Elm Park School - 23/12/2013

1. Context

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

Elm Park School in Pakuranga caters for students from Years 1 to 6 and has a growing roll. The school serves a highly diverse community and the roll includes significant numbers of Māori, Pacific and Asian students. A positive and inclusive atmosphere is evident. Some families travel long distances so their children can attend the school.

The school’s leadership team comprises the principal and three deputy principals who have responsibility for the school’s junior, middle and senior syndicates. They have high expectations for students, and for teachers as professionals. These school leaders and some board members have had a long association with the school and its community.

International students and those with special learning needs are well catered for. New students’ transitions into the school are smooth and effectively managed. The school has been recognised for its commitment to promoting environmental sustainability as a Silver Enviro school. It has a growing influence in the use of information and communication technologies (ICT) and e-learning. The school provides a boys-only class at Year 6.

ERO’s 2010 report identified a high number of positive features in the school and these have been sustained. The school continues to provide strong pastoral care for all students. The senior leadership team foster genuine and reciprocal relationships with families, to enhance outcomes for students. The school promotes bicultural practices to support teaching and learning and a culture of respect for students’ diverse backgrounds.

2. Learning

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

The school uses achievement information very well to make positive changes to learners’ engagement, progress and achievement. Student achievement information indicates that the majority of students achieve well in reading, writing and mathematics. Some students achieve very well. Most Māori and Pacific students achieve well, especially in literacy.

Teachers use a range of assessment tools to gather specific information and match students’ needs with appropriate support and enrichment programmes. Teachers actively participate in targeted professional learning and make decisions based on evidence about student progress and achievement.

The senior leadership team uses achievement data to set appropriate targets and inform the strategic direction of the school. A culture of trust and collaboration empowers teachers and leaders to focus on how they can make a difference for individual students. Professional action plans that are focused on lifting achievement enable teachers to track and monitor their progress towards accelerating students’ progress.

Students are engaged, confident and self managing learners. They have good opportunities to develop skills as leaders. Many students can articulate their learning and share their progress with parents.

Parents are invited to discuss their students’ progress and achievement through student led conferences and the effective use of e-portfolios. Some parents take advantage of opportunities to comment on their children’s learning through the school’s online forum. Parents are well informed of their children’s achievement in relation to the National Standards. The senior leaders agree with ERO, that they could continue to refine school reports to parents and strengthen the progress of students in all curriculum learning areas.

3. Curriculum

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

The Elm Park school curriculum is underpinned by the principles of The New Zealand Curriculum. It is responsive to the school’s diverse group of learners and it aligns with the school’s vision of empowering all learners to achieve their personal best. The curriculum incorporates an inquiry approach to engage all students in meaningful learning. While the school’s emphasis is on literacy and numeracy, it also promotes a broad holistic curriculum incorporating the arts, sports, music and enviro learning.

An individualised approach to responding to students’ strengths and needs provides them with a wide range of learning experiences. Effective planning processes support students to be motivated learners.

High quality teaching from committed and professional teachers is underpinned by well embedded formative teaching practices. Teachers build respectful learning relationships with all students, who reciprocate by showing respect for teachers and other students. This visible culture of respect for people, the environment and resources is evident in all classrooms.

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

The school promotes educational success for Māori students effectively. Māori students are proud to be involved in leadership opportunities especially in the well respected kapa haka group. A sequential te reo Māori plan supports teachers to use te reo in classroom and at different year levels. Teachers also have access to support materials on the school’s website to increase their confidence in te reo and tikanga Māori.

The school has a number of initiatives that help teachers to foster success for Māori students as Māori. These include:

  • a developed school kawa including powhiri, karakia, a school waiata, haka, blessings of new areas in the school, and celebration of events such as Matariki and te wiki o te reo Māori
  • use of Ka Hikitia and Tātaiako to increase teachers’ understanding and support their performance appraisal
  • use of support resources and teacher expertise to support staff
  • ongoing consultation hui with whānau.
  • The school has identified that they could refine their Māori Education plan to consolidate and formalise the various initiatives for Māori success.

4. Sustainable Performance

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

Elm Park School is very well placed to sustain and improve its performance.

Trustees have a commitment to the school’s vision and values and have a good understanding of the school’s community.

The board of trustees is experienced and committed to providing the best outcomes for all students. Trustees are clear about their governance roles, and work effectively with the principal. They ensure that there is clear alignment from the strategic plan, through the annual plan, to curriculum delivery and programme implementation.

The principal knows the community well, is focused on ongoing school improvements and leads the school effectively. She works closely with the senior leadership team and board to ensure policies and procedures are reviewed and systems are managed well. A rigorous appraisal system and the efficient use of information and communication technologies provide an environment where staff share and reflect on their practice with a view to continual improvement.

The board and senior leadership team are committed to building leadership across the school. Teachers are given opportunities to build their leadership capability and have many opportunities to participate in professional learning in the school and the school’s cluster networks.

Leaders work collaboratively to build strong partnerships for learning, and encourage open and respectful relationships with whānau. High expectations for teaching and learning influence how the curriculum is delivered to students and how achievement is reported to parents. Ongoing improvement is based on reliable information and guides changes for teachers, parents and students.

School leaders have a commitment to involving parents more in supporting student learning. ERO agrees that co-opting additional board members to further reflect the school’s diverse community will help to achieve this goal.

Provision for international students

The school is a signatory to the Code of Practice for the Pastoral Care of International Students (the Code) established under section 238F of the Education Act 1989. At the time of this review there was one international student attending the school.

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.

When is ERO likely to review the school again?

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

Dale Bailey National Manager Review Services Northern Region

23 December 2013

About the School

Location

Pakuranga, Auckland

Ministry of Education profile number

1269

School type

Contributing (Years 1 to 6)

School roll

545

Number of international students

1

Gender composition

Boys 53% Girls 47%

Ethnic composition

Māori

NZ European/Pākehā

Chinese

Indian

Other European

Samoan

Other Pacific

Middle Eastern

Other Asian

South East Asian

Sri Lankan

Other

16%

31%

13%

9%

6%

6%

6%

3%

3%

3%

3%

1%

Review team on site

November 2013

Date of this report

23 December 2013

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

December 2010

December 2007

February 2005