Russell School (Porirua East) - 30/10/2017

Summary

Russell School is a contributing school in Cannon’s Creek, Porirua. Most children attending are from three ethnic groups: Māori; Samoan; and Tokelauan.

The school has continued to sustain and build on progress identified in the September 2014 ERO report. Significant involvement of leaders and teachers in professional learning and development (PLD) guides teacher practice and curriculum development. This includes the Developing Mathematical Inquiry Communities (DMIC) intervention and PLD in writing undertaken within the local cluster of schools.

At the time of this review, two members of the senior leadership team were on leave.

The school is part of the Porirua East Community of Learning | Kāhui Ako.

How well is the school achieving equitable outcomes for all children?

The school is well positioned to sustain improvement and continue to promote equitable and excellent outcomes for students.

Since the previous ERO review, there has been a sustained upward trend of improvement in each of the learning areas of reading, writing and mathematics. Well-considered systems and practices enable the school to respond very effectively to all children who are at risk in their learning. Accelerated progress for many students is evident.

Robust, aligned and well-implemented processes build teachers’ capability and the school’s capacity to sustain and improve outcomes. Meaningful and high interest learning contexts and practices champion all children’s languages, cultures and identities. Deliberate actions are in place to allow families to actively contribute to the direction of the school’s curriculum.

Continued development of the curriculum and internal evaluation processes should help to embed and sustain ongoing improvement.

Strategic approaches and actions are improvement focused. Outcomes for students are moving strongly over time towards being equitable and excellent.

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

Equity and excellence

How effectively does this school respond to Māori and other children whose learning and achievement need acceleration?

Well-considered systems and practices enable the school to respond very effectively to all children who are at risk in their learning. Teachers work collectively to share information and strategies to promote positive outcomes for these children. Accelerated progress for many students is evident.

Since the previous ERO review, there has been a sustained upward trend of improvement in each of the learning areas. 2016 data shows a significant increase in children achieving at and above in relation to the National Standards, especially in mathematics and writing. There are similar, equitable levels of achievement for each of the ethnic groups within the school. Although achievement for boys in writing has improved, the school recognises it does not yet match the high achievement of girls.

The strengths and learning needs of children requiring acceleration are well known. Teachers’ inquiries effectively focus on adapting their teaching to respond to children’s learning needs. Deliberate actions are carefully monitored and evaluated in relation to children’s learning progress, their engagement and other valued outcomes. Teachers’ regular, collaborative review of children’s progress supports improvement. They continue to develop deeper learning partnerships with families of students who require acceleration in their learning.

Provision for children with additional or high learning needs is suitably co-ordinated and monitored. They are well supported to access the curriculum and participate in school life through inclusive practice, targeted interventions and assigned staff.

Good systems for gathering and analysing achievement information of students at risk in their learning helps teachers to reflect on the learning progress and successes for individuals and groups. Teachers and leaders effectively monitor their learning and progress. The school is refining its setting and use of achievement targets to better demonstrate accelerated progress for groups of learners.

There is very good support for teachers to use achievement information effectively. This builds their understanding of student learning and promotes their progress. Teachers are well supported to make dependable judgments about achievement in relation to National Standards. Further moderation with other schools is planned to provide additional rigour to the process.

School conditions supporting equity and excellence

What school processes are effective in enabling achievement of equity and excellence?

The school is effectively promoting equitable and excellent outcomes for children through building teacher capacity and good processes and systems for improvement.

Ongoing curriculum review and development supports teachers to respond effectively to children’s strengths, interests and needs. Relevant, meaningful and high interest learning contexts and practice champion all children’s languages, cultures and identities. Te ao Māori and Pasifika are integral parts of children’s learning experience. Deliberate actions are in place to allow families to actively contribute to the direction of the school’s curriculum.

There is increased positive engagement and learning outcomes for students. Teachers’ sustained involvement in external and internal PLD, critical reflection and inquiry has improved the teaching of mathematics and writing. The DMIC participation and communication framework is providing a useful tool for teachers to develop and transform their practice.

Students are able to work and learn in a way that promotes their collaboration and participation in deeper learning, and see themselves as successful learners. The school continues to build children’s understanding and ownership of their learning.

Robust and well-implemented processes build teachers’ capability and the school’s capacity to sustain and improve outcomes. Appraisal and PLD are appropriately aligned to teachers’ needs and school priorities. Teachers are supported to reflect critically on their practice, consider best practice and build their knowledge.

Leaders and trustees are focused on improvement. They work collaboratively and purposefully to address areas of priority. They focus on serving learners and their families. Trustees bring a range of skills and expertise to represent the school’s community effectively.

Reciprocal relationships with families and community groups contribute to positive outcomes for students. Good communication and support from staff helps families to understand and contribute to their child’s learning. School leaders and trustees actively engage in local forums to promote community aspirations for success.

Learner-focused evaluation is providing the school with good information about successful innovations and initiatives.

Sustainable development for equity and excellence

What further developments are needed in school processes to achieve equity and excellence?

Improved, aligned processes and practices position this school well to sustain improvement and continue to promote equitable and excellent outcomes for students.

Continued development of the curriculum and internal evaluation processes should help to embed and sustain ongoing improvement. Developing a shared understanding and a clear process for internal evaluation should support this.

Board assurance on legal requirements

Before the review, the board 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 the following:

  • board administration

  • curriculum

  • management of health, safety and welfare

  • personnel management

  • finance

  • asset management.

During the review, ERO checked the following items because they have a potentially high impact on student safety and wellbeing:

  • emotional safety of students (including prevention of bullying and sexual harassment)

  • physical safety of students

  • teacher registration and certification

  • processes for appointing staff

  • stand down, suspension, expulsion and exclusion of students

  • attendance

  • school policies in relation to meeting the requirements of the Vulnerable Children Act 2014.

Going forward

How well placed is the school to accelerate the achievement of all children who need it?

Strategic approaches and actions are improvement focused. Outcomes for students are moving strongly over time towards being equitable and excellent.

Agreed next steps are:

  • continued development of the curriculum to reflect new understandings about effective practice
  • further development of internal evaluation processes to promote clarity and shared understanding.

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

Patricia Davey

Deputy Chief Review Officer Central (Acting)

Te Tai Pokapū - Central Region

30 October 2017

About the school

Location

Porirua East

Ministry of Education profile number

2983

School type

Contributing (Years 1 to 6)

School roll

136

Gender composition

Male 51%, Female 49%

Ethnic composition

Māori 35%
Pacific 48%
Asian 8%
Other ethnic groups 9%

Provision of Māori medium education

No

Review team on site

September 2017

Date of this report

30 October 2017

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review September 2014
Education Review April 2012
Education Review February 2010