education review office report 2008

The following is an extract taken from ERO's report on Takapuna Grammar School in September 2008.

To read the full report please click on this link to the ERO website.

Takapuna Grammar School is a co-educational secondary school that provides very good standards of education for students in Years 9 to 15. The principal and teaching staff place strong emphasis on the development of learning behaviours and competencies that promote personal excellence, high standards of educational achievement and the skills for life-long
learning. The school offers students a wide range of curricular and co-curricular opportunities and actively fosters strong links with its community.

Since the 2005 ERO report the board of trustees has continued to develop the school's physical environment in accordance with an extensive multi-phased building programme plan designed to provide students and teachers with high quality teaching facilities. Under stage one of the property development plan an art/technology block and a new performing arts
centre have been completed. Work is now underway on a new multi-level block that will accommodate the library/information and communication technologies (ICT) centre, the social sciences teaching spaces, a student services centre, and a senior students' study area and student cafeteria. Stage two of the building programme is scheduled to be completed by the end of 2009. Good progress has also been made in progressing the school's ICT infrastructure, enhancing staff and student access to e-learning resources.

For this review, the board asked ERO to evaluate the extent to which the school's teaching and learning, leadership and co-curricular programmes and  opportunities enable students to achieve personal excellence. Several areas of national interest are also evaluated, including those relating to Māori and Pacific student achievement, teacher readiness to implement the revised New Zealand Curriculum and the school's thinking about the educational needs of its future students. The report further comments on aspects of the school's adult community education programmes and its provisions for international students.

Findings indicate that the school has a settled and productive atmosphere, which is characterised by mutually respectful and affirming relationships amongst all members of the school community. Students are generally confident, enthusiastic about learning and are
motivated to succeed. Many achieve to a high standard and overall attainment levels in national qualifications exceed national averages and compare favourably with those of schools of a similar socio-economic background. The particularly high academic performance
of some students is evident in the school's scholarship statistics. These exceed national averages and indicate student excellence in wide range of subject areas. Students spoken with during this review show pride in their school and are appreciative of the many academic,
sporting, cultural, and social opportunities that teachers make available to them.

The principal provides strong educational leadership, sets clear strategic direction and is well informed about current educational theories and research in relation to best practice in teaching and learning. He works closely with a capable and committed senior management
team to foster a collective vision for ongoing school improvement and to build leadership capacity at all levels of the school. His work with principals within the local area has resulted in the development of a shared vision for teaching and learning for the Devonport Peninsula schools. The school participates in the Ministry of Education's Extending High Standards
Across Schools (EHSAS) schooling improvement project and receives additional funding to implement this work.

Teachers are responsive to school improvement initiatives and accompanying professional learning and development programmes. They set high expectations for student success and take collective responsibility, with the principal and senior managers, for moving the school forward. ERO notes significant progress in the consistency and quality of teaching practice since the 2005 review and an increasing use of achievement data to identify and cater for students' interests, abilities and learning needs. Further developing these data analysis skills would now be beneficial so that teachers gain a more in-depth overview of students' specific
learning strengths and the next steps needed for their development. Moves already underway to increase the consistency of assessment practices in Years 9 and 10 should also increase teachers' ability to monitor and support student achievement across the curriculum.

The board of trustees governs the school capably and has developed a comprehensive self-review system to monitor the effectiveness of school policy and procedures. Trustees bring a range of valuable skills and experience to the board and are clearly united in their support for the school's educational directions and for the principal and staff. The board places a high priority on ensuring that the school is well placed to provide for the diverse needs of its students.

ERO finds that the school is performing well in many areas and that high quality practices are in place to support teaching and learning. ERO and the board of trustees agree that the principal and staff should continue with school initiatives for promoting personal excellence and life-long learning.

Future Action

ERO is confident that the board of trustees can manage the school in the interests of the students and the Crown and bring about the improvements outlined in this report.

ERO is likely to review the school again as part of the regular review cycle.

To continue reading the full report please click on this link to the ERO website.