Edmund Hillary School - 29/01/2013

1 Background and Context

What is the background and context for this school’s Arotake Paetawhiti review?

Edmund Hillary School is a full primary school that caters for Year 1-8 students. The school has a history of poor ERO reports and, between 2006 and 2010, ERO has made a number of early returns to the school. ERO’s reviews identified concerns to do with the quality of education, poor levels of student achievement and the capacity of the board to make improvements.

By 2010 ERO identified that there had been some significant progress towards addressing areas of concern. ERO affirmed improved leadership following the appointment of a new principal in 2008, stronger governance capability and more strategic approaches to improving school performance. However, at that time the school’s ability to sustain improvements was hindered by high turnover of staff. This made it difficult for the school to embed improvements to teaching.

Since 2010 the board and principal have implemented many strategies to further strengthen learning and teaching and school governance. The school has worked with Ministry of Education (MoE) advisory staff, including the Student Achievement Function (SAF), to tailor development so that it supports improvement in the school. The board and principal have continued to develop community connections and improve community perceptions to support the education of students at Edmund Hillary School.

2 Review and Development

How effectively is the school addressing its priorities for review and development?

Priorities identified for review and development

Following the ERO review in December 2010 ERO and the board of trustees agreed that the school set the following goals aimed at improving the school’s performance.

The board and staff will:

  • raise student achievement levels in literacy and mathematics
  • recruit and retain teaching staff to increase sustainability of teaching and learning initiatives
  • provide effective professional development to improve the quality of teaching.

This report provides an evaluation of the progress that ERO has noted over the course of the last two years as the school has worked to achieve its goals.

Progress

The school is effectively addressing its areas for review and development.

Improving student achievement. The school’s student achievement information indicates that the improved results achieved in reading during 2011 have been sustained and improved achievement in writing and mathematics is evident during 2012. Students are engaged in their learning and are developing increased understanding about their own goals, progress and achievement

These improvements to student achievement reflect the work that the principal and teachers have done to establish shared understandings of effective teaching practices. They have made good use of internal and external expertise. Useful strategies are now in place to help ensure that the school has the capacity to sustain the very good progress made in this area.

Staff have reviewed the use of assessment tools and processes to ensure that student achievement data is reliable and valid. They have developed greater understanding of National Standards to improve the quality of overall teacher judgements.

Student achievement information is used effectively by teachers and school leaders to help them plan teaching programmes and to identify learners who need additional learning support. The school provides a number of programmes to support learners who are at risk of not achieving, particularly in reading. Similar programmes will soon be used to support students’ writing. The school has a particular focus on accelerating students’ learning in their early years at school. This should help students to access the curriculum effectively.

Trustees and school leaders are continuing to consider how they can increase parent /whānau partnership and involvement with the school. They are also looking for ways to provide parents with more useful information about their children’s achievement.

Recruiting and retaining teaching staff. The board and principal have been strategic about improving staff recruitment and retention. The school now has greater stability and depth of experience in staffing. Teachers are increasingly confident about their teaching practice and they are focused on improving student achievement. The principal and leadership team together have a good range of professional and curriculum strengths to lead the school.

Worthwhile developments include:

  • increasing the size of the senior leadership team and building leadership capacity in literacy and mathematics
  • staff collaborating in making decisions about improving the quality of education and raising student achievement
  • the board taking steps to ensure that teachers have resources and the time to implement and consolidate new learning.

Effective professional development. The board, principal and MoE have made sure that teachers have had useful professional development. Teachers note that as a result they have made significant changes to their teaching practice. This has helped them to improve the quality of teaching and raise student achievement in literacy and mathematics. Teaching practice across the school is continuing to become more consistent.

Significant features include:

  • professional development that is tailored to ensure it is relevant to the school’s context
  • the development of school curriculum documents and systems to provide better clarity and guidance for teachers.

3 Sustainable performance and self review

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

The school is well placed to sustain and continue to improve and review its performance.

The board and principal have built leadership capacity in the school. Senior leaders are providing effective curriculum leadership, particularly in the important areas of literacy and mathematics. The school is well placed to ensure that recent professional development is embedded and sustained by staff. There are plans to make sure that recently appointed senior leaders will have ongoing leadership development. Teachers are responding well to professional development and are working collaboratively with leaders to extend and consolidate recent initiatives.

Increased leadership and staff capability is enabling the principal to work in an increasingly strategic way guiding ongoing school development and review. She is well supported by the board and senior leadership team.

The board has well documented strategic plans, and processes in place to review its progress. The board provides generous funding to support the school’s range of learning programmes. Resourcing decisions are well considered and focused on improving classroom learning environments and building teacher capability. Trustees receive information about student achievement and the board is making increasing use of student achievement data to guide decision-making. The board and school leaders should continue to refine their use of student achievement information by:

  • developing more specific and measurable targets
  • ensuring that reporting to the board is more evaluative so that trustees have a better picture of the impact of current interventions to support their future resourcing decisions.
  • The board should also receive analysed student attendance data and identify further strategies to improve student attendance.

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.

In order to improve current practice, the board of trustees should:

  • use in-committee processes to discuss and document decisions and outcomes relating to individual students
  • ensure that the recently reviewed policy framework aligns with current school procedures.

When is ERO likely to review the school again?

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

Dale Bailey National Manager Review Services Northern Region

29 January 2013

About the School

Location

Papakura, Auckland

Ministry of Education profile number

1267

School type

Full Primary (Years 1 to 8)

School roll

172

Gender composition

Girls 53% Boys 47%

Ethnic composition

Māori

NZ European/Pākehā

Samoan

Tongan

Cook Island Māori

other Pacific

60%

3%

17%

12%

5%

3%

Review team on site

November 2012

Date of this report

29 January 2013

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Supplementary Review

Supplementary Review

December 2010

September 2008

October 2007