Heaton Normal Intermediate - 30/08/2012

1 Context

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

The school has a close relationship with its four main contributing schools and three secondary schools to help students and their families make a successful transition to Year 7 and on to Year 9.

The positive school tone allows teachers to focus their efforts on lifting achievement and challenging students to excel. Relationships between staff and students are respectful and support students’ learning.

Students benefit from a range of specialist programmes taught by well-qualified teachers in the performing and visual arts, science, technology, physical education and te reo Māori.

A new learning resource centre, replacing the previous library, was opened in 2011. A qualified librarian has been appointed to manage the centre and help students to develop their research skills and a love of reading.

The board and principal actively seek the views of parents and students about school programmes and practices and respond positively to any suggestions for improvement.

The school property was significantly affected by the Canterbury earthquakes in 2011. All students and staff were relocated to two different intermediate schools for six weeks before returning to the school site. This interrupted some planned developments in teaching and learning. In spite of this, the school leaders and staff have maintained their focus on improving outcomes for students and supporting their well-being.

2 Learning

How well are students learning – engaging, progressing and achieving?

Most students, including Māori students, achieve well, and in many cases highly, in reading, writing and mathematics. A good proportion of students are achieving above and some well above the National Standards in these areas. The school reports that students made good progress in 2011, with more students achieving above and fewer below the standards in these learning areas by the end of the year.

The school monitors the progress and achievement of the small number of Pacific students closely. Teachers are taking steps to improve the way they cater for these students and promote their learning.

Targets have been set in 2012 to raise the achievement of students not achieving at the expected standards in mathematics, writing and reading.

In 2011, a report to the board showed that international students made good progress in reading and writing and continued to achieve well in mathematics. These students are strongly supported in all aspects of school life.

The school has developed some effective systems for supporting students with specific learning needs and strengths. Early identification, targeted programmes and ongoing monitoring help to ensure that students who are not achieving as well as expected can make appropriate progress. Extension classes and a range of extension programmes provide suitable challenge for students achieving at higher levels.

Students’ needs and strengths are also responded to by grouping them carefully for instruction in reading, writing and mathematics. Students’ knowledge about, and ownership of, their own learning is being extended by regular opportunities to assess their progress against specific criteria. Goal setting is well established and purposeful.

Regular feedback, gathered by teachers, shows that most students enjoy their learning experiences and appreciate the way teachers help them to learn. ERO’s discussions with students and classroom observations confirmed these positive attitudes towards learning.

Teachers use a range of reliable sources to make their judgements about student achievement against the National Standards. They are developing well-considered moderation practices to ensure that their judgements about student achievement and progress are increasingly reliable.

The principal acknowledges that the quality of annual achievement targets should be sharpened. This will involve making better use of achievement information to identify specific groups of students whose achievement needs to be lifted. Action plans should identify the steps that teachers will take to work towards these targets.

The analysis and reporting of student achievement could be strengthened further.

Such improvements should include:

  • making it clearer in written reports to parents how well students are achieving and progressing against the National Standards
  • involving teachers more in analysing and interpreting assessment information to help identify school-wide achievement trends and where improvement is most needed
  • giving students more consistent feedback about their achievement and progress so that they can talk knowledgeably about these and their next steps in learning.

Since the on-site stage of the review, reports to parents have been improved to make the link to National Standards clearer.

3 Curriculum

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

The school’s curriculum is successfully promoting student learning. It is responsive to the expectations of parents and strongly focused on taking account of students’ strengths and needs. A feature of the curriculum is the wide range of learning experiences provided for students within the school and in the wider community.

The curriculum gives suitable priority to literacy, mathematics and the inquiry approach to learning. Students have good opportunities to investigate topics of interest and apply their developing knowledge and skills in relevant and purposeful ways. Information and communication technologies are integrated effectively to support teaching and learning.

School leaders are focused on extending the use of high-quality teaching practices so that all students benefit. ERO observed examples of highly effective teaching practice and a good standard of teaching in almost all classrooms visited. These observations confirmed the principal’s knowledge about the quality of teaching gained through the teacher appraisal process. Regular, targeted professional development and an innovative mentoring programme are contributing significantly to ensuring all teaching is highly effective.

Ongoing developments in the curriculum are ably led by curriculum leaders, particularly in literacy and mathematics. These leaders provide valuable support and guidance for teachers. Teachers are keen to improve their performance and benefit from the opportunities they have to work together to extend their practice. Planning is detailed and focused.

It is not clear how some areas of the curriculum are assessed to identify students’ achievement and progress. Specialist teachers are aware of the need to show how their programmes link to the school’s achievement expectations, the inquiry approach and the appropriate levels of the New Zealand Curriculum. Progressions of learning in areas other than English and mathematics need to be more clearly identified to ensure that students have the necessary skills, knowledge and understanding to succeed with higher learning.

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

The school has taken many positive steps to promote success for Māori students as Māori.

These include:

  • maintaining a well supported kapa haka group
  • providing te reo Māori lessons taught by a knowledgeable kaiako for all students
  • making extension te reo Māori classes available to all students.

The views of Māori students and their parents and caregivers are valued. In 2012, Māori students reported high levels of satisfaction about their learning. In response to surveys, the:

  • school has developed a useful action plan to promote further success for Māori students
  • teachers have prepared focused plans identifying students’ learning needs and how they will address these
  • appraisal process includes an appropriate goal for teachers to extend bicultural learning experiences in their programmes.

The board and principal recognise the need to continue to increase the school community’s understanding and use of the most effective ways to promote the success of Māori students as Māori.

4 Sustainable Performance

How well placed is the school to sustain and improve its performance?

The school is well placed to sustain its developments and continue to improve its performance.

Comprehensive action plans have been developed to bring about planned improvements for the priorities identified in the school’s charter.

Self review is being used effectively to make ongoing improvements to programmes and practices. The principal makes purposeful use of external review to provide another perspective on some curriculum areas. Staff appraisal is used effectively to affirm good performance and identify where further support or resources are required.

Professional leadership is making a significant contribution to school improvement. The principal and leadership team have high expectations for teaching and learning and a shared vision for the future direction of the school. The principal promotes the leadership capabilities of staff and makes effective use of teachers’ strengths.

The board recognises the need to continue to improve aspects of governance. There have been some recent changes to board membership. Trustees have had some training in their governance responsibilities. They plan to have more guidance and support in strengthening long-term planning and trustees’ understanding of their roles and responsibilities.

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 the review, there were six international students 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.

The coordinator for international students provides good quality English language instruction (ESOL) and pastoral support for these students and their families.

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
  • 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.

Graham Randell

National Manager Review Services Southern Region

30 August 2012

About the School

Location

Christchurch

Ministry of Education profile number

3372

School type

Intermediate (Years 7 to 8)

Decile

9

School roll

518

Number of international students

6

Gender composition

Boys 55%; Girls 45%

Ethnic composition

NZ European/Pākehā

Māori

Pacific

Asian

Other ethnicities

69%

10%

2%

4%

15%

Review team on site

May 2012

Date of this report

30 August 2012

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Supplementary Review

November 2007

October 2004

June 2001