The Rise Up Academy New School Assurance Review

Introduction

The-Rise-Up-Academy-New-School-Assurance-Review-Report.pdf

A New School Assurance Review is a review of particular areas of school performance and is undertaken to specific terms of reference.

New School Assurance Reviews are generally undertaken within the first year of the school’s opening.

Terms of Reference

This review is based on an evaluation of the performance of The Rise Up Academy. The terms of reference for the review are to provide assurance to the community:

  • that the school is well placed to provide for students
  • that the school is operating in accordance with the vision articulated by the sponsor.

Context

The Rise Up Academy is one of the first Partnership Schools Kura Hourua (PSKH) in New Zealand. These schools are a new type of school that are designed to bring together the education, business and community sectors to provide new opportunities for students to achieve educational success.

Partnership schools have flexibility to make decisions about how they operate and use funding to deliver specific targets. Each school is bound by its Partnership Contract with the Crown to deliver defined outcomes, particularly in regard to student achievement and engagement in learning. Quarterly reporting protocols are in place between the sponsor and the Ministry of Education. The performance of the school is also monitored by the PSKH Authorisation Board.

Background

The Rise Up Academy currently provides for students in Years 1 to 6. There are currently 49 students enrolled. Just over one third of the students are Samoan. The next largest group (22%) is Māori. School data show high rates of student attendance.

The sponsor is the Rise Up Trust. The Trust’s vision is to improve educational outcomes for Maōri and Pacific. The school is a new component in their existing programme that helps to educate parents about how best to support their children’s learning. There are clear expectations that parents will actively participate in the parents’ programme and in their child’s learning, as well as contributing to the growth of the school.

The school curriculum is based on the vision, values and principles of The New Zealand Curriculum.

The school programme is Bible based and the school has specific provision in its contract to provide religious education.

The school operates out of a church hall. Two additional classrooms have been provided on site.

All teaching staff are registered teachers. A careful protocol is in place to ensure that all necessary police vetting is kept up to date, including the whānau educators who work with the children and their families outside school hours.

Findings

The Rise Up Academy reflects the Trust’s commitment to building a learning community where the engagement of parents and whānau is integral to the success of the programme. It is an innovative model of working with whānau to support learning at school and at home. “When we enrol your child, we enrol your whānau.”

Successful strategic planning and effective leadership are key factors in the success of The Rise Up Trust in meeting the complex needs of a diverse community. The Trust Board provides expertise, knowledge and a wide range of skills to support and mentor the school leaders in fulfilling their vision. Governance and management roles are clearly defined and understood. Good processes are in place to sustain effective governance.

The Trust Board has developed very good ways of monitoring the extent to which goals have been achieved. A comprehensive self-review process provides in-depth and ongoing information about the school’s progress to inform governance and management decisions. Clearly articulated principles of practice are well understood at governance and management level.

The school curriculum is based on The New Zealand Curriculum. It is designed to provide children with the skills and dispositions that enable them to “develop sharp minds, strong bodies and good hearts”. Inquiry learning provides the framework for curriculum delivery. Appropriate emphasis is given to building literacy and numeracy skills as the foundation for the child-led learning that is the main model for classroom programmes.

An after-school programme that operates three days each week provides opportunities for students in the arts, physical education, sport and fitness, as well as cultural activities. Parents and whānau educators play a key role in implementing these programmes.

The Christian character of the school is apparent in classrooms. There are strong links between daily devotions and the subsequent classroom programmes. Teachers consider the developmental needs of students in the religious education programme. They promote values, social and leadership skills, as well as Bible teachings.

A feature of the school is the friendly respectful relationships between staff and students. Teachers and students speak highly of the sense of purpose and shared commitment that they experience at the school.

Teachers have made very good progress in developing their understanding and use of standardised assessment tools. This will enable them to make valid and reliable judgements about student progress over time. Analysed achievement data indicate a need for greater priority to be given to school writing programmes. Good processes are in place for sharing information about students’ learning and progress with their families.

Teachers are enjoying working together to build a shared understanding of good teaching in this context. Ongoing professional support will help them to give more specific feedback to students about how to improve their progress. A good performance management system is in place to support teachers’ ongoing reflection on their practice.

Well documented policies and procedures are in place to ensure the school runs efficiently. Clear lines of responsibility are in place. Students make a significant contribution to ensuring that safety standards are maintained

Prudent management of available resources has been necessary to ensure that the school is adequately equipped. Students have good access to basic equipment for learning, including provision for digital learning. As the school grows the Trust will need to consider effective ways to provide more specialist teaching equipment and resources.

School leaders are aware of the challenge in providing more play space. Students have been involved in designing parts of the grounds and the task has provided an interesting context for developing their inquiry skills. Ongoing development of the school is planned to cater for more and older students. This development will need to be carefully managed in the limited space.

Sponsor assurance on legal requirements

Before the review, the Trust Board chair and chief executive of the school completed the ERO Sponsor Assurance Statement and Self-Audit Checklists. In these documents they attested that they had taken all reasonable steps to meet their legislative obligations related to:

  • school management and reporting
  • curriculum
  • management of health, safety and welfare
  • personnel management.

During the review, ERO checked the following items because they have a potentially high impact on students' achievement:

  • emotional safety of students (including prevention of bullying and sexual harassment)
  • physical safety of students
  • teacher registration
  • processes for appointing staff
  • stand-downs, suspensions, expulsions and exclusions
  • attendance.

Conclusion

The Rise Up Academy has made a good start. Engaged learners and their families are benefitting from a well structured programme.

ERO is likely to carry out the first education review of the school after 12 months as part of the regular review cycle for new schools.

Dale BaileyDeputy Chief Review Officer Northern

16 February 2015

School Statistics

Location

Mangere East, Auckland

Ministry of Education profile number

693

School type

Partnership School Kura Hourua

School roll

49

Gender composition

Girls 28; Boys 21

Ethnic composition

Māori

Samoan

Cook Island Maōri

Niue

Tongan

Fijian

11

18

7

7

4

2

Review team on site

November 2014

Date of this report

16 February 2015