Morningside School - 21/06/2017

Summary

Morningside School’s roll of over 300 children has significantly increased since the 2014 ERO review. Māori children make up 58 percent of the roll, with three percent of children of Pacific heritage, and some from Asian nations. A special feature of the school is the two satellite classes of the Blomfield Special School.

School data from 2013 to 2016 indicate that while there has been an increase in mathematics achievement, the school has been unable to lift reading achievement over time. There was a significant dip in writing achievement in 2014. Senior leaders acknowledge that improving the reliability of teacher judgements about progress and achievement in relation to the National Standards is still a priority for teacher development.

Since the 2014 ERO evaluation, the majority of trustees, including the chairperson, are new to the board. In response to areas for development identified in the 2014 ERO evaluation, the school developed a Māori Education Plan. However, at the time of the ERO review, most of the development areas identified by ERO in 2014, including health and safety matters, had still not been addressed.

How well is the school achieving equitable outcomes for all children?

The school’s mission statement is ‘Empowering Learning – Whakamana Akoranga’ and the school vision is ‘to empower all to be competent, curious and independent learners’.

Leaders and teachers know which children are at risk of not achieving equitable outcomes and have a variety of interventions in place to support their learning. However, they are yet to develop robust processes for collating, analysing and using achievement information to effectively plan responsive programmes. There is limited evidence to show the success of support programmes for all children who are at risk of not achieving. The school does not have critically analysed evidence to show accelerated progress for these children. Neither is there cumulative data to show reduced disparity in achievement, or progress for individuals and groups of children over time.

At the time of this review, this school was not well placed to provide the conditions for children to achieve educational excellence, or to address in-school disparities. The main areas of concern are:

  • governance and educational leadership

  • curriculum leadership and teaching practice

  • systems and processes for accelerating the progress and achievement of children at risk of not achieving.

ERO intends to carry out a process of ongoing evaluation to support development over the course of one-to-two years.

Equity and excellence

How effectively does this school respond to Māori and other children whose learning and achievement need acceleration?

Morningside School is not effectively responding to Māori and other children whose learning and achievement needs acceleration.

School data in 2016 show that 85 percent achieve well in relation to the National Standards in mathematics and about 60 percent of children in reading and writing. There has been little improvement in reading and writing since 2013.

Data show that the school is not yet achieving equitable outcomes for all children. Overall Māori student achievement is slightly below that of others. There are also differences between boys’ and girls’ achievement, especially in writing.

Leaders and teachers know which children are at risk of not achieving equitable outcomes. However, they are yet to develop robust systems and processes for the collation, analysis and use of achievement information to help teachers plan responsive programmes. There is limited evidence of support for children with additional learning needs. The school does not have any data to show evidence of accelerated progress for these children and has not evaluated the impact of initiatives intended to support their learning progress.

For the past three years, teachers have not engaged in school-wide professional learning and development initiatives to help them adapt their practice to meet the diverse needs of learners. Teachers have been involved in individual or group professional learning within the school and with external professional learning providers. The impact of these initiatives is not yet evident in overall achievement outcomes.

Teachers use a variety of relevant processes to assess children’s progress and achievement. Teachers’ use of achievement information to plan differentiated programmes is variable. The school is still developing robust systems to ensure that overall teacher judgements in relation to National Standards are reliable. Senior leaders have identified that strengthening moderation processes is likely to result in improved decision making to support accelerated learning for students.

School conditions supporting equity and excellence

What school processes are effective in enabling achievement of equity and excellence?

School processes and conditions are generally not effective in achieving equity and excellence for all children. However, the most noteworthy process that is focused on equity and excellence is teachers’ use of a ‘teaching as inquiry’ cycle. This process helps teachers to identify and support some children who are at risk of not achieving success in reading, writing and mathematics.

The school’s curriculum and teaching programmes are beginning to be more effective at supporting children to achieve the valued learning outcomes identified in the school’s charter and TheNew Zealand Curriculum.

School leaders are collegial and have a long association with the school and the community. A key initiative is the establishment of collaborative learning teams across the school that focus on increasing student agency in their learning.

Senior leaders and teachers are involved in individual professional learning and development. In 2014, a collaborative team teaching and learning model was established. Since that time, the school has not had in-depth, school-wide professional learning and development focused on improving the quality of teaching and learning, or accelerating student progress and achievement.

Classroom programmes give children choice about their learning activities. There is a team teaching approach and children benefit in some instances from a broader range of learning experiences and contexts that draw on their prior knowledge and experiences, and strengths and interests. Children are eager to learn and engage well.

Sustainable development for equity and excellence

What further developments are needed in school processes to achieve equity and excellence?

Significant external support is required to improve school systems and processes to achieve equity and excellence for all students. This support is necessary to help the board, school leaders and teachers to improve aspects of the school’s curriculum, leadership and governance.

The principal’s reports to the board are not providing assurance about the quality and effectiveness of school programmes and initiatives or their impact on outcomes for children. More evaluative information in board reports would support decision making at all levels. A more strategic approach to leadership and governance should ensure a coherent focus on equity and excellence for children whose learning and achievement need acceleration.

The board should seek external support to:

  • better understand its role and strengthen governance systems and processes
  • manage the principal’s performance and appraisal
  • improve their understanding of and involvement in strategic planning and tracking the school’s progress against strategic and annual goals.

External support would assist senior leaders to strengthen their leadership role in:

  • collecting longitudinal information about each child’s learning progress, highlighting the key acceleration points and show rates of progress over time

  • the analysis of information about the achievement of groups of children over time, to identify a wider range of achievement targets and actions to be taken at different levels of the school, and to inform strategic priorities

  • strengthening the ‘teaching as inquiry’ process so that it focuses more on accelerated learning for children

  • enhancing children’s ownership of, and input into decision making about their learning.

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

  • 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.

Appraisal audit

The school’s processes for teacher appraisal, supporting provisionally certificated teachers, and endorsing teacher certification do not align with the requirements of the New Zealand Education Council. While the principal was appraised in 2016, there is no evidence that he was appraised in 2014 and 2015 or that any staff have been appraised since the 2014 ERO review.

Actions required

ERO identified a considerable level of non-compliance in relation to board administration, curriculum, health, safety and welfare, and personnel management.

In order to address these areas the board must:

  1. In consultation with the school’s Māori community, develop and make known to the school’s community, policies and procedures, plans and targets for improving the achievement of Māori students
    National Administration Guidelines 1(e).
  2. Maintain an ongoing programme of self-review in relation to policies, plans and programmes, including the evaluation of information on student achievement
    National Administration Guidelines, 2 (b).
  3. Report to the school’s community on the achievement of students as a whole, and on the achievement of groups who are at risk of not achieving, including regular and useful information about the achievement of Māori students against plans and targets
    National Administration Guidelines 2(c).
  4. Consult with the community on the delivery of the health curriculum at least once every two years
    Education Act 1989, s60B.
  5. Develop and implement personnel policies and procedures to meet legal requirements and good employer obligations, and for the induction of new staff and the annual appraisal of all staff, including the principal
    National Administration Guidelines 3; State Sector Act 1988, s77A, C; Education Act 1989, s349-350.
  6. Review all health and safety policies, procedures and practices to ensure there is a safe physical and emotional environment for students and to comply with all legal requirements, including those relating to behaviour management and discipline, education outside the classroom and crisis management
    National Administration Guidelines 5.

To improve current practice, the board of trustees should:

  • undertake a comprehensive review of policies and procedures, develop a clear and coherent policy framework, and establish a system for regularly reviewing the alignment of policies with legal requirements and practice
  • review the principal’s performance agreement to include a focus on lifting and accelerating student progress and achievement and contract a new external appraiser
  • ensure that they receive regular reports from the principal about health and safety, hazard identification and monitoring, attendance, student achievement, staff induction and appraisal, and teacher certification
  • develop robust systems and processes to ensure that financial management, including changes in credit card limits and attendance at overseas conferences are open, transparent and adhere to school policies and procedures
  • ensure that minutes of board meetings are a true and accurate record and properly stored, especially in-committee minutes that exclude the public.

Going forward

How well placed is the school to accelerate the achievement of all children who need it?

At the time of this review, the school was not well placed to provide conditions for children to achieve educational excellence, or to address in-school achievement disparities.

The main areas of concern are with:

  • governance and educational leadership

  • curriculum leadership and teaching practice

  • systems and processes for accelerating the progress and achievement of children at risk of not achieving.

Leaders and teachers:

  • have not yet adequately built their knowledge of the children whose learning and achievement need to be accelerated

  • have not yet adequately established necessary conditions to effectively accelerate learning and achievement

  • are not well placed to achieve and sustain accelerated achievement for all children who need it.

ERO intends to carry out a process of ongoing evaluation to support development over the course of one-to-two years.

Recommendations

ERO recommends that the Ministry of Education and New Zealand School Trustees Association consider providing support for the school in order to bring about the following improvements:

  • better alignment of policies and practices with the National Administration Guidelines and legal requirements
  • school and curriculum leadership with a greater focus on promoting high quality teaching and learning
  • robust internal evaluation to inform strategic planning and change for ongoing improvement
  • increased board of trustees understanding and capacity in their role as stewards of the school and as good employers.

Violet Tu’uga Stevenson

Deputy Chief Review Officer Northern (Acting)

21 June 2017

About the school 

Location

Whangarei

Ministry of Education profile number

1052

School type

Primary (Years 1 to 6)

School roll

309

Gender composition

Boys 58% Girls 42%

Ethnic composition

Māori
Pākehā
Samoan
other

58%
36%
1%
5%

Provision of Māori medium education

No

Review team on site

March 2017

Date of this report

21 June 2017

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review
Education Review
Education Review

April 2014
May 2011
March 2008