Miller Avenue School - 24/12/2014

Findings

Miller Avenue School has a strong culture of inclusion and support for its students and their families/whānau. The principal and staff provide a broad range of worthwhile learning opportunities for students. Raising overall academic achievement is a strategic priority.

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?

Miller Avenue School is a full primary school (Years 1 to 8) set in extensive, attractive grounds in the Thames Valley town of Paeroa. The student roll has remained similar since the 2011 ERO report, and is currently 187. Fifty-one percent of the roll identify as Māori, and a high proportion of these students affiliate to Hauraki iwi.

The principal and senior managers continue to provide effective, well-informed educational leadership for the school community. There is a strong school culture that promotes many different forms of success for students. Pastoral care includes support for families/whānau. Recent professional development has been related to the strategic priorities in the charter, including mathematics, literacy, science and the use of information and communication technologies (ICT).

Trustees bring a wide range of experience and skills to their governance roles. They effectively manage the financial and property assets of the school. The board is well advised by the principal who provides detailed reports for each meeting. Trustees are highly engaged with the community and feedback from formal and informal consultation provides useful evidence for school review.

The school has well-established networks with other schools and community groups in the area. Staff and students benefit from the increased opportunities to share resources and participate in extra-curricular activities.

School leaders responded positively to the 2011 ERO report. Progress has been made in building teacher capacity for making overall judgements about student achievement in relation to National Standards.

2. Learning

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

The school makes effective use of achievement information to make positive changes to learners’ engagement, progress and achievement. It gathers an extensive range of information using standardised tools.

Teachers use achievement information to plan for the different learning needs of students and to form ability groups for instruction. A particular strength of the school is the use of achievement information at all levels to identify and monitor students who have challenges with their learning. A team of experienced and competent teacher aides work cooperatively with classroom teachers to support these priority students. The principal currently fulfils the responsibilities of the special education needs coordinator. She oversees the regular progress review of priority learners with teachers, and uses evidence of achievement to evaluate the effectiveness of the wide range of interventions. The school has effective strategies and interventions in place to help parents, especially of priority learners, to support their child’s learning at home.

Teachers report to parents on student achievement and progress in relation to National Standards in reading, writing and mathematics twice a year. Senior managers recognise that the clarity and usefulness of reporting to parents and the board on student progress over time could be strengthened.

The principal reports to the board on the achievement of students. This information is analysed to show the achievement of various groups of students. The board makes effective use of this information to determine strategic priorities and to guide decision making about resource allocations. An additional teacher was funded by the board to work in the junior school in 2014, in order to reduce class sizes and support improved educational outcomes in this area. Detailed achievement targets have been set for the 2014 academic year, for cohorts and groups of students.

National Standards data for 2013 indicates that overall student achievement levels had dropped from 2012 levels, and that most achievement targets were not met. Student achievement levels in reading and writing were comparable to similar schools, but below regional and national averages. Overall achievement levels in mathematics were below the average for similar schools, and is of particular concern. Analysis of student achievement data shows that students in Years 7 and 8 are achieving very well prior to their transition to secondary school. Senior managers recognise the need for a strong strategic focus on raising levels of student achievement across the school.

3. Curriculum

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

Students have opportunities to experience a wide range of learning opportunities that often extend beyond the classroom. A feature of the school is the strong partnerships built among the staff, parents and the wider community. The senior half of the school is going on an extended trip to the Wellington area this term, which includes many interesting educational experiences for students. Sport and cultural events are well supported by staff, groups of parents and the community.

Students develop a strong sense of belonging to the school. Class and school treaties help to promote shared values for considerate and respectful behaviour. Staff work hard to support students and their families as they transition into the school, especially as a significant proportion do not have early childhood experience before starting. In addition, staff support students who move between schools, and provide additional help to minimise any disruption to their learning.

Teachers successfully establish mutually respectful relationships within their classrooms which are well-resourced, settled and purposeful. They plan programmes and reflect on their practice, particularly within senior and junior syndicates. ERO observed many examples of effective practice where teachers were:

  • sharing the purpose of learning with students, along with examples of what successful learning would look like
  • using exploratory questioning to determine student comprehension and adjusting teaching strategies accordingly
  • giving constructive feedback to students and parents
  • making rigorous use of student achievement information to plan, monitor progress and report.

School leaders recognise the need to ensure these effective teaching and learning strategies are implemented consistently.

The principal models ongoing learning by her involvement in professional study, reading and contribution to relevant associations. Professional development for staff is well-structured and ongoing.

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

The board and senior managers recognise that overall academic achievement levels for Māori students remain below that of non-Māori in the school. A Māori achievement plan is in place, and the principles of Ka Hikitia, (Accelerating Success) and Tātaiako (Cultural Competencies) are embedded in key documents and guidelines. Aspects of the Hauraki Māori Trust Board education plan have been integrated into the school’s curriculum. All students, including Māori, have experience on local marae and their identity and culture is being affirmed.

Staff have been involved in externally facilitated professional development to increase their confidence and competence in te reo and tikanga Māori. The development and implementation of a more structured and progressive Māori education programme in this area across the school remains an area for ongoing development.

4. Sustainable Performance

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

The school is well placed to sustain and improve its performance. Positive factors include:

  • trustees who work in the best interests of students and are strongly supportive of the principal and staff
  • the principal and syndicate leaders who set high expectations for staff and students, and provide well-documented guidelines for all aspects of school operations
  • staff who know children and their families/whānau well, and demonstrate an holistic approach to education and support
  • parents and members of the wider community, including Māori, who contribute to many aspects of the school programme
  • self-review processes that are informed by evidence and focussed on school improvement.

ERO, trustees and school leaders agree that the next steps in school development are:

  • to increase the proportion of staff who have the confidence, support and ability to take greater roles in leadership for aspects of school operations
  • to sustain an unrelenting focus on raising student achievement and progress levels. This should include relevant and measureable performance management goals for staff at all levels.

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 this ERO review there were no international students attending the school.

The school has not hosted international students for a number of years.

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.

Conclusion

Miller Avenue School has a strong culture of inclusion and support for its students and their families/whānau. The principal and staff provide a broad range of worthwhile learning opportunities for students. Raising overall academic achievement is a strategic priority.

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

Dale Bailey

National Manager Review Services

Northern Region

24 December 2014

About the School

Location

Paeroa

Ministry of Education profile number

1827

School type

Full Primary (Years 1 to 8)

School roll

187

Gender composition

Boys 50%

Girls 50%

Ethnic composition

Māori

NZ European/Pākehā

Samoan

Cook Island Māori

Other European

Other Asian

51%

41%

3%

1%

2%

2%

Special Features

Attached Units

Resource Teacher: Learning and Behaviour

Resource Teacher: Literacy

School Literacy Support

Review team on site

October 2014

Date of this report

24 December 2014

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

November 2011

January 2009

September 2006