Rata Street School - 04/11/2013

1. Context

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

Rata Street School is a Year 1 to 6 primary school in Naenae, Lower Hutt City. At the time of this ERO review it had a roll of 354 students, of whom 49% are Māori and 24% are Pacific.

Shared beliefs between staff, the board of trustees and families are that:

  • student achievement must be accelerated
  • all students can and will make progress
  • effective teaching practices are seen as key to raising achievement
  • decisions are based on evidence.

These beliefs are apparent through planning and implementation of improvements.

The school vision, Learning Together to Achieve Excellence, is understood by students, staff, trustees and families and is highly evident across the school.

2. Learning

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

High expectations that all students can and will make progress are demonstrated in the careful analysis of information about student engagement and progress. Senior leaders, teachers and staff demonstrate a collective responsibility and relentless focus on improving student achievement.

Carefully considered, robust systems inform teachers and families about individual students’ progress and achievement over time. Sound assessment and monitoring processes ensure that students who are not making expected progress are targeted in a timely manner. Well-designed, specifically considered strategies support students’ accelerated progress and promote success.

Students are active in leading their own learning and goal setting. They speak confidently and knowledgably about their progress, achievements and next steps for ongoing learning.

Well-analysed achievement information from December 2012 shows over half the students met or were above the National Standards in reading, writing and mathematics. Many students make considerable progress overtime.

Underachieving students are identified and become the focus of school targets. Deliberate changes to allocating resources and teaching practices effectively increase the number of students at and above National Standards.

Staff demonstrate a willingness to adapt their teaching to support student success. This is evident through collaborative and effective professional development led by the senior leaders. Sound decisions about staff learning are based on robust evaluation of student achievement and engagement data. Students’ opinions, observations and teachers’ critical thinking are also considered. Specific professional development is tailored to meet each teacher's needs.

Learning and progress of students with special needs are thoughtfully monitored. Programmes are frequently reviewed and the best possible programme of support is offered. Effective, enthusiastic teacher aides strongly support these students.

Pacific students are active participants in learning, engaging in the wide range of well-considered opportunities available inside and outside the classroom. Their various cultures are meaningfully celebrated. Staff use their specific knowledge and strengths to further support and affirm Pacific success across the school.

3. Curriculum

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

The school’s curriculum is highly effective in promoting and supporting student learning. A culture of trust, respect and openness supports all students’ wellbeing and collective engagement. The curriculum reflects national priorities and is implemented through effective teaching in reading, writing and mathematics. Other learning areas are integrated where appropriate through these curriculum areas. There is a shared understanding that sound teaching practice underpins effective programme delivery.

Students are confident and highly engaged. The school culture is inclusive of all. In classrooms, there is a consistently calm tone. Students' work is valued.

Initiatives to support all students to reach their potential are closely monitored by senior leaders. This ensures learners have a broad range of opportunities to succeed.

Extensive, well-considered and carefully analysed review is collectively undertaken to provide a responsive and holistic curriculum. The curriculum motivates students through learning about topics that interest them. Students make choices and are meaningfully engaged in this approach to learning.

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

There is a commitment, led by senior leaders and staff who identify as Māori, for students to experience educational success as Māori. All learn through culture to affirm their place in te ao Māori.

There is evidence that many Māori students experience success as Māori as they continue their education. Whānau who spoke with ERO attributed ongoing achievement of students to the dedicated staff team and the wide range of learning activities offered to encourage participation and success. Those with leadership qualities have many opportunities to lead others in meaningful ways. Students who are not achieving as expected are very well supported to realise their potential.

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.

Self review continues to be highly effective in supporting decision making. Processes and systems lead to improvement and change to maximise opportunities for students’ continued progress and achievement.

Consideration of student achievement information and collaborative analysis of teaching practice aligns with professional development and appraisal processes. Wide ranging and innovative ways of looking at data improve teachers' understanding of specific teaching strategies that maintain and increase students’ progress. Decisions are research based and referenced to good teaching theory and practice. Consequently, a flexible and responsive approach to effectively meeting the changing needs of students through high quality teaching is apparent.

Strong leadership is evident across the school. Senior leaders know teachers well and systematically focus on improvement. They demonstrate their commitment to the education community by sharing best practice with schools in the local cluster and beyond.

Leaders are enthusiastically embracing an initiative to investigate partnership in learning with families. Positive relationships between school and home are evident. ERO agrees it is timely to further develop learning partnerships.

Regular reports to the board provide comprehensive information about students' achievement in relation to National Standards. They review progress for specific groups of learners identified in schoolwide targets. Trustees are highly engaged in discussing needs, trends and patterns, comparing progress over time and using information for future planning. The board is well informed about a wide range of school activities. Trustees are reflective, self reviewing and very effective in their governance role.

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.

When is ERO likely to review the school again?

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

Joyce Gebbie

National Manager Review Services Central Region (Acting)

4 November 2013

About the School

Location

Naenae, Lower Hutt

Ministry of Education profile number

2973

School type

Contributing Primary (Years 1-6)

School roll

354

Gender composition

Male 52%. Female 48%

Ethnic composition

Māori

NZ European/Pākehā

Samoan

Other Pacific

Other ethnicities

49%

22%

16%

8%

5%

Review team on site

August 2013

Date of this report

4 November 2013

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

August 2009

May 2006

July 2003