Grey Lynn School - 28/06/2018

School Context

Grey Lynn School, Auckland, caters for students from Years 1 to 6. The role includes five percent Māori, and 14 percent with Pacific heritage. The roll is becoming more diverse with children from a wide variety of ethnic backgrounds. The school has a longstanding history and sense of tradition.

The school is currently undergoing major construction work, which will result in a complete rebuild of the school. This includes a multi-storied building with flexible learning environments.

The school charter and strategic plan identify goals that promote students’ learning. The school’s vision sets expectations for all. The school aims to provide an environment where inclusiveness and celebration of the diversity of learners are woven through the fabric of the school culture. School values of Positive - Ngākau reka, Respectful - Whakaute, Inclusive - Tae ana ki, Determined - Hiranga, Empathy - Aroha (P.R.I.D.E.), underpin the schoolwide approach to learning.

Since ERO’s 2015 evaluation, the board and staff have successfully managed the school through a period of change in leadership and staff personnel. During 2017, the longstanding principal retired and a deputy principal acted as principal for three terms. A new principal was appointed in Term 1, 2018. Positive practices noted in the 2015 ERO review have been sustained. A particular focus on te reo me ōna tikanga Māori has become more visible in documentation and school practices.

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

  • achievement in reading, writing and mathematics

  • outcomes for students with additional learning needs

  • progress, trends and patterns over time of priority students’ achievement

  • student engagement, attendance and wellbeing.

Grey Lynn School is a member of Te Kāhui Ako o Waitematā|Community of Learning made up of 12 schools.

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?

The school is effective in achieving equitable outcomes for its students. The school’s achievement information shows most students achieve at expected levels in reading, writing and mathematics in relation to the New Zealand Curriculum levels. By the time children leave in Year 6, most children, including Māori and Pacific children, achieve at expected levels in reading, writing and mathematics.

School leaders have identified that there is some disparity in achievement related to gender and ethnicity as students move through the year levels. Teachers and school leaders have put effective strategies in place to address this. School leaders agree it is important to keep the focus on what makes the biggest difference for increasing parity for these groups of students.

Students achieve well in relation to other valued outcomes. Students:

  • are articulate, confident and show a sense of pride and belonging to Grey Lynn School
  • show respect and celebrate individual identity, language and culture
  • engage in learning maps that support them to know themselves as learners
  • demonstrate the school values that support positive interactions.

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

The school is developing its effectiveness to respond to those Māori and other students whose learning and achievement need acceleration.

Teachers know children whose progress needs accelerating. Regular meetings and conversations are held with whānau and family to monitor rates of progress and achievement. Children benefit from the in-depth knowledge teachers have of them as learners and their whānau and this is having a positive impact on their overall engagement with learning.

An initiative to improve boys’ writing has successfully reduced gender and ethnicity disparity. The school’s 2017 achievement data show significant valued added for a Pacific group of learners in mathematics.

Extensive learning support interventions and programmes help students access the curriculum. Learning assistants are an integral part of this process. The Board’s ongoing commitment to providing resources benefits children and helps to promote equity and excellence.

Most children with additional learning needs achieve well in relation to goals in their individual education plans. These plans include social and academic goals for children that family/whānau, teachers, outside agencies and senior leaders have input into. Older children are increasingly encouraged to contribute to their plans, and monitor aspects of their personal growth and development against agreed outcomes.

Children whose first language is not English are very well supported to build their knowledge and use of English. The school supports the richness of languages and cultures that these children and their families bring to the school.

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?

The school places student wellbeing as central to learning. Respectful relationships between children and teachers underpin the positive and calm learning environments. The school’s values are visible and accessible, impacting on the positive culture within the school.

Parents/whānau and the community are warmly welcomed and very involved in school activities, events and children’s learning experiences. They are respected and valued partners in their child’s learning. Effective communication is actively promoted by staff between home and school, and parents and whānau are well informed of their child’s learning. School leaders are working collaboratively with parents, whānau, teachers and children preparing them for the new teaching and learning environments.

School leaders have led culturally responsive school practices that have had a positive impact on Māori and Pacific children. Children from diverse ethnic backgrounds and children with additional learning needs benefit from the inclusive and responsive approaches that support them to learn. Their cultures are respected and valued by the school.

School leaders are promoting ongoing evaluation practices for teachers. Leaders have a continued focus on developing strategies that evaluate initiatives and programmes, to support shifts in teaching practice.

Children benefit from the concept-based curriculum that makes connections to their lives, using their prior understandings and out-of-school experiences. Digital technologies are well used schoolwide to support children and enhance their learning. Bicultural perspectives and practices are well integrated across the learning areas of the curriculum.

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

A key next step in supporting the school in its new strategic direction is to strengthen internal evaluation practices. This could include providing clear guidelines for review processes and opportunities for all school personnel to contribute to evaluation.

It would be beneficial to refine the goals in the strategic plan. Identifying achievable goals that can be evaluated to show progress over time, and aligning goals to the annual plan should help the board monitor the school’s progress towards achieving its strategic goals.

The school is increasing opportunities for children to have ownership of their curriculum. Leaders promote the use of research to guide and inform teaching and learning. School curriculum documents now need to reflect these approaches and learning opportunities.

Recent changes to the school’s leadership have resulted in different responsibilities being identified as important for the new school direction. Expanding leadership opportunities for students and staff should further strengthen leadership in the school.

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.

4 Going forward

Key strengths of the school

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

  • respectful relationships between teachers and children that support children to be confident in their identity, language, culture, and wellbeing

  • strong connections with parents, whānau and wider community that promote partnerships

  • effective organisational processes and systems that enable sustainable practices during a time of change

  • a highly inclusive culture that supports children’s diverse learning requirements.

Next steps

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

  • strengthening internal evaluation to support ongoing improvement

  • further developing teaching and learning approaches that support a student-led curriculum

  • continuing to expand leadership opportunities to support the school’s new direction.

ERO’s next external evaluation process and timing

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

Julie Foley

Deputy Chief Review Officer Northern (Acting)

Te Tai Raki - Northern Region

28 June 2018

About the school

Location

Auckland

Ministry of Education profile number

1301

School type

Contributing Year 1 to 6

School roll

349

Gender composition

Boys 52% Girls 48%

Ethnic composition

Māori 5%
Pākehā 68%
Niuean 4%
Samoan 4%
Indian 4%
Cook Island Māori 3%
Tongan 3%
other 9%

Students with Ongoing Resourcing Funding (ORS)

Yes

Provision of Māori medium education

No

Review team on site

May 2018

Date of this report

28 June 2018

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review June 2015
Education Review November 2010
Education Review December 2007