Raroa Normal Intermediate - 29/10/2015

1 Context

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

Raroa Normal Intermediate provides schooling for 656 students in Years 7 and 8.

Māori students comprise 10% of the school roll and 3% identify as Pacific. The roll has grown over the past three years. There have been a number of significant staff changes including a new principal from 2013 and several new team and curriculum leaders.

School leaders responded positively to areas identified in the December 2012 ERO report. Teachers are involved in planned, ongoing professional learning and development with a major emphasis on high quality teaching practice, and in 2015, a particular focus on writing.

2 Learning

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

Student achievement information is very well used by school leaders and staff. An appropriate range of nationally referenced and school based tools is used to:

  • recognise and report on trends and patterns for groups and cohorts including priority students
  • inform school-wide planning, target setting and resourcing
  • identify students in need of additional support or extension, inform appropriate responses and monitor progress
  • group students for instruction when appropriate
  • support the development and strengthened moderation of overall teacher judgements about students' achievement.

Teachers make good use of a wide range of assessment information to develop individual learning pathways for students, particularly in literacy and mathematics. They implement effective processes that support students to clearly identify their achievement, progress and next learning steps. As a result students are well able to monitor their progress and take increasing responsibility for their own learning.

Parents are well informed about their children’s learning. They receive three comprehensive written reports each year, have opportunities to participate in student-led conferences and ongoing access to their children’s learning through on-line portals.

The school’s achievement information for 2013 and 2014 indicates that a significant majority of students, including Māori and Pacific, achieved at or above in relation to the National Standards in reading, writing and mathematics.

Students requiring additional support or extension benefit from a comprehensive range of well-managed and monitored support programmes. These programmes are implemented by skilled and knowledgeable specialist teachers and teacher aides. Many students are able to show accelerated progress.

School leaders and ERO agree that refining school-wide targets to better reflect the school’s focus on accelerated progress is a useful next step. Specifically defining expectations for acceleration should enable more effective monitoring and evaluation of the impact of programmes and initiatives.

3 Curriculum

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

The school’s broad and rich curriculum is highly effective in promoting and supporting students’ engagement in learning and their progress and achievement. It provides many opportunities for students to pursue their interests and strengths, as well as discover new areas of learning. The vision, ‘Aspire2Achieve’, and associated high expectations, are evident in the daily life of the school. Particular features of the school’s curriculum include:

  • an appropriate focus on literacy and mathematics
  • a wide range of learning experiences in technology, performing and visual arts, and sport
  • many opportunities for students to develop leadership skills
  • the effective use of real life learning contexts, including opportunities for students to make significant contributions to the local and wider community.

E-learning and digital technologies are key components of the curriculum. Students are able to access their cloud-based work at any time. This contributes to the involvement of parents and whānau in students’ learning.

Students learn in rich, stimulating environments that celebrate student work and provide multiple prompts to scaffold learning. ERO observed focused classes, with well-engaged students and supportive relationships amongst students and teachers. Students spoken with by ERO were able to talk about their learning, levels of achievement and progress in reading, writing and mathematics. Many students had explicit, realistic learning goals and were able to explain what they needed to do to achieve them.

The senior leadership team and board of trustees are committed to maintaining and growing consistently high quality teaching. There is an appropriate focus on using professional learning and development and appraisal to support ongoing development of teaching practice. An effective system guides teachers' inquiry into their practice. The recently developed coaching model has the potential to further enhance teaching practice, and student engagement and achievement.

There is significant ongoing review of the school curriculum. Multiple voices including students, parents and community contribute perspectives and aspirations. Current research and best practice underpin a carefully planned approach to the review. The school has identified, as part of this process, the importance of continuing to develop practices that promote the culture, language and identity of Māori students.

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

Whānau are actively involved in regular hui. Their views and aspirations are respected and influence school developments to improve outcomes for Māori students. There is a strong kapa haka group that celebrates culture and language. Māori students have strong leadership roles when all students participate in noho marae. They are able to celebrate and share the significance and importance of tikanga Māori. The te reo Māori curriculum was reviewed in 2014. Closer links are being developed with local high schools to better support the successful transition of Māori students.

4 Sustainable Performance

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

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

There is a clear, shared understanding of the school’s values, beliefs and strategic direction. Trustees provide effective governance. They are well informed, ask appropriate questions and make evidence-based resourcing decisions. A wide range of self-review processes are resulting in improvement and supporting sustainability. Trustees work collaboratively with the senior management team.

The senior leadership team has a reflective approach to continuous school improvement. It provides a clear direction for school development that is based on current research and agreed effective practice. A particular strength of the senior leadership team is the wide range of opportunities and support that it provides for teachers to develop their leadership skills, and to share their knowledge and expertise for the benefit of their colleagues and students.

There are strong collegial relationships among the teaching staff. Teachers are supportive of the school’s curriculum priorities and are committed to their own professional learning. Staff provide an extensive range of learning opportunities for students.

There is a positive tone and learning culture through the school. Relationships are respectful and reciprocal. Student wellbeing is supported by well-considered pastoral and guidance systems.

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 achieve well and participate in a range of academic, cultural, artistic, sporting and leadership activities. They benefit from positive, affirming relationships with their teachers. The school’s broad and rich curriculum is highly effective in promoting and supporting students’ learning. The vision, ‘Aspire2Achieve’ is evident in the daily life of the school.

ERO is likely to carry out the next review in four-to-five years. 

Joyce Gebbie

Deputy Chief Review Officer Central

29 October 2015

About the School

Location

Johnsonville, Wellington

Ministry of Education profile number

2972

School type

Intermediate (Years 7 to 8)

School roll

656

Gender composition

Male 51%,Female 49%

Ethnic composition

Pākehā

Māori

Chinese

Indian

Pacific

Other ethnic groups

60%

10%

7%

4%

3%

16%

Review team on site

September 2015

Date of this report

29 October 2015

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

December 2012

August 2009

August 2006