Progress at WBHS; WGHS praised

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Waitaki Boys’ High School is trending in the right direction and Waitaki Girls’ High School continues to be a “strong” performer, recent Education Review Office reports say.

Waitaki Boys’ High School

An improved Education Review Office (ERO) report on Waitaki Boys’ High School has recently been released, after a review team visited in May.

But the report notes the school needed a more consistent and “unrelenting focus” on raising the “quality of teaching and learning for all teachers and all students”.

When ERO last visited in 2017, it was not confident Waitaki Boys’ leaders were capable of addressing issues noted in the report and recommended the statutory intervention, placed at the school by the Ministry of Education in 2014, continue.

That invervention ended in June this year, when a board of trustees was elected and Andrea Ludemann appointed as chairwoman.

The most recent report noted the school had made good progress in areas of teaching and learning, which included “focusing on clarity in the classroom and teaching” for staff, more focus on professional development and improved support for teachers with “better literacy strategies” for pupils.

Waitaki Boys’ High School rector Darryl Paterson said the school was “developing” well, and engagement with pupils in the classroom was a major focus.

“The report talks about student engagement and that’s certainly our focus .. if the students are engaged they want to be coming to school and performing well,” Mr Patterson said.

“We know that there’s areas we still need to get better in .. It’s about getting that consistency in our programmes and our systems across the whole school.”

It was recommended the ministry continued to support the school on issues such as governance, training and support for teachers, its response to issues, improving achievement levels and strategic planning, evaluation and reporting.

Waitaki Girls’ High School

Waitaki Girls’ High School was praised in its recent report for the make-up of its curriculum; its ability to identify and intervene when pupils needed additional learning support; its school and cultural values; leadership in the classroom; and the supportive environment showed at its hostel, which housed 42 boarders.

The affirmation from ERO was empowering for the school’s management, staff and 402 pupils, acting principal Margaret Williams said.

“It’s down to a real team effort and strong leadership from our principal [Tracy Walker],” Ms Williams said.

The school was also described as having a “caring, inclusive school culture providing a positive environment for learning”.

“We want to do the best for every girl. We consider ourselves to be a student-centred school and by that we are looking to support students with their learning .. their growth as young women, while teaching them our values of respect, responsibility and resilience.”

The report said for “sustained improvement” the school could draw on its existing strengths in its broad curriculum that pupils responded well to, which provided “coherent pathways to work and further learning”, and its systems in place for monitoring learning and wellbeing that supported “collaborative approaches to improving outcomes and students”.

These were areas the school was already working on, Ms Williams said.

Additional reporting Rebecca Ryan