Northcross Intermediate - 30/07/2012

Findings

1. Context

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

Northcross Intermediate School is a large suburban school located in Browns Bay in Auckland. The new waharoa, carved gateway, situated at the school entrance symbolises the school’s vision for the future as well as acknowledging the past.

The school caters for over one thousand Year 7 and 8 students. The school’s facilities provide a number of different learning environments that suit a range of learning styles for early adolescents. The school’s core values of respect and trust are highly evident and well modelled by staff and students.

Students at Northcross Intermediate have many opportunities to contribute and participate in the life of the school. The social cohesion of the young adolescents creates a very settled and positive school tone where students develop a sense of ownership.

Students are engaged in a wide variety of co-curricular activities and leadership opportunities. Students continue to take pride in earning their school badges. The school kapa haka group has an important role in welcoming visitors and representing the school in the wider community. An increasing number of students from diverse backgrounds are enrolling at the school.

Parents value the partnerships they have with teachers who are committed and enthusiastic. Staff have a collaborative working culture and are actively involved in a wide range of school activities.

2. Learning

How well are students learning – engaging, progressing and achieving?

Students are well engaged in their learning. They are willing and capable learners. Positive interactions with peers and with teachers support students’ engagement in learning.

The school uses a range of standardised assessment tools to gather and report on individual student achievement information in literacy and mathematics. It has useful information about the achievement of individual students in individual tests which indicate that many students are achieving well in reading and mathematics. It would now be beneficial to investigate ways in which achievement information can be further collated and used to identify cohort and schoolwide trends and patterns of progress and achievement during students' time at Northcross Intermediate.

Teachers are using student achievement data to differentiate teaching and learning programmes, to set learning goals and to monitor student progress. Achievement data gathered at the beginning of 2012 has identified that many students need to make accelerated progress in writing. Consequently, teacher professional development in literacy has become a priority. Purposeful inquiry into the impact of teacher practice on student achievement should also be prioritised. Teachers report that the introduction of new learning strategies is supporting students to develop better self-assessment capability.

Achievement data indicates that Māori students make progress in mathematics as they move up through the school from Year 7 to 8. While data about longer-term comparisons is not available, information gathered in 2011 indicates that Māori students do not yet achieve as well as non-Māori students. In response to this information, the school has developed a strategic plan to raise the achievement of all Māori students. School leaders have identified that the priority group to target is Year 7 Māori boys, given the overall performance of this group is below or well below the National Standard.

Teachers are working with the National Standards. They make overall judgements (OTJs) about individual student achievement and the school has self-identified the need to continue with work on developing consistency in teacher OTJs. Further work should also be undertaken on school processes and systems to ensure that:

  • parents receive student reports in plain language
  • the board receives progress and achievement information in relation to National Standards at key points during students’ time at intermediate school.

ERO recommends that the principal and senior managers refine evaluative reports for the board on student progress and achievement to inform the board’s strategic direction and annual school planning.

3. Curriculum

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

The school’s curriculum promotes and supports students’ learning effectively. A concept-based integrated programme provides a topic-based approach for student inquiry. Key competencies such as relating to others are a major focus in the school’s curriculum.

Overall standards of teaching are good, with some high quality teaching practice evident. Senior managers have identified the need to make practice more consistent across the school and have taken steps to do so. The school's literacy and mathematics leaders support teachers to improve practice through observations and analysis of teaching practice. This is leading to the increased sharing of effective teaching practice among staff.

Targeted professional development helps teachers to deliver responsive classroom programmes in accordance with the identified learning needs of students. Numeracy and literacy learning areas are identified as high priorities for on-going development.

Teachers work collaboratively and use student and parent input to design classroom programmes. The school's new strategies for learning provide a framework for teachers to plan and implement classroom programmes and assessment practices.

The school's integrated curriculum provides some students with extended opportunities to lead their own learning. School managers could now review how student-led learning could be further developed across all learning contexts and environments. The findings of such a review have the potential to help the school realise its vision for students to be life-long learners.

Well managed learning support systems are in place to assist students with additional learning requirements. These systems are very thorough and student focused.

ERO and school managers agree that next steps for curriculum development include:

  • developing an effective teaching profile to clarify expectations of high quality teaching
  • continue to refine the alignment of the school’s curriculum and relevant policies with The New Zealand Curriculum.

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

The waharoa/carved gateway at the entrance of the school is a strong symbol of biculturalism. The waharoa is recognised as making an important contribution towards the school spirit and reflects the school’s aspiration to build stronger relationships with the wider community, particularly Māori whānau and students. Its recent unveiling was celebrated by students, parents and staff, and is an important step for the school and its partnership with Māori.

The school is continuing to develop protocols and practices that affirm and encourage Māori to succeed as Māori. Consultations undertaken provide useful input to guide strategies for promoting successful outcomes for Māori in annual action plans. ERO encourages the school to continue to develop its partnership with Māori whānau and to use consultation findings as part of information gathering for school strategic planning and goal setting.

The 2009 ERO report recommended further integration of New Zealand’s bi-cultural heritage within the school's integrated curriculum programmes. School managers agree that there is still further work to be done in this area.

4. Sustainable Performance

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

Northcross Intermediate has the capacity to sustain and improve its performance. The senior management team work together in collegial ways. There are layers of experience and expertise in curriculum leadership within the staff, and leadership is distributed throughout the school. Board members bring a variety of skills, experience and commitment to their roles as trustees.

Considerable informal review and reflection is undertaken within the school. This now needs to be formalised and more clearly linked to school goals and priorities. The importance of good data analysis and evaluative commentary is also critical to the school’s capacity to know how well it is performing. Further developing data analysis should allow the school to reflect in greater depth on its own effectiveness. ERO recommends the board, principal and managers continue to strengthen school-wide self review to ensure the sustainability of existing high quality practices and further develop emerging good practices. The board and senior managers agree the improving self review is a priority.

Further work is also needed in some aspects of school governance. Currently the board does not meet requirements relating to the charging of school fees. Aspects of self review and a continuing focus on strengthening consultation with the school's Māori community should also be beneficial. Trustees may like to access some external training to strengthen their knowledge and understanding of boards’ governance obligations and responsibilities in these areas.

Provision for international students

Northcross Intermediate 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 review there were 22 international students attending the school. The school has attested that it complies with all aspects of the Code. ERO’s investigations confirm that the school’s self-review processes for international students are thorough.

The school provides high quality pastoral care for its international students. These students are well integrated into the school’s programmes. They benefit from the school’s careful monitoring of their progress and achievement, and are positively involved in all aspects of school and community life.

School managers need to evaluate the success of the programme offered to international students, including a comprehensive review of the outcomes.

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
  • stand-downs, suspensions, expulsions and exclusions
  • attendance.

In order to improve practice the board should:

  • consider offering second language learning programmes within the school curriculum
  • continue to refine its ongoing programme of self review, including the evaluation of information on student achievement
  • continue to develop ways of consulting and sharing policies, plans and targets with the school's Māori community.

In order to comply with current legislation the board must ensure that:

  • parents are not required to pay fees to cover the cost of either tuition or materials used in the provision of the curriculum through the digital classrooms, [Education Act, 1989, s3].

When is ERO likely to review the school again?

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

Makere Smith

National Manager Review Services Northern Region (Acting)

30 July 2012

About the School

Location

Browns Bay, Auckland

Ministry of Education profile number

1396

School type

Intermediate (Years 7 to 8)

Decile1

10

School roll

1059

Number of international students

25

Gender composition

Boys 53% Girls 47%

Ethnic composition

NZ European/Pākehā

Māori

South African

Korean

South East Asian

Chinese

Pacific

African

other European

51%

8%

12%

5%

5%

3%

3%

1%

12%

Review team on site

May 2012

Date of this report

30 July 2012

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

January 2009

January 2006

June 2002

1 School deciles range from 1 to 10. Decile 1 schools draw their students from low socio-economic communities and at the other end of the range, decile 10 schools draw their students from high socio-economic communities. Deciles are used to provide funding to state and state integrated schools. The lower the school’s decile the more funding it receives. A school’s decile is in no way linked to the quality of education it provides.