Gladstone School (Auckland) - 09/12/2013

1 Context

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

Gladstone School is a large primary school in Mt Albert which caters for Year 1 to 6 students. The school has a high profile in its community and students come from diverse cultural backgrounds. Five percent of students are Māori and nine percent have Pacific Island heritage. The school has a positive ERO reporting history. The 2010 ERO report recommended developments to the school’s self-review processes, and further strategies to improve the achievement of Pacific students.

The shared vision of the Gladstone learner who is 'inspirational, innovative, socially just and academically powerful' is clearly articulated by the leadership team and supported by parents, teachers and students.

Since ERO’s 2010 review, the school has continued a programme of property improvement with a new classroom block and the renovation of existing buildings. Playgrounds have been upgraded and the attractive and functional grounds are very well maintained. Since 2010 teachers have participated in a wide range of professional development that has helped continue the strengthening of teaching practices.

A positive and inclusive tone in the school supports the learning of all students. Strong relationships and connections underpin all practices. School leaders encourage an open-door policy to foster relationships with families to support students’ individual pastoral and academic needs. Students, teachers and parents value being members of the school community and demonstrate a sense of pride in the school.

2 Learning

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

Student enjoyment and engagement in learning is highly evident. Students are interested and motivated, and are active participants in classroom programmes. Teachers support student engagement by providing settled learning environments and by giving students specific and constructive comments about how well they are learning. Students are taught the skills and knowledge to be involved in decisions about how to further improve their learning.

School achievement information shows that students are achieving well in reading, writing and mathematics in relation to the National Standards. Achievement information is used effectively by the board and senior leaders to set school priorities and annual achievement targets in the school charter. The academic achievement of Māori and Pacific students is analysed separately and reported to the board.

Recent initiatives to engage Pacific families and raise the overall achievement of Pacific students have been successful. Early achievement data indicates improved achievement levels and that the progress for some Pacific students is significantly accelerated. The challenge for the school is to sustain this accelerated progress over time. Parents report that participation in these initiatives has helped them to feel that they have a place at the school. This strengthened sense of belonging is contributing to increased involvement in their children’s learning.

Teachers use achievement information well to identify students who require additional learning support, and to inform their planning and teaching approaches for all students. The school has effective programmes and interventions in place to support students who are underachieving and those with special learning needs. These programmes are delivered by experienced teachers. School leaders and teachers closely monitor the progress and achievement of students, especially those who are achieving below expectations and have special needs.

Good systems are in place to support teachers to make reliable overall teacher judgements in relation to the National Standards for reading, writing and mathematics. Teachers also monitor and report students’ progress and achievement in all the seven essential learning areas of The New Zealand Curriculum. There is a need, however, to refine written reporting to parents. These reports should more explicitly state each child’s progress and achievement in relation to the National Standards.

3 Curriculum

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

The school’s curriculum promotes and supports student learning very effectively. The curriculum provides an extensive range of learning opportunities at all levels of the school. It caters well for diverse groups of students in inclusive ways and provides opportunities for students to develop and demonstrate leadership. Students’ ideas are valued by staff and they are encouraged to make decisions about their learning.

Learning programmes for literacy and mathematics have priority in the school curriculum. Education outside the classroom (EOTC) is also a focus, with outdoor learning opportunities provided at all year levels. The curriculum demonstrates a commitment to environmental sustainability and the school is the recipient of a silver award from the Enviro Schools Project. Planned learning experiences that reflect the bicultural heritage of Aotearoa New Zealand are also considered important in the school curriculum.

Teachers provide high quality programmes and have high expectations for students. They are very reflective about their teaching practices and are responsive to meeting the diverse needs of students. Teacher share professional practice and take a shared responsibility for raising student achievement. Regular professional learning opportunities and strong performance management systems promote effective professional practice.

Learning time is maximised in the school day. Students engage in numerous extra curricula activities in the lunch hour. In this time students discover and build on their strengths and interests to experience further fulfilment in learning.

School leaders and teachers work together effectively with families, early childhood services and external agencies to support smooth transitions for children starting school. They use a variety of strategies to successfully bridge differences between early childhood and school.

The board and senior leaders have identified that a future priority for the school is to continue to explore how e-learning and information technologies (ICT) can help to shape future curriculum developments and promote further learning.

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

Good progress is being made to promote educational success for Māori students.

The school has forty-four students who identify as Māori. They have positive attitudes to school and learning. They achieve well and are well represented in enrichment programmes and leadership roles in the school.

Māori students value the inclusion of aspects of Māori culture and language in the environment and learning programmes. Whānau members support these learning activities by sharing their knowledge, further enriching school programmes and increasing opportunities to celebrate the backgrounds and cultural heritage of Māori students.

School leaders and teachers have high expectations for Māori students and are proactive in fostering positive relationships with whānau. The board is considering ways they can more effectively consult with, and report to, the school’s Māori community.

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 board provides effective governance. There is unity of purpose and good working relationships between the board and management of the school. There is a coordinated approach to educational developments with clear alignment between the strategic plan, annual plan, curriculum delivery and programme implementation. Board decision making is strategic and aimed at ensuring the sustainability of improvements.

There is strong professional leadership in the school. The principal is instrumental in building leadership capacity and influence across the school. There is a focus on growing leadership and recognising people’s capabilities to complement and enhance school development. The principal is well supported by an experienced senior leadership team. Capable team leaders and curriculum leaders take a lead in the improvement of classroom programmes.

Self review is used well to sustain and improve the school’s performance. It informs all decisions made in the school. Outcomes of self review provide clear rationale for improvement in curriculum design, teaching practice, and future directions for the school. Students, staff and the school community are consulted as part of the review process.

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. 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. Standards of education, pastoral support and access to English language tuition are of very good standard. International students enjoy many opportunities to participate in school activities.

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

9 December 2013

About the School

Location

Mt Albert, Auckland

Ministry of Education profile number

1282

School type

Contributing (Years 1 to 6)

School roll

919

Number of international students

1

Gender composition

Boys 53% Girls 47%

Ethnic composition

Māori

NZ European/Pākehā

Chinese

Pacific

Indian

other Asian

other European

other ethnicities

5%

57%

9%

9%

5%

5%

4%

6%

Review team on site

October 2013

Date of this report

9 December 2013

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

December 2010

December 2007

April 2005