Bellevue School (Tauranga) - 24/05/2016

1 Context

Bellevue School (Tauranga) caters for children in Years 1 to 6, it is located in the Tauranga suburb of Otumoetai. In addition to mainstream classrooms there are 4 classrooms for children from 6 to 12 years of age, where The New Zealand Curriculum is aligned with the Montessori curriculum. There are currently 401 children enrolled, 83 identify as Māori. An enrolment scheme has been established to manage roll growth. The school is a member of the Otumoetai Community of Learning. This group is currently defining achievement challenges and developing plans to strengthen education outcomes for all children in the learning community.

The school has a positive reporting history with ERO. The board continues to be led by an experienced chairperson. Several new trustees have been elected, and includes the co-option of a Māori trustee. In addition, an elected Māori trustee represents the Montessori trust on the board.

The leadership team has been restructured with the appointment of a deputy principal who has full-time classroom release to enable a closer focus on leading learning across the school. Staff professional development has focused on mathematics, science and writing.

The school promotes involvement of parents, valuing diversity and fostering inclusive practices and attitudes at all levels of the school community.

2 Equity and excellence

The vision and valued outcomes defined by the school are for all children to become 'Learners for Life, Together we make the difference, treasure the past, embrace the present and challenge the future'. This vision is promoted and well supported by:

  • establishing an emotionally supportive environment where children can build on previous knowledge and work at their own level
  • providing children with learner centred programmes, fostering personalised learning, challenging their curiosity and promoting creativity
  • respecting cultural diversity and the Treaty of Waitangi
  • making shared responsibility towards further learning paramount for children, teachers, parents and community
  • creating a passport for future journeys so that dreams, hopes and talents are realised
  • the Montessori vision of children who recognise and realise their uniqueness and potential, and ability to contribute to society in a way that is meaningful, fulfilling and purposeful.

The values of respect, responsibility, resilience and resourcefulness promote equity and excellence across the school.

The school's 2015 public achievement information shows that out of 73 Māori children, 23 in reading, 19 in writing and 16 in mathematics are at risk of not achieving at or above in relation to National Standards. These children needing acceleration are provided with individualised learning programmes. There are well-established processes for identifying children's strengths, needs and preferred ways of working. Reciprocal, respectful relationships with children, their parents and whānau, and strong collaboration between teachers and school leaders are highly evident. These relationships underpin the school's responses to Māori children.

There are very small numbers of Pacific children in the school. They have similar learning successes and challenges to other children. Teachers provide targeted support for these children that is similar to responses for Māori children.

For other children, the schools public achievement information in 2015 shows that out of 296 children there were 60 in reading, 80 in writing and 71 in mathematics who were at risk of not achieving at or above National Standards. This information also shows that out of the children below National Standards in reading, 36 were new to the school, as were 37 in writing and 30 in mathematics.

Since the previous ERO evaluation the school has:

  • maintained a strong focus on promoting and accelerating the achievement of Māori children. Trustees consistently work with the leadership team to undertake deep inquiry into school practices and interpretation of achievement data to inform resourcing, priorities and goals
  • established educationally powerful connections and relationships with parents and whānau of Māori children through initiatives that equip them with skills and strategies to support their children's learning
  • continued its development and use of digital tools and appropriate teaching strategies to engage children in inquiry learning. The special focus writing programme in 2015 was effective in accelerating the achievement of boys in writing, particularly Māori boys
  • focused on developing teaching capability, students' engagement and curiosity in science
  • continued development of self-review processes to inquire into and evaluate the effectiveness of school initiatives, practices and decisions for improving outcomes for Māori children
  • fully addressed the next steps identified in ERO's 2011 report relating to reporting to parents, learning progressions across the curriculum and consistent use of effective teaching strategies school wide.

3 Accelerating achievement

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

The school is focused on and responds effectively to Māori children whose learning and achievement need acceleration. Senior leaders have compiled a school-wide Māori achievement register and use this to monitor and report progress and achievement. The leadership team and teachers respond effectively to this data by establishing targets for accelerating achievement, identifying teaching and learning strategies, and initiatives in each teaching team to accelerate the achievement of Māori children. The school has implemented a range of programmes designed to foster self-belief and learning success. Internal review of these initiatives includes children's perspectives and feedback. This indicates that children generally feel more confident and have a better understanding of their learning.

Senior leaders and teachers gather and use a wide range of information to identify Māori children whose learning and achievement needs acceleration. Parents' knowledge of their children's strengths and needs is valued, and contributes to their child's wellbeing and learning.

The school's internal evaluation of accelerated achievement for these children shows overall progress in achievement, confidence, motivation and pride in individual achievement levels.

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

Teachers implement specific plans for other children whose learning and achievement needs acceleration in reading, writing and mathematics. Outcomes for these children are consistently monitored by teachers and senior leaders.

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 'Bellevue Learner' is at the centre of the school's curriculum. The school values are embedded in the curriculum, classroom practices, programmes and relationships at all levels of the school. The curriculum is responsive to the schools diverse community, its aspirations and needs. There is a strong and inclusive focus on the wellbeing of children and families.

Māori children and others enjoy many opportunities to engage in authentic, relevant learning and inquiry. Classrooms are well-designed and presented to promote children's independence, thinking and identity as successful learners. There are models of high quality teaching where children's engagement is enhanced through well-developed understanding of their own learning successes and next steps.

Trustees provide highly effective stewardship for the school and its community. They contribute complementary skills and experiences to their roles. Trustees are well informed about children's progress, achievement and challenges. They use this information well to apply responsive resourcing and confidently scrutinise the work of the school in achieving agreed goals, targets and valued outcomes for Bellevue children who are at risk of underachieving.

The principal, deputy principal and teachers effectively engage parents and whānau in the life of the school by actively involving them in learner-centred relationships. These relationships are based on mutual trust and the desire for all children to be successful.

The principal and deputy principal are effective professional leaders of learning. They have high expectations and a clear, shared vision for teaching and learning. In support of this vision they have established a culture of ongoing professional learning and systematic, collaborative inquiry into teaching practice and school initiatives that are designed to promote better outcomes for all children.

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 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.

Bellevue School (Tauranga) provides a well-designed and broad learner-focused curriculum. It reflects relevant contexts for learning, including parents' aspirations, and gives appropriate priority to literacy and mathematics. Children benefit from opportunities to work at their own pace, collaborate with others, and inquire into topics of interest to them, motivating high levels of engagement in rich learning and critical thinking. The school has very effective systems for identifying challenges and monitoring the progress and achievement of Māori and other children below National Standards in reading, writing and mathematics.

Next steps that will assist Bellevue school to continue to build on existing effective practices are to:

  • implement the schools plans that are designed to further teachers' understanding of the principles of culturally responsive practices for teaching Māori children
  • make more specific use of findings from internal inquiry into trial school initiatives. This use should include planning priorities for taking action, evaluating and monitoring the influence and benefits of change on outcomes for all, particularly those children whose learning and achievement needs acceleration.

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

  • Provision for international students.

7 Recommendation

ERO recommends that the school gives priority to addressing the next steps identified in this report. 

Lynda Pura-Watson

Deputy Chief Review Officer

24 May 2016

About the school

Location

Otumoetai Tauranga

Ministry of Education profile number

1694

School type

Contributing (Years 1 to 6)

School roll

401

Number of international students

8

Gender composition

Boys 52% Girls 48%

Ethnic composition

Pākehā

Māori

Asian

Other European

Other

Pacific

71%

21%

3%

2%

2%

1%

Review team on site

March 2016

Date of this report

24 May 2016

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

November 2011

October 2008

December 2005