Community of Learning (COL).

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?

Albany Junior High School continues to work towards achieving equitable and excellent outcomes for all students.

The school’s 2018 achievement information indicates that:

  • most Years 7 and 8 students achieve at or above expected curriculum levels in reading and mathematics

  • the majority of Years 7 and 8 students achieve at or above the expected level in writing

  • most Years 9 and 10 students achieve at or above expected curriculum level in English

  • the majority of Years 9 and 10 students achieve at or above the expected level in mathematics.

Māori and Pacific student achievement is slightly below that of other groups of students. This disparity is evident in English and mathematics. Girls generally achieve higher than boys in literacy. Disparity is evident for Years 7 and 8 boys in writing and for Years 9 and 10 boys in English.

The majority of students achieve at or above expected curriculum levels in science and social sciences.

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

The school continues to find ways to accelerate learning for those Māori and other students who need this. School achievement data for 2019 indicate that many students are making accelerated progress in mathematics.

Students with additional learning needs are supported to experience success through inclusive class programmes, the provision of specialist teaching programmes, and the support of external agencies.

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?

Leaders emphasise the importance of relationships and work collaboratively to build a positive school spirit and ethos with students, staff and the community. A committed focus on te reo Māori me ōna tikanga is evident. The whole school involvement in pōwhiri, well led by the kapa haka, contributes significantly to the positive school spirit.

A culture of care and student wellbeing are recognised and promoted as necessary foundations for learning success. The school whānau system enables leaders and teachers to know and understand students’ strengths, skills and needs and provides for close monitoring of pastoral care and wellbeing.

Senior leaders are improving assessment systems and processes. They have recently begun displaying data to better identify and track individual students who need to make accelerated progress. This enables senior leaders to increase their focus on relevant data, identify the necessary actions and closely monitor the rate and sufficiency of progress for these students.

This meaningful achievement information is being updated regularly by the leadership team. Once this initiative is being used by all teachers, it should further assist the school to accelerate the learning of all students who need this.

Since late 2018 a data specialist has collated and aggregated student achievement information. This collation is now enabling senior leaders to strengthen the use of whole school aggregated data to examine and scrutinise achievement trends and patterns.

The experienced principal has accessed relevant professional development for the new senior leadership team and teachers. He now plans to review leadership team roles and schoolwide responsibilities to embed the school vision and achieve greater consistency of classroom practice schoolwide.

The responsive, future-focused curriculum continues to be reviewed and evolves to meet the interests, strengths and needs of students. Informed by research and community consultation, senior leaders have several new curriculum initiatives planned for 2020 and beyond. These initiatives are designed to increase opportunities for project-based learning and embedding the school’s learning progressions and assessment framework.

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

The school’s next challenge is to ensure that there are more equitable outcomes for all students. The school is well placed to evaluate the effectiveness of new initiatives. The principal’s 2018 analysis and evaluation of the student survey is a very sound model for internal evaluation. This approach and model could be used to evaluate the effectiveness of recent initiatives designed to achieve greater equity and excellence for all students.

Deeper analysis and interrogation of aggregated school achievement trends is needed. This should enable the school to rigorously evaluate the effectiveness of initiatives and interventions aimed at reducing ongoing in-school disparity between groups of students. This information should better inform the board about the effect of their allocation of resources to accelerate student progress and achieve equitable outcomes for all students.

3 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 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 64 international students attending the school. International students are well integrated into the school community and benefit from the school’s educational programmes and pastoral support. Leaders and teachers monitor the progress and wellbeing of these students.

4 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.

5 ERO’s Overall Judgement

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

ERO’s Framework: Overall Findings and Judgement Tool derived from School Evaluation Indicators: Effective Practice for Improvement and Learner Success is available on ERO’s website.

6 Going forward

Key strengths of the school

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

  • a collaborative school culture and a responsive learning community that is open to new learning
  • opportunities for students to experience a future focused and broad curriculum including education outside the classroom
  • a learning environment that values inclusion, diversity and wellbeing.

Next steps

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

  • embedding the vision - further clarifying and developing teachers’ shared understandings about schoolwide expectations for classroom practice
  • continuing to build the school’s collective evaluation capacity to accelerate learning and achieve equitable and excellent outcomes for all groups of students
  • reviewing schoolwide leadership responsibilities to strengthen the focus on strategic oversight and direction for improvement.

Areas for improved compliance practice

To improve current practice, the board of trustees should:

  • receive evaluative reports from leaders on student stand down trends and how the school is working to reduce these trends.

Steve Tanner

Director Review and Improvement Services Northern

Northern Region

7 February 2020

About the school

Location

Albany, Auckland

Ministry of Education profile number

6948

School type

Secondary (Years 7 – 10)

School roll

1336

Gender composition

Boys 50% Girls 50%

Ethnic composition

Māori 7%

NZ European/Pākehā 52%

Chinese 9%

South East Asian 5%

Indian 4%

other European 10%

other Asian 8%

other ethnic groups 5%

Students with Ongoing Resourcing Funding (ORS)

Yes

Provision of Māori medium education

No

Review team on site

October 2019

Date of this report

7 February 2020

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review June 2016

Education Review June 2013

Education Review February 2010

Findings

The school provides students with a supportive inclusive environment that promotes learning and good levels of achievement. Teachers are focused on improving student learning outcomes. A new leadership team is leading ongoing school improvement, including a review of the school curriculum to increase its effectiveness in promoting student’s learning.

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

1 Context

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

Albany Junior High School caters for students from Years 7 to 10. It serves an ethnically diverse community. The school has a growing roll with the number of Pākehā, Chinese, Indian and Middle Eastern students increasing. Seven percent identify as Māori.

Through its mission statement the school aspires to empower each learner to excel in a fast moving world. Students report a sense of pride and belonging in their school and they appreciate the school’s supportive culture.

Since the 2013 ERO review, there have been personnel changes to the school. A new principal was appointed in 2014, and two new leaders are part of a reduced senior leadership team. Structural changes in leadership reflect shared responsibilities across school operations. A number of new heads of faculty have been appointed, including a new head of data and assessment, a head of digital learning and a head of performing arts.

Staff are undertaking a number of professional learning programmes for 2016. Each project is targeted at a different level of the school operations and include leadership and assessment, secondary English language learning, gifted and talented education and accelerating learning in literacy.

ERO’s 2013 report identified recommendations for school improvement and steps have been taken to address these.

2 Learning

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

The school uses achievement information well to make positive changes to learners’ progress and achievement.

The school’s achievement information shows that most students in Years 7 and 8 achieve at and above the National Standards in reading, writing and mathematics. Over the past three years there have been improvements in the percentages of students achieving National Standards. Māori student achievement has also improved, although there is still a disparity with their achievement in writing in Years 9 and 10. Pacific student achievement has declined in in reading and writing at Years 7 and 8, and overall in Years 9 and 10.

The school's achievement information identifies students at risk of not achieving National Standards and is used to set school improvement targets. School leaders are aware of the need to lift the achievement in boys’ writing. School data also shows the need to improve the achievement of Pacific students.

Teachers are identifying valid assessment measures to enable the collation of Year 9 and 10 data and to track student progress and achievement. They are becoming familiar with curriculum levels appropriate to expectations for student achievement. Analysing student achievement information across Years 7 to 10, including ethnic and gender analysis and information about accelerated student progress in learning over time would further enhance decision making and resourcing.

A more cohesive approach to the expectations and use of student achievement information could help teachers plan for students’ learning needs and to guide adjustments to course content and curriculum delivery. This information would also assist teachers to more consistently report student progress across the curriculum and to personalise planning for specific groups of students.

Years 7 and 8 teachers moderate writing achievement as a team and with local schools. The principal agrees that the use of the Progress and Consistency Tool (PaCT) should help teachers moderate their overall judgements on student progress and achievement in reading, writing and mathematics.

Students with special learning needs and abilities are well supported by teachers and support staff. Students benefit from teachers’ in depth knowledge about their learning requirements. School systems and processes and the effective liaison between specialists and other resource personnel supports improved outcomes for these students. An Academic Accelerate class has been introduced to provide for learners needs more specifically. The impacts of programmes and initiatives designed to bring about positive changes for students should be regularly evaluated and reported.

To enhance student learning school leaders could further:

  • build teacher capability to improve the use of assessment data to inform programmes and practice
  • deepen the analysis and evaluation of achievement information at faculty and teacher levels
  • sharpen targets so they have a greater focus on students whose progress needs accelerating and regularly evaluate how well teaching is working for these students.

These developments could assist the school to bring about increased improvement for all students, especially those who need to make accelerated progress.

3 Curriculum

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

Albany Junior High School’s curriculum is currently being reviewed under the direction of the senior leadership team who share curriculum responsibilities. This is to make it more effective in promoting and supporting student learning by providing greater clarity in its purpose and expectations.

Teachers use a variety of teaching approaches and strategies to engage students in their programmes and encourage collaboration, creativity and critical thinking. Good quality relationships are acknowledged as the basis for effective learning. Students talk positively and meaningfully about their learning experiences.

Curriculum improvements have been put in place to broaden the opportunities for students in robotics and digital technology. These are adding more relevant and authentic learning programmes that connect well with students. Mandarin and French have been introduced. Year 9 options have been divided into two semesters to increase a range of learning opportunities for students. Māori themes are evident in teachers’ planning in different curriculum areas and year levels.

A Years 7 to 10 curriculum could reflect a curriculum that responds well to students’ identified strengths, needs, and prior knowledge. Building sound foundations for continuity across Years 7 to 10 curriculum continues to be a priority. Ongoing monitoring systems would support the evaluation on the quality and impact of the curriculum and ensure it is contributing to improved student outcomes.

The school’s whānau system of pastoral care supports students’ learning and wellbeing. The pastoral team is focused on students’ individual needs and welfare. Outside agencies are being appropriately accessed to support school-based provisions. Continuing to evaluate the pastoral data and report outcomes will continue to provide information about student wellbeing and inform future programmes and initiatives.

The school offers a range of co-curricular activities. There are opportunities for students to experience success and build their leadership capability and social competencies. A variety of sporting, cultural and academic events celebrate student success and achievement.

To further enhance the school’s curriculum, school leaders agree they could:

  • document a curriculum that is reflective of The New Zealand Curriculum(NZC), vision, values and principles
  • develop greater coherence between the curriculum and its implementation across the school
  • continue to seek student input into decision making about curriculum provisions and learning pathways.

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

The school is improving its effectiveness to support educational success for Māori as Māori.

Māori students in Year 7 and 8 achieve in literacy and numeracy at levels that are similar to those of their peers. Faculty heads of some curriculum areas identify the need to increase Māori students’ engagement and improve their achievement, particularly in Years 9 and 10.

Strategic staffing appointments provide the leadership and professional support to strengthen Māori students’ language, culture and identity. The school’s kaumatua and designated staff have significant roles in supporting the success of Māori students as Māori through their knowledge and influence in te reo and tikanga Māori.

Albany Junior High School students who are members of the school’s successful and growing kapa haka group report feeling proud to be part of New Zealand’s bi-cultural heritage.They value their journey towards building shared cultural understandings and a sense of whānau.

The board and senior leaders should continue to explore ways to further formalise collaborative partnerships with whānau Māori and create a strategic education plan to provide a more co-ordinated approach to raising success for Māori students. This planning could specify accelerated achievement targets and identify whānau and student aspirations for success as Māori.

This plan could also consider ways of increasing leaders’ and teachers’ culturally responsive practices and formalising ways to action the voice of Māori students to improve their success as Māori.

4 Sustainable Performance

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

Albany Junior High school is well placed to sustain and improve its performance.

The leadership team has the capability to work collaboratively and productively together. Each senior leader brings a different skill set to strengthen and build leadership capacity. They are creating the conditions that support the school’s vision, “Empower to excel in a fast moving world’.

New initiatives include a range of expectations for teachers to implement new frameworks and access a number of professional learning programmes. Appropriate teacher registration processes are in place for 2016. A more effective use of the appraisal process should enhance the professional capability of leaders, middle managers and teachers.

Recent school surveys reflect students,’ staff and the community voice. These help provide useful feedback in terms of change management and school culture. Focus groups and ‘Parent Chat’ groups support communication and have the potential to strengthen partnerships with the school community.

The board and principal agree improvement is needed in school practices to ensure all school policies and or procedures meet all legislative requirements.

While developing school capability and sustainability the board and school leaders should consider:

  • using change management practices that encourage greater levels of partnership and shared ownership of the new school direction
  • evaluation being used at all levels in the school for effective future planning.

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 43 international students attending the school.

The school has attested that it complies with all aspects of the Code. Good systems are followed to review the provision for international students.

Services for international students are very well managed by staff who bring a cultural awareness and language capability to respond appropriately to the needs of international students.

The education, involvement and integration of international students in the school and community are closely monitored, reviewed and improved in an ongoing way. High quality pastoral care, together with academic, arts and sporting programmes enable international students to be successful across a variety of learning opportunities.

Compliance with the Code, information about student achievement and other educational outcomes for international students should be 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 current practice, the board of trustees should:

  • update the staff appointments policy and appraisal policy with some urgency
  • update the curriculum policy
  • review and update the ETOC policy to ensure EOTC guidelines are followed.

Conclusion

The school provides students with a supportive inclusive environment that promotes learning and good levels of achievement. Teachers are focused on improving student learning outcomes. A new leadership team is leading ongoing school improvement, including a review of the school curriculum to increase its effectiveness in promoting student’s learning.

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

Graham Randell

Deputy Chief Review Officer Northern

29 June 2016

About the School

Location

Albany, Auckland

Ministry of Education profile number

6948

School type

Secondary (Years 7 to 10)

School roll

1152

Number of international students

43

Gender composition

Boys 50% Girls 50%

Ethnic composition

Māori

Pākeha

Chinese

Indian

South East Asian

Pacific

Middle Eastern

other European

other Asian

other

7%

57%

7%

4%

3%

2%

1%

9%

8%

2%

Special Features

Wilson school satellite unit

Review team on site

April 2016

Date of this report

29 June 2016

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

June 2013

February 2010

February 2007