The Purpose of an ERO Report
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.
Individual ERO school and early childhood centre reports are public information and may be copied or sent electronically. However, the Education Review Office can guarantee only the authenticity of original documents which have been obtained in hard copy directly from either the local ERO office or ERO National Office in Wellington. Please consult your telephone book, or see the ERO web page, http://www.ero.govt.nz, for ERO office addresses.
Karamu High School Education Review - 23/02/2016
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4 Sustainable Performance
What are the important features of this school that have an impact on student learning?
Karamu High School is a co-educational secondary school in Hastings catering for students from Years 9 to 13. At the time of this review in October 2015 there were 835 students, 297 of whom identified as Māori.
A positive, student-centred tone contributes to the strong sense of belonging and pride that reflects the Proudly Karamu vision. Students are supported to accept responsibility, support their peers and actively participate in learning. Identifying and promoting student potential is prioritised.
Students participate successfully in a range of cultural and sporting activities, both within school and as part of the community. Student leadership is promoted and supported.
The school site has continued to be re-developed. An upgrade of the gymnasium area has been recently completed. Purpose-built teaching spaces and outside areas provide an environment that is deliberately designed to draw individuals into learning.
The school has a good reporting history with ERO. It is responsive to findings from external review.
How well does this school use achievement information to make positive changes to learners’ engagement, progress and achievement?
Effective use of achievement information enables the school to make positive changes to learners’ engagement, progress and achievement.
Student achievement in Years 9 and 10 is shown by indicating progress through curriculum levels and the use of nationally standardised assessment tools. Data is used to inform and develop strategies to engage and accelerate learners.
Assessment data in Year 9 and 10 indicates accelerated progress in literacy and mathematics for a number of students. Many who enter Year 9 achieving below year level expectation gain success in the National Certificates of Achievement (NCEAs) when they reach the senior school.
Senior managers agree they should continue to extend the use of achievement information to evaluate the extent of progress of junior students, particularly for those whose learning needs to be accelerated.
NCEA and student leaver data for 2014 indicates significant improvement in achievement since the November 2012 ERO report. Deliberate school-wide and faculty strategies have contributed markedly to results. Improvement for Māori students means they now achieve at similar levels to their peers within the school in many measures.
Students gain NCEAs at rates well above national at Levels 1, 2 and 3. The number of NCEA excellence endorsements have increased at Level 1 and endorsements overall at each level are similar to national. Five students gained New Zealand Scholarships in 2014.
Recent board achievement targets appropriately focus on continuing to improve the achievement of boys and Māori and to increase the number of students gaining NCEA endorsements. Improvements in achievement for targeted groups in 2014 indicate the success of the approaches implemented.
In 2014, 78% of school leavers had achieved at least NCEA Level 2. This is similar to the national figure and is an improvement from 61% in 2012. Strategies to extend the aspirations of some students are aimed to increase the length of time they remain at school and further improve leaver qualifications.
Regular tracking and monitoring of students' progress in gaining credits for the NCEAs and in relation to their individual goals during the year is a priority and is well developed. Staff meet with students whose progress is of concern and a range of interventions are successfully put in place to assist them to meet expectations.
Comprehensive collation and analysis of Year 9 to 13 achievement data is carried out school-wide and within faculties. Changes are made to systems and practices to continue to improve outcomes for students.
Reporting to parents promotes understanding of their child’s learning, progress and achievement. Specific next steps for improvement are identified within these reports.
How effectively does this school’s curriculum promote and support student learning?
A well-considered school curriculum effectively promotes learning and provides students with relevant choices that support transition to further education and training.
Multiple pathways of learning enable students of all abilities to experience success. There is an expectation that every student will be successful.
A focus within all faculty areas on building literacy capability of students is contributing to improved achievement. Faculty and school-wide goals are linked to literacy development. Specific interventions for targeted groups are in place, especially in the junior school.
Appropriate school-wide and faculty guidelines support effective teaching, learning and review. These are responsive to student perspectives, cultural backgrounds and future pathways.
Students participate and learn in caring, collaborative and inclusive learning environments. Teachers know students well as learners. High expectations for achievement contribute significantly to a strong focus on learning in classrooms. Teachers are deliberate in responding to individual learners and providing suitable challenge.
Students are supported to be active participants in learning. Relevant and familiar contexts incorporate their interests. Students are aware of their potential pathway and how their learning links to it. Student voice is valued and influences teaching approaches.
Students with high learning needs are effectively catered for. An inclusive culture and collaborative focus in responding to individual needs ensures high levels of support and nurture.
The school provides a wide range of opportunities for students to mentor and support others. Peers regularly work with each other to assist classroom learning. Mentoring linked to manaakitanga and whānaungatanga values is actively promoted in a variety of areas.
Students are supported to develop vocational awareness and to consider tertiary education and career pathways for when they leave school. Frequent use of role models is an example of how aspirations are deliberately built. Career discussions are being aligned to specific Youth Guarantee Vocational Pathways. Faculties are linking programmes to specific pathways.
Senior managers should use leaver destinations to assist their review of how well the curriculum contributes to student pathways.
Students identify their pastoral and welfare needs are well supported. There is a collective responsibility for supporting wellbeing for learning.
Senior managers agree student voice should be used more systematically to assist in review of provision of supports for wellbeing.
Reciprocal, learning-centred relationships are fostered to engage and involve parents, whānau and the school community. Links are strengthened through use of digital technology, goal setting and milestone tracking. Community collaboration and partnerships provide opportunities for students to extend interests, learning and career pathways. An increasing number of events are held to celebrate, share information and involve families and whānau.
How effectively does the school promote educational success for Māori, as Māori?
Since the previous ERO review the school has consolidated and extended opportunities for Māori students to be successful.
Shared understandings of the priorities for Māori learners have been built with local Ngāti Kahungunu iwi leaders and their education plan. Whānau perspectives are collected and collated to inform decision-making.
Te ao Māori is promoted and valued. The use of tikanga Māori in a range of contexts empowers students and promotes Māori identity. The whare wananga encourages further connection to the school and celebrates learning.
Māori students feel well supported by whānau (other students and adults) within the school. Authentic Māori student leadership is promoted and supported. Several Māori students are successful leaders across a range of areas in the school. Po Whakanui, linked to Mātariki, celebrates academic, cultural and sporting success of Māori students and highlights future potential.
Teachers increasingly provide opportunities for culture and identity to be promoted through the curriculum. Effective, culturally responsive teaching practices to promote Māori student success are shared in whole staff professional learning and within faculties.
Processes are in place to continue to build understanding and promote Māori succeeding as Māori. Identified priorities are to extend whānau involvement and increase the use of culturally relevant contexts for classroom learning. The board has also begun to explore a Māori cultural responsiveness self-review tool to review their practice.
4 Sustainable Performance
How well placed is the school to sustain and improve its performance?
A range of effective systems and practices enable the school to be well placed to sustain and improve its performance.
Evaluation, inquiry and knowledge building is promoted. Considering effectiveness and what is necessary for improvement is an ongoing focus. External evaluation and extensive involvement with the wider education community further supports development.
Examples of focused evaluative self review are evident. Achievement data and student feedback assists critical reflection, consideration of the impact of teaching practice and identification of appropriate next steps. Sustaining and improving performance for Māori students is a focus of review.
A strengthened teacher appraisal process focused on improvement has been implemented in 2015. It includes goal setting linked to school priorities, teacher reflection and next steps for improvement.
Senior managers and faculty leaders should continue to build evidence-based evaluative capacity and teacher inquiry across the school, including within performance appraisals.
A strategic approach builds professional expertise and collective capacity. Professional learning opportunities align to the school vision, values and priorities. Initiatives identified as being successful are shared and implemented more widely. Teacher collaboration and collegial support focuses on improving student outcomes.
Since the previous ERO review there has been deliberate building of profile and capability of leadership across faculties and within the pastoral system. Roles and expectations are clearly defined and provide a framework for effective leadership focused on student outcomes.
The principal and senior managers are focused on effectively responding to individual students. They ensure:
the vision, values and priorities for equity and excellence are enacted
an orderly and supportive environment conducive to student learning and wellbeing is in place
inquiry and review for sustained improvement is maintained
relational trust and effective participation at every level of the school community continues to be built.
The charter provides clear strategic direction through its identified objectives and education priorities. It incorporates a clear framework for how aims will be met and for sustainability and improvement.
Trustees bring a range of board experiences to their role. They scrutinise the work of the school in achieving valued student outcomes for all in a range of areas.
The board are well informed through principal reports. A range of relevant information influences decision-making and review.
Documenting an ongoing programme of self review, and more systematic reporting on progress towards specific targets and goals should contribute to a stronger focus within the board on agreed priorities for development.
Provision for international students
The school is a signatory to the Code of Practice for the Pastoral Care of International Students established under section 238F of the Education Act 1989. No international students were enrolled at the time of the ERO review.
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
- 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
To improve current practice, the board of trustees should receive regular reports about attendance and the effectiveness of measures to support students whose absence levels place their learning at risk.
A well-considered curriculum promotes learning and provides relevant pathways in and beyond school. Students gain National Certificates of Educational Achievement at levels well above national comparisons. They are active participants in learning and accept responsibility to support others. Effective leadership and processes contribute well to the school sustaining and improving its performance.
ERO is likely to carry out the next review in three years.
Deputy Chief Review Officer Central
23 February 2016