Linwood College - 30/06/2020

School Context

Linwood College is a co-educational secondary school located in east Christchurch. The roll of 767 students has steadily increased, and includes 31% Māori, 8% Pacific and 16% Asian.

The overarching vision for the school is ‘Mauri Ora through ako: progressive, inclusive, safe and engaging education for flourishing wellbeing and personal excellence.’ This is underpinned by the ‘SEaRCH’ values of Service, Excellence, Respect, Curiosity and Honesty: Manaakitanga, Hiranga, Whakaute, Manawa reka and Whakapono.

The school states that its strategic priorities are to develop: culturally responsive and relational teaching and learning; mauri ora - valuing the spirit and wellbeing for all; the strengthening of learning through commitment to the Kāhui Ako; sustained achievement and wellbeing throughout Linwood College’s building redevelopments.

In Term 2 2019 the school relocated to a temporary site, formerly occupied by Avonside Girls’ High School, while new buildings are being constructed on the original Linwood College site. This is planned to be completed by 2022 and will include a technology centre for intermediate aged students and a teen parent unit. The move is intended to minimise the disruption to students’ learning during the rebuild phase. The school is referring to itself as Linwood College at Ōtākarofor the duration of the stay on the Avonside site.

A new leadership team has been established since the 2017 ERO review, with two deputy principals and an assistant principal being appointed. One deputy principal and the assistant principal began in 2019.

Teachers have participated in Ministry of Education (MoE) funded professional learning to strengthen Māori student success through Kia Eke Panuku - Building on Success, and, more recently, Poutama Pounamu – Equity, excellence and belonging.

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

  • National Certificate in Educational Achievement (NCEA) qualifications
  • literacy and mathematics
  • attendance and engagement.

The college is a member of two Kāhui Ako|Community of learning: Tamai and Aupaki. The school has recently introduced an enrolment zone.

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?

The school is continuing to develop practices and conditions to promote equitable and excellent outcomes for all its students.

Overall NCEA achievement levels have generally remained similar, with small variations, to those at the time of the 2017 ERO review. In 2019 the majority of students successfully gained qualifications in NCEA at Levels 1 and 2. Less than half achieved Level 3, and a small proportion gained the University Entrance (UE) qualification.

The 2019 results show disparity in achievement for Māori students when compared to their New Zealand European peers. Achievement levels have improved at Level 3 and differences are being reduced, whereas the disparity at Level 2 has increased since 2017.

Most Pacific students succeeded in achieving Level 1 NCEA in 2019, but in all other areas their overall level of achievement as a group shows a downward trend. Around half gained Level 2, with a small proportion gaining Level 3 and UE.

Girls achieve slightly better at NCEA Levels 1 and 2 when compared with boys.

A small majority of students who finish their education leave the school having gained NCEA Level 2 or above. This number has declined since 2017.

The school-wide picture of equitable and excellent outcomes for students in Years 7 to 10 is unclear. While teachers assess and monitor individual children, school-wide learning information is not curated and analysed to show overall achievement and progress outcomes for all students, groups of students and those at risk of underachievement.

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

Leaders have identified that the school does not currently gather enough evidence to show the impact of strategies and interventions on the rates of progress for students whose learning requires acceleration. This is now a priority for development.

Some of the achievement information provided when students join the school is used to identify and group those who are at risk of underachievement. Interventions are put in place to respond to their learning needs.

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 is inclusive and values diversity. A deliberate focus on building a culturally responsive learning environment is evident. Developing respectful and productive relationships that promote success for all, and particularly for Māori students, has been a strategic priority.

The school is effective in catering for students’ wellbeing needs. Pastoral systems and processes are responsive and well considered in the ways students are supported to be successful learners. An effective guidance and support network successfully utilises school expertise and external support agencies, when necessary, in consultation with whānau. Whole-school programmes and individualised interventions to improve engagement in learning are increasingly successful.

Leaders have introduced systems, processes and practices intended to promote a learning environment conducive to improved outcomes. The new senior leadership team has clearly defined roles and responsibilities. Leaders have effectively managed the school through significant events and challenging changes to conditions and context. Trustees, teachers and students report a markedly improved school culture and tone. Routines and expectations are well understood.

There is a cohesive approach to professional learning and meaningful appraisal processes which are aligned to whole-school priorities and goals. This supports teachers to grow their capability and promotes the building of collective capacity.

The school has developed purposeful relationships with families, whānau and the community. As a result, there is increased engagement, and families and whānau feel welcome in the school environment. Community voice is valued. Collaboration and consultation contribute to decision making about priorities for further improvement. Leaders are committed to continuing to develop partnerships that promote student learning.

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

Leaders have identified, and ERO confirms, that reviewing and further developing the curriculum is an ongoing priority. This is likely to better promote equity and excellence and enable the successful delivery of the school’s priorities for improvement.

The reviewed curriculum needs to clearly articulate expectations for:

  • improving engagement and retention
  • raising achievement and accelerating progress for those students who need it
  • strengthening the response to Māori and Pacific students’ learning and cultural needs
  • enabling personalised, differentiated and responsive teaching and learning
  • the provision of coherent pathways through and beyond the school
  • incorporating the school’s local history, context, culture and places of significance.

The school acknowledges, and ERO confirms, that continuing to build teacher effectiveness and leadership capability across the school to enact the strengthened curriculum is a priority. This will support staff to respond more successfully to students’ diverse learning and cultural needs.

The school agrees that developing internal evaluation is a priority. There is not yet a clear understanding of which programmes and initiatives are making the biggest difference to learning for groups of learners, and in particular, those at risk of underachievement. In order to determine the impact of strategies and decisions on improving outcomes for all learners, trustees, leaders and teachers need to develop a shared understanding of internal evaluation.

Strengthening evidence-based evaluation capability and processes should include:

  • establishing success criteria and desired outcomes for planned actions
  • reviewing the range of assessment tools used to show student achievement, progress and acceleration over time, particularly across Years 7-10
  • analysing data to show trends, patterns and the impact of improvement actions on outcomes for learners
  • frequent and purposeful reporting of student progress and achievement information, across all levels of the school, to the board of trustees
  • regularly using analysed achievement information to inform strategic decision making and to address the school’s priorities for development
  • reframing annual targets to focus on rates of acceleration for identified groups of priority learners.

3 Other Matters

Provision for international students

The school is a signatory to the Education (Pastoral Care of International Students) Code of Practice 2016 established under section 238F of the Education Act 1989. The school has attested that it complies with all aspects of the Code and has completed an annual self-review of its implementation of the Code.

At the time of this review there were three international students. Processes for orientation to the school are well considered. Care is taken to provide courses that reflect the aspirations and interests of students and their families.

Students’ pastoral and wellbeing needs are well supported, as is goalsetting for academic achievement that promotes success in NCEA qualifications. Students are encouraged to be actively involved in the life of the school, including opportunities to share and celebrate their cultures with other 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 Linwood College’s performance in achieving valued outcomes for its students is: Developing

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 welcoming, inclusive school that values and celebrates diversity
  • pastoral systems that cater for students’ wellbeing needs
  • systems, processes and practices that are focused on promoting a positive learning environment, supporting teaching and learning and improving student outcomes.

Next steps

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

  • strengthening the curriculum to be more responsive to students’ individual and collective learning and cultural needs
  • continuing to increase the effectiveness and impact of teaching and learning practices, especially in regard to improving learning outcomes for Māori and Pacific students
  • increasing data capability, use and reporting, especially at Years 7-10
  • establishing robust internal evaluation to determine which teaching and learning programmes, interventions and practices make the biggest difference to improving outcomes for all students.

Dr Lesley Patterson

Director Review and Improvement

Southern Region - Te Tai Tini

30 June 2020

About the school

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