Orakei School - 01/06/2016

1 Context

Ōrākei School is a multicultural full primary with a growing bicultural ethos. It has close historical and cultural links with Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei. The school's roll has continued to grow and there are plans for new classrooms to be built. As a result of recent community consultation the board is planning to establish an immersion te reo Māori class and a Montessori class. Leaders and teachers have been involved in a variety of professional development contracts to support them in accelerating progress and achievement. The school is well supported by its families and whānau.

2 Equity and excellence

The vision and valued outcomes defined by the school for all children are captured by 'Nurturing Excellence - in Staff, Students and the Learning Environment'. This is underpinned by five core values: respect, inquiring minds, self-belief, excellence and creativity. The vision and values are visible across the school and teachers meaningfully incorporate them into the daily curriculum to ensure that children develop a shared understanding of them. Leaders are finding ways to present the values so that they reflect the diversity of children's home languages and cultural backgrounds. The school is a welcoming and inclusive environment.

The school’s achievement information shows that most children achieve very well in relation to the National Standards in reading, writing and mathematics. The school is on track to reach the Ministry of Education target of 85% of children achieving at or above National Standards. Achievement levels overall have continued to improve over the last three years, particularly in mathematics. Māori children consistently achieve as well as or better than their peers. The small numbers of Pacific children are achieving just below their peers, overall. The board and senior leaders have set appropriate targets to ensure that the expectations for achievement and rates of progress are similar for all groups.

Since the last ERO evaluation the school has continued to develop and strengthen systems and processes to improve learner outcomes and accelerate progress and achievement. The board has developed a new vision with information gained from recent community consultation. Ongoing strengthening of links with Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei has particularly supported the school's Māori children and whānau. Teachers are involved in ongoing professional development using both internal and external expertise. Strengthening home-school partnerships and supporting children's smooth transitions into and out of the school have also been priorities.

3 Accelerating achievement

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

The board and school leaders make very good use of achievement information to develop specific targets and actions to improve outcomes for Māori children whose learning and achievement needs acceleration. Teachers use achievement information to identify children's next learning steps. They work closely with other teachers to share the progress of specific students and teaching strategies that have contributed to this progress. Teaching teams continue to reflect on the effectiveness of strategies to accelerate the progress of targeted children over time.

The board and school leaders continue to work closely with local iwi. With Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei (Whai Poutama) support, the school has continued to provide targeted small group learning opportunities in mathematics. While it is too early for a formal evaluation, anecdotal information suggests that this approach is being successful, and there are plans in place to extend it to those Māori children whose achievement needs accelerating in reading and writing. Purposeful links have also been established with Te Puna Reo Okahu Kura early childhood centre.

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

The school has a variety of effective processes and systems in place to accelerate learning and achievement. Achievement information is used by trustees, leaders and teachers to identify any child who is not yet achieving at National Standard. Leaders have prioritised professional development and introduced new systems to support teachers' focus on target learners. Teachers are supported to develop reflective processes so that they can respond and adapt to children's learning needs effectively. They record strategies and interventions for target learners so that they can be more easily tracked and monitored. Their next step is to evaluate and report the impact of these strategies in accelerating achievement.

Teachers are expected to make regular contact with the parents of target learners. Parents are invited to 'play and learn' sessions where children teach their parents games that they can then take home. All families receive these packs.

4 School conditions

How effectively do the school’s curriculum and other organisational processes and practices develop and enact the school’s vision, values, goals and priorities for equity and excellence?

The school has a variety of effective processes and practices that promote equity and excellence.

The board provides the staff and the community with very good opportunities to be involved in annually reviewing the school's charter and strategic plan. These documents contain goals, targets and actions to improve teaching and learning and are informed by the feedback that they receive. Good analysis of achievement information has resulted in appropriate and specific targets for those whose learning and achievement needs acceleration, including for Māori and Pacific children.

The board continues to employ a Ngāti Whātua tutor to provide kapa haka as an option and te reo Māori to all children. Teachers learn alongside their class and where their language level allows, they continue the programme so that the tutor can work with children whose te reo Māori needs extending. Māori students are positive about the growing visibility and value placed on Te Ao Māori at their school.

School leaders are reflective, responsive and improvement focussed. They place importance on effective communication, engaging the community, building meaningful relationships with local iwi and developing strong home-school partnerships. Processes for managing children's transitions between early childhood centres and the local college have been strengthened. This is helping children and families to establish a sense of belonging and to get home support for learning in place more quickly. School leaders know their staff and children well.

The principal is growing staff leadership and teaching practice across the school. Through one-on-one coaching, in-class support and team meetings, teachers are supported to use evidence to critically review their practice particularly in relation to target learners. The progress and achievement of target learners is used as a catalyst for change. Leaders have reviewed the appraisal process with teachers. They have introduced portfolios to document how they are meeting the Practising Teacher Criteria.

Clear guidelines and shared expectations support teachers to deliver the curriculum. Teachers provide focussed group learning opportunities where children are supported to take ownership of their learning by being clear about what and how they learn. Relevant follow up activities are provided for children to complete independently. Learning time is maximised by lessons that are varied and well-paced.

Children are highly engaged in their learning. They benefit from a broad curriculum that provides choice and prioritises literacy and numeracy. Children are increasingly involved in decisions that affect their learning. They see themselves as learners and have personal goals in reading, writing and maths. Learning is visible and celebrated in classrooms. There are many supports that help children to assess how successful they have been independently and with support from their peers and teachers.

5 Going forward

How well placed is the school to achieve and sustain equitable and excellent outcomes for all children?

Leaders and teachers:

  • know the children who need their learning and achievement need to be accelerated
  • respond effectively to the strengths, needs and interests of each child
  • regularly evaluate how well teaching is working for these children
  • act on what they know works well for each child
  • build teacher capability effectively to achieve equitable outcomes for all children
  • are well placed to achieve and sustain equitable and excellent outcomes for all children.

The board and school leaders use achievement information and feedback from consultation to underpin self-review processes. They are currently reviewing all policies and procedures, and have identified wellbeing as a focus for future self-review.

To further refine the effectiveness of self-review and evaluation processes leaders could include specific information about the progress and achievement of target learners, as well as groups of learners, in written reports. The board and senior leaders could also consider using external self-review tools, for example Tātaiako: Cultural Competencies for Teachers of Māori Learners, and Hautū: Māori Cultural Responsiveness Self Review tool for Board of Trustees, to complement existing processes. Strengthening evaluative commentary should further help to determine the impact of initiatives, affirm current practices and identify next steps, particularly in accelerating the progress of target learners.

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

6 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 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

  • processes for appointing staff

  • stand down, suspensions, expulsions and exclusions

  • attendance

  • compliance with the provisions of the Vulnerable Children Act 2014.

7 Recommendations

To further accelerate the learning and achievement of target learners, ERO recommends that the school continues to strengthen its self-review and evaluation practices.

Graham Randell

Deputy Chief Review Officer Northern

1 June 2016 

About the school

Location

Auckland

Ministry of Education profile number

1402

School type

Full Primary (Years 1 to 8)

School roll

212

Number of international students

2

Gender composition

Girls 51% Boys 49%

Ethnic composition

Māori

Pākehā

Tongan

Middle Eastern

other Pacific

other

35%

33%

8%

7%

1%

16%

Review team on site

March 2016

Date of this report

1 June 2016

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

April 2013

August 2010

October 2007