Royal Oak Intermediate School - 31/08/2015

1. Background and Context

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

Royal Oak Intermediate is a multicultural school in Auckland city. The school provides education for students in Years 7 and 8. Māori students represent 20 percent of the roll and over 50 percent of the students are of Pacific nationalities.

In the past the school has experienced challenges related to financial management, self review and school leadership. In late 2012 the board of trustees requested support from the Ministry of Education (MoE) to address these concerns. In 2012 a Limited Statutory Manager (LSM) was appointed to provide the board with support in personnel and employment matters and advise on self review.

At the time of ERO’s 2013 review a new principal had been recently appointed. ERO acknowledged his commitment to leading improvements in the school’s programmes and practices, in collaboration with staff, students, parents and trustees. The principal and board were working with the LSM and other external advisors to build capacity in school governance and management. However, much work remained to be done. ERO’s 2013 report recommended ongoing support to manage improvements in a number of areas.

Since 2013 a new deputy principal has been appointed and a new board chairperson elected. The principal, deputy principal and board have implemented many strategies to address the areas for development identified by ERO. They have continued to work with external expertise to support these improvements. The LSM position was revoked in early 2015.Since 2013 ERO has provided ongoing evaluation of the school’s progress.

2. Review and Development

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

Priorities identified for review and development

ERO’s report in April 2013 and its subsequent discussion with the school identified the need to:

  • improve the analysis and use of student achievement data to raise the achievement of all students in relation to the National Standards
  • continue to develop the school’s curriculum to more clearly show how The New Zealand Curriculum is delivered within the school, and to increase consistency in teaching practices
  • improve school leadership and governance by strengthening practices, guiding documents, and self-review strategies.

Progress

The school has developed a strong foundation of productive partnerships that are focused on student learning. Trustees and school leaders have worked collaboratively to address the identified priorities for review and development.

The board has made very good use of external support to develop effective systems and frameworks that promote successful governance and leadership. It has a commitment to representing its community and promoting positive outcomes for all students. Relationships in the school are enhanced through increasingly strong communication with families and the wider school community.

The use of student achievement information is an area of significant development. Good systems are in place to collect, analyse and use achievement data. The principal and deputy principal are leading a well managed and considered process of change to support effective teaching and learning. They are making good use of external professional learning and development, and are establishing school systems and leadership to sustain improvements.

Teachers have developed greater understanding of the National Standards and now make more reliable overall judgements about student achievement. Parents now receive clear reports about their children’s progress and achievement in relation to the National Standards, as well as useful information about other learning areas. Students are beginning to have a good sense of their achievement and progress. School leaders recognise that there is still a need to raise the achievement of many students, and are fostering a sense of urgency in this area of focus.

Good curriculum documents have been developed to support collegiality, clarity and consistency in teaching practices. School leaders have identified appropriate areas for ongoing development, which include:

  • extending the literacy curriculum guidelines
  • increasing the integration of core learning areas into specialist programmes
  • extending the use of digital technologies to support student learning
  • continuing to use Ministry of Education resources to strengthen culturally responsive practices and programmes.

The school’s inclusive approach and active engagement with parents of Māori students is helping to promote Māori student success. Teachers are continuing to look at ways they can accelerate success for Māori students. A specialist teacher of Māori provides te reo Māori programmes for all students. School leaders should now consider ways that they can maximise the opportunities these lessons provide for teacher development.

Key next steps

In order to further improve learning outcomes for students, the principal and board agree that they should continue to prioritise strategies aimed at raising student achievement in relation to the National Standards.

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 now well placed to sustain and continue to improve and review its performance.

The board and leadership team have managed significant change effectively over the past two years. They have addressed all areas of non-compliance identified in the 2013 ERO report, and have made progress in all areas for improvement.

There has been significant improvement in all aspects of governance. The new board chair is providing strong leadership. Trustees are fulfilling expectations and continuing to strengthen their understanding of their governance roles. They have made good use of external training and guidance, and continue to seek external advice to strengthen governance.

Clear systems and useful documentation now support board processes. The board, senior leaders and staff have worked together on the development of the 2015 school charter. The board reviews its own performance, and has co-opted trustees for particular roles to meet specific needs and strategic goals. Good strategies for trustee transition and succession planning have been implemented.

Self review is now an accepted part of governance and management practice. A well developed framework provides good guidance for this review. Comprehensive consultation processes are in place. Multiple perspectives are valued and inform decision-making.

The board has good processes for assurance about policy implementation, and health and safety. These practices could be further strengthened through more evaluative reporting and regular documentation of assurance. The board also receives good quality information about student achievement. With effective systems now in place, leaders and trustees should consider how this reporting could become more summative and evaluative in nature.

School leaders are planning strategically to extend and embed current initiatives and to increase leadership capacity. Teachers have opportunities to reflect on their practice and share strategies that promote student-led learning. Leaders have developed robust appraisal processes to align with ongoing professional development, and to ensure that school strategic goals are realised.

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

At Royal Oak Intermediate the principal and board work collaboratively and strategically to focus on student learning. Effective strategies foster student wellbeing and positive partnerships with families and community. Ongoing improvement has strengthened teaching, leadership and governance. Theschool is well placed to consolidate its good practices and implement future-focused developments.

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

Graham Randell
Deputy Chief Review Officer 
Northern (Acting)

31 August 2015

About the School

Location

Royal Oak, Auckland

Ministry of Education profile number

1351

School type

Intermediate (Years 7 to 8)

School roll

400

Gender composition

Boys      52%
Girls       48%

Ethnic composition

Māori
NZ European/Pākehā
Tongan
Samoan
Cook Island Māori
Indian
Niue
Asian
other

20%
  9%
27%
21%
  6%
  5%
  5%
  2%
  5%

Review team on site

June 2015

Date of this report

31 August 2015

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review
Education Review
Education Review

April 2013
September 2010
November 2007