James Cook School - 01/05/2018

School Context

James Cook School is located in Marton, Rangitikei and caters for students from Years 1 to 8. The roll of 188 includes 36% Māori and 16% Pacific students.

The overarching vision for the school is “Building an interdependent community of engaged learners who go forth to influence the world around them”. The mission statement is “Achieving excellence through aroha, endeavour and resolution” capturing the spirit of James Cook the explorer.

The school’s “R.I.C.H.E.R” values (respect, inclusion, cooperation, honesty, endeavour, resolution) underpin all aspects of school life.

Leaders and teachers regularly report to the board, schoolwide information about outcomes for students in reading, writing and mathematics.

The school is a member of the South Rangitikei Kāhui Ako.

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 recognises the need to improve equitable and excellent outcomes for all children.

In 2017, the majority of students reached national benchmarks in reading and mathematics. Results in mathematics have remained similar over time and reading levels are slightly lower. Achievement in writing has steadily declined over recent years, and in 2017 only half of all students achieved above expected levels. However, around three quarters of students left the school at the end of Year 8 in 2017 having met expectations in reading, writing and mathematics.

Māori students achieve at similar levels to their peers at the school in writing and reading. Recent achievement shows improvement in reading, but declines in mathematics and writing.

Overall levels of achievement are low for Pacific students in all three areas. A quarter achieve expectations in writing, a third in reading. There has been recent improvement in results in mathematics for these students and half now achieve national benchmarks.

Boys achieve below girls in writing and mathematics, but around the same in reading. Students with additional needs are supported and catered for and they are achieving well.

Leaders and trustees acknowledge that addressing the identified disparities and raising achievement overall are priorities.

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

The school is developing its capacity to respond effectively to Māori, Pacific and other students whose learning needs accelerating.

Assessment information, shows that some children accelerate progress in reading, writing and mathematics. Information over time shows that there is an increase in the proportion of students achieving expectations as they move through the school.

Many students who enter the school with high English language learning needs make accelerated progress in their oral language and literacy learning over their first few years.

Increasing rates of progress and accelerating learning for those who need it, is urgently required.

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’s vision, mission and values underpin the curriculum and are embedded in all aspects of school life. A strong focus on promoting wellbeing, resilience, virtues and confidence is evident. A sense of connection and belonging is successfully promoted.

The school community is welcoming and inclusive. Curriculum practices seek to reflect students’ culture, language and identities.

Leaders have established positive foundations for children’s learning. Classrooms are calm, positive and purposeful environments. Student show high levels of engagement in learning activities. Respectful and considerate relationships are clearly evident. Students support each other with their learning.

Well-considered processes are in place that effectively support students to transition smoothly into the school and on to the next phase of education.

Staff are encouraged to be collaborative and collegial. They participate in a good range of professional learning aligned to the school’s priorities for improvement. Teachers are reflective and engage in research and new learning opportunities. Capability to effectively inquire into their practice is developing.

A suitable performance management framework has the potential to support teachers to improve their practice and the renewal of Teacher Practising Certificates. Coaching has been recently introduced to enhance the appraisal process.

Respectful and inclusive relationships with parents are successfully promoted. School leaders are focused on further developing partnerships that benefit children’s learning. Parents’ aspirations for their children success and contributions to learning are sought and valued.

Trustees are representative of their community, and committed to improving outcomes for students. Strategic goals and the annual plan seek to achieve equity through raising achievement for priority learners. Next steps for school development are appropriately identified.

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

Teachers must strengthen their capacity and capability to consistently monitor student achievement, track progress and analyse data to inform decisions about next steps for improvement. To support this, leaders should consider reviewing the type and purpose of assessment tools, particularly writing moderation, to ensure the usefulness and accuracy of achievement information.

Leaders have identified, and ERO’s external evaluation confirms, there is a need to establish a shared understanding across the school of effective teaching strategies based on best practice research and evaluation of what is having the biggest impact. Using this to build teacher capability, particularly in writing is a next step. Continuing to develop the consistency of staff use of the appraisal and teacher portfolio process should support this.

Teachers are reflective and consider aspects of their practice that are going well. They collaborate to inquire into the effectiveness of their teaching and share good practice. Developing a shared understanding of rigorous, evidence-based internal evaluation is needed. This should support teachers and leaders to inquire more deeply and determine the effectiveness of their practices and actions on improving outcomes for children.

Leaders are committed to raising achievement, and have set broad goals for improvement outcomes. Reframing targets to include more specific groups of priority students and articulating expected outcomes and expectations for rates of progress is required. This should assist in the monitoring and evaluation of progress towards achieving goals and priorities for improvement.

Trustees are reflective of the community and focused on growing their capacity for effective stewardship. The board should consider support to: review and develop policies and procedures; strengthen understanding of roles and responsibilities; and develop the use of achievement information to evaluate the impact of resourcing and decisions on improving outcomes for all students.

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.

Areas for improved compliance practice

To improve current practice, the board of trustees should review and develop a policy framework that covers all aspects of the board’s legislative obligations.

4 Going forward

Key strengths of the school

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

  • collaborative and collegial staff, respectful and productive relationships between teachers, students, parents and community that results in an inclusive and supportive school culture

  • a curriculum that reflects students’ culture, language and identity

  • an environment that successfully promotes children’s physical and emotional wellbeing.

Next steps

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

  • target setting to focus on specific groups of students whose learning needs acceleration

  • improving the use of achievement data to better show achievement and rates of progress, particularly for target students

  • effective teaching strategies for students in writing and mathematics, particularly for those whose learning needs acceleration

  • targeted planning to accelerate learning [ERO will monitor and discuss progress with the school]

  • internal evaluation processes and practices

[ERO will provide an internal evaluation workshop for trustees and senior leaders.]

Recommendations

ERO recommends that the school seek support from New Zealand School Trustees Association in order to bring about improvements in:

  • policy framework and review

  • using achievement information to evaluate progress against goals and targets.

ERO’s next external evaluation process and timing

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

Patricia Davey

Deputy Chief Review Officer Central (Acting)

Te Tai Pokapū - Central Region

1 May 2018

About the school

Location

Marton

Ministry of Education profile number

2368

School type

Full Primary (Years 1 - 8)

School roll

188

Gender composition

Male 56%, Female 44%

Ethnic composition

Māori 36%
Pākehā 47%
Pacific 15%
Other ethnic groups 2%

Provision of Māori medium education

No

Review team on site

February 2018

Date of this report

1 May 2018

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review March 2015
Education Review July 2012
Education Review May 2009