Birkenhead School - 24/07/2017

Summary

At the time of this review, the school’s roll of 430 comprises six percent Māori children, 63 percent Pākehā, three percent of Pacific heritage and 17 percent from Asian countries.

The school celebrates individuality and inclusion, is responsive to children’s wellbeing and learning, and caters well for children who need additional learning support. Achievement information is used very well by leaders and teachers to shape programmes to accelerate children’s progress.

The board and senior leaders have continued to make significant progress in relation to ERO’s 2014 report. Achievement information is used very well by leaders and teachers to plan programmes to accelerate children’s progress. A well-documented school curriculum builds on children’s interests, providing them with learning opportunities in meaningful contexts.

The school’s achievement information shows that most children achieve well in relation to the National Standards. Approximately 90 percent of children who leave the school at the end of Year 6 achieve the National Standards in mathematics and reading. Writing achievement, while still above National Standards achievement levels, is a current focus and target for the school. The school has identified some disparity in achievement for Māori and Pacific children in literacy and mathematics, and for boys in writing. Plans are in place to address areas of disparity.

How well is the school achieving equitable outcomes for all children?

Birkenhead School is increasingly achieving equitable outcomes for children. The school is responding well to all children whose progress needs accelerating in order to meet the National Standards. Children’s learning needs in reading, writing and mathematics are identified and targeted support is provided. Their progress is closely monitored and shared with parents.

The school’s curriculum and teaching programmes are effective in supporting children to achieve the valued outcomes identified in the school’s charter and The New Zealand Curriculum (NZC). The school’s values of “learning, community and respect” are enacted through the curriculum and all school systems and are aligned to the school’s pursuit of equitable and excellent outcomes for all children.

Agreed next steps include:

  • continuing to develop student agency so that children continue to develop a greater understanding of their own learning and next steps

  • strengthening multi-cultural responsiveness and using children’s language, culture and identity to enrich their learning

  • continuing to embed ‘Teaching as Inquiry’ approaches to strengthen the school’s evaluative culture and strategic development.

Children are achieving excellent educational outcomes. School performance has been sustained over time through well-focused, embedded processes and practices.

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

Equity and excellence

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

Birkenhead School responds very well to Māori and other children whose learning and achievement needs acceleration. Teachers use a variety of assessment information to plan programmes that meet the needs of children, and to identify those children who could benefit from additional support.

Achievement information over the past three years shows that most children achieve very well. Over 85 percent of children are at or above the national standard in reading, over 75 percent in writing and over 90 percent in mathematics. The school has identified some disparity in achievement for Māori and Pacific children in literacy and mathematics and for boys in writing. Targeted planning is in place to address this and disparity for Māori learners is reducing.

Achievement information is used very well by leaders and teachers to shape programmes to accelerate children’s progress. Numerous programmes and initiatives are in place to accelerate the progress of children who are at risk of not achieving.

Leaders and teachers are evaluating the impact of acceleration programmes and initiatives. The school is able to show that all children are benefiting from initiatives aimed at accelerating their progress in reading, writing and mathematics. There is evidence that the school’s writing initiatives are improving boys’ levels of engagement and are resulting in accelerated progress. Senior leaders acknowledge boys’ writing achievement as an ongoing area of focus.

There are good processes to ensure that overall teacher judgements for the National Standards are reliable. Teachers use a variety of assessment information and share this information across teams when confirming their judgements. There has been some moderation of writing assessments with other schools.

School conditions supporting equity and excellence

What school processes are effective in enabling achievement of equity and excellence?

The school’s systems and processes are effective in helping to achieve equity and excellence for all learners. Most notably, developments in leadership, teachers’ professional learning programmes, community collaboration, and the school’s broad, responsive and meaningful curriculum are contributing significantly to supporting and building equity and excellence.

Leaders and teachers work collaboratively to ensure children learn in a very caring and inclusive school community. Children’s wellbeing and learning are prioritised and intentionally supported through a range of strategies, and through the employment of a part time counsellor.

A recent review has resulted in a focus on the team leaders acting as ‘leaders of learning’. As a result of relevant professional learning programmes, leaders are working to build the collective capacity and capability of teachers. Teachers are encouraged to reflect on their practice, share their knowledge of effective teaching and its impact on children’s learning.

Senior leaders plan to:

  • make increased use of research in teacher inquiry

  • continue to grow and develop the role of learning leaders to respond to all children whose learning and achievement need accelerating.

Teachers provide positive classroom environments and children engage well in learning programmes. The school curriculum builds on children’s interests, provides meaningful contexts for literacy, numeracy and especially for science and social science learning. The school’s ‘inquiry model’ supports children’s thinking and skill development well. The use of community resources and expertise from university scientific partnerships enriches children’s learning.

Children identified as requiring additional learning support are closely monitored by the Special Education Needs Coordinator. The coordinator works collaboratively with leaders, staff and parents to deliver a wide variety of programmes to improve children’s learning outcomes and accelerate their progress.

School leaders have consulted with whānau Māori to discuss initiatives that might further enhance outcomes for Māori children. This has resulted in the establishment of Te Whānau Wawata.These initiatives are helping to foster learning about te reo and tikanga Māori for both teachers and children.

Sustainable development for equity and excellence

What further developments are needed in school processes to achieve equity and excellence?

The school is developing and implementing sound internal evaluation processes. This has contributed to the strong progress the school has made in a number of areas. Senior leaders should now further build capability to strengthen the school’s evaluative culture. More systematic and in-depth evaluation could further support teachers, leaders and the board with decision making and in determining the impact of professional development and initiatives designed to accelerate children’s progress.

The school has many good processes to help it achieve equity and excellence for children. There is increasing evidence of accelerated progress for children whose learning and achievement need acceleration. School leaders have a continuing focus on strengthening foundation and early intervention programmes, and lifting the achievement of boys in writing is a priority.

Board assurance on legal requirements

Before the review, the board 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 and certification

  • processes for appointing staff

  • stand down, suspension, expulsion and exclusion of students

  • attendance

  • school policies in relation to meeting the requirements of the Vulnerable Children Act 2014

Provision for international students

The school is a signatory to the Education (Pastoral Care of International Students) Code of Practice 2016 (the Code) established under section 238F of the Education Act 1989. The school has attested that it complies with all aspects of the Code.

One international student was enrolled at the time of the ERO review.

The school provides high quality pastoral care, responds very well to parental aspirations and communicates progress and achievement regularly and effectively.

Going forward

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

Children are achieving excellent educational outcomes. School performance has been sustained over time through well-focused, embedded processes and practices. This school is successfully addressing in-school disparity in educational outcomes.

Agreed next steps are to:

further build leader and teacher capability, in order to strengthen the school’s evaluative culture

  • continue to reduce disparity in achievement outcomes for boys in writing

  • continue to develop ‘student agency’ by ensuring that children develop a greater understanding of their achievement levels and next learning steps

  • strengthen multicultural responsiveness and use children’s languages, culture and identity to enrich their learning.

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

Violet Tu’uga Stevenson

Deputy Chief Review Officer Northern (Acting)

24 July 2017

About the school 

Location

Auckland

Ministry of Education profile number

1231

School type

Contributing (Years 1 to 6)

School roll

430

Gender composition

Boys 52% Girls 48%

Ethnic composition

Māori
Pākehā
Asian
Pacific
other

6%
63%
17%
3%
11%

Provision of Māori medium education

No

Review team on site

May 2017

Date of this report

24 July 2017

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review
Education Review
Education Review

January 2014
October 2010
December 2007