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New ERO report looks at practices of lower decile schools

New ERO report looks at the practices of lower decile secondary schools achieving great results for their students

A new report from the Education Review Office (ERO) looks at how some lower decile secondary schools are improving their student engagement and achievement.

The report, Towards equitable outcomes in secondary schools: good practice, publishes the findings of an evaluation completed by ERO in 2014.

ERO identified secondary schools of decile five or below with rolls of more than 200 students, that had a combination of better than average academic achievement levels and low levels of student stand-downs and suspensions. ERO then visited seven of these schools to find out the secret to their success.

The schools were Gisborne Boys High School, McAuley High School (Auckland), Mount Roskill Grammar School (Auckland), Naenae College (Lower Hutt), Opotiki College (Bay of Plenty), Otaki College (Kapiti), and Trident High School (Whakatane).

ERO’s Evaluation Services Manager, Stephanie Greaney, says the findings show that each school had a strong vision for every student’s success.

“We found that this vision focused on the wellbeing of the students and on helping them to be the best they could be.

“Every school had strong links with families and communities in ways that supported the students’ learning. Parents and whānau were involved in developing the pathways which their teenagers followed, further motivating the students,” Mrs Greaney says.

Another key factor for success was the leadership of school principals in managing change, with a focus on positive outcomes for every student enrolled at the school. Teachers worked together to improve outcomes for students, with ERO seeing innovative practices adopted by schools to meet students’ needs.

“Most importantly, the teachers believed that students can succeed and that they have a responsibility to help them do so,” says Mrs Greaney.

ERO found that young people in these schools were actively engaged and confident members of their school communities, with many taking on leadership roles.

“Our report shows that despite wider challenges, when schools and communities have a vision for success and work together to keep every student engaged and achieving, it can happen. We hope the success seen in these schools encourages others.”

She says the report highlights the variety of approaches schools can take to keep every student engaged, motivated to learn, and experiencing success in education.

Each school visited for the evaluation is featured with a description of their particular approach. Examples of good practices that other schools can use to make improvements are included in the report.


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