New Lynn School - 18/09/2009

1. The Education Review Office (ERO) Evaluation

New Lynn School has served the local community since 1888 and has taken steps to ensure that its rich history is valued and shared with all students. The board, managers and staff have effective self-review systems, and work collegially and strategically to ensure they continue to provide the high quality educational learning opportunities for students noted in the 2003 and 2006 ERO reports. Purposeful surveys and observations of learning activities are undertaken, regular staff meetings are held to reflect on student achievement and improving teacher practice, and a robust performance appraisal system is in place.

Since the 2006 ERO review, the school roll has continued to grow. A new administration block has been built and new information and communication technologies (ICT) resources have been purchased. Parent partnerships and community involvement in the school have increased and staff have undertaken many professional development initiatives using external, cluster-wide and peer support.

Teachers use a variety of nationally referenced assessment tools to assess students’ achievement in literacy and mathematics. Achievement data are well analysed by teachers, who reflect on the implications for their teaching and for ongoing student learning. The achievement of Māori students is carefully monitored and school data show that Māori students at most year levels are achieving in reading at levels that are at or above national expectations.

Students are happy, confident learners. They are excited about what they know and can achieve. Ako and tuakana/teina approaches to teaching and learning, particularly in the use of ICT tools, have resulted in students displaying more confidence, better engagement and increased self motivation for learning. Teachers model enthusiasm for learning. Standards of planning and teaching are consistently high, and teachers use well analysed achievement data to differentiate learning opportunities for individuals and groups of students. Teachers have positive, caring relationships with students and facilitate lessons that are relevant to students’ experiences and interests.

The principal is held in high regard by the school community. He is leading the school effectively and in a collegial manner. The senior management team is committed to improving student outcomes and to ensuring that the pastoral needs of all students are cared for in a professional manner.

The board supports the commitment of the principal and senior managers to helping their students to achieve excellence in the academic, cultural, sporting and social dimensions of the curriculum. Trustees are knowledgeable about their governance role, student achievement, and school operations. They represent the school community well and are strongly involved in school activities.

For this review, ERO and the board agreed to focus on the quality of teaching, with a focus on ICT. In all school reviews, ERO also comments on areas of national interest. Consequently, the report also provides an evaluation of the progress made in supporting the achievement of Mäori and Pacific students, provision for students with high needs, and the school’s implementation of the new curriculum. ERO and the board of trustees agree that the board should continue to support the principal and managers to further develop systems that enable students to be successful twenty-first century learners.

Future Action

ERO is confident that the board of trustees can govern the school in the interest of the students and the Crown and bring about the improvements outlined in this report. ERO is likely to carry out the next review in four to five years.

2. The Focus of the Review

Student Achievement Overall

ERO’s education reviews focus on student achievement. What follows is a statement about what the school knows about student achievement overall.

Teachers collect a variety of nationally referenced and school-based data on achievement in literacy and numeracy. Managers have reflected on the collection, collation and analysis of these data, which are used to inform teaching and decision making at all levels. There are high levels of transience in the student population, and most students, when they begin their schooling at New Lynn, are not achieving at nationally expected levels. Achievement data show, however, that students make good progress over their time at the school, with most attaining nationally expected levels within two years of arriving at the school. Good support programmes are in place to cater for students needing support or extension.

School Specific Priorities

Before the review, the board of New Lynn School was invited to consider its priorities for review using guidelines and resources provided by ERO. ERO also used documentation provided by the school to contribute to the scope of the review.

The detailed priorities for review were then determined following a discussion between the ERO review team and the board of trustees. This discussion focused on existing information held by the school (including student achievement and self-review information) and the extent to which potential issues for review contributed to the achievement of the students at New Lynn School.

ERO and the board have agreed on the following focus area for the review:

  • the quality of teaching, with a focus on ICT.

ERO’s findings in these areas are set out below.

The quality of teaching with a focus on ICT

Background

The 2006 ERO report noted that New Lynn School was committed to making a positive difference for students. Trustees, the principal and staff continue to focus on improving learning outcomes for students and delivering education that is relevant and gives students the necessary skills they need to be twenty–first century learners. Since the 2006 ERO review, teachers have undertaken professional development to further develop their skills in teaching literacy, numeracy and ICT. The school has recently become the lead school in a cluster of schools participating in a new Ministry of Education ICT professional development contract. The board has significantly upgraded the ICT infrastructure of the school. The board asked ERO to evaluate the impact of this resourcing on teaching and learning.

Student progress and achievement

The school-wide focus on ICT is having a positive impact on student achievement and learning. Students and staff spoken to at the time of this review attest that the inclusion of ICT tools in the learning programmes has improved learning outcomes for students. They report that students are more engaged, interested in learning, and are self motivated. Teachers and students are learning together. Ako and tuakana/teina approaches in the uses of ICT have resulted in students undertaking leadership roles that are building their confidence and sense of responsibility. Increased access to ICT equipment, including the internet, has resulted in students becoming more independent learners.

Areas of good performance

Strategically planned implementation process.The inclusion of e-learning and new technologies has been strategically planned and is carefully woven into a curriculum that is particular to New Lynn School and that encompasses the school’s values. Strategic planning includes:

  • the alignment of school initiatives with the board’s strategic and annual plans;
  • the timely, planned increase of ICT infrastructure and resources;
  • the prior building of teacher interest and knowledge of software;
  • increasing student and teacher awareness of internet safety;
  • staff and community consultation and surveys; and
  • ongoing, effective professional development opportunities for all staff, including internal and external workshops, cluster meetings and individual teacher mentoring and support.

As a result of these good practices, new technologies have been quickly embraced by teachers and are supporting students’ learning effectively.

Catering for differentiated learning. Teachers use well prepared lesson plans that have been developed to cater for students’ differentiated needs. Planning is guided by the use of relevant achievement data. The school expectation is that ICT tools will be used to improve literacy and numeracy outcomes for students. In addition, ICT tools enable teachers to cater for students’ various learning styles. Teachers and students are readily able to access resources to enhance or clarify spontaneous interests that arise. Teachers are using ICT tools successfully to enable students with special needs to access the curriculum and to provide them with an alternative way of recording their learning.

Support for teachers. Teachers are well supported to grow their ICT skills. A robust performance management system includes appraisal discussions and the use of professional readings. Regular monitoring of school expectations for teaching and learning ensures consistency of practice across the school. Staff enjoy positive relationships, report that they feel valued, and are open and willing to adapt their teaching styles to further improve student achievement. They welcome leadership opportunities to support their peers and further develop their own expertise.

Enhanced learning opportunities. The principal and senior managers have an innovative, visionary view of teaching and learning, which is encompassed within the curriculum. This view is continually open to further thinking and challenge and is always aimed at improving learning outcomes for children and raising student achievement. Their approach to extending students’ world view includes giving students opportunities to be involved in community events and employing specialist teachers to extend students’ cultural and environmental learning opportunities.

Growing home-school partnerships. Good practices are in place to enable the school and families to work together as partners in children’s learning. Initiatives include whānau-hui, weekly parent morning teas and harekeke and numeracy workshops to enable parents to support their children’s learning at home. Parents are kept well informed about what their child can do and areas that still need further support. Managers and staff know students and their families well. In addition, students are well supported and their parents are involved during transition phases from one sector of schooling to the next.

Well embedded self-review practices. The school and managers are focused on continual school improvement. They have strong self-review systems in place to encourage reflection and to ensure that reflective practices are naturally embedded in all aspects of teaching, learning and management. The focus of the school’s self review is on raising student achievement, improving student learning opportunities, and increasing teachers’ skills.

Areas for improvement

Learning progressions. Managers have identified the need to develop a school-wide overview of learning progressions for the expected use of ICT tools and software at various year levels. In addition, as part of their review processes, they intend to survey staff again to determine how staff and student needs have changed and could now be best supported.

Reporting to parents. As part of the school’s introduction of The New Zealand Curriculum, managers plan to show, in their reports to parents, students’ actual achievement levels, together with nationally expected levels of achievement. This reporting will enable parents to know how well their children are progressing in comparison with other New Zealand students of the same age.

3. Areas of National Interest

Overview

ERO provides information about the education system as a whole to Government to be used as the basis for long-term and systemic educational improvement. ERO also provides information about the education sector for schools, parents and the community through its national reports.

To do this ERO decides on topics and investigates them for a specific period in all applicable schools nationally.

New Lynn SchoolDuring the review ofERO investigated and reported on the following areas of national interest. The findings are included in this report so that information about the school is transparent and widely available.

Success for Māori Students: Progress

In this review, ERO evaluated the extent to which the school was familiar with the Māori Education Strategy – Ka Hikitia: Managing forSuccessand progress made since the last review in promoting success at school for Māori students. Twenty one percent of students at New Lynn School identify as Māori.

The school reports it has considered Ka Hikitia and made changes to some of its practices as a result.

Background

Māori students are highly motivated and engaged in their learning. Whanauangatanga is an integral part of the school’s inclusive environment, and includes positive and supportive learning relationships between teachers, students and whānau. The school continues to have a strong commitment to the guiding principles of biculturalism, as noted in the 2006 ERO report, with importance placed on children being provided with learning experiences that integrate Māori values, traditions, language and culture.

Areas of progress

Success for Māori students. Success for Māori students continues to be an important focus for the board, senior leaders and teachers. Mäori student achievement is tracked over time and is closely monitored against national expectations. Senior leaders and teachers separate these achievement data to report to the board and analyse the information to identify students’ skills and next steps for learning. Ongoing professional discussion about the progress of Māori students ensures that they are provided with specifically tailored support. The school also has an emphasis on:

  • setting annual targets specifically aimed at improving the achievement of Māori students;
  • relevant professional staff development, which includes training on catering for cultural giftedness;
  • teachers using an data driven approach to plan, share good practice and reflect on classroom practice; and
  • communication and information-sharing with whānau through regular consultation that develops effective home-school learning partnerships.

Progress for Māori student achievement. Achievement data for terms 1 and 2, 2009 indicate that Māori students in most year levels continue to make good progress in reading. Close tracking and monitoring of progress ensures that students’ needs are identified early and that targeted support is provided.

Facilitating new knowledge and learning. Senior leaders’ strategically planned focus on ICT has led to teachers using ICT tools to facilitate new knowledge and to provide innovative learning experiences for Māori students. The students value the variety of opportunities they have to use interactive learning techniques and to develop their skills in E-Learning through access to the web-based curriculum. They understand how their involvement in ICT can benefit and extend their education and knowledge.

Culturally appropriate learning. Relevant professional development has fostered teachers’ understanding of culturally appropriate, high quality learning experiences for Māori students. Increasing teachers’ knowledge has led to the school-wide use of preferred learning styles for Mäori in classroom programmes and has supported the implementation of gifted and talented programmes that encompass the concept of cultural giftedness. Students report that their ideas and interests are being catered for and that they have a deeper understanding of appropriate learning strategies.

Supporting Mäori identity. Students who are identified as Mäori by their whänau when entering the school are supported through the use of a Māori enrolment form. The information requested on this form enables teachers to make connections with Māori children and supports the children’s sense of belonging to their Māori heritage. The information provided includes students’ iwi and hapū. Senior leaders and teachers use this knowledge to develop their understanding of and relationship with Māori students and their whānau and to also identify and track the students’ progress through the school’s assessment systems.

The Achievement of Pacific Students: Progress

In this review ERO evaluated the progress the school has made since the last review in improving the achievement of its Pacific students and in initiatives designed to promote improved achievement. Thirty-four percent of the school roll is identified as Pacific and the majority of these students are Samoan.

Areas of good performance

Pacific student achievement. Achievement data for terms 1 and 2, 2009 indicate that Pacific students in most year levels are making good progress in reading. There is a marked shift in achievement in Years 2, 3 and 4 from term 1 to term 2, showing that the focus on teaching and learning in literacy is making a positive difference. Close tracking and monitoring of progress means that teachers know Pacific students well and ensures that students’ needs are identified early and that the students are provided with targeted support.

Effective use of assessment information. Senior leaders and teachers separate Pacific student assessment information and analyse these data to report to the board and to identify students’ current skills and next steps for learning. Teachers use data to inform their planning. Ongoing professional discussions about achievement information provide them with the opportunity to reflect on their teaching and learning practice. Specific achievement targets for Pacific students are set and are closely monitored through school-wide assessment systems.

Valuing cultural diversity. A strong, inclusive culture is a feature of the school and is reflected in teaching practices, and in board representation and involvement in school events and learning experiences. Senior leaders and teachers value the richness of children’s culture and languages and enjoy using greetings with students and their families that acknowledge their cultural identity.

Preparing to Give Effect to the New Zealand Curriculum

Schools are currently working towards implementing The New Zealand Curriculumby February 2010. During this review ERO investigated the progressNew Lynn School is making towards giving full effect to the curriculum as part of its planning, organisation and teaching practice.

ERO found that school leaders and teachers at New Lynn School are giving full effect to The New Zealand Curriculum in their planning, organisation and teaching.

Including Students with High Needs

During this review ERO investigated the extent to which the board and school leaders of New Lynn School provide an inclusive education for students with high needs. This included collecting evidence about the school’s policies, processes and practices to support the enrolment and induction of students with high needs and to support their participation and achievement at school. The information collected during this review will contribute to information that will be reported in a national education evaluation report.

Prior to a review, a board of trustees and principal attest in the Board Assurance Statement that they have taken all reasonable steps to meet their legal requirements including those detailed in Ministry of Education circulars and other documents.

The board of New Lynn School was asked to attest to whether it had ‘ensured that teachers of students with disabilities, and other contact staff, have a sound understanding of the learning needs of students with disabilities and, where necessary, have put in place support systems centred on each individual with disabilities.’ The board was also asked to attest that ‘policies and procedures that relate to students who have special education needs are implemented without discrimination’.

ERO’s findings confirm these attestations.

4. Board Assurance on Compliance Areas

Overview

New Lynn School Before the review, the board of trustees and principal ofcompleted an ERO Board Assurance Statement and Self-Audit Checklist. 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; and
  • asset management.

During the review, ERO checked the following items because they have a potentially high impact on students’ achievement:

  • emotional safety of students (including prevention of bullying and sexual harassment);
  • physical safety of students;
  • teacher registration;
  • stand-downs, suspensions, expulsions and exclusions; and
  • attendance.

Compliance

ERO’s investigations did not identify any areas of concern.

5. Recommendation

ERO and the board agree that the board should continue to support the principal and managers to further develop systems that enable students to be successful twenty-first century learners.

6. Future Action

ERO is confident that the board of trustees can govern the school in the interest of the students and the Crown and bring about the improvements outlined in this report. ERO is likely to carry out the next review in four to five years.

Dr Graham Stoop

Chief Review Officer

18 September 2009

About the School

Location

New Lynn, Waitakere City

Ministry of Education profile number

1389

School type

Contributing (Year 1-6)

Teaching staff: Roll generated entitlement  

18.6 1.44 20

School roll

297

Gender composition

Boys 50%,

Girls 50%

Ethnic composition

Samoan 20%,

Asian 13%,

Indian 11%,

African 5%,

Tongan 5%,

Cook Island Māori 3%,

Fijian 3%,

Niue 3%,

other 1%

Māori 21%,

NZ European/Pākehā 15%,

Special features

Oaklynn School satellite class

Review team on site

August 2009

Date of this report

18 September 2009

Previous ERO reports

Education Review, July 2006

Education Review, February 2003

Accountability Review, May 1999

Discretionary Assurance Audit, August 1995

Assurance Audit, October 1993

Review, May 1992

To the Parents and Community of New Lynn School

These are the findings of the Education Review Office’s latest report on New Lynn School.

New Lynn School has served the local community since 1888 and has taken steps to ensure that its rich history is valued and shared with all students. The board, managers and staff have effective self-review systems, and work collegially and strategically to ensure they continue to provide the high quality educational learning opportunities for students noted in the 2003 and 2006 ERO reports. Purposeful surveys and observations of learning activities are undertaken, regular staff meetings are held to reflect on student achievement and improving teacher practice, and a robust performance appraisal system is in place.

Since the 2006 ERO review, the school roll has continued to grow. A new administration block has been built and new information and communication technologies (ICT) resources have been purchased. Parent partnerships and community involvement in the school have increased and staff have undertaken many professional development initiatives using external, cluster-wide and peer support.

Teachers use a variety of nationally referenced assessment tools to assess students’ achievement in literacy and mathematics. Achievement data are well analysed by teachers, who reflect on the implications for their teaching and for ongoing student learning. The achievement of Māori students is carefully monitored and school data show that Māori students at most year levels are achieving in reading at levels that are at or above national expectations.

Students are happy, confident learners. They are excited about what they know and can achieve. Ako and tuakana/teina approaches to teaching and learning, particularly in the use of ICT tools, have resulted in students displaying more confidence, better engagement and increased self motivation for learning. Teachers model enthusiasm for learning. Standards of planning and teaching are consistently high, and teachers use well analysed achievement data to differentiate learning opportunities for individuals and groups of students. Teachers have positive, caring relationships with students and facilitate lessons that are relevant to students’ experiences and interests.

The principal is held in high regard by the school community. He is leading the school effectively and in a collegial manner. The senior management team is committed to improving student outcomes and to ensuring that the pastoral needs of all students are cared for in a professional manner.

The board supports the commitment of the principal and senior managers to helping their students to achieve excellence in the academic, cultural, sporting and social dimensions of the curriculum. Trustees are knowledgeable about their governance role, student achievement, and school operations. They represent the school community well and are strongly involved in school activities.

For this review, ERO and the board agreed to focus on the quality of teaching, with a focus on ICT. In all school reviews, ERO also comments on areas of national interest. Consequently, the report also provides an evaluation of the progress made in supporting the achievement of Mäori and Pacific students, provision for students with high needs, and the school’s implementation of the new curriculum. ERO and the board of trustees agree that the board should continue to support the principal and managers to further develop systems that enable students to be successful twenty-first century learners.

Future Action

ERO is confident that the board of trustees can govern the school in the interest of the students and the Crown and bring about the improvements outlined in this report. ERO is likely to carry out the next review in four to five years.

Review Coverage

ERO reviews do not cover every aspect of school performance and each ERO report may cover different issues. The aim is to provide information on aspects that are central to student achievement and useful to this school.

If you would like a copy of the full report, please contact the school or see the ERO website, www.ero.govt.nz.

Dr Graham Stoop

Chief Review Officer