Newtown School - 16/07/2014

Findings

The school is well placed to strengthen its performance. The curriculum effectively promotes positive outcomes for students. Strong leadership and management are in place. Most students in this diverse community make good progress in their learning. The board is focused on improvement. Partnership with families and whānau is valued.

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?

Newtown School is a contributing primary school catering for Years 1 to 6 students. A Māori immersion class, Ngāti Kotahitanga, caters for 24 Years 1 to 8 students. At the time of this review, the school has a growing roll of 270 students, 22% of whom identify as Māori and 13% as Pacific.

The community is socio-economically and culturally diverse. Over 50% of students are English Language Learners. The board of trustees has representation from the school’s multi-cultural community.

In December 2011, 12 classrooms were deemed an earthquake risk and demolished. They have been replaced with temporary Ministry of Education-owned buildings. The board has sought external professional support to guide it in managing the planned changes to the school environment. Ongoing consultation with the school community is recognised as an integral part of this.

The long-serving principal left in 2013. An acting principal was appointed for Term 4 2013 until the new principal took up the position in Term 1 this year.

Since the September 2011 ERO review, Te Marau-a-Ngāti Kotahitanga has been developed to support teaching and learning in Ngāti Kotahitanga. This gives effect to Te Marautanga o Aotearoa and is aligned to Te Marau a Kura o Newtown (the Newtown School curriculum). Ngā Whanaketanga Rumaki Māori are now used to assess students’ learning and achievement in the Māori immersion class.

2 Learning

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

The school uses achievement information well to promote learners’ engagement, progress and achievement. Most students, including English Language Learners, make good progress in their learning.

2013 National Standards and Ngā Whanaketanga Rumaki Māori data reported by the school show that the majority of students achieve at and above the expectations for reading, writing and mathematics. The achievement of Māori and Pacific students is generally below that of New Zealand European peers. Teachers use a school-developed assessment tool (Poutama) to assess students’ progress in other curriculum areas. Leaders collate this information to report schoolwide curriculum achievement to the board.

Achievement data has not yet been analysed to show trends and patterns in achievement for groups of students over time. The new student data management system should help address this. It should also assist in evaluating the impact of strategies, interventions and programmes.

Effective processes are in place to identify and support students with diverse learning needs. Students achieving below National Standards are well supported through a range of interventions and a team of trained teacher aides. Planning for students with high needs is individualised and well targeted. Monitoring the progress of underachieving students needs to be further developed. Exploring ways to accelerate the progress of a significant group of Māori students in the mainstream classes, especially in writing and mathematics, is an agreed priority. The school has identified that provision for gifted and talented students also needs review and redevelopment.

Reports to parents provide comprehensive information about students’ learning. Progress is reported in relation to National Standards and Ngā Whanaketanga Rumaki Māori for reading, writing, mathematics, key competencies and other learning areas. Learning journals provide additional information and support students to understand their learning and share achievements with their families.

3 Curriculum

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

The school’s curriculum effectively promotes positive outcomes for students. Students are well engaged in classroom programmes and enjoy opportunities to learn in meaningful contexts. They are generally cooperative, respectful and confident. The drive to give students more ownership of their learning should support increased engagement of priority learners.

Te Marau a Kura o Newtown appropriately prioritises the teaching and learning of mathematics, literacy and key competencies. Values underpinning the curriculum and school culture are reflected in the school’s positive tone. The ongoing focus on promoting positive behaviour is supporting students’ social competence and confidence.

Review of school curricula (mainstream and Te Marau-a-Ngāti Kotahitanga) is planned to ensure stronger reflection of community aspirations and outcomes of teachers’ professional development. The principal is confident this review should further strengthen teachers’ skills and result in more consistent and sustainable practice and improved board reporting. A plan of work has begun to develop the localised curriculum, including the graduate profile.

Teachers continue to work on supporting students to understand the purpose of their learning and next learning steps. Increasing the quality of feedback to learners should further enhance this understanding.

Appropriate professional development is suitably aligned to the school’s curriculum and strategic direction. It supports teachers’ understanding and implementation of programmes and suitable strategies.

The home-school partnership initiative continues to enrich relationships within the school communities. Through these partnerships, families are consulted about programmes and curriculum direction.

Senior staff continue to consider ways to strengthen their approach to supporting families’ transition to school. Further investigation of the early childhood curriculum, Te Whāriki, and early childhood assessment, is likely to strengthen understanding about links between early childhood and school programmes.

Leaders have identified the need for further consideration and planning in order to give full effect to the Ministry of Education's strategic plan for Pacific students. A specific initiative in 2014 is targeted to enrich relationships with Pacific families.

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

The school is continuing to develop its approach to promoting educational success for all Māori learners.

Māori students are able to learn either within Te Marau-a-Ngāti Kotahitanga or Te Marau a Kura o Newtown. Māori values are woven through operations and school programmes. Māori language and culture are valued aspects of the character of the school.

Within the immersion class, Te Marau-a-Ngāti Kotahitanga, whānau, kaiako and kaiarahi-i-te reo support students well to experience success as Māori learners. Promotion of te reo me ngā tikanga Māori are strongly embedded. Whānau share their aspirations for their children. Leadership and tuakana teina opportunities are promoted.

School leaders have identified that there is a need to:

  • continue to support kaiako and kaiarahi-i-te reo in Ngāti Kotahitanga so that the diverse needs and abilities of students are well catered for
  • support kaiako to engage in ongoing moderation to ensure reliability and robustness of student achievement information
  • identify effective means of consulting and collaborating with whānau of mainstream students to support their achievement and success as Māori.

Teachers should engage in ongoing professional development, discussion and inquiry to support their increased confidence and skills to meaningfully integrate te reo me ngā tikanga Māori into everyday practice.

4 Sustainable Performance

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

The school is well placed to strengthen its performance. It has strong leadership and management. The highly committed board of trustees is suitably focused on enhancing student outcomes and partnership with families. ‘The Newtown Way’ has been developed to support reorganisation of operations linked to the new direction of the school.

The principal is working towards developing consistency and understanding in all aspects of practice across the school. He has a good understanding of self review. A range of evaluative tools support teachers and the board measure the quality of their practice. School systems, guidelines and processes have been reviewed, in consultation with the board, to ensure that operational and accountability requirements are met and planned for.

Trustees express strong commitment to reviewing the board’s approach to governance. Agreed priorities are to strengthen board planning, review and guidelines. Addressing these aspects of operation should promote more sustainable systems that contribute to improved capability.

A teaching inquiry process involves all teachers in researching and implementing best practice strategies that should increase the rate of progress for targeted learners. Further development is needed to ensure a suitably strong focus on accelerating the progress of all underachieving students.

The principal has identified that the appraisal process needs further development to provide more effective support for improving teachers’ practice.

There has been a recent complete review and redevelopment of health and safety procedures and policies in response to major property and classroom changes and new school leadership.

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 develop and approve a performance agreement for the principal.

Conclusion

The school is well placed to strengthen its performance. The curriculum effectively promotes positive outcomes for students. Strong leadership and management are in place. Most students in this diverse community make good progress in their learning. The board is focused on improvement. Partnership with families and whānau is valued.

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

Joyce Gebbie

National Manager Review Services Central Region

16 July 2014

index-html-m2a7690f7.gifAbout the School

Location

Newtown, Wellington

Ministry of Education profile number

2926

School type

Contributing (Years 1 to 6), Full Māori Immersion ( Years 1-8)

School roll

270

Gender composition

Female 51%, Male 49%

Ethnic composition

Māori

NZ European/Pākeha

Pacific

Asian

Other

22%

42%

13%

10%

13%

Special Features

Resource Teacher Māori based on site

Māori immersion class

Review team on site

May 2014

Date of this report

16 July 2014

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Supplementary Review

September 2011

October 2008

October 2006