Adventure School - 16/02/2017

1 Context

Adventure School in Whitby, Porirua caters for students in Years 1 to 8. Its roll is 461, with 10% of students identifying as Māori and 5% as Pacific. The roll has grown by about 50 students since the 2013 ERO review.

Sustaining and building respectful and engaging relationships supportive of wellbeing and learning are valued. Younger students benefit from support provided by those who are older. Active participation is encouraged in a wide range of arts, cultural and sporting activities.

Parents and whānau are an integral part of many school events. Being part of the Northern Porirua Community of Learning (CoL) is building on the school's existing partnerships with schools in the area.

School leaders and teachers continue to be strongly focused on enabling students to reach their potential through effective teaching, a diverse curriculum and critical reflection on effectiveness.

2 Equity and excellence

The vision and valued outcomes defined by the school for all children are to create confident, resilient, lifelong learners who are effective thinkers, problem solvers and communicators who celebrate uniqueness and learning in all aspects of life. The valued outcomes are shared and enacted, and provide the focus for review and improvement.

The school’s RIPPER values of respect, integrity, personal excellence, participation, empathy and resilience promote student independence, good relationships and learning. Positive interactions involving students, parents and staff reflect the values.

The school’s achievement information shows that, overall, high proportions of students achieve in relation to the National Standards in reading, writing and mathematics. A significant number achieve in the above category in reading and mathematics. Females' and males' achievement is similar. In 2015, virtually all students were at or above the end of Year 8 expectation when they left the school.

About three quarters of Māori students achieve the National Standards in reading, writing and mathematics. The school is focused on improving Māori achievement, but has not yet successfully achieved equitable outcomes for Māori in relation to other groups within the school.

Since the previous ERO review, there have been improvements in overall National Standards achievement in writing and mathematics. These areas have been a focus of targeting and professional learning.

Teachers and leaders closely monitor progress towards National Standards during the year. There is an emphasis on students who require acceleration to reach the expected level. How well the curriculum is contributing to this for individual learners is regularly considered. Class progress data for 2016, indicates that most students make at least expected progress towards the relevant National Standard.

Use of a range of assessment tools and ongoing observations enable teachers to gather evidence of learning in relation to the National Standards. Teachers have built their knowledge and understanding of the National Standards at each year level. Comprehensive knowledge of the learner is used to make a judgement about the learner's achievement.

The dependability of judgements is supported by collaboration between teachers. If necessary,further information is collected in order to reach a robust assessment decision. Future CoL involvement is likely to increase the opportunity for across school assessment moderation.

Since the previous ERO evaluation, the school has sought to extend teacher capability to improve learning outcomes and accelerate progress. Key areas of development have been:

  • establishing an appraisal process more focused on teachers and leaders reflecting on and adapting practices to support learners
  • increased systematic collaboration involving students, parents, teachers, leaders and trustees to further improve teaching and learning
  • extending the use of digital learning tools and students' leadership of their own learning to gain more significant improvement in writing achievement, particularly for boys.

3 Accelerating achievement

How effectively does this school respond to Māori children whose learning and achievement need acceleration?

In 2016, the school is accelerating the National Standards progress of many Māori students identified as being below expectation.

There are high expectations for all Māori learners and processes to ensure learners are known and monitored. Analysis of data underpins this practice. Those at risk of not achieving are identified through reference to National Standards assessment judgements, use of various assessment tools and regular conversations amongst staff. Teachers and leaders know students well as individual learners.

Comprehensive processes and practices seek to support Māori learners at risk of not achieving. Student needs are highlighted early and responsive classroom programmes are promptly established.

Students who are likely to achieve the National Standard within a personalised classroom environment are identified. Individualised support programmes are collaboratively developed for the children who require extensive adaptation of the curriculum.

Planning to meet diverse needs within classrooms is thorough, and includes action plans for target students. Teachers share strategies that are likely to assist students to accelerate their learning. Resourcing supports students requiring additional assistance.

Regular learning conversations, some including parents and whānau, focus on meeting the needs of those students requiring targeted action. Classroom observations and feedback concentrate on teachers effectively responding to the needs of these students. The success of action plans in accelerating learning is regularly reviewed and responses are modified when necessary.

Opportunities to affirm and promote culture, language and identity are evident within the curriculum. Leaders and teachers recognise that this has positive impacts for Māori learners. Support for Māori as Māori has recently been reviewed in association with Māori students.

Extension of opportunities for Māori to succeed as Māori is to be part of strategic direction and planning for 2017. Including within appraisal the use of Tātaiako: Cultural Competencies for Teachers of Māori Learners to assist reflection and identify next steps for teachers should further develop capacity to respond effectively to Māori learners.

How effectively does this school respond to other children whose learning and achievement need acceleration?

All students are part of the processes described above. Teachers have in-depth knowledge of at-risk students. They focus on ensuring that teaching and interventions promote acceleration.

Students with additional learning needs are well supported through in-class and other interventions, including targeted use of teacher aides. Professional learning has grown teacher capability to cater for learning differences. A collaborative approach to developing programmes supports those who need learning support.

The impact of additional programmes and resourcing is considered within review of individual plans. Although this is discussed as part of reporting to the board of trustees, considering the impact of programmes should be more explicit.

4 School conditions

How effectively do the school’s curriculum and other organisational processes and practices develop and enact the school’s vision, values, goals and targets for equity and excellence?

The school’s curriculum and other organisational processes and practices are effective in enacting the vision and goals for student achievement.

Trustees have a shared understanding of the board's responsibilities. Well-considered processes support them to carry out their role effectively. A high level of relational trust exists between the board and senior leadership.

Trustees use a range of student data and information to support their understanding of what is going well or not well and why. They ask questions to ensure decisions will impact positively on student outcomes, including for the students whose progress requires acceleration.

The charter clearly identifies priorities for the school and how these will be promoted. The overarching aim is to progress all students to the maximum level of achievement possible. Achievement targets identify general areas of focus. The targets should now be strengthened to better reflect the actual students whose progress needs to be accelerated.

Parents and whānau are involved in school activities and contribute to decision making as respected and valued partners in learning. They work together with teachers and students to identify learning strengths and needs, set goals and plan responsive learning activities.

Parents and whānau receive information and participate in learning opportunities that enable them to support their child's learning. Written reports clearly indicate students' learning strengths and next steps, and show that teachers know the students well.

Effective processes assist learners to transition seamlessly into and through the school. Transition is based on building relationships with children and their families that support wellbeing and learning. Flexibility ensures the needs of individual students and parents are met. Communication with parents is prioritised.

The school culture fosters students’ sense of belonging and wellbeing. Students develop the attributes of successful learners. Challenging and appropriate expectations are set for all learners, who participate and learn in a caring, collaborative and inclusive learning community.

Students engage in purposeful learning opportunities that relate to real-life contexts, issues and experiences. Learning environments support student participation and engagement. Students develop strategies that enable them to self-monitor and increasingly take control of their learning. Cooperative strategies are encouraged and valued.

Teaching strategies support sustained engagement and promote learning effectively. Student use of information and communication technologies encourages productive thinking and digital competencies.

Guidelines for teaching practice are well documented, supported and monitored. Recent modification of some approaches to teaching and learning is enabling students to be better prepared for future learning. This includes individual students identifying how their own learning should be supported. Consolidating the implementation of current initiatives should assist in extending a learner-centred approach that is likely to further promote self-efficacy, engagement and student leadership of learning.

An experienced senior leadership team effectively manages and leads the school. Leadership practice promotes relational trust and collaboration. There is an ethic of care. Leaders collaboratively develop the school’s vision and goals. Collective capacity to reflect and inquire for sustained improvement is deliberately built. Leadership is encouraged at all levels of the school. Teachers in leadership roles are well supported to build their skills. Changes affecting teaching and learning are well-considered.

Systematic, collaborative inquiry and professional learning align with the school vision and goals. Staff share strategies and practices for more effective response to learners’ needs. Access to relevant expertise builds capacity for ongoing improvement and innovation that is likely to positively impact on engagement and improve outcomes for students.

Teacher appraisal aligns to school priorities for accelerated achievement and excellence. Individual teacher reflection, use of student voice, targeted classroom observations and improvement-focused feedback are part of appraisal. Next steps are to make greater use of Māori cultural competency indicators and to support teachers to be more evaluative when they reflect on the impact of their teaching on student progress.

Use of wide-ranging assessment information supports teachers, leaders and trustees to inquire into the impact of school processes and practices. Evidence-based reflection takes place at individual, syndicate and schoolwide levels.

Inquiry contributes to improvement initiatives through identifying practices that make a difference for students. Continuing to build practice throughout the school will assist more effective evaluation of the impact of programmes on accelerating progress.

5 Going forward

How well placed is the school to accelerate the achievement of all children who need it?

Leaders and teachers:

  • know the children whose learning and achievement need to be accelerated
  • respond effectively to the strengths, needs and interests of each child
  • regularly evaluate how well teaching is working for these children
  • act on what they know works well for each child
  • build teacher capability effectively to achieve equitable outcomes for all children
  • are well placed to achieve and sustain equitable and excellent outcomes for all children.

Effective teaching and monitoring support many students to achieve successfully. Students are well motivated. A focus on progress and collaborative reflection by leaders and teachers enables the school to be well placed to sustain its successes and continue to improve its performance in achieving equitable outcomes for all students.

ERO is likely to carry out the next review in three years.

6 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 the following:

  • board administration

  • curriculum

  • management of health, safety and welfare

  • personnel management

  • asset management.

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

  • emotional safety of students (including prevention of bullying and sexual harassment)

  • physical safety of students

  • teacher registration

  • processes for appointing staff

  • stand down, suspensions, expulsions and exclusions

  • attendance

  • compliance with the provisions of the Vulnerable Children Act 2014

Student attendance information is not currently collated, analysed or reported.

In order to improve current practice the board of trustees should receive reports on attendance in order to assure itself that student absences are correctly monitored and followed up.

7 Recommendation

Emphasis on improvement through use of achievement information continues to inform development and strategic direction. Sustaining and further developing practices that enable all students to achieve equitable and excellent outcomes should remain a constant focus.

Joyce Gebbie

Deputy Chief Review Officer Central

16 February 2017

About the school

Location

Porirua

Ministry of Education profile number

1195

School type

Full Primary (Years 1 to 8)

School roll

461

Gender composition

Male 51%, Female 49%

Ethnic composition

Pākehā

Māori

Pacific

Asian

Other ethnic groups

74%

10%

5%

5%

6%

Review team on site

November 2016

Date of this report

16 February 2017

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

February 2014

January 2011

September 2007