Selwyn College doing so well it needs a zone

July 16th, 2014 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

Two Auckland secondary schools are acting quickly to lighten the load after a period of rapid roll growth.

The Ministry of Education has advised and One Tree Hill College to put enrolment schemes in place.

The board of trustees at each school is consulting with the community before submitting the proposed home zone for ministry approval.

Both aim to have the zones up and running for the 2015 school year, with out of zone enrolments closing on September 3.

Selwyn College has never had an enrolment zone.

The school has experienced such a big turn around in achievement and community interest and more control is needed to manage its population size, principal Sheryll Ofner says.

While I don’t personally support zoning, it is good to see Selwyn College doing so well, it now needs one.

Selwyn College was praised by Helen Clark in 2006 as a model of what we like to see in our schools. The NCEA Pass rate for Level 1 that years was 39%. Anne Tolley sacked the board in 2009 and under new leadership the pass rate is now 93%.

It shows the power and difference great school leadership can make.

Tags:

33 Responses to “Selwyn College doing so well it needs a zone”

  1. thedavincimode (6,759 comments) says:

    A good time to introduce compulsory Te Reo – see if we can get that back down to 39% where is belongs in order to ensure a steady supply of liebour voters.

    Vote: Thumb up 15 Thumb down 1 You need to be logged in to vote
  2. Fentex (974 comments) says:

    While I don’t personally support zoning

    Are you sure? Don’t you perhaps suspect if “the popular schools [...] expand to whatever size they wish” it may be necessary “for the Ministry to direct a school to take a student if they can’t get into any school say within 10 kms of where they live.“?

    Vote: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  3. David Farrar (1,895 comments) says:

    The reason zones are necessary are because successful schools are not allowed to grow. One can still have a right of attendance to your closest school. That is very different to zoning.

    Vote: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 2 You need to be logged in to vote
  4. SPC (5,619 comments) says:

    How prevalent is the opposition to school zoning in National?

    It is an ACT policy – as charter schools was.

    Is this another education policy from ACT that National is likely to adopt?

    It would be interesting to predict the impact of house valuations in electorates with school zoning if this policy was adopted.

    Vote: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 2 You need to be logged in to vote
  5. Odakyu-sen (652 comments) says:

    Once Selwyn College gets a zone, it won’t have to take on kids who have been expelled from secondary schools in other parts of Auckland if the kids reside outside its new zone. This will help reduce the number of “rejects” coming into Selwyn and in turn encourage more local families to send their children to Selwyn.

    Vote: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  6. stephieboy (3,063 comments) says:

    Zoning is the only acceptable way for schools to practically deal with enrollments in a given geographical area. Abolishing zones was tried before in the 1990’s and failed.
    it led to many anomalies and injustices including children living next to their local school forced to travel long distances to an alternative school.
    But well done Selwyn. Other schools like Avondale College, Mt Roskill Grammar , Mt Albert Grammar etc also have had a similar dramatic turn around over the last 20 years when Principals decide to focus on a core more academic weighted Curriculum and Values. Also driven by PTA and parents who know that Performing and liberal Arts alone are not going to get their children a career in todays world.Good conduct and attitudes cultivated at school is an another vital ingredient..
    BTW the above mentioned schools thrive with the zoning system as it stands

    Vote: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  7. peterwn (3,271 comments) says:

    School zoning is a necessary evil to make optimum use of school capacity. It is not in the taxpayers’ interests to build new classrooms at one school while there are vacant classrooms (or space to build them) at adjacent schools.

    Vote: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 2 You need to be logged in to vote
  8. Nukuleka (325 comments) says:

    Selwyn College was once a disaster site- but with excellent guidance from ex-Carmel College principal Collene Roche as the Ministry of Education appointed statutory manager/ commissioner and the principal Sheryll Ofner the school has turned itself round. This was probably in the face of intense union- supported opposition from stalwart long-term staff members who thought that 39% NCEA Level 1 pass rates were just fine and dandy. Hasn’t the school even introduced a uniform now? Gosh.

    Interesting to look at other Auckland schools Collene Roche has worked with on a short term basis such as McAuley High School, a low decile South Auckland college that is demonstrating that just because a school is low decile it doesn’t have to content itself with poor academic standards and results.

    I’m all for the government’s policy of super-principals who can be used to make a difference to low-achieving schools. People like Collene Roche prove the validity of this policy.

    Vote: Thumb up 19 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  9. mikenmild (11,247 comments) says:

    ‘This was probably in the face of intense union- supported opposition’
    An evidence free prejudiced statement.

    Vote: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 8 You need to be logged in to vote
  10. GJM (62 comments) says:

    I used to live down the road from Selwyn for 12 years up until 18 m months ago. My kids were never going to go there, and Glendowie College wasn’t going to take any out of zone students as it was full. There were no other state schools that we could go to, so it was going to be private schooling for high school – not by choice due to the cost, but to give them a proper education, and this was the same for many of our neighbors, even though we paid once with tax, and again with our after tax income for private fees. If we had stayed, i would have considered Selwyn now, but never before. The place was a disaster zone. The NCEA results are only the tip of the iceberg.
    With the area it is in, it should be one of the best schools in Auckland.

    Vote: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  11. tom hunter (4,838 comments) says:

    I’m all for the government’s policy of super-principals who can be used to make a difference to low-achieving schools.

    There’s another example of that from two nearby schools, both primary-intermediate.

    The first is St Helier’s school. When I moved into the area at the turn of the millennium I was surprised to find that the school had a very low reputation and people were diverting their kids to other schools in the area, both public and private. A new principal was appointed in the early 2000’s and the place has never looked back. They’ve had to have an extensive building spree in the last few years to cope with the demand. It’s chewed into the playground, which I’m never happy to see but there still seems room for games so I guess it’s okay, and the old buildings had been there forever.

    The second is Glendowie. Same deal with a principal who knew how to play the decile funding game. It’s taken ten years but the school is thriving, with a lot of new facilities and enrolments. Of course that’s also meant that they’ve gone from Decile 3 to Decile 10.

    The kicker to the above story is that Glendowie College is now preparing for a fight over the school zones – as are the local homeowners!

    Vote: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  12. burt (8,269 comments) says:

    Zoning… Making real estate values a proxy for entry to schools – it’s sick and it’s wrong!

    Vote: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  13. doggone7 (801 comments) says:

    burt

    Here we go again. We get rid of zoning from the beginning of the 2016 school year. Explain how you would decide the intake for Auckland Grammar when they have places for 518 year nine boys and 1083 apply to get in?

    What would the time frame by when the selection process would be completed?

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  14. thor42 (971 comments) says:

    “Selwyn College was praised by Helen Clark in 2006 as a model of what we like to see in our schools. The NCEA Pass rate for Level 1 that years was 39%.”

    Praised by Clark for getting 39%. Typical Labour – ecstatic about mediocrity.

    Vote: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  15. thedavincimode (6,759 comments) says:

    ecstatic about mediocrity failure

    Fixed that for you.

    Vote: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  16. Nigel Kearney (1,013 comments) says:

    I will say again that a school is an organisation not a collection of buildings. So there is really no such thing as a ‘closest school’. The factors that make some schools more successful than others do not disappear if a school has more than one campus.

    All that is needed is for the government to allow popular schools to take over buildings no longer needed by unpopular schools. But if the government was to allow Auckland Grammar to add two or three extra campuses now, they would lose the votes of all the people who have overpaid for property in the current zone. Which is why the original introduction of zoning was such madness.

    Vote: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  17. gump (1,647 comments) says:

    @doggone7

    “Here we go again. We get rid of zoning from the beginning of the 2016 school year. Explain how you would decide the intake for Auckland Grammar when they have places for 518 year nine boys and 1083 apply to get in?”

    —————————

    Give them all an entrance examination and an interview. That’s the way they used to do it.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  18. mikenmild (11,247 comments) says:

    Auction off the places.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  19. kiwigunner (230 comments) says:

    ‘It shows the power and difference great school leadership can make’.

    Oh man! On the 7th of July when you said

    ‘Now remember this doesn’t come from one study. This is a from a meta-analysis of 50,000 different studies”.

    Hattie’s list was the answer to everything now school leadership is – it is 74th on the Holy Grail list!

    Make you mind up please.

    Vote: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  20. Hollyfield (69 comments) says:

    What I find interesting is that their proposed zone isn’t the boundary with another school’s current zone, but well into that school’s zone.

    From the Epsom Girls Grammar School principal: “The zones which have been proposed for each school do impact on parts of the Epsom Girls Grammar School zone. At this stage it is proposed that these areas will become shared zones and students will have the right to attend the school of their choice. However, if this right continues in the future when pressure may increase on the EGGS roll, is not clear.”

    So the proposed zone could be the start of a plan to reduce the EGGS zone, which I imagine will cause consternation for people living in that area – both because of the possible effect on their daughters’ education plus house prices. Not sure whether it impacts on the Auckland Grammar School zone, but if it does the effects will be doubled.

    I don’t live in that area so I don’t care where the boundary ends up, I just find it interesting. Plus I think it’s great for the families who live in both zones to have a choice.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  21. Hollyfield (69 comments) says:

    Thor said: Praised by Clark for getting 39%. Typical Labour – ecstatic about mediocrity.

    If their poll results were 39% they’d have reason to be ecstatic.

    Vote: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  22. tom hunter (4,838 comments) says:

    Hollyfield

    The Principal of Glendowie College is making exactly the same arguments, with one additional point: they’re claiming that there is a provision in the Ministry of Education’s rules around zoning that allow a shared zone to be changed to an unshared zone in the future.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  23. doggone7 (801 comments) says:

    gump: “Give them all an entrance examination and an interview. That’s the way they used to do it.”

    How about the time frame? Grammar does its test and takes who it wants. The boys who miss out then test for the next school or do all kids all test at the same time in year 7 or 8 and then traipse to the various schools showing their wares and attending interviews? Gradually the more desirable schools get filled and gradually the list of boys seeking positions gets smaller.

    And the kid who has learning problems who no-one wants, goes to the least popular school (unless he’s good at rugby)?

    And the ordinary kid who works well but is outscored by all the genius kids even if he lives next to a school can’t go there if his results aren’t high enough? Is that the plan?

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  24. kiwigunner (230 comments) says:

    Meanwhile more good Charter School news
    http://dianeravitch.net/2014/07/15/breaking-news-19-gulen-charter-schools-in-ohio-under-investigation-by-state-board/

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  25. Rightandleft (663 comments) says:

    I wouldn’t be opposed to some oversubscribed Auckland schools becoming what they call magnet schools in the US. They would then have a much larger enrolment zone, if any at all and would be able to select students by exam or lottery rather than favouring and thus artificially boosting housing values in a small zone. Generally magnet schools have a particular special focus, sometimes science, or a particular type of curriculum. They still function as public schools and must use registered teachers, have a Board of Trustees and thus are not partnership schools. But they give families from less wealthy sections of the city the chance to attend top-performing schools if there are none in their area. Their number would have to be limited though, or we would just be going back to the failed 90s experiment of no zoning. Students in their current zones would still have to be given the right to attend their nearest public school. So magnets could only be created where other public schools exist nearby. Boston Latin is one example of a highly successful public magnet school.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  26. bagelmuncher (8 comments) says:

    Well done to Selwyn College for getting its act together, that school was a poor academic performer for years. Generations of children from St Heliers, Kohimarama, Mission Bay and Orakei who dared to come from predominantly white middle class families were denied a quality academic-focused education and many parents were forced to send their kids to private schools to get the education they required. Meanwhile, several principals maintained a hostility to the area and the school became a magnet for arts and creativity, in itself not a bad thing, but it failed to impart academic skills needed to cope in the real world and instead kids from all over the Auckland region, many expelled from other schools, were given priority to attend the school, while local kids went begging. I remember some survey which showed only 15% of the roll was local kids at some stage.

    I understand from two friends who are teachers in the Remuera/Epsom private school belt, that many private schools are worried about the now high performing Selwyn College as so many families are electing to school their kids there, than shipping them off to private schools as they traditionally have done since the 1970s as a rite of living in the area. Many also have high mortgages and would rather put money on the house than on the private school fees now Selwyn College is a performer.

    Vote: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  27. Disaster Area (41 comments) says:

    A new Principal and Board of Trustees and the school’s performance increases dramatically. This completely undermines the reason for Charter Schools. Unless I’ve missed a sudden exodus of teachers from Selwyn it is presumably the same people who were doing a ‘rubbish job’ a couple of years ago.

    Playing Devil’s Advocate, can anyone estimate the percentage of the staff who are PPTA members?

    Having been in a school when a new Principal has taken post, the difference it can make should not underestimated.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  28. burt (8,269 comments) says:

    doggone7

    Here we go again. We get rid of zoning from the beginning of the 2016 school year. Explain how you would decide the intake for Auckland Grammar when they have places for 518 year nine boys and 1083 apply to get in?

    Well the answer we have now works like this;

    The real estate price in the zone increases such that only families with a few children rather than large families can afford to live in zone. Is that what we wanted with zoning? There was an excellent article from the NZ Listener titles ‘School Wars’ that specifically looked at the Auckland Grammar zone and how zoning had lowered the percentage of Pacific Island students from something like 11% to 3% as real estate prices, rates and rent went up in the zone.

    This article also presents more insight into the issue;
    http://www.teacherswork.ac.nz/journal/volume4_issue2/thrupp.pdf

    The thing is – I don’t need to propose a better alternative to Zoning to point out that the unintended consequences of zoning are exactly what zoning sought to eliminate. School roles being selected by economic standing. The proxy has gone from parents being able to afford to donate sufficient ( or kids pass sufficient graded exams ) to parents being able to afford to live in zone.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1 You need to be logged in to vote
  29. lifesgood (15 comments) says:

    If ever there was an advertisement for discipline, uniforms and the consequent pride in ones self and achievement , Selwyn is it. I have been delighted with its progress under the new principal. The previous joint principals were worse than hopeless. The kids walked around looking like nothing on earth, constantly wagged classes and failed to achieve. It was the pits, relying on pupils from all over, that no other school wanted, to keep numbers up. Must point out previous principals were hard core lefties. All power to the new principal and college. You have done a fantastic job and had an amazing turn around.

    Vote: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  30. doggone7 (801 comments) says:

    burt

    i know what you mean and think I understand the perspectives. What I’m getting at is that there may be problems with the system as at present. Getting rid of zoning to alleviate or get rid of those will cause another set of problems. Would they be worse, better or the same as the present problems?

    School rolls being selected by economic standing? Yes, economic standing being a result of the way our society works. School rolls being selected by elite academic results, sports ability and artistic excellence as determined by teachers? (that most maligned of species.)

    The unintended consequence of no zoning might actually be intended – ghetto schools made up of kids no-one chooses, and kids who are difficult to teach and also kids living next to a school being made to travel elsewhere to school.

    I’m not sure about the point of mentioning the NZ Listener article regarding the ethnic makeup of the Auckland Grammar zone. There probably are communities in New Zealand with the noble hope that our schools be heterogeneous. Would it be true to say there are other communities where the ethnic heterogeneity is wanted and tolerated only because those from the minority groups have abilities which make the majority group feel superior?

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  31. adc (595 comments) says:

    The proposed One Tree Hill College (previously Penrose High) now overlaps quite a bit of Auckland Grammar and EGGS zones.

    This opens the door for Grammar and EGGS to reduce their zones, thereby wiping vast sums of equity off people’s house values.

    There are parts of the proposed One Tree Hill College zone that are right round the other side of OTH from the school, and are nowhere near it.

    There’s going to be a big scrap over this you can be sure.

    The fact that they released the proposed Zone end June, and submissions close 23 July is also smelly. They waited until the school holidays to try and sneak it through under the radar.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  32. doggone7 (801 comments) says:

    adc : “There’s going to be a big scrap over this you can be sure.”

    It’s election year so someone should be able to screw something out of someone. It’s all Epsom isn’t it so maybe the solution is a charter school!

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  33. adc (595 comments) says:

    I think affected residents would firmly resist any move that could be seen to weaken their position with Auckland Grammar and/or Epsom Girls Grammar School. The premium to get into the zone is large. People are not going to sit idly by and watch hundreds of thousands wiped off their property value. There is already talk of legal action. The only difficulty at the moment is that since the submissions deadline is during the School holidays, and none of the affected properties were notified of this, this will dampen the response. That’s why it stinks to high heaven.

    The only options I see working would be if Grammar opened up a second campus. The College of Education is an obvious site for this, or if Grammar/EGGS raised funds to build higher on their site.

    Or if One Tree Hill College were able to raise funds to expand on their existing site without having to adopt a zone.

    If there are over 500 (? need to do a tally) houses that stand to be devalued by say 20%, that should be good for some fairly large legal fund or otherwise. I don’t think the board of trustees or even the ministry knows the depth of resolve.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote