Pine Hill School (Dunedin) - 16/03/2015

Findings

Students benefit from a wide range of interesting learning experiences. Students appreciate the small class sizes where teachers give them individual help with their learning. Teachers celebrate students’ individual differences and family backgrounds. Students benefit from high-quality teaching across the school. The school is well governed and managed.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?

Pine Hill School (Dunedin) is a small school where students of all ages know each other well. The school is situated on large grounds. Students have access to a range of spaces to enhance their learning and explore during break times. The extra classrooms are purposefully used to support students' learning in the arts and other curriculum areas. Students told ERO that they appreciate their small class sizes where teachers are able to give them individual help with their learning.

Students come from diverse backgrounds and cultures. Teachers know the students and their families well. They are accepting of and keen to celebrate students’ individual differences and family backgrounds. Teachers are finding ways to strengthen this cultural responsiveness by engaging in meaningful conversations with parents.

The board, principal and teachers place high importance on student wellbeing so that students feel warmly welcomed and have a strong sense of belonging that puts them in the ‘right space’ to learn.

Students spoke confidently about how the ‘school is their place and the home of their learning’.

The community is very supportive of the school. Many parents volunteer their time to work with individual children and share their expertise.

Other key features are the:

  • way in which the principal and teachers support the families and the wider community
  • collaborative partnerships between the school and parents to support students’ achievement and progress.

The school has made very good progress in addressing the areas identified for review and development in the 2012 ERO report. These included:

  • further developing assessment practices in relation to the National Standards
  • improvements to strategic and annual planning
  • strengthening the reporting of student achievement information to the board.

2. Learning

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

The school makes effective use of learning information to make positive changes to students’ engagement, progress and achievement.

The principal has identified that some students come with lower levels of readiness for school. Teachers have purposefully adapted programmes to respond to this challenge. They demonstrate a sense of urgency to have these students achieving at or above the National Standards by the end of their time in the school. Achievement information shows that most students who stay until the end of Year 6 achieve at or above the National Standards in reading, writing and mathematics. Students who need extra help with their learning are well supported through additional programmes and skilful teacher aides.

Students make very good use of learning information to:

  • set goals for reading, writing, mathematics and readiness for learning
  • discuss with their teachers progress towards achieving their goals
  • know what they need to do to achieve
  • reflect on their learning and set new goals.

Teachers use learning information well to:

  • plan interesting programmes that meet the needs of students
  • monitor achievement and progress of students to ensure that gains in learning are maintained
  • make decisions about how well their teaching is impacting on student progress.

The principal makes effective use of learning information to:

  • work with teachers to identify how well strategies are working and what more can be done to improve outcomes for students
  • report regularly to the board about progress of targeted students.

Trustees receive regular reports about students' progress against the achievement targets. They ask questions about how well students are being supported to make the necessary progress and what else can be done to accelerate progress.

Parents receive useful information in plain language about how well their child is achieving across all curriculum areas and how they can help at home.

3. Curriculum

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

Students benefit from a curriculum that effectively promotes and supports them to enjoy their learning and make appropriate progress.

Students engage well in the wide range of learning experiences teachers provide in response to their interests, needs and abilities. Teachers place a strong focus on literacy and mathematics while maintaining the breadth of the curriculum. They purposefully integrate ICT into many aspects of students’ learning.

Students benefit from high-quality teaching across the school. Teaching is varied, well paced and engaging. Teachers gather students’ ideas and preferences and respond to them.

The principal and teachers work hard to maintain purposeful partnerships with families to support students’ learning and engagement. They place a strong focus on helping students and families know the value of attending school and being on time for key learning to happen.

Student achievement in each curriculum area is reported to the board. Reports include what is going well and what needs to be improved. The board requires teachers to make the curriculum interesting and engaging for students. Trustees allocate funds to support aspects of the curriculum they see as important.

The school’s values are well integrated into teaching and known by the students.

Next step

The principal and teachers agree that it would be beneficial to evaluate how well students’ learning and behaviour show the school’s values in action and how well the values support students’ learning.

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

The school effectively promotes and supports success for Māori students. Teachers know Māori students and their families well. The principal and the teachers place a strong focus on celebrating and engaging Māori students in culturally appropriate ways. The board, principal and teachers regularly consult with Māori families about the aspirations they have for their children’s learning.

Success for Pacific students

The school effectively promotes and supports success for Pacific students. Teachers know Pacific students and their families well. The principal and teachers place a strong focus on celebrating and engaging students in culturally appropriate ways. Pacific families are able to share the aspirations they have for their children’s learning and how the school can best reflect their culture. The school is actively involved in the Ministry of Education's Pacific Plan initiatives to improve learning outcomes for students and strengthen family involvement with the school.

4. Sustainable Performance

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

The school is well placed to sustain and improve its performance.

Trustees and the principal work collaboratively to decide how the school needs to develop in the future. They develop action plans each year to show clearly how they intend to achieve the goals from the long-term plan. Trustees receive regular reports about how well the annual plan is being implemented.

Parents and students can regularly share their ideas and opinions in surveys or in other informal ways on a range of topics related to how well the school is supporting students. The school responds well to the suggestions made and preferences shared.

The principal is leading and managing the school well. She:

  • promotes a collaborative learning culture among staff
  • implements effective systems focused on sound expectations for teaching
  • is highly reflective about what is working well and what is needed to achieve goals for improvement
  • is very well considered and purposeful in her decision making
  • has supportive conversations with parents to help their children engage well with school.

The board strategically funds professional learning and development (PLD) with an expectation that it will have a positive impact on identified areas of need. Trustees want to know about the positive impact teachers can show as a result of their PLD experiences. The board has useful and well documented processes for governance. Trustees carry out their governance roles well and ask useful questions about how well the school provides for students and what can be improved. They record process and outcomes of their work in a clear way that is likely to guide future boards effectively. They have useful succession planning to support continuity for future trustees.

Next steps

The board and principal agree that the next steps for the school are to ensure reports to the board:

  • consistently show how strategies and programmes are impacting on students’ achievement and how implemented plans meet the intended goals
  • about any PLD include intended outcomes and an evaluation of the actual impact.

Provision for international students

The school is a signatory to the Code of Practice for the Pastoral Care of International Students established under section 238F of the Education Act 1989. No international students were enrolled at the time of the ERO review.

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

Students benefit from a wide range of interesting learning experiences. Students appreciate the small class sizes where teachers give them individual help with their learning. Teachers celebrate students’ individual differences and family backgrounds. Students benefit from high-quality teaching across the school. The school is well governed and managed.

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

Graham Randell Deputy Chief Review Officer Southern Select Region

16 March 2015

About the School

Location

Pine Hill, Dunedin

Ministry of Education profile number

3801

School type

Contributing (Years 1 to 6)

School roll

44

Number of international students

0

Gender composition

Boys: 26 Girls: 18

Ethnic composition

NZ European/Pākehā

Māori

Pacific

Other

20

10

7

7

Review team on site

November 2014

Date of this report

16 March 2015

Most recent ERO report

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

February 2012

September 2008

November 2005

Pine Hill School (Dunedin)