Our Lady of Assumption School (Chch) - 22/09/2016

1 Context

The special character of Our Lady of the Assumption School is clearly evident in the shared vision and values that promote a holistic approach to children's learning and wellbeing. The community, parent teacher association and parish continue to actively support the school. A strength of the board, leaders, staff and children is the way they work collaboratively to support families who need extra help.

A new principal was appointed at the beginning of 2016 and some new trustees have joined the board. The school is part of a local education cluster. The principal and school leaders are building strong links with local schools.

2 Equity and excellence

The vision and valued outcomes defined by the school for all children are that they will be respectful and responsible lifelong learners who live their faith every day. This involves providing programmes that promote an ongoing understanding of the Catholic faith and the gradual development of self-management and independent learning skills.

The school’s achievement information shows that there has been a general improvement in literacy and mathematics since the 2013 ERO review. Achievement is highest in reading and mathematics. The school reports that the achievement of Māori children is similar to that of their peers.

A school-wide focus on mathematics in 2015 has contributed to improved achievement in this area. The 2016 focus on improving writing across the school is well targeted.

Teachers use a range of national assessment tools, classroom practices, professional discussions and observations of learning to make judgments about children's learning progress. Leaders have identified that the school's next step is to extend approaches to assessment to include opportunities for external moderation.

Since the last ERO evaluation the school has taken a number of significant actions to improve learning outcomes for children. These include:

  • building collaborative teaching and learning practices
  • promoting self-regulated learning
  • increased use of digital technologies as tools for learning.

3 Accelerating achievement

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

The school is responding well to Māori children whose learning and achievement need acceleration.

Achievement information provided by the school shows that most Māori children are achieving at or above the National Standards. School leaders and teachers have high expectations that Māori children will achieve well. They have good systems in place for identifying, supporting and monitoring their progress.

The school is continuing to build and promote success for Māori children, as Māori. Aspects of biculturalism are evident in the life and practices of the school. Tuakana teina, where older children support younger ones, is clearly evident. The school's kapa haka group and celebrations of Māori cultural events are helping to affirm cultural identity and build respect for te ao Māori.

School leaders are aware that their next step is to clarify and formalise planning, priorities and reporting of progress towards building success for Māori, as Māori.

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

The school is accelerating success for a number of children whose learning is most at risk. This is particularly evident in mathematics and in some teaching and learning teams.

Good provisions and systems are in place for identifying students' learning needs, monitoring progress and setting appropriate annual learning targets. Leaders and teachers use a variety of programmes and interventions to respond to children who require increased support. They are responsive to children's learning needs and adjust programmes to reflect changing and diverse needs.

The school's next step is to complete the planned review of learning support, including evaluating and further strengthening overall effectiveness.

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 targets for equity and excellence?

The school's clear vision, values and special character are very well reflected in curriculum programmes and other organisational processes and practices. Children continue to benefit from a broad range of varied and interesting learning opportunities and experiences.

The strong focus on pastoral care provides very good, shared support for children's wellbeing and sense of belonging. School leaders collect and report information to the board about children's physical and emotional safety. Learning environments are inclusive, supportive and purposeful.

The school is making considerable progress in the development of:

  • the key competencies identified in the New Zealand Curriculum
  • the integration of digital learning into curriculum programmes
  • collaborative and self-regulated learning, especially for older children.

Student voice is valued in a variety of ways and student leadership opportunities include service to the community.

The new principal is taking well considered steps to build on the best of existing practices to promote further school-wide improvement. Many well targeted initiatives are in place to deepen teachers' understanding of learning and continue to improve the quality of teaching so that all children benefit.

Leaders' and teachers' analyses, use and reporting of achievement information in literacy and mathematics is increasing and improving. This is helping to better understand and support children's progress and identify achievement patterns and trends.

Teachers have access to a good range of internal and external professional learning. They have increasing opportunities to assume leadership positions that link to the school's strategic priorities. Examples of effective collaborative leadership practices within teaching teams are evident. There is scope to further extend this across the school.

The school's culture is becoming increasingly reflective. Self review is helping to inform a range of initiatives and is contributing to the way school strengths and next steps are being identified.

The board is insightful about its stewardship role and demonstrates a high level of commitment to prioritising the needs of children within the school's special character. Trustees bring a wide range of skills and experiences to the board and engage in ongoing training. Clearly identified priorities and active support for teaching and learning are providing effective support for the school.

Flexible approaches to board responsibilities and ongoing self review are helping the board to reflect on and meet its stewardship priorities. The board's next step is to extend this by developing a process for regularly evaluating its own effectiveness.

The school has responded positively to the areas identified for improvement in the 2013 ERO report.

5 Going forward

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

Leaders and teachers:

  • know the children whose 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, principal, school leaders and staff have high expectations for children's wellbeing and learning. A positive school culture and mutually-supportive relationships with the school community are contributing to continuous improvement that promotes success for all children.

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

ERO recommends that the school's key next steps are to:

  • continue to improve analysis and reporting of accelerated progress and achievement
  • continue to build leadership and evaluative capability across the school, and regularly report to the board about staff and student wellbeing.

Lesley Patterson

Deputy Chief Review Officer Southern

22 September 2016 

About the school

Location

Christchurch

Ministry of Education profile number

3461

School type

Full Primary (Years 1 to 8)

School roll

285

Gender composition

Boys 48% Girls 52%

Ethnic composition

Pākehā

Māori

Pacific

Asian

Other ethnicities

87%

4%

3%

2%

4%

Review team on site

August 2016

Date of this report

22 September 2016

Most recent ERO reports

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

March 2013

May 2008

May 2005