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 Maori 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.
What are the important features of this school that have an impact on student learning?
Mt Roskill Grammar is a successful and progressive Years 9 to 15 secondary school in suburban Auckland. The school has a very culturally diverse student community, including many students for whom English is a second language. Pacific students comprise a quarter of the roll and Asian students have increased to just over fifty percent. The Maclean Centre is a specialist onsite facility for students with disabilities who participate in the mainstream curriculum where possible.
The principal heads a recently restructured senior management team that is building school wide leadership capacity. Strategic initiatives are well considered and designed to increase student engagement and improve learning outcomes. Students make very good progress and the close analysis of achievement information continues to guide ongoing self review and informed decision making.
The school benefits from MERGE, a well developed partnership with the adjoining primary and intermediate schools. Campus coordinators provide support for parents, trustees, teachers and school leaders. The continuity of learning that is possible through this campus wide collaborative approach is a growing strength of the curriculum.
The use of Puketapapa (Mt Ros kill) to identify the shared campus signifies the school’s location and recognition of tangata whenua. Whan au Maori and Pacifica fono are better connected through these campus wide approaches.
ERO’s 2010 Education Review commented positively on the school’s performance and its focus on improving outcomes for students. These features have been sustained and further extended. The school’s vision is clearly embedded in planning, goal setting and resourcing decisions. School operations are effectively and responsibly governed and managed.
How well does this school use achievement information to make positive changes to learners’ engagement, progress and achievement?
The school adds value to learning and students make good progress and achieve well overall. There is good support for students who enter the school below expectations. The achievement of different groups and ethnicities is tracked and compared overtime. The board is responsive to the trends and patterns indicated in the principal’s analysis of achievement information.
Senior students continue to perform well in the National Certificates of Educational Achievement (NCEA), including literacy and numeracy requirements that are now comparable with national trends. The school is justifiably proud of improved outcomes for all students at NCEA Levels 1 and 2, particularly the significant improvement of Maori and Pacific students.
While NCEA Level 3 results have not increased overall they remain similar to national results. The percentage of students leaving with NCEA Level 2 is nearly ten percent higher than national levels. NCEA Merit and Excellence endorsements are similar to or above national levels. High quality teaching enabled students to attain 47 scholarships in 2014, maintaining strong performance in this award.
Student achievement information is used by school leaders to determine priorities and targets, and to evaluate the impact of teaching and learning initiatives. Targets for raising Maori and Pacific student achievement have been prioritised. Annual achievement targets are incorporated into the school wide operational planning and are used to evaluate the school overall performance.
Curriculum leaders and teachers are strengthening their use of student achievement information. Developing staff capability to analyse and inquire into achievement data is seen as a key to improving outcomes for students.
How effectively does this school’s curriculum promote and support student learning?
The school curriculum is effectively promoting and supporting student learning. Programmes of learning are well designed and students are enabled to take ownership of their learning. The school’s vision of students becoming successful, powerful learners is evident through the academic and cocurricular life of the school.
The curriculum is under ongoing review. Programmes of learning are well designed and responsive to student and parents’ aspirations. Learning pathways for senior students have been expanded and the high levels of student retention, together with leaver destination data, indicates that more senior students are leaving school with suitable and useful qualifications.
Student leaver information is analysed and career pathways and programmes are being used to inform the curriculum design. A school wide review of career education prioritised for 2015 is a timely development. The planned addition of Pacific languages in the senior curriculum could enhance outcomes for Pacific students.
The junior curriculum is undergoing significant review. Identified learning skills and literacy across the curriculum are promoted as key outcomes. Teachers are incorporating new ways of assessing student progress into programme planning. Students and teachers are trialling digital learning approaches that utilise the school’s expanding e-learning environment.
An effective pastoral system supports student engagement. A restorative ethos underpins the focus on positive learning relationships. Students are encouraged to participate and develop social competencies and key learning skills. Diversity is celebrated and opportunities for leadership and peer support at all levels are strongly promoted. Newly established academies and form teacher mentoring have the potential to further increase student engagement.
The curriculum is benefitting from MERGE, the school’s close association with the neighbouring primary and intermediate schools. Teachers are sharing strategies across the schools that build students’ understanding of themselves as learners. This model of schools working together as a community is having a positive impact on teaching and learning.
MERGE also supports the transition of students with disabilities. Staff and therapists at the Maclean Centre design specialist curriculum programmes to meet the specific needs of each student. Good support for students with learning needs and the integration of students with disabilities are features of this inclusive school.
Ongoing development in curriculum planning and assessment in the junior school continues to be a priority. These developments should further strengthen the student-centred nature of the school’s curriculum and add greater visibility to the learning process.
How effectively does the school promote educational success for Maori, as Maori?
There are effective strategies to support Maori success, as Maori. Most significant of these are the improved relationships with whanau that support Maori students across the campus. Initiatives such as the school kapa haka, Maori student graduation, mentoring and the thoughtful transition of Year 9 Maori students from the adjoining intermediate school benefit Maori learners.
The Maori achievement plan contains a number of goals and plans to promote educational success and success as Maori. The Kia Eke Panuku team, that includes staff from across the campus, is leading the development of culturally responsive teaching.
School leaders are working to promote Maori culture and tikanga. The board and principal share a commitment to making these features evident. The history and significance of Puketapapa could be explored as part of joint whanau and campus-wide consultation.
How well placed is the school to sustain and improve its performance?
The school is very well placed to sustain and further improve its performance.
The school’s vision and mission statements are central to strategic and annual planning. The principal continues to provide professional leadership to the board and staff. Trustees work collaboratively with the principal to promote ongoing school improvement, making informed decisions through robust self review and responsible governance.
Teachers are well supported to improve outcomes for students through high quality professional learning and development. They are benefitting from reflective inquiry practices that are expectations of the school’s appraisal procedures. Teachers are consulted about schoolwide changes and have increased opportunities for leadership.
School operations and plans are well documented and clearly aligned to the board’s strategic direction. Actions plans are purposefully targeted and evaluated and teachers are regularly updated about progress with new systems and initiatives. Senior leaders have increased their effectiveness in leading school wide initiatives. The new leadership structure allows school leaders to work collaboratively in leading and managing change.
ERO is satisfied that the board has good employer systems and appropriate ways of managing staff complaints. Exploring staff wellbeing in relation to the impact of progress and change should remain a priority. Trustees and the principal agree that staff satisfaction surveys are an effective way to evaluate the quality of the work environment and staff wellbeing.
The board is continuing to rationalise its policy framework to support governance and strengthen board succession planning.
Provision for international students
Mt Roskill Grammar 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.
The school currently has 113 international students, mainly from China, Brazil, Japan and Korea. The school has a team of three staff who organise student programmes and administer the Code. They arrange home stay accommodation and assist students to become involved in the wider life of the school and co-curricular activities.
The expectations of international students are well met. They are supported to improve their English language skills and achieve in other curriculum areas. The international student director reports regularly to the board about the outcomes of the programme.
The school has attested that it complies with all aspects of the Code and has completed its required annual self review. ERO’s investigations confirm that the school’s self-review process for international students is thorough.
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:
management of health, safety and welfare
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
processes for appointing staff
stand-downs, suspensions, expulsions and exclusions
Mt Roskill Grammar promotes and supports successful learning outcomes for its diverse student community. School leaders continually review the curriculum and set effective goals and targets to improve school performance. The school’s inclusive values and restorative practices encourage high levels of student engagement, participation and achievement.
ERO is likely to carry out the next review in four-to-five years.
Deputy Chief Review Officer Northern
22 June 2015
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