Ashgrove School - 26/04/2016

1 Context

Ashgrove School is a large school in the township of Rangiora. It provides a positive and inclusive learning environment. An increasing roll over the last few years has resulted in property development that is currently underway.

Since the 2012 review, there have been some changes in staffing, including the appointment of two new deputy principals. There have also been changes to the school's leadership structure. This has contributed to greater consistency across all areas of the school.

The board, principal and staff have undertaken significant professional development in a range of areas to sustain and build on good practices. They make very good use of external support and community expertise to improve student learning and wellbeing.

The principal and staff have been actively involved with the Rangiora Learning Cluster for a number of years. This has helped to build purposeful partnerships across the local educational community.

The school has a positive ERO reporting history. The trustees, principal and senior leaders are focused on ongoing improvement. They have been very responsive to the recommendations of the December 2012 ERO report.

2 Equity and excellence

The vision and valued outcomes for all students are for them to succeed as creative, collaborative and confident learners. There is a shared understanding and ownership of the recently developed learning model that is based on the school's values of service, trust, attitude, respect and responsibility.

The school's achievement information shows that Māori students' achievement in reading, and writing has increased over the last three years. Most Māori students are achieving at or above the National Standards and at higher levels than their peers. They are achieving particularly well in reading.

While the 2015 data shows that achievement in mathematics is lower than reading and writing, a number of Māori students made accelerated progress from 2014 to 2015. Those that did not make the required progress are included in the school’s 2016 mathematics target.

For other students, achievement information shows that most are achieving at or above the National Standard for reading, writing and mathematics.

Since the 2012 ERO review, the principal, senior leaders and teachers have strengthened:

  • the school's data management system to enable effective tracking of student achievement, progress and wellbeing over time
  • the teachers’ knowledge and capability in teaching and raising achievement in literacy and mathematics
  • the provision and opportunity for meaningful use of digital technologies to support student self management and engagement in learning.

In addition, school leaders have taken a planned and measured approach to developing and implementing innovative learning practices across the school.

3 Accelerating achievement

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

The board, principal and staff are highly responsive to Māori students whose learning and achievement needs acceleration. They know about and value the language, identity and culture of Māori students and their whānau.

Senior leaders and teachers have developed thorough systems to identify, plan for and monitor students' learning, achievement and progress. They work collaboratively across teaching teams and with parents and whānau to support students' learning. Senior leaders acknowledge that Māori students would benefit from a more cohesive approach to planning for their individual learning and wellbeing.

There is a culture of high expectations for Māori student success. Staff give particular emphasis to fostering inclusive, respectful and trusting relationships with students and whānau.

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

Senior leaders and teachers are highly effective at responding to all students whose learning and achievement needs acceleration. They work closely together to identify, plan for and monitor individual and groups of students with specific learning needs.

The special educational needs of students with identified needs are well managed. The board receives regular and useful information about the effectiveness and impact of specific resourcing of programmes and personnel. Class programmes are well supported by good provision and use of trained learning assistants.

Senior leaders and teachers are very reflective and regularly consider how to adapt and change teaching approaches to meet better identified needs of students.

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 priorities for equity and excellence?

The school’s curriculum, processes and practices are highly effective in developing and enacting the vision, values, goals and priorities for equity and excellence.

The school's curriculum is well designed, responsive and reflects the local community and context. Students are provided with broad and meaningful learning opportunities within and beyond the school. They are well supported to know about their learning and to take increasing responsibility for their next learning steps.

The school is well led and managed by the board, principal and senior leaders. Trustees bring a wide range of experiences and expertise to their role. They are actively involved in all aspects of the school and are focused on sustaining and building on school capacity.

The board makes good use of school information and has developed a useful strategic plan that shows very clear links between school priorities and annual planning. The principal and board have set specific and measurable targets to address identified learning needs. Well-considered actions and initiatives have been put in place to support students most at risk of not achieving.

The school has collaborative processes promoting success for Māori as Māori. The Māori committee which has representation from the board, parents, teachers and senior leaders is instrumental in coordinating planning to ensure that this remains a consistent focus for the school.

The board, senior leaders and teachers have strategically resourced te ao Māori. They have a strong focus on, and openness to, giving prominence to bicultural practices and perspectives across all aspects of the school. This includes provision for additional specialist staffing to support teachers' and students' learning of te reo and tikanga Māori. The board accesses specific training to extend its knowledge and practices.

School leaders and teachers are strongly focused on student wellbeing. Teachers are provided with clear guidelines and expectations for teaching and learning. The individual strengths of teachers are well used to build on teaching capacity across the school. Relational trust at all levels of the learning community supports collaboration and risk taking, and openness to change and improvement.

The principal and deputy principals work effectively together. They provide clear direction and appropriate support for staff. The distributed leadership structure is helping to build leadership capacity and a consistent and seamless approach across all levels of the school. The principal provides professional development opportunities for teachers to develop their leadership capabilities.

Senior leaders have identified that their key next steps are to review the school’s curriculum and continue to refine and embed recent initiatives. This should include strengthening opportunities for greater student independence.

Leaders and teachers should continue to develop in-depth and explicit evaluative practices, including the impact of actions taken on outcomes for students.

Senior leaders have identified that the school’s appraisal process and procedures needs to align to the recently developed requirements by the Education Council for all staff.

5 Going forward

How well placed is the school to achieve and sustain equitable and excellent outcomes for all children?

Leaders and teachers:

  • know the children who need their learning and achievement 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.

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.

Chris Rowe

Deputy Chief Review Officer Southern (Acting)

26 April 2016

About the school

Location

Rangiora

Ministry of Education profile number

3284

School type

Full Primary (Years 1 to 8)

School roll

483

Gender composition

Male 50%; Female 49%

Ethnic composition

Māori

Pākehā

British/Irish

Asian

Pacific

Other Ethnicities

7%

83%

4%

2%

1%

3%

Review team on site

March 2016

Date of this report

26 April 2016

Most recent ERO reports

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

December 2012

June 2009

March 2006