Arthur Street School - 14/08/2015

 

1. Context

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

Arthur Street School is an inner-city school providing a rich and broad education for students in Years 1 to 8. Students travel from a wide geographical area to attend the school. The current principal had been at the school ten weeks at the time of this ERO review.

The school has a diverse community with many ethnicities represented throughout the year levels. The students’ cultures are recognised and celebrated within classrooms and at whole-school events. Students with English as a second language (ESOL) made up 20% of the school roll.

The school is located in close proximity to several secondary schools and the University of Otago. Students, with their teachers, make good use of the facilities and expertise that their community has to offer as part of the school’s technology, arts, physical education and science programmes.

Students are respectful and supportive of each other. They enjoy caring and positive relationships with their teachers.

Teachers work as one teaching group to collaboratively plan units of work and ensure assessments are consistent across the school.

Since the last ERO review in 2012, the school has made good progress in the areas identified for improvement.

The school’s vision is for students to develop appropriate skills, knowledge and attitudes within a supportive environment, to enable them to be learners for life.

The 2014 achievement information shows about three quarters of the students were achieving at or above National Standard expectations for reading and mathematics. Achievement was lower for writing. Of note is the significant overall progress made from the 2013 achievement levels, especially for writing and mathematics.

2. Learning

How well does this school use achievement information to make positive changes to learners’ engagement, progress and achievement?

The school effectively uses achievement information to make positive changes to students’ learning.

Findings to support this judgement

In general, students know how well they are achieving against the expectations the school has for them. They are able to talk about what they have to do next to improve their work.

Teachers make careful use of achievement information to:

  • identify students’ learning needs
  • inform their planning and teaching
  • monitor and report progress and achievement to students and their parents, and to the board
  • evaluate the success of their teaching and identify next learning directions for the class and/or groups of students.

School leaders use achievement information well to:

  • monitor, review and report progress and achievement across the school and for cohorts of students
  • appropriately timetable the specialist teacher and teacher aides to ensure maximum benefit of these resources.

School leaders are beginning to use achievement information effectively to evaluate the impact of school programmes on the desired student outcomes.

Trustees regularly receive well-analysed achievement information. They use the information purposefully to:

  • set strategic direction and achievement targets
  • monitor school-wide progress
  • inform their resourcing decisions.

3. Curriculum

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

The school’s curriculum very effectively promotes and supports students’ learning.

Findings to support this judgement

Students benefit from their involvement in a broad range of interesting learning experiences. Teachers use a teaching approach that makes purposeful links across subject areas. Students are well supported to develop useful skills to access and process information, in particular about their inquiry topics. Students appreciate their choice they have in learning within a given theme.

Students have increased opportunity to take responsibility for their own learning. For example, they:

  • set goals showing what they want to achieve
  • work with their teachers to determine how they will achieve their goals
  • assess their own work against criteria they have worked with the teacher to develop.

Student voice is gathered and responded to at many levels of the school’s operation, including when school leaders are reviewing curriculum programmes. Students have many opportunities to develop and show leadership, especially in the senior year levels.

Curriculum guidelines are well designed. They provide clear expectations for what students are to learn and how they will be taught. For many of the learning areas they include progressive pathways for learning through to Year 8. This coherence helps ensure smooth transitions of learning as students move through the school. The guidelines are well aligned to the school vision, especially for developing students’ skills for learning.

Students at risk of poor education outcomes are well supported. Purposeful interventions and learning support from a specialist teacher and teacher aides supplement classroom teaching. The ESOL teacher works closely with class teachers to help these students succeed in their class programmes. The teacher has regular contact with parents, including providing support material in their first language.

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

Māori students are effectively supported to engage and achieve in their learning, particularly in reading and mathematics. The progress they make in their learning is closely monitored by their teachers and school leaders. Students who need extra help are quickly identified and supported.

The school shows a strong respect for the language, culture and identity of Māori students and their whānau. This is evident in the way:

  • all students' sense of belonging to the school and their own unique identity is fostered
  • te reo and tikanga Māori are celebrated at whole school events, such as assemblies
  • students have wider opportunities to learn te reo and tikanga Māori, such as through kapa haka and marae visits
  • teachers are seeking to further develop their own skills, knowledge and competency using te reo and tikanga Māori
  • school trustees are aligning school practices with Māori cultural concepts.

The principal acknowledges the need to strengthen how the views of Māori whānau are gathered. This will help school leaders to evaluate how well current practices are achieving the school’s aims and goals for Māori student success.

4. Sustainable Performance

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

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

Findings to support this judgement

There is strong alignment from the school’s strategic and annual planning through to professional learning and development, resourcing and classroom programmes. The strategic direction responds suitably to community input and achievement information. The principal has introduced a helpful method to monitor and report progress against annual goals and achievement targets. In some instances the impact of the actions on the desired outcomes has been evaluated.

The school has effective systems in place to build best practice in teaching and to increase learner-focused outcomes.

Trustees, school leaders and teachers carry out useful evaluations of policies, curriculum programmes and charter targets. They gather relevant perspectives from a range of groups. Teachers, students and parents are surveyed about their satisfaction and asked what could be improved. A summary includes recommendations and what needs to be done next. Best practice was seen when it was clear how the recommendations had been followed up. This review identifies the need for reviews to be more evaluative against the desired student outcomes and aims, as stated in the school’s guidelines for self review. Next steps

School leaders and trustees need to:

  • include in their reviews and reports, evaluations of how well actions and programmes are contributing to the desired outcomes for students as expressed in the school’s vision and curriculum statements
  • put in place a system that ensures review recommendations are appropriately followed up.

Provision for international students

The school is a signatory to the Code of Practice for the Pastoral Care of International Students (the Code) established under section 238F of the Education Act 1989. The school has attested that it complies with all aspects of the Code.

At the time of this review four international students were attending the school. All students were living with their parents.

The education, involvement and integration of international students into the school and its community are closely monitored and supported. Students benefit from high-quality pastoral care.

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
  • processes for appointing staff
  • stand-downs, suspensions, expulsions and exclusions
  • attendance.

Conclusion

The diverse cultures represented at the school are celebrated and valued. All students benefit from a broad range of interesting learning experiences. Students with identified learning needs and ESOL students are well supported. The school has effective systems in place to build best practice in teaching and increase learning-focused outcomes for students.

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

 

Chris Rowe

Deputy Chief Review Officer Southern (Acting)

14 August 2015

About the School

Location

Dunedin

Ministry of Education profile number

3706

School type

Full Primary (Years 1 to 8)

School roll

133

Number of international students

4

Gender composition

Boys: 60%

Girls: 40%

Ethnic composition

NZ European/Pākehā Māori Asian Pacific Other

57% 16% 18% 7% 2%

Review team on site

July 2015

Date of this report

14 August 2015

Most recent ERO reports

Education Review Education Review Education Review

July 2012 April 2009 December 2005