Topic:  Our school, ERO report, FacilitiesValuesStaff, History  

ERO report 

Naenae College 12/11/2013

The Education Review Office (ERO) Evaluation Confirmed
Education Review Report: Naenae College

This report has been prepared in accordance with standard procedures approved by the Chief Review Officer.

Naenae College is a co-educational secondary school in the Hutt Valley, with 720 students in Years 9 to 13. The roll is ethnically diverse, including 30% of students who identify as Māori and 23% as Pacific. About one third of the students speak English as a second language. The college has substantial links with its local community, including contributing schools.

The school culture is characterised by high expectations. Trustees, senior leaders and staff are committed to sustaining a learning environment in which all students can succeed. The values associated with Te Whānau Tahi (united family) are well understood throughout the school community and enacted in its daily life. Students’ opinions and ideas are actively sought and responded to. Students have many opportunities to take authentic leadership roles with meaningful responsibilities.

Staff are in the third year of involvement in He Kākano, a school-based professional development programme with a focus on culturally responsive leadership and teaching.

Progressive changes to the school curriculum are helping Māori learners enjoy educational success as Māori. These changes also demonstrate to all students that their cultures, languages and identities are respected and valued.

Strategic priorities are carefully considered by trustees and senior leaders in a context of continuing financial constraint. Decisions about prudent use of resources are firmly based on improving the learning and wellbeing of students. Since The November 2010 ERO report there has been ongoing property development, including upgraded science laboratories, a sprung floor in the gymnasium, and a new special needs unit. School leaders are exploring ways to further integrate information and communication technologies into teaching and learning.

The college's pastoral care network is well led and coordinated. Students’ wellbeing is closely monitored. A range of support services is provided within the school and by outside agencies. The school's health centre provides professional services to meet students’ physical and emotional needs.

The school makes good use of a comprehensive range of achievement data and other

information to promote students’ engagement, progress and successful learning outcomes.

Learning Advisory Roopu (LARs) are an effective element in the drive to promote

engagement and raise achievement schoolwide. These year level groups meet four days a

week, led by a teacher as learning adviser. A structured LAR programme supports students in their learning, guides decision making about appropriate education pathways for the future, and strengthens self-management skills. Learning advisors develop trusting relationships with students, their parents, whānau and aiga. They use what they know about individual students to mentor and support them.

Teachers collate reports about each class for effective monitoring of students’ progress and achievement. These reports contribute to department leaders’ analysis of overall patterns and trends, and careful consideration of what needs to be done to address areas of student underachievement. Students at risk of not achieving are mentored and their progress is closely monitored. Department reports inform schoolwide analysis that is used by the board to guide planning and resource allocation.

Parents, whānau and aiga receive regular, clear and informative reports. These are about students’ progress, achievement and development of key competencies that support self management. The percentage of parents attending the academic conferencing evenings has increased significantly, indicating a good level of engagement with students’ learning.

The school’s constant focus on improving outcomes for students contributed to upward trends in achievement in the National Certificates of Educational Achievement (NCEAs) from 2009 to 2011. However, a drop in results occurred in 2012. Possible reasons for this were explored in depth, and robust responses implemented immediately.

The college's charter sets targets for raised NCEA and Māori achievement. Māori and Pacific students generally achieve less well in NCEA than their peers. The school continues to focus on these groups as a strategic priority. A range of targeted actions is designed to support improved outcomes. Senior leaders should continue to consider ways to help Pacific students to experience increased academic success.

The school uses information from contributing schools, together with its own assessments of Year 9 students, to place students in junior classes and share with teachers. Information about Year 9 and 10 students' progress is collated and used to develop differentiated programmes. Learning support classes and groups provide appropriate assistance for students needing additional tutoring in literacy and mathematics. Many priority learners make accelerated progress.

Senior leaders recognise that it is now timely to refocus on identifying and responding to the specific literacy and numeracy learning needs of students in Years 9 and 10. This is likely to strengthen teaching and learning in the junior school as the foundation for raised achievement schoolwide.

The college's curriculum is responsive to the complex and changing needs of its students.  The curriculum effectively promotes learning pathways. Teaching and learning programmes  are well aligned with The New Zealand Curriculum. Implementation is strongly supported by  clear guiding documents and well-considered systems and structures.

The curriculum framework is firmly based on Te Whānau Tahi values and the ‘big picture  schooling’ approach. These reflect three dimensions of learning and wellbeing: head, heart and hands. Staff demonstrate a shared understanding of and commitment to the ‘AREA’ goals - for attendance, retention, engagement and achievement. Learners benefit from the schoolwide emphasis on positive relationships.

Senior leaders and heads of department demonstrate an innovative, flexible approach to curriculum design. Classes are formed and new courses developed to cater for groups of students with particular needs and strengths. Significant student and teacher time is dedicated to extending and supporting student learning. This includes the daily 100 minute period and the 40 minute LARs.

The curriculum reflects the school’s community well. It is culturally responsive and uses relevant contexts to make learning meaningful for the diverse range of students. Bicultural and multicultural themes are embraced and celebrated. The school runs English language learning (ESOL) programmes for students, and for adults from the local community.

The school provides a range of good quality programmes and experiences for students with high learning needs. Some of these students receive individualised support in the special needs unit. Many are assisted to access the curriculum or specific programmes in mainstream classes. Learners with special learning needs participate fully in an inclusive school environment. They progress well socially, emotionally, culturally and academically.

A robust and well-coordinated career education and guidance programme supports students from Years 9 to 13 to make good decisions about their subjects. The senior curriculum caters flexibly for a broad range of student interests and strengths, from academic to vocational.  Students gain qualifications in a variety of areas.

The school’s strong commitment to increasing success for Māori students as Māori is highly evident in daily practices, routines and interactions. Māori language, values and tikanga are well embedded. Key practices include:

  • identifying improved learning outcomes for Māori students as a strategic priority
  • incorporating aspects of te reo me ngā tikanga Māori into the curriculum
  • offering Māori performing arts as an option in Years 11 to 13
  • recognising and celebrating Māori achievement
  • providing positive role models to encourage high aspirations
  • giving prominence to Te Whānau Tahi as the basis for how people relate to each other
  • integrating the marae and kawa into the life of the school
  • supporting and valuing the successful kapa haka group
  • building links with iwi
  • promoting the holistic wellbeing of students
  • continuously engaging in reciprocal relationships with parents and whānau.

Māori students develop a sense of belonging in a calm and inclusive environment where their wairua is highly respected.

Pacific students benefit from the strong schoolwide focus on Te Whānau Tahi. The positive climate and genuine celebration of cultural diversity means that Pacific students know that their identity and values are recognised and respected. They are well engaged in the life of the school, participating successfully in sports and other activities. Most remain at school until they have completed Year 13.

Students can learn the Samoan language from Years 9 to 13. A Pacific studies course is offered at Year 12. The school engages Pacific parents and aiga through the annual Pacific careers evening. This includes information about NCEA and help with appropriate subject choices. The Samoan Parents’ Association works in partnership with the school to provide a homework centre.

The school is well placed to sustain and improve its performance. Trustees are an experienced team with a strong commitment to the vision for the college. They have a highly supportive, collaborative relationship with the principal and senior leaders. Strategic and annual planning is based on evidence. Progress towards priority goals is reviewed and reported regularly.

Professional leadership is a significant strength of the college. The principal and senior managers work effectively as a team to steer the school on its path of continuous improvement. They recognise the importance of distributed leadership, and provide appropriate professional learning and development to middle managers.

Staff work together collegially and have contributed significantly to the positive changes in the school. Their commitment to ongoing improvement is demonstrated by their willingness to keep student outcomes at the centre of their vision.

The deliberate, well-considered focus on relationships has established a positive school climate that is highly evident in practice. It is underpinned by a set of shared values that are well understood throughout the school community.

Systems and procedures are clearly documented and regularly reviewed. Appraisal processes are useful and support sustained improvements in practice. Professional learning and development programmes assist the school, departments and individual teachers to move forward together.

Critical reflection and self review are firmly established as key to promoting ongoing school development. Senior leaders acknowledge the necessity of strong frameworks to evaluate the impact of key initiatives for students.

Future Action
ERO is likely to carry out the next review within three years.

The full report is available here.