Edmund Hillary School - 19/11/2015

Findings

Edmund Hillary School provides good quality education. Students in Years 4 to 8 achieve well. The settled and inclusive tone of the school supports student learning and wellbeing. Students enjoy a wide range of learning opportunities through a broad-based curriculum. The school is well placed to sustain current good practices and continue improving outcomes for students.

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

1 Context

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

Edmund Hillary School in Papakura provides education for children in Years 1 – 8. Over half of the students are Māori and 44 percent are of Pacific heritage. Providing the best possible opportunities for student’s learning is central to school operations and decision making.

The school is proud of its historical links and its long standing and inter-generational connections with parents and whānau. Community volunteers support the breakfast club and healthy lunches are prepared by staff and students.

The over-riding tone of the school is one of manaaki. Students are proud of their school and enjoy learning and playing together. Staff work with all families to enable every student to experience success. The learning environment is settled and positive. Staff have a shared focus on raising student achievement through improving the quality of teaching and learning.

Since ERO’s 2013 report, there have been changes to the board of trustees including a new chairperson. Trustees have worked strategically with students, teachers, parents, whānau and local community members to develop a shared understanding of the schools’ vision and values. This provides a strong foundation for the school’s future direction and the educational success of children.

2 Learning

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

The board, school leaders and teachers use data very well to inform teaching and learning. Teachers use student achievement information well to evaluate their teaching and make changes to their practice to improve outcomes for students.

Students are supported to read and write from the day they enrol. Children are individually tracked, and planned initiatives and strategies are used to accelerate their learning. The school has established a school/whānau learning partnership to maximise support for student learning. Parents told ERO they enjoy reading at home with their children because children are keen to learn. They receive good reports on their child’s learning, progress, achievement and next steps. Students with learning difficulties are identified and successfully supported by teachers, teacher aides and additional programmes.

Students are enthusiastic about their learning and they participate actively in classroom programmes. They see themselves as capable learners and value frequent opportunities to learn together with their peers. Relationships with teachers are respectful and sincere. There is a major emphasis in the school on care for students, and their families, and its impact on learning. A comprehensive pastoral care system supports students to be engaged in their learning.

Most students make significant progress during their time at school. There is accelerated progress in literacy and numeracy with very good achievement against the National Standards for students in Years 4 – 8.

Students are engaged in their learning. They respond well to the teacher’s high expectations to manage their own behaviour and produce high quality work. They are confident communicators and active participants in learning. Teachers value and respect children and their work. They celebrate students’ successes and provide opportunities for ongoing learning and reflection.

The board of trustees receives useful reports about student achievement in mathematics, reading and writing. The data indicates that students who remain till Year 8 achieve very well in National Standards. School leaders agree they need to extend their achievement focus to include all areas of the curriculum and to continue to make budget allocation to ensure appropriate resourcing is available. This should include careers education for older children.

3 Curriculum

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

Students benefit from a curriculum that has a strong focus on literacy and numeracy. Teachers are enthusiastic and knowledgeable about their teaching. They create environments that reflect their high expectations and support students to become responsible engaged learners.

Other significant elements of the school’s effective, deliberate and purposeful curriculum design include:

  • teacher planning that relates closely to the school’s guidelines and expectations for classroom programmes
  • an inquiry approach to learning that provides a range of opportunities for students to investigate their ideas in meaningful contexts
  • a wide range of opportunities that enable students to achieve success across the curriculum.

School leaders are reviewing aspects of the curriculum to make the school values more visible. Pacific students' home languages are celebrated and they are proud of their heritage. Leaders and teachers should consider how they might include the uniqueness of each student’s language, culture and identity into planning for a more integrated curriculum.

Teachers are well supported with professional learning and development and are given opportunities for leadership. They work collaboratively to plan programmes, evaluate outcomes and critically reflect on their own practices. Systems for teacher appraisal have improved since the previous ERO review. School leaders should continue to review these practices to ensure they are robust and consistent and could investigate opportunities for using an external appraiser for their own appraisal.

The principal has recently begun to coordinate the Papakura Kotuitui initiative, a community of schools established to examine digital learning opportunities. Teachers are part of focussed professional development to support students to become technologically capable. The Kotuitui initiative will be introduced to students in 2016.

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

The principal leads the visibility and integration of te reo Māori, with karakia to start each day. Six of the teachers have Māori whakapapa. Regular informal engagement with whānau, and student participation is increasing knowledge and ownership of te reo me ōna tikanga in the school. Māori student attendance has improved. Leaders are well placed to formalise consultation with whānau and tamariki and to analyse their responses to inform the school’s strategic planning.

Māori students achieve well. Whanaungatanga and manaakitanga are strong features of the school and all students are identified by their pepeha. A deeper understanding of the tikanga behind each student’s identity could support teacher practice and help them to further develop the concept of ako.

4 Sustainable Performance

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

The school is well placed to sustain and build on significant progress and development over the past three years. The boards’ strategic plan is focused on making positive changes to learners’ engagement, progress and achievement.

The principal has a strong focus on helping teachers to develop as professionals. She has played a central role in promoting the ongoing improvement that is a feature of the school. The board makes deliberate decisions that make a difference for every student.

The board is supported through external business partnerships that provide additional expertise. There is a high level of collective commitment from trustees. They are keen to increase their understanding of their roles and responsibilities. This could be achieved with targeted board training around self-identified areas for improvement.

To strengthen charter goals the board should:

  • identify strategic targets specifically for groups of students at risk of not achieving
  • undertake in-depth school-wide self review against strategic goals.

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

Edmund Hillary School provides good quality education. Students in Years 4 to 8 achieve well. The settled and inclusive tone of the school supports student learning and wellbeing. Students enjoy a wide range of learning opportunities through a broad-based curriculum. The school is well placed to sustain current good practices and continue improving outcomes for students.

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

Graham Randell
Deputy Chief Review Officer Northern

19 November 2015

About the School 

Location

Papakura, Auckland

Ministry of Education profile number

1267

School type

Full Primary (Years 1 to 8)

School roll

136

Gender composition

Girls 64 Boys 72

Ethnic composition

Māori
Pākehā
Niuean
Samoan
Tongan

54%
6%
2%
19%
19%

Review team on site

September 2015

Date of this report

19 November 2015

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review
Education Review
Supplementary Review

January 2013
December 2010
September 2008