Southbrook School - 05/11/2014

Findings

Southbrook School provides a positive learning environment for students. Achievement information is well used to support student learning. The curriculum successfully promotes students learning, engagement and wellbeing. Māori students are supported to achieve educational success as Māori. The school values parent involvement. School leaders have identified a need to continue to focus on supporting students' writing achievement. This school is very well placed to sustain and improve its performance.

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

1. Context

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

Southbrook School is a full primary school for students from Years 1 to 8. It is located at the south end of Rangiora. Since the October 2011 ERO review the school roll has significantly increased and at the time of this review there were 16 classes. The board has been involved in extensive planning for new teaching spaces to be built in 2015. These will add to the wide range of facilities that support student learning experiences. This growth has been well led and managed by the board and senior leaders.

2. Learning

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

The senior management team, teachers and board make very effective use of student achievement information to support student learning.

The board receives a broad range of information from the senior management team about the achievement of all students within the school in relation to the National Standards for reading, writing and mathematics. They use this information effectively to develop the school’s strategic plan, identify appropriate student achievement targets and provide additional resources.

Teachers use a wide range of assessment tools to:

  • reliably identify and respond promptly to students' individual learning needs
  • regularly monitor the progress of all students
  • identify appropriate additional programmes and support for some learners.

Teachers are increasingly using student achievement data to evaluate aspects of their teaching practices and programmes. Teachers are working together to check the quality of their judgements. This collaborative process is helping to make sure achievement information is reliable.

Parents and students are well informed about student achievement and progress. Regular goal setting discussions are helping students know how well they are achieving and what they need to do next to improve their learning. ERO observed high levels of student engagement. Students were enthusiastic and well involved in class programmes and activities.

Areas for review and development

The senior management team has identified, and ERO agrees, that the next step is to continue their focus on raising student achievement in writing. This includes further developing teachers assessment practices in writing.

The board could be getting more specific information throughout the year that shows the progress of the students identified in the school's achievement targets. This will help the board to be more informed about how well the school is going in relation to meeting the school's targets.

3. Curriculum

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

The school’s curriculum is very successful in promoting student learning and well being and recognises students' interests and potential.

The school’s overarching principles (three Kete – Knowledge, Character and Relationships) are well known and consistently demonstrated by students, staff, and trustees. These principles are well embedded in the school’s programmes and teaching.

Students learn in a positive learning environment. Respectful relationships between students and staff are widely evident. Students who spoke with ERO said their teachers knew them well.

The school’s curriculum:

  • recognises students' individual ways of learning and provides environments that cater well for these
  • provides a wide range of learning experiences, including increasing use of Information Communication Technologies (ICT) and education outside the classroom
  • encourages students to contribute to decision making and have choices in what they learn and how they learn
  • provides opportunities for students to demonstrate their leadership capabilities
  • helps students to learn with a range of students of different ages.

Teachers have been working together on developing a wider range of teaching approaches and different ways to set up class environments to better support student learning and engagement. This has been supported by considerable and ongoing professional learning opportunities that are motivating teachers and resulting in improvements to class programmes. ERO observed high quality teaching practices.

There are well established systems to monitor the quality of teaching and learning. Teachers receive useful and specific feedback on their teaching and regularly reflect on the effectiveness of their practices.

Areas for review and development

The next step is to make sure the school’s documented curriculum more accurately reflects the current good quality practices evident within the school. This includes the school’s enquiry model and strong commitment to the Treaty of Waitangi.

Although there have been regular reviews of the curriculum, this process could be further strengthened by curriculum reports that focus more consistently on evaluating how effective aspects of the school’s curriculum are.

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

A significant range of strategies are in place to effectively support Māori students to achieve success as Māori.

These include a strong school wide commitment to recognising and valuing Māori student identity, culture and potential, and opportunities for all students to learn about te reo and tikanga Māori. A well supported kapa haka group is contributing to Māori students sense of belonging and pride in the school. A teacher with specialist knowledge in te reo and tikanga Māori is supporting school programmes and teacher development. Students have opportunities to participate in important events involving Māori in the wider community. There is regular consultation with the parents of Māori students. School planning supports Māori student achievement through appropriate school targets, and strategic planning. There is a focus on continuing to increase teachers' capability to effectively integrate Māori perspectives and language in class programmes.

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.

The board is proactive and supportive of school development and improvement. Trustees have a clear vision for the future of the school, including significant development of property to develop a learning environment that better supports the learning of the children of today, and in the future. The board makes good use of individual trustee’s strengths. There is a good understanding of health and safety requirements, with appropriate systems and procedures in place.

The school’s distributed leadership approach is highly effective. The senior management team is experienced and well-led by the principal. They have worked successfully together and continue to make school improvements. There is a strong team approach between the senior management team, staff and the board. The senior management team has reliable systems in place to know how well the school is performing and to identify where further improvements need to occur. They make good use of staff interests and strengths to enhance the curriculum and extend teachers' leadership opportunities.

Parents are well informed and have regular opportunities to contribute their views and feedback on aspects of the school. The senior management team and board make good use of this information to inform them about student safety and well-being, and help guide future planning.

There are strong links between the school and local community, including links with other schools and early childhood services. This is helping teachers support students to experience successful transitions as they arrive at the school from early childhood services and as they leave to attend secondary schools.

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

Southbrook School provides a positive learning environment for students. Achievement information is well used to support student learning. The curriculum successfully promotes students learning, engagement and wellbeing. Māori students are supported to achieve educational success as Māori. The school values parent involvement. School leaders have identified a need to continue to focus on supporting students' writing achievement. This school is very well placed to sustain and improve its performance.

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

Graham Randell

National Manager Review Services Southern Region

5 November 2014

About the School

Location

Rangiora, North Canterbury

Ministry of Education profile number

3510

School type

Full Primary (Years 1 to 8)

School roll

344

Gender composition

Boys 53%

Girls 47%

Ethnic composition

NZ European/Pākehā

Māori

Asian

Samoan

Other ethnicities

84%

9%

2%

1%

4%

Review team on site

September 2014

Date of this report

5 November 2014

Most recent ERO reports

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

October 2011

July 2008

June 2005