Forrest Hill School - 24/01/2014

1. Context

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

Forrest Hill, located on the North Shore of Auckland, provides education for students from Years 1 to 6. An enrolment zone was introduced in 2010 to help manage school roll growth. Student nationalities reflect the community’s changing demographics. The school has a large group of Chinese and Korean students. A small group of international students from China and Korea also attend the school.

Significant building programmes have been undertaken since the 2009 ERO review, including a new classroom block and library and information and communication technologies (ICT) suite. The reconfiguration of other areas of the school supplements the development of modern spaces for teaching and learning, and provides space for teacher preparation and meetings.

The 2009 ERO report identified well engaged students, high expectations of staff and students, and very good use of professional development to support ongoing learning. These positive features are well embedded and continue to contribute to the school’s purposeful and learning-focused environment.

2. Learning

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

Forrest Hill School uses student achievement information very well to make positive changes to learners’ engagement, progress and achievement.

Students work independently and cooperatively in classrooms that are conducive to learning. Positive relationships between students and teachers, and between students, contribute to the settled tone.

School leaders at Forrest Hill School use evidence to inform their decisions. They have considerable knowledge about ways to use student achievement data to understand what is happening for students as individuals, as groups and for the school as a whole. Data are analysed thoroughly and reported for a variety of purposes such as evaluating the effectiveness of programmes, the grouping of students, tracking students’ progress across time and to inform the purchase of resources.

Teachers make sound judgements about students’ achievement in relation to National Standards. Senior leaders implement robust moderation practices that support teachers well to make overall teacher judgements (OTJs) for reporting to parents, the board and the Ministry of Education.

Data show that students achieve well in reading, writing and mathematics. Groups of students who could do better are clearly identified and benefit from targeted teaching. These students are closely monitored and generally make accelerated progress.

School leaders see the importance of further promoting teaching and learning practices that help students identify their own next learning steps. They are focused on ways to help students take increased ownership of their learning and in finding ways to support students to achieve their own goals.

Teachers are increasingly involved in analysing and interpreting data. They identify target students within their classes who need to make better progress. Teachers link their appraisal goals to their own practice and work closely with children who are likely to benefit most from focused teaching. Syndicate leaders facilitate regular discussions during which teachers reflect on their progress in meeting these goals.

3. Curriculum

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

The school’s curriculum promotes and supports student learning very well.

Senior leaders have developed a school curriculum that embodies the principles, values and key competencies of The New Zealand Curriculum. The curriculum focuses teachers’ attention on areas that are important for students at Forrest Hill School. Character education is embedded in programmes. It underpins the expectations and management of student behaviour and how students interact with each other and with teachers.

Teachers emphasise the core curriculum appropriately. They find opportunities to integrate the broader curriculum into reading, writing and mathematics. This helps students make links between learning in different areas and makes good use of class time. Students experience leadership and futures thinking opportunities through the Enviro Schools programme. Significant professional development has focused on building teacher practice around the use of ICT in classrooms.

Planned steps are taken to promote curriculum leadership within the school. Curriculum leaders review the effectiveness of programmes and identify and tailor support for teachers to meet the school’s expectations of teaching practice and the curriculum.

Senior leaders and teachers value professional development. They use self review to plan strategically for teacher professional development. Senior leaders ensure that successful strategies learned from professional development opportunities are then used with wider groups of students.

Strong relationships are established with early childhood centres so that children experience a smooth transition to school. School leaders plan for teachers to learn about students who are enrolling, and how this information can be used to support their individual learning.

Students who need extra support to learn English so they can participate fully in class programmes are well supported through the English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) programme. Lessons are closely aligned to the class teacher’s planning so that the students are able to transfer their learning to work in their classroom.

To support further development of the school’s curriculum, school leaders are focusing on:

  • building teacher content knowledge and practice to support the breadth of the curriculum
  • exploring possibilities for e-learning to further enrich students’ opportunities.

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

The school promotes educational success for Māori, as Māori, well. The school has held well attended consultation with whānau. The hui held earlier this year provided opportunities for parents to discuss the aspirations they hold for their children. A further hui, to be held in term four, will review how well the school has met these aspirations.

Māori students in Years 5 and 6 classes experience te ao Māori during marae visits. The school has explored possible ways to strengthen its relationship with a local marae. Māori students value the opportunities to learn te reo Māori in class and through kapa haka. The school has an implementation plan for a progressive te reo programme. Senior leaders need to find ways to build teacher confidence in the regular use of te reo with their students, so that Māori students can hear and experience their own language.

4. Sustainable Performance

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

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

The school vision is embedded throughout the school. Self review, informed by research, theory and stakeholder voice, promotes improvement that is focused on outcomes for students.

The board is chaired by an experienced trustee. Trustees have undertaken training to understand their governance role and their portfolio responsibilities. The board is well informed by and values the comprehensive reports and reviews it receives. Decisions are based on good report and review information.

The senior leadership team comprises strong, professional, knowledgeable leaders of teaching and learning. Good networks are maintained with schools and other educators within and beyond the local school area. The team fosters growth in teachers and leaders. Clear systems and frameworks support staff and students to enact the school’s vision for learning.

Appraisal processes are purposeful and reflect school priorities. Accountability of teachers to cater for all students in their class, and to meet the school’s effective teacher dimensions, helps ensure consistency throughout the school.

Senior leaders plan to further refine the appraisal process and to complete the current review of the school’s vision. ERO is confident that school leaders are well placed to continue positive developments within the school.

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 were five international students attending the school.

The school has attested that it complies with all aspects of the Code.

ERO’s investigations confirmed that the school’s self-review process for international students is thorough. Students’ education is well provided for by their teachers and by the support of a teacher specialising in the acquisition of English for speakers of other languages. Students participate fully in school life and are well integrated into the school community. The board receives reports about the achievement and pastoral care of the international students.

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

24 January 2014

About the School

Location

Forrest Hill, Auckland

Ministry of Education profile number

1278

School type

Contributing (Years 1 to 6)

School roll

451

Number of international students

5

Gender composition

Boys 58% Girls 42%

Ethnic composition

NZ European/Pākehā

Māori

Chinese

Korean

Indian

Japanese

Filipino

Cook Island

Samoan

Other European

Other Southeast Asian

Other

42%

4%

19%

11%

4%

4%

3%

2%

2%

2%

2%

5%

Review team on site

November 2013

Date of this report

24 January 2014

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review 

June 2009

June 2006