Gladstone School (Auckland) - 11/09/2018

School Context

Gladstone School is a large contributing school in Mt Albert catering for children in Years 1 to 6.

The school has strong intergenerational connections and links with the local community. Nine percent of children are Māori and seven percent have Pacific heritage. The school’s roll is culturally diverse and many children speak languages other than English. An enrolment zone assists the school to manage roll growth.

The schools’ vision is to provide an environment where children become; ‘inspirational, innovative, socially just and academically powerful learners’.

The ‘Gladstone Way’ is designed to support children to understand and use the school’s values of being respectful, inclusive, responsible, safe, and ‘the best you can be’.

Leaders and teachers regularly report to the board, schoolwide information about outcomes for children in the following areas:

  • achievement in reading, writing and mathematics

  • achievement in relation to school targets

  • information about children with additional learning needs and high ability learners.

Since ERO’s last evaluation in 2013:

  • new leadership positions and structures have been introduced to enhance shared responsibility and involvement in developing the school direction

  • leaders and teachers have participated in many relevant professional development programmes to support positive learning outcomes for children

  • the provision of digital devices and e-learning opportunities has been extended for all learners

  • indoor and outdoor learning areas have continued to be enhanced to support the delivery of the curriculum.

Gladstone School is a member of the Mt Albert Community of Learning|Kāhui Ako (CoL).

Evaluation Findings

1 Equity and excellence – achievement of valued outcomes for students

1.1 How well is the school achieving equitable and excellent outcomes for all its students?

Gladstone School is effectively achieving equitable and excellent outcomes for most children.

Achievement information over the last four years indicates that most children achieve at their expected curriculum levels in reading, writing and mathematics. These overall levels of achievement have been consistently sustained during this period.

However, there is some overall disparity in achievement for the school’s Māori and Pacific children. There is also some gender disparity with girls achieving at higher levels than boys in writing.

The school has identified these patterns and trends and has targets, plans and a range of initiatives to address these disparities and to accelerate children’s progress where necessary. Achievement data show that the school’s initiatives and acceleration programmes are effective for many children to make accelerated progress. This includes children moving from their expected level of achievement to being above expectation.

Children achieve very well in relation to other valued outcomes. Children:

  • experience strong relationships founded on care and respect

  • confidently articulate their ideas and opinions

  • collaborate with, learn from and support the learning of others

  • are articulate and demonstrate the ‘Gladstone Way’ values in everyday school life.

The school values are modelled and explored as aspects of everyday school life and are well understood by children, teachers and the community.

1.2 How well is the school accelerating learning for those Māori and other students who need this?

The school is able to show examples of learners whose achievement is being accelerated. In particular, it is able to demonstrate that learners who are at the expected level of achievement frequently make accelerated progress and move to being above the expected level.

Leaders and teachers are focussed and deliberate in supporting Māori, Pacific and other children who are at risk of not achieving. This is helping to accelerate their progress and bring these children’s achievement into line with that of their peers and address this aspect of disparity within the school.

The school places emphasis on knowing each learner and creating community engagement and strong relationships with parents and whānau, right from school entry. A special feature of the school is the Whānaufono group for Māori and Pacific children and families. Two board members guide and support the work of parents and teachers who are working together to build strong home/school learning partnerships.

A recent mixed ability grouping initiative for mathematics has resulted in accelerated progress and improved achievement for Year 5 and 6 children. There have also been significant gains in children’s levels of engagement and progress. These successful and innovative strategies are now being replicated for other groups of learners.

Teachers are working towards improving achievement in writing for boys. Ongoing professional learning and development for teachers and a range of support programmes have led to an increased number of boys achieving at the expected level in writing in 2017.

Leaders, teachers and teacher aides respond effectively to children with additional learning needs. Children benefit from inclusive classroom environments and are well supported to experience success. Appropriately tailored class programmes, the provision of specialist teaching and support from external agencies are contributing to these children’s successful learning and wellbeing.

2 School conditions for equity and excellence – processes and practices

2.1 What school processes and practices are effective in enabling achievement of equity and excellence, and acceleration of learning?

School leaders have high expectations for the quality of teaching and learning. They ensure that the learning environment is supportive and conducive to children’s success as learners. The focus is on what is best for children. They also promote high levels of confidence and trust with, and between staff, parents, whānau and the community.

School leaders have established coherent systems to ensure that there is targeted curriculum planning, resourcing and implementation. Leaders are open to new learning and see possibilities and potential in belonging to the local Kāhui Ako/CoL. Professional learning and development for teachers is very well resourced and links directly to school goals.

Children learn and achieve across the breadth and depth of The New Zealand Curriculum (NZC). The school’s varied curriculum allows children sufficient and equitable opportunities to learn, and experience success. The curriculum places emphasis on:

  • integration of the ‘Gladstone Way’, to equip children with strategies to manage their own learning

  • learning with digital technologies

  • the arts

  • education outside of the classroom (EOTC)

  • specialist teaching programmes that include physical education and music.

Children participate and learn in inclusive collaborative learning environments. Their diverse learning needs and strengths are identified and well catered for by classroom teachers, specialist teachers and teacher aides. Classroom environments are managed in ways that support children to engage and participate well in purposeful learning.

The curriculum is responsive and continues to evolve to meet children’s needs, strengths and interests. Plentiful and high quality resources are provided for curriculum delivery and to support improvement initiatives and programmes designed to accelerate children’s progress and achievement. A new integrated curriculum learning and inquiry model is currently being introduced to children. Te reo Māori and tikanga programmes are soon likely to be enhanced with the appointment of a part-time specialist teacher.

The school has very strong and effective relationships with parents, whānau and the community. Good channels of communication support the growth of reciprocal and learning-centred relationships between school and home. Leaders and teachers actively broker the engagement of parents. As a result, the community is highly involved in children’s learning programmes and the life of the school.

Thoughtful, caring and inclusive transition practices are a feature of Gladstone School. Children’s transitions from early learning centres, through the school and on to intermediate school are well considered and successful. The needs of individual children are consistently kept to the fore.

2.2 What further developments are needed in school processes and practices for achievement of equity and excellence, and acceleration of learning?

Strengthening the school’s internal evaluation and reporting practices will enhance the school’s efforts to achieve equity and excellence.

Further developing rigour in the analysis and interrogation of achievement information is a key next step. This should enable the board and school leaders to better evaluate the effectiveness of initiatives and interventions aimed at accelerating children’s progress and reducing disparity in achievement. In addition, designing ways to monitor, evaluate and report the impacts and outcomes of the recently introduced ‘Gladstone Way’ values programme would strengthen the school’s internal evaluation of the broader valued outcomes it wants for learners.

3 Board assurance on legal requirements

Before the review, the board 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 the following:

  • board administration

  • curriculum

  • management of health, safety and welfare

  • personnel management

  • finance

  • asset management.

During the review, ERO checked the following items because they have a potentially high impact on student safety and wellbeing:

  • emotional safety of students (including prevention of bullying and sexual harassment)

  • physical safety of students

  • teacher registration and certification

  • processes for appointing staff

  • stand down, suspension, expulsion and exclusion of students

  • attendance

  • school policies in relation to meeting the requirements of the Vulnerable Children Act 2014.

Provision for international students

The school is a signatory to the Education (Pastoral Care of International Students) Code of Practice 2016 (the Code) established under section 238F of the Education Act 1989. The school has attested that it complies with all aspects of the Code.

At the time of this review there were 3 international students from China attending the school.

ERO’s investigations confirmed that the school’s internal evaluation process for international students continues to be thorough.

International students benefit from the positive and inclusive relationships strongly evident throughout the school. Their learning and socialisation are well considered and they make very good progress, particularly in English literacy, whilst at this school. They participate in a broad curriculum and have good opportunities to excel.

It would be useful for the board to receive reports about the wellbeing and learning outcomes for international students.

Areas for improved compliance practice

To improve current practice, the board of trustees should:

  • ensure that public – excluded (in-committee) minutes record board discussion about confidential matters.

4 Going forward

Key strengths of the school

For sustained improvement and future learner success, the school can draw on existing strengths in:

  • a curriculum that is responsive and continues to evolve to meet children’s needs, strengths and interests

  • providing caring and inclusive learning environments that promote learning and success, and are responsive to children’s diverse learning needs

  • leadership that promotes high relational trust within a supportive professional environment

  • very good connections and relationships with parents and the community that support children’s education.

Next steps

For sustained improvement and future learner success, priorities for further development are to:

  • continue building the school’s capacity for effective evaluation, inquiry and knowledge building to sustain improvement and innovation

  • deepen the analysis of achievement information to strengthen the focus on reducing achievement disparity for all children

  • continue strengthening support aimed at accelerating the progress of those children who are at risk of not achieving well.

ERO’s next external evaluation process and timing

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

Violet Tu’uga Stevenson

Director Review and Improvement Services

Te Tai Raki - Northern Region

11 September 2018

About the school

Location

Mt Albert, Auckland

Ministry of Education profile number

1282

School type

Contributing (Years 1 to 6)

School roll

884

Gender composition

Boys 51% Girls 49%

Ethnic composition

Māori
Pākehā
Chinese
Indian
Samoan
Middle Eastern
other Asian
other Pacific

9%
52%
12%
8%
5%
4%
8%
2%

Students with Ongoing Resourcing Funding (ORS)

Yes

Provision of Māori medium education

No

Review team on site

May 2018

Date of this report

11 September 2018

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review
Education Review
Education Review

December 2013
December 2010
December 2007