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Letter from Minister regarding 2016 ERO Review

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Education Review Office Reports

December 2016 ERO Report

Orewa College are on a 5 year review cycle.  

About the School

Location:

Orewa, Auckland

Ministry of Education profile number:

25

School type
:

Secondary (Year 7 to 15)

School roll
:

1847

Number of international students:

63

Gender composition:

Boys 51%, Girls 49%

Ethnic composition:

NZ European/Pākehā 79%, Māori 12%, Pacific 3%, Asian 4%, other 2%

Special Features:

Managing school for Alternative Education Consortium.  Managing school for HarbourNet Virtual Learning Network.

Review team on site:

October 2016

Date of this report:

9 December 2016

Most recent ERO report(s):

Education Review - October 2012, June 2009, May 2006, August 2002

The purpose of ERO’s reviews is to give parents and the wider school community assurance about the quality of education that schools provide and their children receive. An ERO school report answers the question “How effectively is this school’s curriculum promoting student learning - engagement, progress and achievement?” Under that overarching question ERO reports on the quality of education and learning outcomes for children and for specific groups of children including Māori students, Pacific students and students with special needs. ERO also reports on the quality of the school’s systems for sustaining and continuing improvements. The report answers four key questions about the school.

Findings

1 Context

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

Orewa College provides education for students from Years 7 to 13 on a large, well maintained campus. Year 7 and 8 students experience the majority of their learning in home rooms and attend specialist classes on the secondary campus at different times during the week.

A long-serving, experienced principal continues to lead the school and is supported by a senior management team that includes two new deputy principals. Many staff have worked at the school for a good number of years, and have a sound knowledge of the school and its community.

As Orewa's only secondary school, the college has a significant place in the local community. The board and staff forge connections with other schools, local businesses and tertiary institutions to enhance students’ learning experiences. Since the 2012 ERO report, the school has continued to grow its professional connections, including through its involvement with and leadership of the Orewa CoL (community of learning). The CoL and other professional partnerships are enabling the collective sharing of and accessibility to learning resources.

The school continues to operate a well-designed values system, Manaaki Orewa, in conjunction with Ako Orewa, the school’s curriculum design and delivery approach. The school’s well-established use of digital devices enhances student learning and supports the implementation of all teaching and learning programmes. In addition, students have access to increased learning opportunities through Harbournet, the virtual learning network for Auckland secondary schools.

Since the 2012 ERO report, teachers and leaders have participated in on-going professional learning to constantly improve and develop the school’s curriculum and teaching practices.

2 Learning

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

The school uses student achievement information very well to make positive changes to learners’ engagement, progress and achievement.

The board and senior leaders set relevant achievement targets based on close analyses of students’ achievement information. They specifically target students whose progress needs accelerating and implement learning programmes and initiatives suitable for students at different year levels. School leaders and teachers use very good monitoring and tracking systems to ensure that all students, and especially target students are making appropriate progress and are achieving well.

Teacher appraisals and professional learning groups are strategically focused on improving achievement for target learners. Using data to inform their approach, teachers regularly discuss the impact of practices and strategies within cross-curricular groups and in their departments. This personal and collective inquiry is improving teachers’ practice and making positive changes to learners’ engagement, progress and achievement. In 2016, teachers are focused on accelerating the progress of Māori students, and boys generally, especially those in Years 10 and 11.

Overall, students achieve very well in National Standards and in National Certificates of Educational Achievement (NCEA). Māori students and Pacific students throughout the school also achieve very well in comparison to national NCEA and National Standards data. Over the past five years, NCEA results have continued to improve at Levels 1, 2 and 3. Also improved are the number of certificates endorsed with merit and excellence and the number of students achieving vocational pathway awards. These ongoing improvements include NCEA results for Māori and Pacific students.

The school also uses student achievement and other information very well to identify and promote students’ wellbeing. Leaders and teachers work with the school’s Manaaki Orewa and Ako Orewa approaches to engage students in the wider life of the school and in learning. Teachers use achievement information to differentiate learning programmes, especially for students in Years 9 and 10.

One of the school’s identified areas for development within its planned Ako 2017 framework, includes further promoting students’ understanding and use of their achievement information so that they can appropriately design their own learning programmes. School leaders will make decisions about this next step in collaboration with the CoL schools. Through the CoL, achievement approaches will be shared across the groups of schools, including opportunities for teachers to moderate assessment information, increase its validity and strengthen its use.

School leaders agree they could further strengthen the use of data to evaluate the effectiveness of initiatives currently used to accelerate progress for identified groups over time.

3 Curriculum

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

The school’s curriculum is very effective in promoting and supporting student learning. It provides a broad and balanced selection of learning opportunities and options that cater very well to students’ varied interests and strengths. The curriculum is strongly connected to the many pathways available for students. These include academic, and the increasing numbers of highly relevant and sought after vocational pathways. The strong emphasis placed on the values, principles and key competencies of The New Zealand Curriculum, promote students as good citizens of Aoteaora New Zealand, and the world.

The school provides a secure and supportive learning environment for students and is inclusive of students with diverse learning needs. Students experience positive learning relationships with their teachers, support staff and each other. Most students take advantage of the school’s extensive co- curricular programme. Their successes and talents are celebrated and showcased in many ways throughout the school year. These features contribute positively to students’ experience of school and promote their engagement, motivation and self-efficacy.

The expected and accepted schoolwide use of digital devices promotes learning connections beyond the classroom and beyond New Zealand. Students’ and teachers’ use of digital technologies means that learning experiences are localised, globalised, relevant and immediate. It promotes high levels of learning engagement and gives teachers the time to provide students with individualised support.

Many teachers in the school make positive connections and integrate teaching and learning concepts and ideas. Learning leaders have worked together to develop sequential curriculum expectations for students from Years 7 to 10, especially in core curriculum areas. This approach supports Year 7 and 8 students as they move into the main campus for learning and in Years 9 and 10.

Teachers are committed and enthusiastic professionals. They design learning programmes that meet diverse student needs and that promote student collaboration. Respectful of students as capable, competent learners, teachers ensure that students experience high levels of challenge and critical thinking. They understand well Ako Orewa as a reciprocal learning concept, and are suitably challenged within their professional learning programmes.

Staff are collegial and demonstrate high levels of relational trust. They appreciate the opportunities they have to trial new initiatives and ideas. School leaders and teachers have significant input into the ongoing shaping and direction of the school’s curriculum design and delivery. They embrace change, and value the opportunities for ongoing professional learning that includes sharing of effective practices. They understand that these aspects of their professional practice help promote a highly effective curriculum and positive outcomes for students.

The school is ready to launch Ako 2017 as part of its ongoing curriculum and pedagogical redesign. This next phase is set to promote increasingly individualised and learning programmes for students that are more responsive to students’ needs, interests, strengths and talents. Alongside this curriculum redesign, leaders could also evaluate the extent to which Māori and Pacific students’ languages, cultures and identities are recognised and responded to by teachers throughout the school.

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

The school promotes educational success for Māori, as Māori effectively. Since the 2012 ERO report, the school has deliberately and determinedly focused on strengthening positive outcomes for Māori learners. This focus includes making connections with local iwi for advice and guidance.

Māori students are very well known by staff and are prioritised as learners in the school. They are amongst the highest achievers in the school and are well represented in student leadership teams. Students spoken to by ERO in 2016 appreciate the developments in offering te reo Māori within the school at NCEA levels 1, 2 and 3.

Leaders and teachers are working to strengthen the school-wide capacity in the use of te reo Māori and tikanga. In Years 7 and 8, teachers are integrating aspects of te reo Māori into their learning programmes with specialist options available for students from Year 9.

School leaders identify that their next steps involve improving opportunities to improve specialist te reo Māori teaching and learning within the school and the wider CoL. They also plan to strengthen ties with the local marae to further promote te reo Māori and tikanga throughout the school.

4 Sustainable Performance

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

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

The principal provides strong, professional leadership and is well supported by a capable senior team. She makes significant professional connections to strengthen collaborative, whole school development, and to continually promote and improve teaching and learning opportunities for students and staff at Orewa College.

At all levels, the school benefits from strategic and future-focused leadership. Change is very well led and managed with significant building of others’ leadership skills. This approach results in cohesive and connected school systems and processes, including a professional learning model and teacher appraisal system. Strategic school leadership helps to ensure that the board’s goals and achievement targets are evident throughout the school.

Trustees bring to the board varied skills and expertise. They are highly supportive of the principal, senior leaders and staff. Trustees contribute to and promote the school’s strategic vision for improved student outcomes, especially for Māori and other priority groups. The board is focused on scrutinising information it receives to promote ongoing improvement.

Internal evaluation is used at all levels of the school to identify the impact and effectiveness of programmes and initiatives, and next phases of growth and development. School leaders could consider using internal evaluation to investigate the effectiveness of practices and processes to identify the emerging needs of individuals and groups.

Provision for international students

The Education (Pastoral Care of International Students) Code of Practice 2016 (the Code) was introduced on July 1st 2016.

The school is aware of the need to update its policies and procedures to meet the new code requirements by December 1st 2016.

At the time of this review there were 63 international students attending the school.

The school is making good progress in aligning its policies and procedures to meet requirements for the 2016 Code.

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 harrassment

physical safety of students

teacher registration

processes for appointing staff

stand-downs, suspensions, expulsions and exclusions

attendance.

Conclusion

The highly effective leadership, and teaching and learning programmes at Orewa College engage students and promote their progress and achievement. Students achieve very well in National Standards, and in NCEA qualifications. There is also a strong focus on Manaaki where the school ensures that positive values are promoted and that students’ wellbeing needs are well met.

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

If you would like any further information you can contact the school directly or visit the ERO website, http://www.ero.govt.nz