Redwood School (Christchurch) - 20/05/2015

Findings

The board and staff focus strongly on meeting the needs of students with a wide range of learning and wellbeing needs. Levels of achievement have improved in reading and mathematics. There is a current initiative to improve achievement levels in writing. The board and staff are consulting with parents as part of their review of the school’s strategic goals, and how they can best prepare students to learn in a modern learning environment. The school is implementing changes based on modern learning practice.

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?

The school has made good progress in implementing the recommendations from the 2012 ERO review. There is a strong focus on future school development that includes a review of the curriculum and teaching approaches appropriate for a modern learning environment, and preparing for further building developments.

There have been significant changes in staffing and board membership. Trustees and leaders are aware of the importance of implementing induction and training opportunities.

The school is a member of the local cluster of schools.

2. Learning

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

Teachers use achievement information well to identify and track the progress of students. They have improved the effectiveness of teaching strategies that enable them to better meet the range of learning needs in their classes. Teachers regularly examine their practice to make improvements that benefit students’ learning.

Teachers provide well for the range of students’ learning needs. Extra support is tailored to meet the needs of individuals and identified groups of students. Students with particular learning needs and students with special needs are well included in classroom programmes. Initiatives are in place to support students’ learning in reading and mathematics during the holidays. Teachers work with local early childhood centres to help children transition safely into Year one.

Leaders and teachers focus on students’ wellbeing to enhance learning. They foster positive relationships with and between students. Students are supported to develop social skills that contribute to collaborative classroom cultures. A number of outside agencies contribute positively to learning and wellbeing initiatives.

Information reported to the board shows positive trends for achievement in reading and mathematics against the National Standards. End of year results for 2014 are close to or exceed national expectations. Māori students are achieving at the same level as their peers in mathematics. Raising the achievement of boys and Māori students in literacy was a school goal, set by the principal, in 2014.

Leaders analyse achievement information from each class to identify some school-wide trends. This information is reported to trustees who are then able to make appropriate resourcing decisions that best support students’ learning.

Areas for review and development

Leaders have identified the need to improve the way they develop school-wide targets for achievement. This will require leaders to work with teachers to review how targets are developed, prioritised and monitored to better meet the range of learner needs.

National Standards information for writing shows that many students are achieving below expectations. While achievement levels in writing are low, significant work has been done to lift levels. The next step to improve writing achievement is to review how well ‘best fit’ judgements are made as part of the whole assessment process.

There are a number of programmes in place to support students with special learning needs. Review of the success of some of these programmes is limited by the lack of reported achievement information. The next step to improve the evaluation of all learning support programmes is to consistently include more detailed information about student achievement levels. This should allow trustees to better allocate resources to where they are most effective.

Goal setting for students is now well established in the senior school and as part of report to parents. The next steps to improve goal setting school wide are to:

consider ways to improve goal setting so there is consistency in practices from Years 1 to 6 including more involvement of parents.

3. Curriculum

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

The school’s curriculum provides students with a good range of learning opportunities within and beyond the classroom. School values are used well to support learning, positive relationships and wellbeing. All students have good opportunities to learn te reo Māori and to better understand the Māori culture.

Curriculum leaders are knowledgeable and well informed within their areas of responsibility. They work collaboratively with staff to decide on the best options for student learning and wellbeing. Guidelines and expectations for teaching and learning are well documented for literacy and numeracy. Guidelines for inquiry learning help improve consistency for students as they move through the school.

Teachers are supported with good-quality professional development. The programme focuses on areas of greatest need. Teachers engage in good levels of professional discussion and the sharing of ideas. The board supports professional development initiatives well.

Areas for review and development

ERO and leaders have identified next steps to further strengthen the school’s curriculum. These include:

  • documenting how students’ understanding of values develops as they move through the school
  • reviewing what information about inquiry learning is gathered and reported to parents
  • developing planning for the implementation of technology and ICT programmes to best support students’ learning in a modern learning environment.

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

The school’s culture and practices reflect a commitment to honouring Māori culture, language and identity. Tikanga and te reo Māori are well included in school protocols, values and classroom practices. All students have the opportunity to participate in kapa haka. There is provision for students who want to learn additional te reo Māori in a specialist environment.

There is good opportunity, through family interviews, for Māori parents to share their aspirations for their children’s learning and how the school can best support them to succeed as Māori.

At the time of the review, the action plan for the development of support for Māori parents and whānau had expired. This has been subsequently reviewed and re-developed. The next step for the board and staff is to work to build strong relationships with the local runanga.

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 focus on raising student achievement. Their resourcing decisions are based on reported achievement information. They value regular reporting and question information carefully for better understanding. Trustees actively seek parent views through surveys, respond to this feedback, and parents are given the results. Policies are regularly reviewed.

Collaboration between curriculum and team leaders is improving the consistency of practices school wide. Leaders support teachers to ensure there is a holistic view to students’ learning and wellbeing. Teacher appraisal focuses on improving teaching and learning outcomes for students. Teachers receive good levels of written feedback about aspects of their practice.

Leaders and teachers are reflective about practices and approaches that make a difference for students’ learning. Class descriptions are effectively used to review learning and teaching in each classroom. Further review is carried out through discussion at team and staff meetings and in professional learning groups.

Areas for review and development

The board has begun to review the school’s strategic goals, including consultation with the parents. To ensure the plan is effective in promoting high-quality learning and teaching the board needs to:

  • establish goals and review guidelines that will provide clear expectations and outcomes for leaders and teachers, as well as reflecting community expectations
  • develop long-term and annual planning processes that are realistic, manageable and show timelines and expected outcomes.
  • ensure there is provision for the principal to regularly report on progress against the annual goals.

The board has three new trustees about to take up office. The board would benefit from training that is specific to the needs of new trustees, and trustees’ major task of reviewing the school’s strategic goals and planning processes.

Reflective practice is strong within the school. The next steps for leaders to ensure that review is effective include:

  • identifying school-wide priorities for review, and preparing guidelines for how review will be carried out at leadership and teacher levels
  • ensuring recommendations from review are implemented and the outcomes monitored and evaluated.

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

The board and staff focus strongly on meeting the needs of students with a wide range of learning and wellbeing needs. Levels of achievement have improved in reading and mathematics. There is a current initiative to improve achievement levels in writing. The board and staff are consulting with parents as part of their review of the school’s strategic goals, and how they can best prepare students to learn in a modern learning environment. The school is implementing changes based on modern learning practice.

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

Graham Randell

Deputy Chief Review Officer Southern

20 May 2015

About the School

Location

Christchurch

Ministry of Education profile number

3484

School type

Contributing (Years 1 to 6)

School roll

355

Gender composition

Girls 51%;

Boys 49%

Ethnic composition

NZ European/Pākehā

Māori

Asian

Other ethnicities

72%

11%

8%

9%

Special Features

The school hosts a field worker and Strengthening Families

Review team on site

February 2015

Date of this report

20 May 2015

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

February 2012

March 2008

November 2004