Frankton School - 28/07/2009

Community Page

Frankton Primary is a large Year 1 to 6 school located in Hamilton. At the time of this review in May 2009 it had a roll of 581 students, 44 per cent of whom identify as Mäori and 10 percent as Pacific. Students learn in attractive, well-maintained environments. Since the last review, a well-resourced learning centre has been established, and many classrooms and the school hall have been refurbished.

The school successfully implements a virtues programme that underpins its philosophy. Mutually respectful relationships are evident among students and staff. The positive and settled school tone is consistent with a school value of ‘a place of aroha and respect’.

Teachers have a good understanding of students’ levels of individual achievement and progress. In numeracy, the results show a similar spread of achievement to national expectations. In reading, by the end of Year 6 students are achieving at levels above national expectations, although the spread in Years 3 to 6 is slightly below these expectations. Mäori students achieve similarly to non-Mäori students. While Pacific students are achieving below others, appropriate programmes in English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) are provided. The school acknowledges student achievement and success across a wide range of activities and areas of leadership.

Students benefit from high quality learning opportunities. Effective teaching strategies and practices are evident across the school. The next step is for teachers to continue to develop strategies that provide students with the skills to assess and extend their own learning. The school has a well organised and focused approach to providing suitable learning interventions for students. In addition, an effective whānau intervention classroom supports students’ social and emotional development. There are high levels of on-task behaviour in settled and well resourced learning environments.

The experienced and well-regarded principal is providing high quality educational leadership. She collaborates with her senior leadership team to provide well-understood professional direction for learning and teaching. Extensive opportunities are available to build leadership capacity among staff, students and parents. The board of trustees is committed to school improvement. Formal and informal self review occurs across a wide range of school operations. Management and trustees have a good understanding of the links between self review and school improvement.

The school has established a partnership for learning with students, parents and families. Parents are welcome in the school, the principal and teachers are highly accessible and an open-door policy is practised.

Future Action

ERO is very confident that the board of trustees can govern the school in the interests of the students and the Crown and bring about the improvements outlined in this report. ERO is likely to carry out the next review in four to five years.

Review Coverage

ERO reviews do not cover every aspect of school performance and each ERO report may cover different issues. The aim is to provide information on aspects that are central to student achievement and useful to this school.

If you would like a copy of the full report, please contact the school or see the ERO website, http://www.ero.govt.nz.

Dr Graham Stoop
Chief Review Officer

GENERAL INFORMATION ABOUT REVIEWS

About ERO

ERO is an independent, external evaluation agency that undertakes reviews of schools and early childhood services throughout New Zealand.

About ERO Reviews

ERO follows a set of standard procedures to conduct reviews. The purpose of each review is to:

  • improve educational achievement in schools; and
  • provide information to parents, communities and the Government.

Reviews are intended to focus on student achievement and build on each school’s self review.

Review Focus

ERO’s framework for reviewing and reporting is based on three review strands.

  • School Specific Priorities – the quality of education and the impact of school policies and practices on student achievement.
  • Areas of National Interest – information about how Government policies are working in schools.
  • Compliance with Legal Requirements – assurance that this school has taken all reasonable steps to meet legal requirements.

Review Coverage

ERO reviews do not cover every aspect of school performance and each ERO report may cover different issues. The aim is to provide information on aspects that are central to student achievement and useful to this school.

Review Recommendations

Most ERO reports include recommendations for improvement. A recommendation on a particular issue does not necessarily mean that a school is performing poorly in relation to that issue. There is no direct link between the number of recommendations in this report and the overall performance of this school.

1. About the School

Location

Hamilton

Ministry of Education profile number

1721

School type

Contributing Primary (Years 1 – 6)

Decile rating*

3

Teaching staff:

Roll generated entitlement
Other
Number of teachers

 

31.42
0.1
32

School roll

581

Gender composition

Boys 52%
Girls 48%

Ethnic composition

New Zealand Mäori 44% New Zealand European/Päkehä 40% Pacific 10% Asian 3% Indian 3%

Review team on site

May 2009

Date of this report

28 July 2009

Previous ERO reports

Education Review June 2006
Education Review February 2003
Accountability Review February 1999
Assurance Audit October 1995
Review October 1992

*Decile 1 schools draw their students from areas of greatest socio-economic disadvantage, Decile 10 from areas of least socio-economic disadvantage.

2. The Education Review Office (ERO) Evaluation

Frankton Primary is a large Year 1 to 6 school located in Hamilton. At the time of this review in May 2009 it had a roll of 581 students, 44 per cent of whom identify as Mäori and 10 percent as Pacific. Students learn in attractive, well-maintained environments. Since the last review, a well-resourced learning centre has been established, and many classrooms and the school hall have been refurbished.

The school successfully implements a virtues programme that underpins its philosophy. Mutually respectful relationships are evident among students and staff. The positive and settled school tone is consistent with a school value of ‘a place of aroha and respect’.

Teachers have a good understanding of students’ levels of individual achievement and progress. In numeracy, the results show a similar spread of achievement to national expectations. In reading, by the end of Year 6 students are achieving at levels above national expectations, although the spread in Years 3 to 6 is slightly below these expectations. Mäori students achieve similarly to non-Mäori students. While Pacific students are achieving below others, appropriate programmes in English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) are provided. The school acknowledges student achievement and success across a wide range of activities and areas of leadership.

Students benefit from high quality learning opportunities. Effective teaching strategies and practices are evident across the school. The next step is for teachers to continue to develop strategies that provide students with the skills to assess and extend their own learning. The school has a well organised and focused approach to providing suitable learning interventions for students. In addition, an effective whānau intervention classroom supports students’ social and emotional development. There are high levels of on-task behaviour in settled and well resourced learning environments.

The experienced and well-regarded principal is providing high quality educational leadership. She collaborates with her senior leadership team to provide well-understood professional direction for learning and teaching. Extensive opportunities are available to build leadership capacity among staff, students and parents. The board of trustees is committed to school improvement. Formal and informal self review occurs across a wide range of school operations. Management and trustees have a good understanding of the links between self review and school improvement.

The school has established a partnership for learning with students, parents and families. Parents are welcome in the school, the principal and teachers are highly accessible and an open-door policy is practised.

Future Action

ERO is very confident that the board of trustees can govern the school in the interests of the students and the Crown and bring about the improvements outlined in this report. ERO is likely to carry out the next review in four to five years.

3. The Focus of the Review

Student Achievement Overall

ERO’s education reviews focus on student achievement. What follows is a statement about what the school knows about student achievement overall.

Teachers have a good understanding of individual students’ levels of achievement and progress. They collect a wealth of good quality assessment information about individual achievement in writing, reading and mathematics, which they use to plan learning programmes to meet individual needs. This data is collated and analysed for each year level and school wide:

  • in numeracy, using Global Strategies Survey (GloSS), the overall results show a similar spread to national numeracy expectations;
  • in reading comprehension, using Supplementary Test of Achievement in Reading (STAR), by the end of Year 6 students are achieving at levels above national expectations, although the overall spread of student achievement in Years 3 to 6 is slightly below national expectations;
  • sixty-five per cent of students at the end of 2008 were reading at or above their chronological age;
  • Mäori students achieve similarly to non-Mäori students at this school; and
  • Pacific students achieve below their non-Pacific peers at this school, but a significant number of these students have English as a second language.

The school acknowledges student achievement and success across a wide range of sporting, cultural, the arts, academic activities and areas of leadership.

School Specific Priorities

Before the review, the board of Frankton Primary School was invited to consider its priorities for review using guidelines and resources provided by ERO. ERO also used documentation provided by the school to contribute to the scope of the review.

The detailed priorities for review were then determined following a discussion between the ERO review team and the board of trustees. This discussion focused on existing information held by the school (including student achievement and self‑review information) and the extent to which potential issues for review contributed to the achievement of the students atFrankton Primary School.

ERO and the board have agreed on the following focus area for the review:

  • initiatives, systems and practices to enhance student learning.

ERO’s findings in this area are set out below.

Initiatives, Systems and Practices to Enhance Student Learning

Background

Since the last review, staff have worked collegially to understand and develop the revised New Zealand Curriculum with regard to pedagogy, principles and key competencies. Following consultation with whänau, a commitment to a greater bicultural dimension across the school is being developed and consolidated. These approaches have been undertaken to focus on developing students to enable them to be twenty-first century learners.

Areas of good performance

Professional leadership: The experienced and well-regarded principal is providing high quality educational leadership. She is well informed about best practice in teaching and learning and uses this to provide a clear vision for school development and excellence. The principal collaborates with her senior leadership team to provide clear, well-understood professional direction for teaching and learning. She provides trustees with extensive information about school operations and management, which they are able to use to make informed decisions about school governance. Effective professional leadership underpins all aspects of school operations to enhance student learning.

Leadership capacity: A feature of the school is the extensive opportunity for staff, students and parents to build leadership capacity. The principal’s distributive approach to leadership is systematically empowering all stakeholders to participate in decision-making and take leadership roles. Teachers play a significant part in leading and managing initiatives targeted to raise student achievement. Teacher aides are upskilled through appropriate training to provide support for identified students. A strategic approach is taken to succession planning by the board. A wide variety of useful opportunities is made available to students to enhance their leadership skills and broaden their experiences. Initiatives to raise student achievement are providing a context for leadership growth across the school.

Learning environment: Students learn in attractive, well-maintained environments. Classrooms are print rich and include a range of high quality resources, prompts and reference material. Displays of student work celebrate and affirm student success. A new and well-equipped learning centre incorporates a spacious library, information and communication technologies (ICT) equipment and teacher resources. A purpose-built computer room provides students with access to the internet and publishing facilities. As part of the Enviroschools programme each class has responsibility for developing and maintaining their own themed garden. High levels of on-task behaviour are evident in settled and well-resourced learning environments.

Self review: Useful formal and informal self review occurs across the wide range of school operations. A feature of the processes is the widespread consultation and open communication among staff, students and parents. Good use is made of student achievement information to make decisions about learning, teaching and resource provision. Management and trustees have a good understanding of the links between self review and school improvement.

Special needs: The school has a well organised and focused approach to providing suitable interventions for students requiring support. Student learning needs are prioritised for in-class and withdrawal support, and they receive appropriate assistance from trained teachers’ aides. All targeted students have individual education programmes that identify their next learning steps and monitor progress in aspects of literacy and numeracy. Individual students are benefitting from the school’s approach to special needs support.

Whänau room: The school has initiated an effective ‘whānau intervention’ to support students’ social and emotional development. In this classroom, the skilled, knowledgeable and experienced teacher is providing clear expectations, firm and consistent boundaries, and a programme of learning in meaningful contexts. Students are on task and enthusiastic about their learning.

Home-school partnership: The school has established a partnership in learning with students, parents and families. Teachers and the principal are highly accessible and an open-door policy is evident in practice. There are multiple opportunities for parents to share students’ successes, be well informed about student achievement and set goals for students related to the school’s achievement expectations. Home-school partnership meetings, which have been undertaken in the context of literacy learning, have provided opportunities for parents to participate in training and lead workshops for other parents. A range of informal and formal opportunities is available for parents to contribute their ideas and be involved in school activities. This strong partnership is leading to a shared approach to improving student learning, wellbeing and achievement.

School tone: The school continues to successfully implement a virtues programme that underpins its philosophy. Teachers have high expectations for students’ behaviour and have established classroom rights and responsibilities that encompass the virtues project. Staff model positive relationships with students and provide opportunities for all students to make a meaningful contribution within the school. The positive and settled tone is consistent with a school value of ‘a place of aroha and respect’.

Teaching strategies: Effective teaching strategies and practices are evident across the school. These include:

  • focused teaching informed by good quality assessment data;
  • teachers sharing the purpose of learning with students;
  • integration of virtues and key competencies in learning programmes;
  • purposeful grouping of students for learning in aspects of reading, writing and mathematics; and
  • teachers identifying a target group of students and monitoring their learning.

Students benefit from high quality learning opportunities.

Professional learning: Sustained school-wide professional learning and robust quality assurance procedures and practices are enhancing teacher effectiveness and promoting student achievement. Teaching is enhanced by:

  • high, clearly documented expectations for teacher planning and curriculum implementation;
  • teachers keeping journals that assist them to continually reflect on practice;
  • cooperative planning in syndicate groups to provide consistent learning programmes;
  • regular peer observations with documented feedback and identified future developments;
  • syndicate and senior leaders observing classroom practice and carrying out planning checks to meet school expectations as part of the appraisal process;
  • whole school involvement in professional learning programmes, supported by an external facilitator, and focused on literacy;
  • links between professional learning and the performance management process; and
  • syndicate evaluations at the end of each term, with a focus on learning and teaching.

These sound procedures and practices monitor and grow teacher capability.

Areas for improvement

Promoting independent learning: All teachers successfully share the purpose of learning with students. The next step is to continue to build teacher capability in the use of a more extensive range of formative practices such as:

  • co-construction of criteria so students will be able to determine the extent of success with their learning;
  • self and peer assessment opportunities; and
  • student involvement in focused goal setting.

Further student involvement in the learning process is likely to encourage them to increasingly become self managing, life-long learners.

Refining evaluation practices: Aspects of the evaluation of school initiatives to raise student achievement require refining. A more consistent approach to monitoring initiatives should support the school to comprehensively evaluate the impact of school initiatives on raising student achievement. It is likely that the board and the leadership team would then be better informed about how well the school is meeting its goals and targets.

4. Areas of National Interest

Overview

ERO provides information about the education system as a whole to Government to be used as the basis for long-term and systemic educational improvement. ERO also provides information about the education sector for schools, parents and the community through its national reports.

To do this ERO decides on topics and investigates them for a specific period in all applicable schools nationally.

During the review of Frankton Primary School ERO investigated and reported on the following areas of national interest. The findings are included in this report so that information about the school is transparent and widely available.

Success for Mäori Students: Progress

In this review, ERO evaluated the extent to which the school was familiar with the Māori Education Strategy – Ka Hikitia: Managing for Successand progress made since the last review in promoting success at school for Māori students.

The school reports it has considered Ka Hikitia and made changes to some of its practices as a result.

Areas of progress

Student achievement: The school continues to set consistently high expectations for the achievement of all students. Assessment data in literacy and numeracy indicates that Mäori students achieve comparably to non-Mäori students. Interventions and effective support are provided for students in need of additional assistance in reading. A new initiative is the gifted and talented programme for Mäori students taken by an experienced kaiārahi reo.

Cultural perspective: The school has a commitment to biculturalism. Teachers are receiving appropriate professional learning to deepen a cultural perspective in classroom programmes and practices. Most classes start each day with karakia and waiata. Tikanga and te reo Mäori are used regularly in school routines, traditions and kapa haka performances. All students learn a personal mihimihi. The school is fortunate to have a kaumatua on site to guide the school’s kawa. The inclusive climate evident in the school allows Mäori students to develop a sense of belonging and to feel valued.

The Achievement of Pacific Students: Progress

In this review ERO evaluated the progress the school has made since the last review in improving the achievement of its Pacific students and in initiatives designed to promote improved achievement.

Areas of good performance

Student achievement: Teachers set high expectations for all Pacific students. They consistently assess students in most essential learning areas. Assessment data indicates that many of these students are not achieving at age-appropriate levels in literacy and numeracy. Teachers have identified a range of literacy intervention programmes to improve students’ levels of achievement. This includes a specific programme to support learning for those students where English is their second language. Teachers have a good understanding and knowledge of the achievement and progress of Pacific students.

Valuing the culture: Staff continue to work hard to provide an improved focus on opportunities for valuing the Pacific culture. The school recognises the successes of its students and incorporates the Pacific dimension through assemblies and other activities, such as classroom learning and its Pasifika group. The Pacific perspective is also an integral part of many teaching units. This approach is helping to develop students’ self esteem, engaging them in learning and developing their leadership skills.

Pacific community engagement: Staff, through formal and informal approaches, undertake useful dialogue with Pacific parents. They get to know their parents well and take every opportunity to be inclusive of students and their families. Parents have attended literacy workshops and some have trained to lead future workshops. Parents are supportive of the school and attend various school activities, taking pride in sharing in their children’s successes.

The Teaching of Reading and Writing in Years 1 and 2

As part of this review ERO looked at how well teachers assess, plan and teach reading and writing to students in Years 1 and 2, and how well the school promotes high levels of student achievement in reading and writing in Years 1 and 2.

Areas of good performance

Use of assessment information: Teachers undertake useful assessment of reading and writing for these students. A school entry test and ongoing reading running records provide teachers with good quality achievement data about each student’s acquisition of reading strategies. Term samples provide teachers with information about individual student writing behaviours. Effective use is made of assessment information to:

  • keep parents well informed about achievement levels;
  • enable teachers to plan focused teaching programmes in reading and writing;
  • enable the senior leadership team to review the effectiveness of reading and writing programmes;
  • enable teachers to determine the progress and achievements of individual students;
  • carefully identify students for inclusion in learning support programmes;
  • establish a specific target group of students in each class; and
  • report to the board about school-wide achievement levels and trends and patterns in student achievement.

Purposeful use of good quality assessment information is contributing to high quality reading and writing programmes for Years 1 and 2 students.

Professional reflection: Teachers work as a cohesive professional team to address the reading and writing learning needs of Years 1 and 2 students. Each teacher has a reflective journal that is a useful way to explore their ideas about teaching and learning in the context of current best practice. Teachers plan cooperatively and share their professional knowledge of students to address group and individual needs. Literacy teaching and learning is being used to provide a useful and relevant context for professional learning and personal reflection.

Support programmes: An experienced literacy teacher provides focused guidance for teachers’ aides who work with students to support literacy learning. These withdrawal interventions take place alongside classroom reading and writing programmes so that class teachers can determine the effectiveness of the support being provided. This well-organised and closely monitored programme is providing targeted support to identified students.

Transition to school: Through involvement in an Extending High Standards Across Schools (ESHAS) project, the school has worked alongside the local kindergarten to strengthen the process of transitioning children from kindergarten to school. These children and their families, by attending a weekly ‘kickstart programme’, are participating closely with the school, which provides them with school expectations and useful literacy learning activities that are likely to support children’s transition to school.

Parent partnership: Parents are welcome to consult with teachers at any time to become well informed about reading and writing levels. During this time they are able to discuss how they can support learning at home. Meetings have been held to strengthen the partnership in learning that the school has established with its parent community.

Implementing the New Zealand Curriculum in 2010

Progress to date

In preparing for teaching the New Zealand Curriculum in 2010 the school has developed a revised curriculum that includes the key competencies. Management has consulted with parents about aspects of the revised curriculum and redeveloped their student reports to parents to include the key competencies.

Next steps

The school has decided that its priorities for preparation over the next three to six months are to embed the use of teaching strategies that include the key competencies and a strengthened inquiry learning process.

5. Board Assurance on Compliance Areas

Overview

Before the review, the board of trustees and principal of Frankton Primary School completed an ERO Board Assurance Statement and Self-Audit Checklist. 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; and
  • asset management.

During the review, ERO checked the following items because they have a potentially high impact on students’ achievement:

  • emotional safety of students (including prevention of bullying and sexual harassment);
  • physical safety of students;
  • teacher registration;
  • stand-downs, suspensions, expulsions and exclusions; and
  • attendance.

Compliance

ERO’s investigations did not identify any areas of concern.

6. Recommendation

ERO and the board of trustees have developed the following recommendation:

6.1 that teachers, with the support of senior leaders, continue to undertake professional development in formative practices for learning and teaching.

7. Future Action

ERO is very confident that the board of trustees can govern the school in the interests of the students and the Crown and bring about the improvements outlined in this report. ERO is likely to carry out the next review in four to five years.

Dr Graham Stoop

Chief Review Officer