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Decile school ratings

Decile school ratings

Old Oct 31st 2010, 8:35 am
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Question Decile school ratings

Hi


I was just wondering if anyone had any thoughts on whether a school's decile rating reflected it's excellence. I know this question is dependant upon what you want from a school, however not knowing any schools it feels like a case of pot luck really! And having a starting point would be a bonus
Any thoughts would be gratefully received

Ali
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Old Oct 31st 2010, 8:49 am
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Default Re: Decile school ratings

Originally Posted by Aliwales View Post
I was just wondering if anyone had any thoughts on whether a school's decile rating reflected it's excellence. I know this question is dependant upon what you want from a school, however not knowing any schools it feels like a case of pot luck really! And having a starting point would be a bonus
Well this may not help but the decile rating isn´t for the school - it is of the schools catchment area, so it is telling you about the economic status of the population in the catchment, it isn´t any measure of the school itself.

That said, we wanted to live on the North Shore where most schools are in 9/10 areas anyway so there isn´t much difference between them on that basis.

You can also look at the school inspection reports on the MinEdu website but there is no overall rating of the school in those but it will show you if any problems were raised at the last inspection etc...

You also have a chicken and egg as many schools have strict catchment zones so you need to have an address in zone to ensure a place...this applies more to Primaries as the intermediates and high schools have much larger zones.

It isn´t easy and will be one more leap of faith even after you undertake as much research as you can...
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Old Oct 31st 2010, 9:32 am
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Default Re: Decile school ratings

My friend is a teacher in a fairly affluent suburb, (decile 9), and she's strogly against using the decile system as a basis for classing schools into "good" and "bad" schools as it's no guarantee that it's a better learning environment. She said that when people think about problems at school, they don't realise that economic disadvantages aren't the only source of problems at schools. For example, the school she teaches in now has a lot of transient kids, i.e. kids whose families move to NZ for a year or two and then continue onwards. These "business expat" families raise the average income in the suburb and thus the decile rating, but only stay for a while. There are a lot of kids in her school whose schooling has been sort of patchy (i.e. different systems in different countries) and this causes problems too, and sometimes the parents aren't that committed to solving any problems as they know they're here only for a short time. She used to teach in a lower decile school and much preferred that as it was a more stable environment for the kids.
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Old Oct 31st 2010, 10:47 am
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Default Re: Decile school ratings

oh thanks! Back to choosing an area and hoping schools are good, wouldn't want to have to move based on poor school catchment. Think I'll be ok though as my daughter has strong opinions about what she wants from her school and the 2 areas I am hoping to move to have apparently pretty good reputations. Cheers all
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Old Oct 31st 2010, 11:16 am
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Smile Re: Decile school ratings

It’s a good indicator, pity they don’t tell you average grade by school.
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Old Oct 31st 2010, 8:14 pm
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Default Re: Decile school ratings

Decile ratings are used for Government funding and hence what your 'voluntary' contributions will be. The higher the decile the more you will be expected to pay.

They are NOT a reflection on school performance or value add, however there is a corolation between relative affluence of families and accademic achievement, so unfortunately a lot of people (especially estate agents - even though they shoudln't) use decile ratings as an easy mark for a school.

If you want a better view - read the school inspectors reports - they tend to be very frank.
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Old Nov 1st 2010, 12:40 am
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Default Re: Decile school ratings

You need to go to the schools and look at them, and ask the questions that you want the answer too.

I had my kids in a 'high decile school - 8, and have moved them to a low decile school - level 3.
The standard of teaching is far far better, the teachers more motivated and interested as my children as individuals.
Certainly , there is an interesting mix - but it is totally dependant on the staff at the school and what practises they have in place to deal with problems as to the results they get.

I wish that I had checked out both schools before I went for the higher decile one initially. It took me 18 months of being dis-satisfied and meetings with the principals, before I went to visit the other school. A breathe of fresh air.

So my advice, go and see and then make up your mind.

By the way, my kids are out of zone for teh school they are in now, and it isn't a problem. Most schools (where we live rurally) ahve allowances for out of zone kids.
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Old Nov 1st 2010, 8:49 am
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Default Re: Decile school ratings

Originally Posted by ble View Post
You need to go to the schools and look at them, and ask the questions that you want the answer too.

I had my kids in a 'high decile school - 8, and have moved them to a low decile school - level 3.
The standard of teaching is far far better, the teachers more motivated and interested as my children as individuals.
Certainly , there is an interesting mix - but it is totally dependant on the staff at the school and what practises they have in place to deal with problems as to the results they get.

I wish that I had checked out both schools before I went for the higher decile one initially. It took me 18 months of being dis-satisfied and meetings with the principals, before I went to visit the other school. A breathe of fresh air.

So my advice, go and see and then make up your mind.

By the way, my kids are out of zone for teh school they are in now, and it isn't a problem. Most schools (where we live rurally) ahve allowances for out of zone kids.
We compared a Decile 10 school against a Decile 4 school.

Both schools were at first glance, very pleasing to the eye... however the principal of the Decile 10 school was entirely complacent in his attitude towards the school and their aspirations for the future... his attitude was one very much of "this is who we are and where we're at - take us or leave us".... whereas the enthusiasm of the Principal at the Decile 4 school was infectious... his attitude was very much one of "this is where we're at, this is where we want to be, this is what we need to do to get there and this is what we're doing and going to do in order to make it happen".

The final nail in the coffin for the Decile 10 school, was that we were, at the time of looking, living outside of the the catchment area and they were absolutely adamant that they would not be able to enrol our kids unless we moved... the Decile 4 school also had a catchment area and we were also out of that, but the Principal, understanding our predicament of having just arrived in the country and not yet found somewhere we wanted to live long(er) term, was extremely helpful and supportive and was willing to assist as much as he could in supporting our application to enrol... as it happens the school put us in touch with someone who was about to put their house up to let and we're now living next-door-but-one to the school (although still far enough away from the school to hear very little at playtimes etc).

Ironically, just as our eldest was about to start school, the Decile 10 school called us to say they hadn't had enough pupils enrol and were opening the doors to children outside of their catchment area... I know it's something they have to do... but all the same, I took great pleasure in saying thanks-but-no-thanks!
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Old Nov 1st 2010, 10:28 am
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Default Re: Decile school ratings

My mum is head teacher of a low decile school. They get a lot of extra money that goes on additional teachers, staff training and other resources including heathy eating programmes and support for parents. Mum tells me that they got a very good report for the last inspection. Mum doesn't just sit on her backside raking the money in. She uses it to improve the school and the experience and acheivement of the children there.

Sounds like a good school but it is in the middle of Mangere in an area with a lot of social problems and I probably won't be moving into that area anytime soon. I think the advice about visiting the school and checking inspection reports is probably pretty good. Decile rating alone doesn't tell you much.
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Old Nov 3rd 2010, 8:35 am
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Default Re: Decile school ratings

Originally Posted by Aliwales View Post
Hi


I was just wondering if anyone had any thoughts on whether a school's decile rating reflected it's excellence. I know this question is dependant upon what you want from a school, however not knowing any schools it feels like a case of pot luck really! And having a starting point would be a bonus
Any thoughts would be gratefully received

Ali
I have worked in a Decile 10 and a Decile 4 school. My youngest 2 children attend the Decile 10 school as it's the best one in our area (I worked there before my kids went there so I had an inside view). I do, however, prefer the Decile 4 school I worked at as the teachers have much more of a challenge on their hands, and their enthusiasm can be seen and felt throughout the school. They have a real passion for working with children of a lower-socio-economic background, and this should be applauded.

My advice is go and see the schools. The principal will not mind giving you a guided tour of the school if you have made an appointment, and if they do then steer clear.
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Old Nov 5th 2010, 9:47 am
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Default Re: Decile school ratings

Some very good points here. I have to say that you can't judge the school by the neighbourhood. That, as was pointed out, is what the decile refers to.

We have been grossly disappointed in the quality of the schools in New Zealand. Our children have, some of them, been to three primary schools. All the schools were either decile 9 or 10. One of the schools was really an under performer. It is frustrating that there is not as much consistency between schools, but when you see it in the school it is surprising. Management of the school comes down to the principal. Many of the principals, like people in any job, are really only so interested in their work.

See the school yes, read the reports, know your own children and ask people you know about the school. Be careful.

Our son now attends Otago Boys High School. He was at Rangiora High School. Both are about the same decile. I always thought that if my child did his part at school, we did our part at home and the school did there bit, everything would go fine. The school didin't have to be the best, it could even be like Rangiora HS, an under performing HS. I was confident. I was surprised to make the comparison to discover that really, it is hard to know that the HS is not doing its part. You will never know. You can complain, you can raise your eyebrows, such as I did when I discovered my son was learning how to tell time on an analogue clock and add and subtract 15 minutes. This was term one work at Rangiora HS for math. My son is in the leading class at his HS. He is in year nine and doing NCEA level one math. Rangiora HS, decile 7 or 8 was not doing its part. You will not know, you will not be able to do anything about it. Be careful, be tough on the school, don't get sold by the school that emphasises the fine arts, unless its Burnside in Christchurch or a really good school. Academic performance is what matters. OBHS has more than 80% of the boys get university entrance, RHS just over 50%. Do your homework, make a good choice and support your child.

As much as we would like to be in Rangiora rather than Dunedin, my son doesn't want to go back and go to RHS. Does anyone want to buy our house there? The HS is decile 8!
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