McAuley High School

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1. Context

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

McAuley High School in Otahuhu continues to provide high quality education for young women. The Mercy Catholic traditions and values are central to the school’s success and create a strong sense of unity, connectedness and wellbeing. The school is very proud of the achievements of past students.

The majority of the students are from various Pacific backgrounds and eight percent are Māori. Many of the staff share the cultural backgrounds and languages of the students. The diversity of the school population is celebrated and serves as a productive resource. There has been significant roll growth since ERO’s 2010 review. Well-considered property development has resulted in modern, purpose-built facilities and digital technologies to support the school’s vision for 21st century learning.

ERO’s 2010 review noted that the school provided high quality education supported by high expectations, highly effective leadership and governance, and strong community engagement. Trustees, school leaders and staff have advanced these positive features at all levels in the school.

2. Learning

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

Student achievement information is used very well. School trustees, leaders and staff have high expectations for all students to achieve and succeed. Well-analysed achievement information is used to set targets and priorities, review the effectiveness of learning programmes, develop meaningful pathways for learners and maintain high levels of student achievement.

Students are supported to become articulate, intelligent young women. The warm, mutually respectful relationships that characterise the school foster high levels of student engagement. Students experience a responsive, challenging and highly supportive learning environment. This environment enables students to engage with their peers and teachers in their learning.

Student achievement in National Certificates of Educational Achievement (NCEA) is well above other secondary schools with a similar student profile and exceeds national averages in Levels 1, 2, and 3. Rates of merit and excellence endorsements have further increased in NCEA Levels 2 and 3. Māori students continue to achieve very well with 62 percent achieving merit and excellence endorsements.

Students make very good progress through Years 9 and 10. Progress information is thoughtfully used to plan appropriate programmes and interventions to accelerate student success. With the school’s deliberate focus on literacy and mathematics, substantial acceleration in the rate of progress over these two years is evident.

Staff work in partnership with students and their parents to understand achievement data, and identify ways to support students’ success. A recently introduced multi-level system quickly identifies students who could be at risk of not achieving and guides their selection of courses and qualification pathways. This monitoring system has contributed to the refinement of reports to parents about their children’s achievement.

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. It is well aligned to the vision, values and key competencies of The New Zealand Curriculum (NZC). The student-centred school culture and responsive curriculum benefit learners and their families.

The 21st century vision for learning that is the focus of curriculum development is continually reviewed and refined. The board and school leaders are extending the use of high quality digital technologies to support student learning. Digital communications enable senior students and their families to make well-informed decisions about course selections and qualification pathways.

Curriculum leadership and teacher expertise are strengths of the school. Teachers are highly respected and valued professionals. Comprehensive appraisal of teachers promotes effective teaching and learning practices. Innovative teaching approaches are promoted through well-structured professional learning. Teachers have introduced feedback logs for students as a deliberate teaching strategy to promote students’ ownership of their own learning.

Pastoral care systems are high quality. Deans and teachers track the learning profiles of their students and offer wider support networks if needed. Career services have a high profile in the curriculum. These high quality services are focused on assisting students to find learning pathways that align with their aspirations and support their transition to further education.

Leadership and departmental review of curriculum design and implementation is highly effective and thorough. The board and school leaders are continually improving the school’s curriculum design to maximise the learning potential of all students.

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

McAuley High School is effective in promoting educational success for Māori, as Māori. Prominent factors that promote Māori student success include:

  • the significant commitment to tikanga Māori within the Religious Education curriculum
  • capably lead provision of te reo Māori and tikanga from Years 9 to 13
  • the increased number of Māori staff in the school
  • active engagement of Māori whānau
  • the leadership of the long serving board chair.

Māori students express positive attitudes to school and learning and are well represented in leadership roles. They have opportunities to participate and be successful in a wide range of cultural events that strengthen Māori identity in the school.

School leaders make good use of the Ministry of Education (MoE) strategy Tātaiako - Cultural Competencies for Teachers of Māori Learners, to develop teachers’ bicultural understanding and practice. Trustees and school leaders agree that further developing the school’s Māori Education Plan could provide a more coordinated and strategic approach to promote educational success for Māori, as Maori. The MoE Measurable Gains Framework would be useful to further promote teachers’ cultural responsiveness.

How effectively does the school promote educational success for Pacific students?

The school is effective in promoting Pacific student educational success. The majority of students are either Samoan or Tongan, with smaller numbers from other Pacific Islands including the Cook Islands, Niue, Tokelau and Fiji.

Parents and students appreciate the many bilingual Pacific staff who support parents in their home languages. They also appreciate the school’s promotion of Pacific languages and culture, and values that match their own. The school is justifiably proud of the very good results students achieve in NCEA Samoan and Tongan languages.

4. Sustainable Performance

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

The school is very well placed to sustain and continue improving its performance.

The school goals retain a clear focus on equitable outcomes for students. Students and their families take pride in the school. Student and staff wellbeing underpins decision making at governance and management levels. The school has a culture of support for all students and their families.

Senior leaders have school-wide responsibilities and support the work of the very capable curriculum and support service leaders. The principal's leadership enables change to occur in a collaborative and highly professional manner. Her high expectations for staff are appropriately balanced by strong levels of relational trust and systems for accountability. Senior leaders are well respected by students, parents and staff. They operate strategically, and provide cohesion and consistency across the school.

The board is well led. Trustees are actively and thoughtfully involved in developing high quality learning environments for staff, families and students. They bring professional expertise to their governance roles and make decisions that support the strategic direction of the school. The board and principal ensure that school systems and processes are well aligned with the school’s vision and mission.

School developments align well with the board’s strategic direction, vision and values, and a culture of personalising learning for each student. Self review is well understood and used systematically and effectively to inform decisions and school direction. Trustees receive well analysed information that supports and informs their self review and strategic planning.

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

McAuley High School continues to be a high performing school, providing high quality education for students. Students experience highly effective teaching. They are well supported to achieve personal excellence and are respected as capable, competent women. The school is very well led and governed.

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

Dale Bailey
Deputy Chief Review Officer Northern

About the School

Location

Otahuhu, Auckland

Ministry of Education profile number

90

School type

Catholic Integrated Secondary (Years 9 to 15)

School roll

770

Gender composition

Girls       100%

Ethnic composition

Māori
Samoan
Tongan
Asian
Cook Island
Indian
other Pacific
other

  8%
52%
25%
  6%
  3%
  2%
  3%
  1%

Review team on site

March 2015

Date of this report

30 April 2015

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review
Education Review
Education Review

November 2010
June 2007
December 2004

 

1 The Education Review Office (ERO) Evaluation

McAuley High School, in Otahuhu, is a State integrated secondary school providing a good quality Catholic education for girls from Years 9 to 13. The school has a roll of 660 students, most of whom are from Pacific cultural backgrounds. Four percent of the students are Māori.

The strong culture of respect and inclusiveness evident in the school is supported by Catholic beliefs and Mercy values and traditions, which are reflected in school operations and in everyday practices. Teachers have high expectations that each student will achieve personal excellence. The board of trustees and staff engage effectively with school communities so that the wishes and aspirations of parents for their children are addressed and parents are active partners in their children’s education.

Students achieve well at McAuley High School. They are well supported to develop their literacy and numeracy skills so that they gain the required literacy and numeracy credits for Level 1 National Certificates of Educational Achievement (NCEA). In NCEA Levels 1, 2 and 3, the average achievement of students at the school is well above national averages and those of schools of a similar decile. Attendance and retention rates are high and students engage well in learning. Students have rich opportunities to achieve and succeed in leadership, sports, cultural and service activities. The school has a settled, secure, learning environment focused on achievement.

Good use is made of information about student achievement and information provided by the community, to develop a school curriculum that acknowledges student talents and parent aspirations. Students are able to achieve in Samoan, Tongan and te reo Māori. Māori students report that they feel affirmed. They achieve well and have opportunities to succeed as Māori. Well developed learning support and pastoral care systems help students to learn and to identify learning and career pathways through and beyond school.

The community, board of trustees, principal, staff and students can be justifiably proud of their school. It has a history of high performance and effective governance and leadership. These features, together with high quality processes for strategic planning, self-review and reporting, help to sustain on-going improvement and support students’ engagement, progress and achievement.

Future Action

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

2 McAuley High School’s Curriculum

How effectively does the curriculum of McAuley High School promote student learning - engagement, progress and achievement?

Areas of strength

High expectations and high student achievement. The board of trustees, principal and staff believe that each student will achieve. This central belief is a key factor in the high levels of student engagement, progress and achievement evident in the school.

  • Students are well engaged in learning in the settled and purposeful learning environment that characterises classes.
  • Students particularly appreciate lessons in which teachers use modern teaching methods to extend students’ thinking and to engage students actively in learning.
  • Attendance rates, and rates of student retention through to Year 13, are high.
  • Students make noteworthy progress in literacy and numeracy through Years 9 and 10 so that they succeed in NCEA literacy and numeracy in Year 11.
  • Māori students achieve well and have opportunities to succeed as Māori.
  • Student achievement in NCEA Levels 1, 2, and 3 is above national averages and well above averages for schools with a similar socio-economic rating.
  • The upward trend in the school’s academic results is reflected in the increasing proportion of students gaining merit and excellence grades in NCEA.
  • High levels of student engagement and achievement are evident in the many rich sporting, cultural, leadership and service activities that are a feature of the school’s curriculum.

Community engagement. Among the school’s many outstanding features are the strong three-way student-parent-teacher partnerships that support student learning and achievement.

  • Parents are well informed about the school’s expectations for their children’s achievement. Regular fono, which incorporate the use of Pacific languages and the languages of other ethnic groups, are well attended.
  • Respect for, and valuing of, parents’ wishes and aspirations is reflected in the introduction of Tongan into the school curriculum and in the consultation that the school undertakes with each family about the school’s strategic and annual plan.
  • Programmes such as the Adult Literacy Programme and the transition programme for students and families of a local primary school give parents the confidence to engage with the school and to be involved in supporting their children’s learning.
  • Local churches and other community groups provide valued additional resources to support students’ well-being at school.

Mutually respectful relationships. The school has a safe and inclusive culture in which the dignity of each person is respected and in which students can feel secure and nurtured.

  • Students and teachers are respectful of each other. Co-operation and goodwill typify classrooms and the school environment.
  • Māori students report that they feel valued as Māori. The diversity of students’ cultural and religious beliefs is recognised and celebrated.
  • Well developed pastoral care and learning support programmes help students to engage, learn and achieve.
  • Students receive good information and support to design their learning and careers pathways through and beyond school.
  • The pride that students have in belonging to their school is reflected in their appearance, behaviour and willingness to become leaders and help others.
  • The attractive, well maintained school environment reflects the care, respect and commitment of the board, principal and staff in supporting student learning and achievement.

Responsive school curriculum. The board of trustees, through the principal and staff, has developed a school curriculum that is responsive to student interests and talents and community aspirations.

  • A thoughtful and collaborative approach has been used to adopt the vision, principles and values of The New Zealand Curriculum into the school curriculum.
  • Well considered, strategic professional development and effective self-review programmes encourage curriculum leaders and teachers to reflect on their teaching programmes and practices so that students are helped to develop key skills for lifelong learning.
  • On-going review and consultation have resulted in the broadening of the curriculum so that all students have increased opportunities to achieve and have pathways to tertiary education and employment.
  • Trustees have strategically allocated resources, such as additional teacher assistants, to support and promote student learning and achievement.

Highly effective leadership and governance. A key element in the on-going success of McAuley High School is the commitment of the board, principal and staff to the school’s vision and values, to the Mercy tradition, and to the provision of an education that challenges students to strive for personal excellence.

  • The board of trustees, through the principal and staff, makes good use of student achievement information to set annual targets and to continually lift student achievement.
  • The principal and senior managers continue to strengthen the role of middle managers in ensuring that assessment of student work is valid and reliable and that assessment data are used to inform teaching programmes and practices.
  • Self-review practices are well developed and result in the board receiving high quality information about student learning, engagement, progress and achievement, and associated school developments. The centrality of student achievement in school operations is reflected in the aspirations of the trustees and school leaders for students to achieve at the highest levels.
  • Strategic planning processes are well developed and are responsive to change. The effectiveness of the school’s strategic planning is evident in the high levels of student achievement as well as the ongoing resourcing of information and computer technologies, and the renewal and refurbishment of buildings and classrooms.

Agreed priorities

ERO endorses the priorities for on-going development identified by the school. These priorities are to continue to embed effective teaching and learning practices throughout the school by:

  • increasing students’ ownership and management of their own learning;
  • clarifying and documenting effective practices for teaching and learning;
  • emphasising effective teaching practices in teacher performance review processes; and
  • strengthening teacher use of programme evaluations and assessment data to inform teaching programmes and practices.

3 Provision for International Students

Compliance with the Code of Practice for the Pastoral Care of International Students and the Provision of English Language Support

McAuley High 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 ERO review the school did not have any international students on its roll.

The school has attested that it complies with all aspects of the Code.

ERO’s investigations confirmed that the school meets the requirements of the Code.

4 Board Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the board of trustees and principal of McAuley High School completed an ERO Board Assurance Statement and Self-Audit Checklist. In these documents they attested that they had taken all reasonable steps to meet their legal obligations related to:

  • board administration;
  • curriculum;
  • management of health, safety and welfare;
  • personnel management;
  • financial management; and
  • asset management.

During the review, ERO looked at the school’s documentation, including policies, procedures and records. ERO sampled recent use of procedures and checked elements of the following five areas that have a potentially high impact on students’ achievement:

  • emotional safety of students (including prevention of bullying and sexual harassment);
  • physical safety of students;
  • teacher registration;
  • stand-downs, suspensions, expulsions and exclusions; and
  • attendance.

5 Future Action

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

Richard Thornton

National Manager Review Services

Northern Region

9 November 2010

About The School

School type

State integrated Catholic Secondary School for Girls (Years 9-15)

Decile

1

School roll

660

Ethnic composition

Māori 4%

Samoan 58%

Tongan 24%

other Pacific 6%

Asian 4%

other 4%

Review team on site

August 2010

Date of this report

9 November 2010

Previous three ERO reports

Education Review, June 2007

Education Review, December 2004

Accountability Review, September 2001

Community Page

9 November 2010

To the Parents and Community of McAuley High School

These are the findings of the Education Review Office’s latest report on McAuley High School.

McAuley High School, in Otahuhu, is a State integrated secondary school providing a good quality Catholic education for girls from Years 9 to 13. The school has a roll of 660 students, most of whom are from Pacific cultural backgrounds. Four percent of the students are Māori.

The strong culture of respect and inclusiveness evident in the school is supported by Catholic beliefs and Mercy values and traditions, which are reflected in school operations and in everyday practices. Teachers have high expectations that each student will achieve personal excellence. The board of trustees and staff engage effectively with school communities so that the wishes and aspirations of parents for their children are addressed and parents are active partners in their children’s education.

Students achieve well at McAuley High School. They are well supported to develop their literacy and numeracy skills so that they gain the required literacy and numeracy credits for Level 1 National Certificates of Educational Achievement (NCEA). In NCEA Levels 1, 2 and 3, the average achievement of students at the school is well above national averages and those of schools of a similar decile. Attendance and retention rates are high and students engage well in learning. Students have rich opportunities to achieve and succeed in leadership, sports, cultural and service activities. The school has a settled, secure, learning environment focused on achievement.

Good use is made of information about student achievement and information provided by the community, to develop a school curriculum that acknowledges student talents and parent aspirations. Students are able to achieve in Samoan, Tongan and te reo Māori. Māori students report that they feel affirmed. They achieve well and have opportunities to succeed as Māori. Well developed learning support and pastoral care systems help students to learn and to identify learning and career pathways through and beyond school.

The community, board of trustees, principal, staff and students can be justifiably proud of their school. It has a history of high performance and effective governance and leadership. These features, together with high quality processes for strategic planning, self-review and reporting, help to sustain on-going improvement and support students’ engagement, progress and achievement.

Future Action

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

Review Coverage

This report provides an evaluation of how effectively the school’s curriculum promotes student learning - engagement, progress and achievement. ERO’s evaluation takes account of the school’s previous reporting history and is based on:

  • what is known about student achievement information, including the achievement of Māori and Pacific students;
  • decisions made to improve student achievement using assessment and self review information; and
  • teaching strategies and programmes implemented to give effect to the school’s curriculum.

ERO also gathers information during the review to contribute to its national reports. The national reports are published on ERO’s website.

If you would like a copy of the full report, please contact the school or see the ERO website, www.ero.govt.nz.

Richard Thornton

National Manager Review Services

Northern Region

General Information about Reviews

About ERO

ERO is an independent, external evaluation agency that undertakes reviews of schools and early childhood services throughout New Zealand.

About ERO Reviews

ERO follows a set of standard procedures to conduct reviews. The purpose of each review is to:

  • improve educational achievement in schools; and
  • provide information to parents, communities and the government.

Reviews are intended to focus on student achievement and build on each school’s self review.

Review Focus

ERO’s framework for reviewing and reporting integrates the following:

  • school curriculum;
  • national evaluation topics –contribute to the development of education policies and their effective implementation; and
  • the Board Assurance Statement, including student and staff health and safety.

ERO’s review is responsive to the school’s context. When ERO reviews a school, it takes into account the characteristics of the community from which it draws its students, its aspirations for its young people, and other relevant local factors.

ERO also builds on the school’s own self-review information. ERO is interested in how a school monitors the progress of its students and aspects of school life and culture, and how it uses this information to improve student learning.

This helps ERO to answer the major evaluation question for reviews:

How effectively does this school’s curriculum promote student learning - engagement, progress and achievement?

Areas for Development and Review

ERO reports include areas for development and review to support on-going improvement by identifying priorities. Often the school will have identified these matters through its own self review and already plans further development in those areas.