Greenacres School - 04/11/2016

1 Context

Greenacres School in Tawa caters for students from Years 1 to 6. Thirteen percent of the roll identifies as Māori and 7% as Pacific. There has been recent roll growth. The school enjoys close links with families and high levels of parent involvement in school activities.

Since the 2013 ERO review, there have been significant changes to the senior leadership team. A new deputy principal started at the beginning of 2014 with a second in 2015. There is a positive, affirming and supportive school culture that is inclusive and welcoming. The wellbeing of each student is valued.

The school is part of the Tawa Community of Learning.

2 Equity and excellence

The vision and valued outcomes defined by the school for all children are to encourage them to become creative, independent and collaborative learners.

Leaders and trustees aim to provide an environment where all students’ needs are being met socially, emotionally, culturally and academically. The ‘Encourage Tree’ underpins their focus on a positive school culture and promotes values that guide how students and teachers learn and work together at Greenacres. The school whakatauki is: "Together we encourage, challenge and inspire while fostering a love of learning. Ehara taku toa, he taki tahi, he toa taki tini. Encourage, Challenge, Inspire, Learn!"

The school’s achievement information shows that the majority of students achieve at or above National Standards for reading, writing and mathematics. The overall achievement of Māori students is below that of their peers in the school. This disparity has been consistent over time and remains a challenge for the school. Girls achieve proportionally higher than boys in some areas.

Annual achievement targets are to raise the percentage of students achieving at or above the National Standards. Raising achievement in writing is a priority for 2016. School leaders recognise the need to review and strengthen schoolwide targets. Developing a specific focus on those students at risk of not achieving should enable leaders and teachers to more effectively respond, monitor, and report on the progress of individuals, groups and cohorts.

Since the previous ERO evaluation the school has worked to increase the achievement of all students. This has included:

  • a well-considered strategic approach to managing change and improvement
  • development of clear guidelines and moderation processes to support more consistent and reliable overall assessment judgements by teachers
  • annual action plans for key curriculum focus areas linked to targets: for mathematics in 2014, and writing in 2015-2016
  • focused professional development and learning to improve teacher expertise and practice
  • fostering learning-centred relationships and culturally responsive practice
  • reviewing and redesigning the school's curriculum

3 Accelerating achievement

How effectively does this school respond to Māori children whose learning and achievement need acceleration?

Māori students whose progress requires acceleration are well identified, tracked and monitored at class and team level. Teachers plan collaboratively and share strategies to promote better learning outcomes.

Regular professional discussions about Māori students who need to make progress are contributing to shifts in student learning. Teachers are regularly reviewing the effectiveness of their practice. Data shows that a positive difference is being made for a number of these students.

The school knows that not all Māori students have their achievement accelerated in reading, writing and mathematics. Leaders have developed a Māori achievement plan, a key component of which is growing educationally powerful partnerships with whānau to support accelerated progress.

How effectively does this school respond to other children whose learning and achievement need acceleration?

The school responds well to Pacific and other students whose learning and achievement need acceleration by using the successful strategies identified for Māori students. Good systems and processes for monitoring and tracking the achievement of all students are in place.

4 School conditions

How effectively do the school’s curriculum and other organisational processes and practices develop and enact the school’s vision, values, goals and targets for equity and excellence?

Board members bring a range of skills and valuable community links to their governance role. They provide clear strategic direction, work well with school leaders and are student and improvement focused. Community consultation is important in informing development and change.

Proactive leadership by the principal includes priority given to developing a learning culture with students at the centre. Leaders are actively involved in the professional growth of teachers. They encourage innovation and support knowledge building through planned coaching and mentoring. There are ongoing, externally facilitated, school-wide professional development programmes about effective teaching and assessment.

A well-designed and implemented appraisal system supports teachers' reflections on practice that are research and evidence based. These reflections contribute to whole staff professional discussion. Teachers inquire into their practice and share successes and useful strategies.

Teachers maintain positive, supportive and affirming relationships with their students, and use appropriate strategies to engage them with learning. Staff have a collective focus on students' wellbeing and growing their sense of belonging.

The school's curriculum was developed in consultation with staff, students, parents and community. There are clearly articulated expectations for systems and processes to implement, integrate and monitor teaching and learning, the use of rich local contexts, knowledge and experiences, and culturally responsive teaching practices.

Expectations for literacy and numeracy are woven throughout the curriculum. Deepening and embedding te Ao Māori should support school initiatives to promote the language, culture and identity of Māori learners.

Established self-review processes promote reflection, inform decision making and lead to improvement. Strengthening the evaluative aspects of this review should support trustees and teachers to more effectively measure the impact of systems and processes on student outcomes and identify next steps.

5 Going forward

How well placed is the school to accelerate the achievement of all children who need it?

Leaders and teachers:

  • know the children whose learning and achievement need to be accelerated
  • respond effectively to the strengths, needs and interests of each child
  • regularly evaluate how well teaching is working for these children
  • act on what they know works well for each child
  • build teacher capability effectively to achieve equitable outcomes for all children
  • are well placed to achieve and sustain equitable and excellent outcomes for all children.

Foundations have been established to implement changes to school-wide systems and practices to support accelerated progress for students and address disparity. Consultation involves students, whānau and staff. Children are at the heart of all school decisions. Trustees and staff have good opportunities to improve their knowledge and skills through professional learning development and leadership.

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

6 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 the following:

  • board administration

  • curriculum

  • management of health, safety and welfare

  • personnel management

  • 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

  • processes for appointing staff

  • stand down, suspensions, expulsions and exclusions

  • attendance

  • compliance with the provisions of the Vulnerable Children Act 2014

7 Recommendations

ERO and school leaders agree that key next steps are to continue to develop and embed all new systems and practices, with a focus on:

  • reviewing and strengthening schoolwide achievement targets
  • strengthening internal evaluation to better measure impacts for students and guide decision making
  • continuing to lift achievement and ensure outcomes are equitable for all students
  • deepening and embedding te Ao Māori throughout the curriculum.

As part of this development, school leaders should systematically gather, analyse and track evidence of the school's progress over time in reducing disparity. 

Joyce Gebbie

Deputy Chief Review Officer Central

4 November 2016 

About the school

Location

Tawa

Ministry of Education profile number

2849

School type

Contributing (Years 1 to 6)

School roll

224

Gender composition

Female 51%, Male 49%

Ethnic composition

Māori

Pākehā

Indian

Pacific

Other ethnic groups

13%

58%

7%

7%

15%

Review team on site

September 2016

Date of this report

4 November 2016

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

December 2013

December 2010

July 2007