Addington School - 01/10/2012

1 Context

What are the important features of this school that have an impact on student learning?

The recent Christchurch earthquakes have had a major impact for students, their families and staff. The earthquakes have led to an increase in the school’s roll and created financial and social challenges for many families.

The principal, teachers and other adults in the school show passion and commitment to do their best for their children and their families. They work well as a team. Their focus on supporting families has not taken their attention away from helping students become successful learners.

Addington School has developed its own set of values and attitudes that guide how students, school staff and parents work and relate with each other. ‘Addington Attitudes’, such as showing respect, taking responsibility and aiming to do your best, can be seen throughout the school. In 2012, a school-community liaison person began to work at the school. The school’s aim is to support their families better and to develop the strengths within its community. The school helps families children in many practical ways.

Parents, other whānau and people from the wider community give their time to the school. Their skills and abilities are valued and many parents are now employed by the school. Businesses and local groups fund and/or support a variety of different learning programmes in the school.

Addington School is culturally diverse. A third of the students are of Māori heritage. A similar proportion are from Pacific, Asian and more distant countries. For some new students, English is their second language. These students settle quickly into the school and have very good English Language Learning (ELL) support. Students’ cultural backgrounds and first languages are acknowledged and valued.

The school has several Conductive Education classrooms where highly trained teachers work with students with physical disabilities. These students are a valued part of the school. Many learn for much of the day in mainstream classes and join in other school activities.

2 Learning

How well are students learning – engaging, progressing and achieving?

Most students are well engaged and learn in settled and well-managed classrooms. About two-thirds of students in mainstream classes are achieving at or above the National Standards in reading and mathematics. Just over half are at or above in writing. The school reports show that most students make good progress over time and many make accelerated progress.

Areas of strength

Overall, students benefit from very good to high-quality teaching. The teachers know their students very well and gather useful assessment information. They adapt their teaching to meet the needs of individual and small groups of students - this includes the student’s strengths, interests and life beyond the school. Students can talk about the purpose of their learning and what the intended learning is.

Teachers have carefully aligned the school’s expectations for achievement in reading, writing and mathematics with the National Standards. They have set useful targets to lift the achievement of some groups of students in reading, writing and mathematics. With each target, teachers have developed a detailed plan that shows what they will do. Teachers know which students need extra help and can show what they are doing in their classroom to make a difference.

Parents get very good information about their children’s progress, and with their children, set achievable learning goals. Parents told ERO that they feel comfortable to approach teachers if they have a concern about their child.

Students who need help with their learning are very well supported. The progress of these students is carefully monitored. Skilful and experienced teacher aides (TAs) work closely with classroom teachers to help these students with their learning. Teachers and TAs also work closely with students’ families, external experts and agencies.

English language learners benefit from an innovative ELL programme. These students use real-life resources and work on interesting activities that expose them to the vocabulary and ideas that they need in order to learn successfully in their classrooms. Students’ first languages and their rich cultural knowledge are valued. They are also used to help students better understand themselves, the New Zealand way of life and to learn English. Students are encouraged to use their first language at school and join in weekly first-language activities.

In the Conductive Education classes students benefit from a high-quality and individualised programmes. Teachers and the TAs are highly skilled and very respectful of each child’s dignity. There is a strong focus on learning and maximising each student’s potential. The teachers and TAs work closely with each family.

There are effective systems and structures to build teachers’ knowledge and teaching skills. ERO saw some good examples of teachers reflecting on their students’ progress and achievement and the difference their teaching had made for these students. The school recognises and uses well its TAs’ strengths and abilities.

Areas for review and development

School leaders have identified that in 2013 they want to further develop best teaching practice. Linked to this, ERO and the senior leaders agree that they could make better use of self review to:

  • identify and build on existing best teaching practices within the school
  • explore teaching strategies that could lift the achievement of Pacific and senior male students.

3 Curriculum

How effectively does this school’s curriculum promote and support student learning?

Students in this school benefit from a broad and interesting curriculum. This includes a strong focus on Addington Attitudes and those values and behaviours that lead to successful learning and on becoming a happy and well-adjusted person.

Areas of strength

The school has recently reviewed its curriculum. It now has very detailed guidelines for teaching and learning. The curriculum is unique to Addington School. The students know and can talk about their Addington Attitudes and the key competencies.

The school has an innovative inquiry approach to topic learning. This is built around broad ideas, such as the importance of sustainability and relationships. From these, teachers identify ‘enduring understandings, such as learning about local and global responsibility. Research, ICT, and thinking skills are an important part of students’ learning.

The school has a wide range of special programmes, such as music groups, cultural groups, and well-planned trips beyond the school. The music programme is a good example of the richness of some of these programmes. Students with special abilities develop their talents and are proud of their achievements.

The school has worked hard to involve parents in the school and to give them the skills and confidence to support their children’s learning at home. Initiatives have included getting computers into homes, workshops about how to help with children’s learning, parenting programmes, first-aid courses and post-earthquake support for dealing with trauma.

The school has a very strong pastoral support programme. School leaders are working towards making the school-community liaison role into a permanent position and creating a hub of social services at the school.

Many parents, other whānau and community members give their time to help students with their learning and to develop students’ talents. For example, they teach music, coach sports, read and play learning games with students, and help in other ways in classrooms. This is part of the school’s commitment to building mutually beneficial relationships with its community.

This year the school has reviewed how well reading and mathematics programmes are implemented. These reviews were thorough and helped leaders identify useful next steps.

Area for review and development

Some of the review and reporting about different learning programmes and initiatives has been disrupted by the earthquakes. School leaders agree that they need to return to regular and well-planned review of how well different learning areas are taught and resourced.

Senior leaders and ERO also agree that teachers need to develop guidelines as to how they will teach, resource and value te reo and tikanga Māori in the school.

How effectively does the school promote educational success for Māori, as Māori?

The school has well-planned initiatives that help Māori students experience success with their learning and as Māori. Overall, these students achieve better than other groups of students in the school. They are confident and valued members of the school community and proud of their identity as Māori. Older students are given special responsibilities, such as being a school leader, and leading in kapa haka, choir and musical performances. Students who spoke with ERO liked their school and their teachers.

Parents of Māori children told ERO that they feel that teachers care about their children as people and care about their learning. They feel listened to and valued. Many are involved in a range of school activities.

The principal is leading an initiative to build teachers’ confidence in using te reo and tikanga Māori in classroom programmes. She is an important role model for the Māori students.

How effectively does the school promote educational success for Pacific students?

Teachers work hard to help their Pacific students to be successful in their learning and to feel pride in their cultures. Pacific children and their families are an important part of the school community. Pacific students spoke enthusiastically about their school. The school celebrates their individual and group strengths, such as music, language and sport.

Parents that ERO spoke with feel welcome in the school and listened to. Their contributions, such as translating texts, first language support and networking in the school community are valued.

4 Sustainable Performance

How well placed is the school to sustain and improve its performance?

The school is very well placed to sustain and improve its performance.

Areas of strength

The board and school leaders show a strong commitment to providing the best for their children. While there is a strong focus on pastoral care, their key priority is students’ progress, achievement and wider learning.

The board is well informed about students’ progress and achievement. Trustees understand the importance of good-quality information so that well-informed decisions can be made. There is a very good working relationship between the board and senior leaders.

The principal is a strong professional leader. She and other school leaders have high expectations and effective systems that guide and support teachers and other staff in their work. There is a collegial and collaborative approach to leadership. Staff strengths are recognised and well used.

Overall, this school has well-developed self-review practices. It knows its strengths and what it needs to do to improve. Senior leaders and trustees have well-founded ideas about what they want to do to make this an even better school for learning.

Areas for review and development

School leaders and ERO agree that the next steps are to:

  • report on the impact of special programmes and interventions
  • regularly report how well different learning areas are implemented
  • include information on the progress of groups of students over time in student-achievement reports.

Provision for international students

The school is a signatory to the Code of Practice for the Pastoral Care of International Students established under section 238F of the Education Act 1989. No international students were enrolled at the time of the review.

Board assurance on legal requirements

Before the review, the board of trustees and principal of the school completed the ERO Board 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:

  • board administration
  • curriculum
  • management of health, safety and welfare
  • personnel management
  • financial management
  • asset management.

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

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

When is ERO likely to review the school again?

ERO is likely to carry out the next review in four-to-five years.

Graham Randell

National Manager Review Services Southern Region

1 October 2012

About the School

Location

Christchurch

Ministry of Education profile number

3271

School type

Contributing (Years 1 to 6)

School roll

225

Gender composition

Boys 55.5% Girls 44.5%

Ethnic composition

NZ European/Pākehā

Māori

Pacific

Asian

Other European

African

Other

37%

29%

15%

8%

6%

3%

2%

Special Features

Conductive Education facility

Review team on site

August 2012

Date of this report

1 October 2012

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

June 2009

May 2006

May 2003