The suppressed Martin Jenkins report has finally been released

The long-suppressed Martin Jenkins report was finally released late on Friday in an attempt (no doubt) to bury it.

Education Minister Chris Hipkins, when asked about it on Radio NZ incredibly, claimed that the report doesn’t reveal much. It, in fact, tells a great deal about the students and family experiences within the Villa Education Trust Schools in particular that made up 91% of the student responses to Martin Jenkins and 50% of the parent response.

It is, of course, a pity that the other charter schools in the evaluation did not fully participate but that should not detract from the Villa Education Trust schools wonderful outcomes.

The full Martin Jenkins report can be viewed here. Quote:

Below is a summary from the Villa Education Trust perspective. We are – justifiably – delighted with what these results show. Middle School West Auckland and South Auckland Middle School are outstandingly staffed and providing a high quality academic education for students who desperately need it.
We are looking forward to being a long-term and growing feature of the NZ education system.

Below are statements from the Martin Jenkins Report for Year 3 that are relevant to the Villa Education Trust.  They are presented without comment.


  • The overall response rate to the student survey was 47% (373 responses), but nearly all responses were from the two Middle Schools (90%, 336 responses). As a result, we only present feedback from the Middle School students (as a case study). These schools are run by a single sponsor (Villa Education Trust).
  • The highest response rate for the surveys was 47% (survey 1); however, 90% of these responses were from South Auckland Middle School (SAMS) and Middle School West Auckland (MSWA). Very few responses were received from the other schools.
  • [50% of the parent surveys were also through the Villa Education Trust]
  • The most common reason that students joined the Middle Schools was that they thought that they would learn better at these schools. The next most common reason was that the class sizes at the Middle Schools are smaller than at other schools (this is a particular point of difference for SAMS and MSWA — their class sizes are limited to 15 students).
  • The feedback from Middle School students on outcomes was extremely positive. They reported improved engagement and learning, in comparison with their previous school. The highest levels of agreement were for:

– I am learning better at this school than I did at my previous school

– I am more hopeful for my future now compared to when I was at my previous school

– I enjoy my school work at this school more than I did at my previous school.

  • Responding parents’ satisfaction levels were very high
  • The Middle School students were also asked if the school has met or exceeded these expectations. There was a high level of agreement that the school was meeting or exceeding expectations in these areas. For all reasons below, the numbers of students that agreed that the expectations were being met or exceeded outweighed the number that disagreed.
  • The level of students’ satisfaction with the Middle Schools. Students’ satisfaction levels were high.
  • The highest level of agreement from the Middle School students was “I am learning better at this schools than I did at my previous school.” The statements that received the next highest levels of agreement were “I am more hopeful for the future now compared with when I was at my previous school,” and “I enjoy my school work at this school more than I did at my previous school.” In fact, for all the statements, the levels of agreement outweigh the levels of disagreement.
  • The Middle School students reported that the most common ‘biggest change’ for them was that they were learning better at this school than they were at their previous school. Other statements that were commonly voted as the biggest change included:

– “My attendance at this school is better than it was at my previous school,” and

– “I have better friendships at this school than I did at my previous school.”

  • This feedback implies that the Middle School students have a positive view of their school, attend school more often and are generally more engaged with their school and school work.
  • The statement that received the highest level of agreement was:

– “This school is a good choice for me,” followed closely by

– “The things I learn at this school will help me succeed in life,” and

– “Feedback that I receive on my school work helps me to improve my learning.”

  • Feedback from the Middle School students showed a lift in both academic and career aspirations compared with before they joined a PSKH.
  • The students reported lower aspirations before joining the PSKH.
  • The students reported holding higher aspirations now: a lower proportion (18%) of Middle Schools’ students said they are planning to find work, and a higher proportion (24%) are aiming to attend tertiary education.
  • The increase in the proportion of Middle School students specifying that their current plans are now to attend tertiary education indicates a lift in academic and career aspirations.
  • All of the PSKH are attracting priority learners (as was the policy intention), including learners with complex needs. Sponsors’ views on their students’ needs were corroborated by analysis of administrative data. The analysis confirmed PSKH students meet the definition of ‘priority’, and that prior to attending a PSKH many were transient and many had been disengaged.
  • PSKH had a good understanding of their students both as a group and as individuals. While students bring a range of strengths to their education, sponsors told us that many also come with low academic baselines and core skills, histories of disengagement from education and complex socio-economic and health needs. In addition, many lack positive aspirations and role models.
  • PSKH are meeting their learners’ needs using good and innovative practices. Practices are matched to local needs while still meeting high quality standards.
  • Innovations are driven by an intention to provide better education for students who had been under-served by the education system.
  • Innovations within PSKH are enabled by the funding model, with governance and management showing the most innovation in the first year. PSKH appoint governance boards to access specific skills, and split management functions into administration (CEO) and academic leadership (principal).
  • PSKH are also innovating in other areas (staffing, student engagement and support, and pedagogy, teaching and learning), but to a lesser extent. PSKH are less innovative in the areas of curriculum and engagement with the community, however they are using good practices (eg tailoring to context and need).
  • Further work in the second year of the evaluation found that teaching and learning approaches in PSKH are specifically driven by schools’ understanding of students’ needs and their local context. Teaching and learning is supported by good (and in some cases very good) assessment practices. PSKH leaders have a good understanding of assessment
  • Conditions enabling successful operation of PSKH include small rolls and class sizes, strong sponsor visions and sponsors building on a history of success in education.  
  • Whānau and learner experiences appear to be positive.
  • PSKH offerings and innovations are strongly driven by sponsors’ visions. Sponsors valued the opportunity to provide an integrated approach that offered an alternative to the current system. Sponsors focus all aspects of delivery on meeting the needs of priority students.
  • Whānau whose children are currently attending a PSKH are attracted to the offerings and values (including cultural values) of PSKH.  Whānau are satisfied with what PSKH are delivering and feel the PSKH are offering a positive alternative.
  • Whānau whose children are currently attending a PSKH also reported feeling more involved in their child’s learning, and more confident communicating with the PSKH. Very few learners appear to be opting out of PSKH.
  • The range and nature of innovations we found within PSKH provided early evidence the schools/kura were developing innovative solutions to match local needs while still meeting high quality standards.
  • Innovations were discussed across eight dimensions (identified in a literature review).
  • The funding model was a key innovation but different to the others as it is a structural component that enables other potential innovation.
  • The greatest levels of innovation in the first year of operation were in governance and management.
  • The key driver of innovation was found at the governance level: the sponsor’s vision provides the impetus and mandate for innovation in all other areas.
  • A key innovation in governance was enabled by the policy — this is that boards were appointed for specific expertise without the need to involve parents.
  • Management enacted the sponsor’s vision by implementing specific innovations across the school/kura.
  • A key innovation in management was the split between administration (CEO) and academic leadership (principal).
  • Innovative practices and examples of best practice were evident in three dimensions driven by management.
  • Staffing: skilled staff support and bring innovation — they were experienced (including the small number of unregistered teachers) and brought a strong focus on improving outcomes for priority students; staff shared the responsibility for ongoing innovation with sponsors and management and were employed under individual contracts.
  • Student engagement and support: there was a strong focus on student wellbeing and engagement using a range of best practice approaches and innovations.
  • Pedagogy, teaching and learning: multiple examples of best practice, with approaches well matched to context and student need — while similar examples can be found in state schools, these practices are not widespread across the state sector.
  • The strong visions of individual sponsors.
  • The sponsors were using principles from business to succeed: they were taking personal responsibility for the success of their school/kura and were determined to succeed. Each was aiming for the best possible results and was aware they were operating in an environment of high scrutiny.
  • Sponsors’ visions were driving all aspects of operation: schools/kura were designed to meet the needs of a particular demographic.
  • The emphasis on aligning teaching expertise with the school’s/kura mission and values.
  • Each school/kura endeavoured to employ the highest quality staff possible; quality staff were identified by the sponsors as vital to achieving their vision.
  • NEED 3: Complex socio-economic and health needs that create barriers to education
    • Reducing (or eliminating) the costs of education
    • Providing or brokering access to social and health services
  • NEED 4: Lack of education role models to support and encourage education success
    • Instilling high aspirations for every student and broadening student horizons
    • Involving parents/family/whānau in their student’s education journey.
  • Overall, we found that assessment practice across the schools/kura was ‘good’. All of the schools/kura had very good understandings of assessment practice at leadership level and appropriate systems and tools in place to support it, although the extent to which these were fully embedded varies.
  • Leaders in all of the schools/kura had a good understanding of the relationship between assessment practice and student achievement outcomes. They saw good assessment practice as a core component of quality teaching and learning, both for groups of students and for individuals.
  • The Year 3 research provided good insight into the characteristics of students who attend PSKH, corroborating the views of the PSKH themselves that they serve priority students, including priority students with complex needs. Administrative data confirmed high proportions of Māori and Pasifika students, and that many of them come from low-decile schools. The data also indicated that a notable proportion (30%) were likely to have been transient prior to attending a PSKH, and at least a fifth of them had experienced some disengagement (through stand downs and suspensions).
  • Year 3 also provided good indications that once joining a PSKH, students and whānau have positive experiences. Very few appear to be actively opting-out of PSKH, indicating that the PSKH are successfully meeting their needs. Importantly, the data shows that engagement had significantly improved for students attending PSKH (compared with their engagement in other schools). Students from the PSKH cohort were stood down less often (and for shorter periods) at PSKH than they were at other schools. Although students from the PSKH cohort were suspended at about the same rates at PSKH and other schools, they were suspended for significantly shorter periods at PSKH.
  • The whānau survey results broadly showed that respondents are choosing PSKH to improve the educational outcomes of their children. They are also attracted to PSKHs’ wider offering and values, including their cultural values. Responding whānau provided positive feedback on PSKH meeting their expectations for a positive alternative, and are satisfied with what the PSKH are actually delivering. Interestingly, these whānau also reported positive outcomes in regard to their own engagement with the PSKH, feeling more involved in their children’s learning and more confident dealing with the PSKH than with their previous school. These whānau also reported (and attributed) improvements in well-being and relationships with the children, following joining the PSKH.
  • Why do parents choose PSKH, and are parents’ expectations being met?

The most common reasons selected by whānau for sending their children to PSKH shows quality of education to be a key driver.

– I thought my child would learn better at this school

– Class sizes were smaller than at other schools.

The next most commonly chosen reasons related to the schools’ approaches and values, indicating that whānau see these schools as offering something different to other (non-PSKH) schools.

– I liked the way the school day was structured

– This school’s values are similar to my own

– I thought that my child would feel safe at this school

– Our culture is important to our family and this school recognises this.

  • Survey feedback also showed that all of these expectations are being met or exceeded by the PSKH.
  • In addition, whānau reported high satisfaction with the PSKH their children are attending across a range of areas related to achievement and engagement. This included very high satisfaction with how their children are learning, how the school is recognising their culture, how happy and safe their children are, and how often they attend.
  • The feedback from the Middle Schools’ students aligns with the feedback from the whānau of students who attend a range of PSKH.
  • The students’ most common reasons for attending were the same as whānau for choosing PSKH: to learn better and because of smaller class sizes
  • Both of these expectations are being met by the Middle Schools (75% agreeing their expectation around learning better is being met, and 83% agreeing that class sizes are smaller.
  • Whānau had the highest levels of agreement for the following engagement outcomes:

– I feel more involved in my child’s learning at this school compared with my child’s previous school

– I am more confident in communicating with this school than I was with my child’s previous school.

  • When asked what the biggest change was since their child started at the PSKH, the two most frequently chosen things were:

– I feel more involved in my child’s learning at this school

– I have a better understanding of my child’s feelings and needs since they started at this school.

  • Whānau also gave very high levels of agreement (77%–94%) with a range of statements, showing very high satisfaction with the PSKH their child is attending.
  • Students generally agreed that it was the school itself that was helping them improve.
  • The two biggest changes identified by students since starting at the PSKH were that they were learning better and that their attendance was better.
  • Questions about their future showed a lift in students’ academic and career aspirations since joining the PSKH. More are now aiming to achieve NCEA Level 3, and more are aiming to continue to tertiary education.
  • The students reported very high satisfaction with the PSKH. The highest levels of agreement were for:

– This school is a good choice for me

– The things I learn at this school will help me succeed in life

– Feedback that I receive on my school work helps me to improve my learning.

  • Few students appear to be ‘opting out’ of PSKH
  • There was a significantly lower occurrence of stand downs (and fewer days stood down) for these students while attending PSKH.
  • There is no difference in the number of suspensions per student per year between PSKH and other schools. But there is a significantly lower mean number of days suspended per student per year at PSKH.
  • The statements that received the highest levels of agreement were:

– “I feel more involved with my child’s learning at this school compared with my child’s previous school” and

– “I am more confident communicating with this school than I was with my child’s previous school.”

  • There is a very high level of agreement that the school is making a positive difference in these areas for students and whānau.
  • The most common “biggest change” compared with at their child’s previous school was that they felt more involved with their child’s learning at the PSKH.
  • I am more confident communicating with this school than I was with my child’s previous school.” These results show that for those who responded, there has been an increase in parents / families / whānau engagement with the school and with their child’s learning since starting at a PSKH.
  • There is a very high level of agreement that the school is helping improve these areas for students.
  • These results further cement the idea that responding parents are very satisfied with the PSKH, and that they are more engaged with the school and their child’s learning than they were while their child was at their previous school.End of quote.

 


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