education review office report 2011

The following is an extract taken from ERO's report on Takapuna Grammar School in September 2011.

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

What are the important features of this school that have an impact on student learning?
Students at Takapuna Grammar School on Auckland’s North Shore are confident and friendly and are proud of their school’s history and traditions. They benefit from a student-focused and inclusive school culture and enjoy learning within a stimulating physical environment.

Previous ERO reports have commended the variety of learning opportunities available to students and the strong links forged with the local community. The principal, his senior managers and teachers, continue to build on the positive learning behaviours and competencies that promote personal excellence, high standards of student achievement and skills for life-long learning.

The board of trustees plans strategically and continues to provide students and teachers with high quality facilities for teaching and learning. Trustees have a variety of professional backgrounds and experiences that are relevant and useful in the governance of the school.

How well are students learning – engaging, progressing and achieving?
Students continue to achieve very well at all year levels and in all learning areas of the school.  Students in Years 9 and 10 are well supported to make very good progress and most achieve at high levels in literacy and numeracy. Achievement information for students in Years 11 to 13 shows:

  • increasingly high rates of achievement in National Certificates of Educational Achievement (NCEA) at Levels 1, 2 and 3, including University Entrance
  • increasing numbers of merit and excellence endorsements at NCEA Levels 1,2 and 3
  • consistently high rates of achievement in literacy and numeracy at NCEA Level 1.


The school’s NCEA results compare favourably with those of other schools of a similar type and decile across the country. Students, staff and parents are justifiably proud of these achievements.

School leaders and teachers continue to strengthen their use of student achievement information. They use data to set broad achievement targets at board and departmental levels and to develop specific goals for individual students at classroom level. Students understand their levels of achievement and track their own progress during the year.

The school has a variety of programmes that support students to be successful in their learning. The school’s Targeting for Success initiative is proving effective in raising the achievement levels of students who find it challenging to meet their academic potential. This
initiative provides students with on-going academic mentoring. Well managed support programmes enable students to improve their literacy and numeracy skills and to gain meaningful qualifications. Students with high learning needs are provided with a combination
of regular classroom programmes and specialist programmes.

Senior leaders and teachers have high expectations for students to excel. Levels of student engagement are high. Students have access to strong pastoral support, provided by teachers and through a range of peer support programmes. Achievement in all areas of the school curriculum is celebrated. Parents receive regular reports on their child’s progress.

Senior managers continue to monitor the progress and achievement of the small number of Pacific students enrolled at each year level. School information shows that Pacific students at the school achieve at levels that are similar to those of other students nationally.

How well does the school promote Māori student success and success as Māori?
Māori students engage, progress and achieve well, supported by the positive culture of the school. Māori student achievement at NCEA Levels 1, 2 and 3 is significantly higher than that of Māori students nationally and is similar to the achievement of other students at the school.

Māori students are well represented in leadership roles in the school. The whānau class provides pastoral care within a tikanga Māori context. Tuakana-teina (senior and junior students) relationships are fostered. Māori students are engaged in the life of the school and
their rates of retention at school are high. Pōwhiri and kapa haka have an increasingly high profile in the school, attracting greater numbers of Māori and non-Māori students. Staff participation in school kawa (Māori protocol) has also increased.

Māori students’ progress and achievement is monitored by senior managers, and their successes are celebrated in a variety of ways throughout the school year. Specific tracking of Māori student achievement at classroom and department level could help senior staff to more closely monitor the effect of school initiatives on Māori student success.

How effectively does this school’s curriculum promote and support student learning?
Students experience a broad, relevant and meaningful curriculum. The school’s curriculum framework (Knowing, Connecting, Relating, Supporting) is well understood by students who talk positively about their learning and the many opportunities they have to succeed. School
leaders ensure that academic, cross-curricular and co-curricular learning programmes are responsive to students’ interests, strengths and needs. Students with special talents respond positively to opportunities to explore their interests through a range of extension programmes. Student participation levels in the wide range of cultural and sporting opportunities available to
them are high.

The New Zealand Curriculum has been well implemented. The school’s curriculum identifies
values, principles and key competencies that are aligned with The New Zealand Curriculum and are reflected in classroom learning programmes for all students. Staff increasingly accept responsibility for acknowledging New Zealand’s bicultural identity in their teaching programmes. On-going review ensures that the school curriculum is future-focused and
relevant.

Most teachers are highly skilled and provide students with challenging, interactive and stimulating lessons. Staff participation in high quality professional learning has supported the development of good teaching practice across the school. Teachers regularly reflect on ways to improve learning programmes. They could now consider using student achievement data as a tool for reviewing and evaluating their professional practice.

How well placed is the school to sustain and improve its performance?
The school is well placed to sustain and further improve its performance. High quality review and reporting practices are well established. Self review is student focused and helps to ensure that school systems meet the needs of the students.

Trustees plan strategically in response to the high quality information that they receive from the principal. The board and school leaders prioritise areas for development and monitor the progress and success of initiatives already in place. Trustees value staff and provide well for their ongoing professional learning and development.

The principal’s professional leadership is a key factor in the school’s success. He is supported by a capable senior leadership team who actively respond to emerging opportunities and needs. Senior leaders work collaboratively to foster a culture of mutual trust and respect in the school. The board and school leaders value the school’s strong and mutually beneficial
relationships with the local community.

Provision for international students
The school has attested that it complies with all aspects of the Code. Takapuna Grammar School 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. At the time of this review there were 195 international students attending the school.

The school has attested that it complies with all aspects of the Code.

ERO’s investigations confirmed that the school’s self-review process for international students is thorough.
The school continues to have strong, well documented systems to guide its education and care of international students. The international department is well staffed to meet students’ educational, pastoral care and social needs. Staff regularly review practices and identify areas in which additional support and guidance would benefit students.

The progress and achievement of individual students is well monitored. Students areencouraged to participate fully in the wider social and co-curricular life of the school. Theyspeak positively about their experiences in the school and the friendly and welcoming manner
of teachers and their New Zealand peers.

Exit interviews are conducted when international students complete their time at the school as part of an ongoing focus on improving services for these students. As a regular part of self review, the school has recently moved to extend opportunities for students to provide
confidential feedback on educational, pastoral care and home-stay provisions. The information gained should further improve ability of the board and staff to respond to the aspirations, needs and interests of international students.

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 harassment)
  • physical safety of students
  • teacher registration
  • stand-downs, suspensions, expulsions and exclusions
    attendance

When is ERO likely to review the school again?
ERO is likely to carry out the next review in four-to-five years.

Richard Thornton
National Manager Review Services
Northern Region
30 September 2011

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