Boulcott School - 20/01/2017

1 Context

Boulcott School in Lower Hutt caters for students from Years 1 to 6. The current roll of 373 includes 13% students who identify as Māori and 6% as Pacific.

Since the February 2014 ERO report, significant roll growth has led to an increasingly diverse student population. A new leadership team has been appointed, and a new leadership structure established. A new board was elected in May 2016. Most are first time trustees.

There is a strong sense of connectedness and belonging for students in the school.

The environment reflects the school's commitment to sustainability and the EnviroSchools programme. Provision has been made to extend and challenge students with higher abilities.

The school has been very responsive to the areas for development identified in the previous ERO report.

2 Equity and excellence

The vision and valued outcomes defined by the school for all children are for them to experience high quality teaching and learning experiences designed to excite, engage and encourage them to be confident, successful learners who aim for excellence. This is reinforced through the CHEER values of: confidence, honesty, enthusiasm, excellence and respect.

The school’s achievement information shows that between 2013 and 2015 most students achieved at or above the National Standards in reading, writing and mathematics. A high proportion of Year 6 students leave the school achieving well. Writing achievement is slightly lower than reading. Accelerating achievement in writing remains a focus.

Māori students' achievement is similar to that of their peers in the school. Since 2013 the percentage achieving at and above in relation to the National Standard in writing has significantly improved.

There has been a steady improvement in the numbers of Pacific students achieving at and above expectation since 2013, particularly in reading.

Boys' achievement is similar to girls in reading and mathematics. Girls' achievement in writing is higher.

Specific groups of students have been identified as 2016 targets for acceleration of achievement in writing. Leaders and teachers are collecting data to show progress during 2016. Data collected mid 2016 indicates that some students have made accelerated progress.

The school uses a range of assessment tools and evidence purposefully to assist teachers to make dependable assessment judgements about students' progress and achievement. Teachers and leaders are consolidating their understanding to ensure the robustness of these judgements across the school. The use of the Progress and Consistency Tool (PaCT) in 2016 for the assessment of writing is supporting this.

Since the previous ERO evaluation the school has:

  • increased teachers' culturally responsive practice to support Māori learners
  • promoted student leadership opportunities
  • increased students' ownership of their learning
  • distributed curriculum leadership opportunities amongst staff
  • increased professional learning conversations about student achievement and best practice.

Leaders have identified that teacher inquiry into effective practice and the use of data to identify learning priorities and target students in each class continues to be a priority.

3 Accelerating achievement

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

The school has given priority to raising Māori student achievement. Leaders and teachers have clearly identified which students need to make accelerated progress.

School data shows that most Māori students not yet achieving at the Standard at the end of 2015 made accelerated progress mid 2016 in reading, writing and mathematics.

Leaders and teachers have increased their understanding of teaching strategies that support Māori learners. Māori students' language, culture and identity are affirmed by the integration of te reo me ngā tikanga Māori in the curriculum and school practices.

The school continues to seek ways to provide opportunities for parents and whānau to connect with the school and to strengthen learning partnerships.

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

Ensuring equitable outcomes for all students is a priority. Leaders and teachers have identified students whose learning and achievement needs acceleration. Teachers use a range of effective teaching strategies that support engagement and achievement. Expectations for learning are made clear to students.

Individual action plans identify how teachers are responding to the needs of target students. These assist teachers to monitor progress and reflect on the impact of strategies used. The school has recognised the need to continue to review how effectively these are contributing to accelerated progress and achievement.

Teachers and leaders should continue to refine their assessment practices to monitor acceleration and to evaluate the impact of teaching strategies.

Sound systems and processes are in place to identify and assist students who require additional learning support. A useful range of programmes and interventions are implemented to meet students' identified needs. The school works collaboratively with parents, whānau and external agencies to enable students to engage in learning and experience success.

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 curriculum effectively promotes learning and wellbeing for most students.

The school environment features a positive tone and respectful interactions. It successfully supports students' participation, engagement and agency in learning. Students' opinions are sought, valued, and contribute to decision making.

ERO acknowledges the school's plans to revisit the curriculum to incorporate current good practice and what the school values. Consideration should be given to:

  • developing guidelines for school assessment practices, including moderation and making overall teacher judgements
  • how they are responding to the increasingly diverse student population.

Transitions into the school, within and out of the school are well considered and responsive to the needs of individual students, parents and whānau.

Many links with home enable parents to be well informed about their child’s progress and achievement. Parents are encouraged and supported to contribute to their child’s learning. Teachers and leaders continue to seek ways to extend learning partnerships.

Building leadership capability across the school is a current focus. This fosters collective responsibility and a strong focus on student learning and wellbeing. Students are expected, and successfully supported, to show leadership.

Teachers are collaborative and regularly consider and share good practice. The appraisal process includes coaching, mentoring and professional conversations that assist to share and build capability. To further strengthen appraisal, teachers should document evidence-based self-reflection linked to how well they meet the Practising Teacher Criteria.

The new board has accessed considerable training which has enabled trustees to develop a shared understanding of their role and responsibilities. Trustees use a range of relevant information, about student achievement and the perspectives of students, parents and whānau. This supports the board's understanding of what is going well and why, and not well and why. Trustees review and reflect on their effectiveness as a board in supporting the school's strategic direction, goals and targets.

Annual school improvement targets need further refining to clearly focus on the students most at risk of not achieving. This should assist the board, school leaders and staff to evaluate of their effectiveness in promoting equity and excellence for all. 

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.

The school has a clear focus on those student whose learning and achievement needs acceleration. Leaders and teachers have planned actions to respond to these students. They should strengthen practices to monitor the acceleration of identified students. This should assist evaluation of the impact of teaching and learning strategies and learning support.

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. 

7 Recommendation

Trustees, leaders and teachers should strengthen their use of data to provide evidence for internal evaluation to support ongoing improvement.

Joyce Gebbie

Deputy Chief Review Officer Central

20 January 2017

About the school

Location

Lower Hutt

Ministry of Education profile number

2813

School type

Contributing (Years 1 to 6)

School roll

373

Gender composition

Female 52%, Male 48%

Ethnic composition

Māori

Pākehā

Chinese

Pacific

Indian

Other ethnic groups

13%

56%

8%

6%

6%

11%

Review team on site

November 2016

Date of this report

20 January 2017

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

February 2014

May 2009

April 2006