Bay of Islands College

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Education institution number:
8
School type:
Secondary (Year 9-15)
School gender:
Co-Educational
Definition:
Not Applicable
Total roll:
378
Telephone:
Address:

1-9 Derrick Road, Kawakawa

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Findings

Bay of Islands College has sound governance and very effective leadership that is strongly focused on promoting student learning. The curriculum is increasingly responsive to student strengths and interests. Strategic planning, and partnerships with whānau and the community are supporting increasing success for students’ learning and academic achievement.

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?

Bay of Islands College caters for students from Year 9 to 13. The majority of students are Māori who have whakapapa ties to the local hapu, iwi and marae of Ngāpuhi. The school’s Te Reo Rua bilingual unit offers education in a Māori medium setting.

There has been a significant commitment and effort made by school leaders to build relationships with parents, whānau, contributing primary schools and the local community. This has led to a continuing increase in community confidence in the leadership and strategic direction of the school. The school and community have developed a school vision, ‘Kōkiri Ngātahi - Moving forward together to achieve successful educational aspirations’. The vision appropriately challenges students to be responsible, respectful and to achieve their potential.

ERO’s 2014 report noted that the new principal was successfully restoring a settled and inclusive school culture. A community forum, Te Roopu Whakakotahi, was helping to reunify the school and community. Increased opportunities for parents, whānau and the community to be involved in developing the school’s charter, vision and values had created a sense of shared ownership in the school. Staff morale had significantly improved. These positive features have been maintained and strengthened. The board of trustees and senior leaders have addressed the recommendations in the ERO report.

The college is part of the Peowhairangi Community of Learning|Kāhui Ako (CoL), comprising seven schools and three early childhood services in the Bay of Islands. The overall goal of the CoL is to improve the quality of teaching and learning, and to strengthen learning-focused partnerships and personalised pathways to support and accelerate student progress.

2 Learning

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

The school is using achievement information increasingly well to make positive changes to learners’ engagement, progress and achievement.

Senior leaders and teachers collect a wide range of achievement information that is shared with trustees, staff, students and whānau. This information is used to set school priorities and achievement targets, and to design curriculum programmes. It is also used for the early identification of students at risk of not achieving, and as a basis for planning additional learning support.

Over the past three years at the college, student achievement in the National Certificates of Educational Achievement (NCEA) at Level 1 has averaged 57 percent, and 75 percent in Level 2, and 50 percent in Level 3. Raising achievement in NCEA Levels 3 and University Entrance continues to be a challenge. The school’s strategic plan prioritises these areas. A continuing focus for the school is to increase the number of endorsements.

Leaders acknowledge that achievement targets could be more specific for particular groups of students whose progress needs to be accelerated. The school is currently embedding strategies to improve literacy and numeracy achievement in Years 9 and 10. Leaders anticipate that this would form a good foundation for considerable improvement in NCEA achievement in the future.

Changes have been made to school systems and structures to support closer monitoring of student data by academic counsellors, deans and classroom teachers. There is now greater staff responsibility to improve student achievement and to provide a stronger support network for students. Achievement data are used to track student progress towards school-wide and faculty targets. Data are also used to modify learning programmes in response to students’ strengths, interests, needs and aspirations.

School information shows that higher numbers of students are gaining success through career training and meaningful employment. The school is working on different approaches to improve attendance rates across all year levels, in order to lift student achievement.

3 Curriculum

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

The Bay of Islands College curriculum strongly reflects the intentions and key competencies of The New Zealand curriculum (NZC). The school manages the constraints of its small size well to provide a broad curriculum for its students. Vocational Pathways, the use of digital technologies, and distance learning help the school to provide a broad programme. A range of Education outside the Classroom (EOTC), sports and cultural activities enrich the curriculum offered.

Biculturalism is embedded in the curriculum and reflected in school life. Te Reo Rua provides high quality learning for students with a strong focus on culturally responsive teaching and learning practices. Learning experiences that reflect the bicultural heritage of Aotearoa New Zealand are valued and increasingly visible in the curriculum for all students.

Positive and affirming relationships underpin learning interactions between students and teachers. Faculty heads and teachers explore ways to make their curriculum and students’ learning meaningful and relevant. Good progress has been made in differentiating learning programmes and personalising learning.

School leaders and teachers are committed to ongoing improvement. Professional learning and development is strategically aligned to school priorities. Teachers’ sustained involvement in Kia Eke Panuku has strengthened culturally responsive teaching practices.

ERO recommends that school leaders build teachers’ digital capability to enhance learning opportunities for students, and together with teachers continue their focus on strengthening literacy across the curriculum.

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

The school is highly effective in valuing and affirming Māori students’ identity, language and culture. Bicultural practices are an integrated part of the curriculum across the school.

Te Reo Rua was established in 2012 and currently has over 100 students enrolled in Years 9 to 13. Effective leadership, very good teaching practices and teacher commitment are resulting in high levels of academic achievement, student engagement and leadership in the unit.

The school continues to consider ways, to spread this success across the school for all students through its strategic focus on Kia Eke Panuku.

4 Sustainable Performance

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

The school is well placed to sustain and improve its performance.

The board of trustees provides sound governance for the school. The board has a new chairperson and several new members since the 2014 ERO review. Trustees work well with the principal and school leaders. Strategic and annual planning are informed by purposeful internal evaluation that includes student, whānau and community perspectives.

Highly effective school leadership has driven positive changes in community and school relationships, and in the quality of teaching practices and student engagement in learning. A coherent set of strategies and strong school systems drive school-wide consistency and improvement. These include effective communication, curriculum planning and evaluation, as well as initiatives such as Kia Eke Panuku, restorative justice and improvement-focused teacher appraisal.

Leaders and teachers are highly committed to working with parents, whānau and the community in the best interests of students. Parent and whānau voice is actively sought and used to inform curriculum design and other school decision-making. Connections with iwi agencies, external providers and other expert specialists support students, enrich opportunities and build the collective capacity of school leaders and staff.

Good systems help assure trustees that the school meets its obligations and legal requirements. Senior leaders and trustees agree that a continuing focus on increasing student attendance is a key priority to lift achievement.

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.

Conclusion

Bay of Islands College has sound governance and very effective leadership that is strongly focused on promoting student learning. The curriculum is increasingly responsive to student strengths and interests. Strategic planning, and partnerships with whānau and the community are supporting increasing success for students’ learning and academic achievement.

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

Violet Tu'uga Stevenson

Deputy Chief Review Officer Northern (Acting)

30 June 2017

About the School 

Location

Kawakawa, Bay of Islands

Ministry of Education profile number

8

School type

Secondary (Years 9 to 15)

School roll

348

Gender composition

Boys 51% Girls 49%

Ethnic composition

Māori
Pākehā
other

90%
7%
3%

Special Features

Te Reo Rua Bilingual Unit

Review team on site

May 2017

Date of this report

30 June 2017

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review
Education Review
Education Review

March 2014
December 2012
December 2009

 

1 Background and Context

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

Bay of Islands College, in the Kawakawa Valley, caters for students in Years 9 to 13. The majority of students at the school are Māori, who affiliate largely with Ngāti Hine and fifteen other hapū. There is a strong history of Māori community presence and support for the school. This strong connection has enhanced Māori students’ pride in their language, culture and identity, and has reinforced for students the importance of learning and achieving.

ERO’s 2009 review of Bay of Islands College identified that the school had sustained and improved its performance, particularly in relation to teaching and learning, and student achievement. The acting principal, senior leaders and many teachers were committed to promoting Māori student success. Values and practices of New Zealand’s bicultural heritage were evident throughout the school and were well supported by kaumātua.

In 2010 a new principal started at the school. Within a short period of time, the principal’s relationships with staff, a section of the school’s Māori community, and members of the board of trustees, had deteriorated. Three trustees resigned from the board between 2011 and 2012. At this time, the board of trustees requested support from the Ministry of Education. A Limited Statutory Manager (LSM) was appointed from the start of 2012 to help the board overcome issues, including the quality of the principal’s leadership, low staff morale and limited community involvement in the school.

ERO’s 2012 report for Bay of Islands College identified significant concerns with the principal’s leadership of the school. It noted that the LSM was supporting the board with personnel management, complaints management and community engagement. The report recognised the board’s ongoing commitment to governing the school effectively under difficult circumstances, and the staff dedication to promoting student learning and improving student achievement.

As the level of conflict in the school was impeding progress at many levels, ERO recommended that the board seek support from the Ministry of Education to increase the level of intervention in the school. In addition, an arotake paetawhiti (AP) review was initiated by ERO. The purpose of this review was to support the school by providing an ongoing evaluation of the extent to which concerns were being addressed.

In April 2013 the principal was dismissed following performance management steps taken by the LSM. A new principal was appointed in September 2013 after operating in an acting principal capacity since April. The Ministry of Education revoked the LSM in October 2013, being confident in the board’s capacity to govern the school effectively.

In December 2013, ERO brought its AP review to a close with a concluding visit to the school. Information gathered during this visit, together with evidence collected through its contact with the school since December 2012, has been used to evaluate progress made by the school over the last year. ERO’s findings are outlined in the following sections of this report.

2 Review and Development

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

Priorities identified for review and development

ERO’s 2012 report identified the need for the school to improve its performance, with a particular focus on:

  • improving the principal’s professional leadership
  • re-establishing a meaningful partnership with the runanga and longstanding school kāumatua
  • promoting robust, wider community involvement in the development of the school’s charter, vision and values
  • ensuring sound and prudent governance practices and decision making
  • developing high quality self review clearly linked to improving outcomes for students
  • improving the analysis, use and reporting of school-wide achievement data for students in Years 9 and 10.
Progress

Since April 2013, the school has made good progress in a number of areas identified for review and development. The newly appointed principal is having a positive influence on restoring a settled and inclusive school culture. Staff report that the school has a more positive tone, and that staff morale has significantly improved. They remain committed to promoting positive learning outcomes for students.

Teachers have good access to a number of professional learning programmes. They are continuing to promote opportunities for students to be involved in and understand their own learning, progress and achievement. There is also a more consistent school-wide approach to the way achievement information for students in Years 9 and 10 is collated, analysed and used.

Senior leaders have reviewed and modified the school’s approach to managing student behaviour, promoting a more positive system and with the aim of reducing the high stand down rate. The principal and school leaders plan to restore Te Kotahitanga, the teacher professional learning initiative designed to promote Māori student success. They also plan to more formally promote restorative practices throughout the school. The board, leaders and staff expect that these initiatives, combined with stronger whānau partnerships and improved curriculum opportunities, would engage students more in learning, and reduce behavioural issues.

The leadership team is a new extended group consisting of the principal, two senior leaders and two senior members of teaching staff. The principal appreciates the different strengths and skills of the team and values the diverse thinking that the extended team structure promotes. The team is supportive of the new principal and is continuing to establish productive working relationships.

A significant area of progress is the reconnection of kaumātua and kuia to the school. A community forum, Te Roopu Whakakotahi, with combined school and community leadership, was established soon after the new principal arrived at the school. This group is reunifying the school and community, providing a significant place for Māori elders and others to contribute to decision making at a strategic level. The board and principal are in the initial phase of consulting with Te Roopu Whakakotahi to develop a shared ownership of the school’s charter, vision and values.

The principal is responsive to the community’s desire for the college to be more connected with the wider Bay of Islands community. In partnership with long-serving staff, he has reconnected the school with local community events, and visited local marae and contributing schools. He is also networking with local business organisations to promote student learning opportunities and experiences.

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 well placed to sustain and continue improvements and to review its own performance. The following areas of progress are pivotal in the school‘s ability to sustain improvements.

The board of trustees is representative of its community, and has a good mix of newer and more experienced board members. Trustees valued the LSM’s support and guidance in their appointment of the new principal. They are continuing to strengthen their understanding of their governance roles and responsibilities.

The senior leadership team is improving its systems and processes for self review. They have a clear structure for undertaking planned reviews, and in the past year have reviewed and modified the school’s timetable structure and behaviour management system. Self review increasingly includes student and staff consultation.

Improved relationships within the school and between the school and its communities are a significant factor in the school sustaining its performance. All parties express their strong willingness to work in partnership to sustain and promote ongoing improvements for students.

Key areas for further development

Key next steps for the school include:

  • continuing the process of consulting with parents, whānau, staff, students, and the wider community to develop the school’s charter, vision and values
  • school leaders providing clear, unified and decisive leadership to promote the shared vision for the school
  • clearly aligning the school’s professional learning and development programme with the school’s strategic direction
  • reviewing and documenting the school’s policy and procedures for staff and principal appointments
  • continuing to explore ways to further engage students in learning, and reduce stand-down and suspension rates.

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.

Dale Bailey
National Manager Review Services
Northern Region

About the School

Location

Kawakawa Valley, Northland

Ministry of Education profile number

8

School type

Secondary (Years 9 to 13)

School roll

371

Gender composition

Girls       54%
Boys      46%

Ethnic composition

Maori
NZ European/ Pākehā
Pacific
other

87%
10%
  2%
  1%

Review team on site

December 2013

Date of this report

7 March 2014

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review
Education Review
Education Review

December 2012
December 2009
August 2006