Masterton Intermediate - 24/06/2015

Findings

Students participate in a wide range of well-considered curriculum opportunities that respond to their strengths, interests and needs. A new senior leadership team is fostering a culture of whanaungatanga and providing a sound platform to support the school's challenge – to accelerate student achievement and progress.

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

1. Context

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

Students enrolled in Masterton Intermediate are from diverse cultural backgrounds. Ethnic groups who attend the school include Māori (27%), European, African, Chinese, Indian, Fijian, Filipino and Samoan. Students enrol from an extensive range of primary schools across Wairarapa.

Years 7 and 8 students learn in composite classes where they usually stay with the same classroom teacher for two years. The school offers specialist technicraft staff, language options, and a wide range of itinerant music tuition and musical groups.

A school farm is integral to the curriculum, where students can care for animals in an authentic setting. The school is part of a sports and arts group through which students regularly compete alongside other intermediate schools.

ADMIRE qualities underpin the school’s expectations for students. These qualities are: active brain; dependable; managing self; interactions; relationships; and excellence.

The school seeks to be part of its community and support student citizenship through involvement and student representation in community events. They are proud of their strong kapa haka group.

There have been a number of changes to senior leadership since the June 2012 ERO report. A new principal has been in place since Term 3, 2014. Five out of the six members of the leadership team are new. There have been three principals since the previous ERO review.

Teaching staff have been involved in three main areas of professional learning and development (PLD). They are: Positive Behaviours for Learning (PB4L); Accelerated Literacy Learning (ALL); and writing across the school. These have been externally led projects supported by lead teachers from within the school.

2. Learning

How well does this school use achievement information to make positive changes to learners’ engagement, progress and achievement?

The school is developing its use of achievement information to make positive changes to learners’ engagement, progress and achievement.

The board receives summary reports about schoolwide National Standards achievement twice a year. In November 2014, 70% of all students were at the National Standard for reading. Writing and mathematics remain areas needing immediate attention, with far fewer students at expected level. Appropriate targets are set based on end-of-year data.

In 2014, some students accelerated their progress and moved from below the National Standard to be at standard but there is an urgent need to increase the numbers of students making gains while at school.

Trustees and leaders recognise that for Māori learners, the curriculum is not yet as successful as for all students. Small numbers of Pacific learners are enrolled. They are well known and their achievement is monitored as individuals and as a group.

Students with special needs are well identified. A range of programmes are in place to support their progress. They are individually monitored.

A number of school initiatives are directed towards accelerating progress for those at risk of poor outcomes. A wide range of achievement information is collected and used to identify students’ needs. Teachers are expected to provide targeted support, adapt teaching programmes, collaborate with others and trial new strategies to support these learners. There are some models of good use of data to explicitly determine students’ next steps for learning.

Some guidance is in place for making overall teacher judgements about students' achievement in relation to National Standards. Teachers frequently moderate assessment of samples of writing, supported by an external facilitator. Syndicate leaders are looking to expand moderation practice between syndicates and with other schools.

Syndicate and senior leaders have access to schoolwide achievement data. Data is not yet being well used at teacher, syndicate and senior leadership levels to closely monitor the progress of students at risk of poor outcomes.

Collating and analysing the information more regularly should help to define which strategies are most successful for these students. It should also assist syndicate leaders to transfer and apply these ideas across classrooms in a quick and responsive way.

3. Curriculum

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

A wide range of well-considered curriculum opportunities are provided to respond to students’ strengths, interests and needs. They are actively encouraged to participate in the many academic, arts, cultural, sporting and technology options available within and beyond the classroom.

Involvement in a schoolwide programme to support positive behaviour has provided a consistent approach to how students and adults relate to each other. It contributes to a shared understanding of factors that support increased student engagement.

ADMIRE qualities are reinforced with students and help them to understand the expectations adults have for them as learners and the ways they should interact with others.

A positive school tone is evident. Student wellbeing is a high priority. A range of strategies is used to promote a sense of connection and belonging for students. Leaders and teachers value the strengths students bring. They celebrate success and positive learning behaviours. Students spoken to by ERO feel well supported by the adults in the school.

The principal, leaders and teachers demonstrate a willingness to individually assist students needing more support to engage in the school curriculum. Interventions include:

  • targeted use of teacher aides

  • careful classroom placement

  • active liaison with external agencies

  • careful monitoring and mentoring.

These strategies are contributing to a significant reduction in numbers of behavioural incidents in 2015.

There are models of effective teaching practice. However, senior leaders recognise the need for more consistently high quality teaching schoolwide. Externally led literacy development work is impacting positively on writing programmes. Knowledge of successful strategies used with a targeted student group in 2014 is beginning to be shared with teachers across syndicates.

Curriculum guidelines provide useful support for literacy teaching and for involving students in decisions about their learning. It is timely to review and develop the school's curriculum and guiding documents. These should now reflect current practice and:

  • more explicitly reflect aspirations for 21st Century teaching and learning

  • include expectations for effective teaching practice across all essential learning areas, especially mathematics

  • outline how teachers’ practice will support Māori success as Māori, aligned with the strategic goals.

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

The strategic plan signals the school’s commitment to raising Māori student achievement. Knowledgeable and enthusiastic senior leaders are capably leading initiatives within the school.

Te ao Māori is valued and there are a number of opportunities for Māori learners to lead, learn more about and engage in the curriculum through their language, identity and culture.

Te reo Māori is a regular part of the school curriculum and students experience progression in language complexity through a termly programme. Those students with more skill and experience can participate in an extension programme.

The next step is to continue to build individual teacher practice to respond to Māori students’ culture and weave te ao Māori across learning areas.

4. Sustainable Performance

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

The principal and senior leaders have successfully built positive relationships with staff, students and the community. Teachers feel positive about the new developments that are taking place and are well supported by senior leaders and the board.

The senior leadership team is providing well-informed, inclusive and reflective professional leadership. They are fostering a culture of whanaungatanga and promoting the school whakatauki: E matahi ana e mataara - To work together in a diligent and focused way.

The deliberate focus on building engagement with staff and students is providing a sound platform to support the school's next challenge – to accelerate achievement and progress and to improve teaching.

In 2014, teachers reflected on the effectiveness of their teaching for groups of target students through a well-structured and transparent teacher-inquiry process. This is linked to appraisal and strategic targets. A useful template and some good models of critical reflection are apparent. However, there is variable practice schoolwide and it is unclear how successful teacher actions were for some students. Syndicate leaders recognise the need to strengthen the process. This should include:

  • ensuring all teachers use an evidence base to consider how effective their practice has been

  • more frequent monitoring and deeper learning conversations with syndicate leaders where teaching practice is examined and challenged.

The appraisal process is becoming more robust and useful in support of teacher development. Currently, a process of documenting a more cohesive and coherent procedure, aligned to the Registered Teacher Criteria, that suitably supports accountability and teacher improvement is underway. ERO’s evaluation supports this as a useful next step. The process needs to consider how best to provide a more structured programme of support for the teachers who are subject to confirmation of full registration.

The board receives regular information about what is happening in the school, reports about actions taken against strategic goals and schoolwide achievement in relation to National Standards. More regular reporting about progress towards achievement targets is necessary. Trustees have developed a useful work plan to guide their operations as a board. This should be refined to include curriculum review, a wider range of policy review and community consultation.

Self review is developing. At times, review outcomes describe only the actions taken or the systems now in place. The next step to strengthen self review is to become more evaluative and consider more fully the effectiveness of new programmes or initiatives in terms of outcomes for students.

The school is developing partnerships with whānau to support student learning. Senior leaders and teachers use an increasing number of ways to share information and engage in discussion about students’ learning. Parents are well informed. They receive useful information that shows achievement and progress in relation to National Standards.

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

  • processes for appointing staff

  • stand-downs, suspensions, expulsions and exclusions

  • attendance.

In order to improve current practice the board should review a number of policies and procedures to ensure guidelines for good practice and for meeting legislative requirements are clear and current.

During the course of this review ERO found the following area of non compliance. The board of trustees must:

  • adopt a statement on the delivery of the health curriculum, at least once in every two years, after consultation with the school community.[Section 60B Education Act 1989]

Conclusion

Students participate in a wide range of well-considered curriculum opportunities that respond to their strengths, interests and needs. A new senior leadership team is fostering a culture of whanaungatanga and providing a sound platform to support the school's challenge – to accelerate student achievement and progress.

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

Joyce Gebbie
Deputy Chief Review Officer Central

 

About the School

Location

Masterton

Ministry of Education profile number

2909

School type

Intermediate (Years 7 to 8)

School roll

362

Gender composition

Male 59%, Female 41%

Ethnic composition

NZ European/Pākehā
Māori
Pacific
Other ethnic groups

69%
27%
  2%
  2%

Special Features

Resource Teachers: Learning and Behaviour

Social Worker in Schools

School Farm

Review team on site

May 2015

Date of this report

24 June 2015

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review
Education Review
Education Review

June 2012
December 2008
February 2006