Parnell School - 31/10/2017

Findings

Parnell School is a caring and inclusive learning community. It has a cohesive approach to driving good teaching and learning. Children now experience greater consistency of effective teaching and learning practices. Opportunities that enhance student agency and encourage children to be leaders of their own learning are emerging. 

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

1 Background and Context

What is the background and context for this school’s review?

Parnell School caters for students in Years 1 to 8. The school has a growing roll that includes children from a wide variety of ethnic backgrounds. The roll includes three percent Māori and one percent children of Pacific heritage. A significant number of children are bilingual and new learners of English.

The 2015 ERO report noted that children engaged well in learning and enjoyed positive teacher-student interactions. However, the report highlighted concerns about school leadership and the inconsistency of effective practices that impact on children’s learning. For these reasons ERO decided to continue to monitor the school’s progress through a longitudinal review process.

Over the last two years there have been several changes in school leadership and teaching personnel. A new board was elected in June 2016 and a new permanent principal began October 2016.

Evidence collected through ERO’s contact with the school since September 2015 has been used to evaluate progress made over the past two years. ERO’s findings are outlined in the following sections of this report.

Parnell School is a caring and inclusive learning community. The school has an holistic, strengths-based approach to student wellbeing. Valuing and respecting the individual child underpins all school practices.

2 Review and Development

How effectively is the school addressing its priorities for review and development?

Priorities identified for review and development

ERO chose the following priorities for the review:

  • develop school leadership practices to ensure school-wide coherence
  • establish greater consistency of effective teaching and learning practices
  • grow school governance and management capability to respond to challenges in the school
  • strengthen strategic planning and internal evaluation to support ongoing improvement.

Progress

There has been very good progress in all four review priority areas.

Develop school leadership practices to ensure school-wide coherence.

Highly effective school leadership is driving ongoing improvement. Considerable progress has been made in developing a robust professional culture that focuses all adults on teaching and learning. School leaders deliver consistent messages to staff, including those about accountability. They have introduced effective strategies to grow school-wide leadership.

The staff appraisal system introduced by the acting principal in 2016 continues to be refined by the permanent principal. The ways teachers reflect on their practice in relation to outcomes for learners has been strengthened. Teachers are now expected to gather a wider range of robust information to inform their appraisal process.

A clear sense of collective purpose and a building of coherence across school approaches is evident. The principal continues to work on building a collaborative professional culture that has increased levels of accountability and consistency of good practices. There is a new culture of professional expectations. Staff are responding positively to these expectations and to the new direction for teaching and learning in the school.

Establish greater consistency of teaching and learning practices.

Children now experience greater consistency of effective teaching and learning practices. The principal has focused on establishing collaborative systems to support a more cohesive approach to driving good teaching and learning. To date this has resulted in teachers being part of a professional learning group, a curriculum group and a teaching and learning team.

Teachers and middle school leaders are participating in professional learning and development that has a focus on embedding good classroom practice through the introduction of systems, such as mentoring and coaching. School-wide systems for collecting and using student achievement data are being built on to further strengthen the dependability of achievement information.

School leaders have made changes to encourage a child led curriculum. Opportunities that grow student agency and encourage children to be leaders of their own learning are emerging. Good practices observed in classrooms include:

  • the purpose of learning activities being made clear for students
  • students having opportunities for collaborative learning
  • students being offered strategies and resources to develop their independence in learning.

The school’s new vision is for a progressive and coherent curriculum through Years 1 to 8. Embedding the vision in the year 7 and 8 classes, ensuring all students receive an innovative and inspiring curriculum, is a priority for the school.

Children achieve well in relation to the National Standards. Achievement levels are very high in reading and mathematics. At present there is a school focus on raising achievement in writing, especially for boys.

The numbers of Māori and Pacific children are too small to report cohort achievement in relation to the National Standards or to identify trends over time. In 2017 the school established systems for monitoring these children individually and as a group.

Grow school governance and management capability to respond to challenges in the school.

Highly responsive school governance is in place.

The Board quickly responded to ERO’s 2015 report and worked with the acting principal to put in place an appropriate action plan to address the areas of concern. The board accessed external expertise to carry out a review of all school health and safety and personnel policies and procedures. A board operational plan and a governance manual was developed in 2016. This governance manual supported the smooth transition to a new board in 2016. Good systems are now in place for board to be assured it is meeting its legislative requirements.

The board works collaboratively and has a positive working relationship with the principal. Trustees receive informative and evaluative information regularly to support well evidenced decision making. They are justifiably confident about school operations.

Trustees are proactive in continuing to grow their capabilities as governors of the school. They use appropriate tools to help them reflect on their practice and their effectiveness as a board. They access ongoing governance training. The board is in a good position to focus on the school’s new vision for teaching and learning in the school.

Strengthen strategic planning and internal evaluation.

School leaders use strategic planning and internal evaluation well to support ongoing school improvement.

The school is now in a stronger position to be future-focused. The 2017 school charter includes a relevant strategic and annual plan that captures the priority areas identified by the school to drive future developments. These areas emphasise collaborative practice, effective pedagogy through teacher reflective practice, and targeted teaching that provides accelerated progress for all. Other areas captured include community engagement, and leadership conditions for equity and excellence.

The Charter includes “Ways of Being” which outlines the school’s aspirations for the Parnell graduate. These highlight the graduate as being an enabled learner, culturally aware and a student who is a Kaitiaki of themselves and others as well as of the environment. This statement is providing a shared understanding of what high quality teaching and learning looks like at Parnell school.

Internal evaluation processes are built into school systems. A newly developed internal evaluation framework is used effectively by school leaders and teachers for strategic review. Ongoing critical reflection and the outcomes of school-wide internal evaluation provide clear rationale for positive change.

3 Sustainable performance and self review

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

The school is well placed to sustain its current good practices and continue to improve its performance.

The board and school leaders have a strong focus on ensuring good outcomes for children. There is now a coordinated approach to educational development in the school.

The key next steps for school leaders are to:

  • explore further ways that the middle leadership team can support the school focus on leading teaching and learning through collaborative practice
  • further enhance the consistency of effective teaching and learning practices so children have an increasingly coherent learning pathway in terms of the language of learning, teaching practice, and curriculum content
  • offer further opportunities for children to be leaders of their own learning.

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.

Conclusion

Parnell School is a caring and inclusive learning community. It has a cohesive approach to driving good teaching and learning. Children now experience greater consistency of effective teaching and learning practices. Opportunities that enhance student agency and encourage children to be leaders of their own learning are emerging.

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

Graham Randell

Deputy Chief Review Officer Northern

Te Tai Raki - Northern Region

31 October 2017

About the School

Location

Parnell, Auckland

Ministry of Education profile number

1436

School type

Full Primary (Years 1 to 8)

School roll

527

Number of international students

7

Gender composition

Boys 53% Girls 47%

Ethnic composition

Māori
Pākehā
Chinese
Korean
Japanese
other Asian
Latin American
British
other European
Middle Eastern
Pacific Nations

3%
44%
12%
5%
4%
17%
4%
3%
5%
2%
1%

Review team on site

September 2017

Date of this report

31 October 2017

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review
Education Review
Education Review

July 2015
March 2012
June 2008