Thorrington School - 20/06/2016

1 Context

Thorrington School provides a friendly, welcoming environment. Children learn in an attractive environment. There have been changes to some teaching spaces to enable collaborative teaching and learning practices.

A new deputy principal was appointed in 2015. There have been some other staff changes, including a new junior team leader.

The school is involved in an international network of learning, as well as in a cluster of local schools.

2 Equity and excellence

The vision and valued outcomes defined by the school for all children are to learn together, develop knowledge, skills, attitudes and values to contribute meaningfully in today and tomorrow’s world. Children will be confident, connected, actively involved, life-long learners. The school values relate to empathy, responsibility, excellence, endurance and community. School leaders and teachers have linked these values to te ao Māori values.

The school’s achievement information shows that Māori children achieve particularly well in mathematics and reading. However, their achievement is significantly lower in writing. Achievement information for other children shows that most are achieving at or above the National Standards in reading and writing. Boys’ achievement in writing and mathematics is lower than that of girls. The school’s achievement information over time shows a steady increase in mathematics, and good overall reading achievement.

Since the 2012 ERO evaluation the school has:

  • developed a more collaborative approach to teaching and learning
  • adopted a greater focus on school-wide data to identify and progress learning needs
  • strengthened the focus on modern learning practices
  • developed a robust process for teachers to formally reflect on the effectiveness of their teaching practice
  • extended consultation with the whānau of Māori children.

3 Accelerating achievement

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

The school is highly effective in responding to the learning and achievement needs of Māori children. All staff know children well and have a shared responsibility for the learning and wellbeing of every child. Children's learning and pastoral needs are carefully identified and closely monitored.

Children at risk of not achieving are very well supported through targeted support programmes. The board provides funding for additional staffing for literacy and mathematics programmes.

School leaders have increased their engagement with Māori whānau. They provide regular opportunities to meet with whānau to discuss Māori children achievement and ways to increase their engagement in learning.

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

The board, school leaders and teachers effectively respond to other children whose learning and achievement need acceleration. They use the same thorough systems and practices for identifying and monitoring learning, progress and achievement. Teachers make good use of external agencies and local personnel to support individual and groups of children with their learning. Support programmes are closely monitored and progress reported to the board.

4 School conditions

How effectively do the school’s curriculum and other organisational processes and practices develop and enact the school’s vision, values, goals and priorities for equity and excellence?

The school's curriculum and other processes effectively develop and enact the school’s vision, values, goals and priorities for equity and excellence.

School leaders have streamlined the school’s curriculum document to make it more manageable and better reflect their high expectations for teaching and learning. They are working with staff, children and the community to ensure there is a shared understanding across the school. The board and senior leaders have begun a process to review the school's strategic plan and align it with the recently revised curriculum.

The school places a strong emphasis on building positive relationships and making key connections across the school community. A significant feature of the school is the targeted approach to developing citizenship and lifelong learning.

Teachers have developed useful links with local early childhood education centres (ECE) that support children’s transition into school. They have made modifications to their junior programmes to better reflect the ECE curriculum.

Children are effectively supported to know about the purpose of their learning, how well they are learning, what motivates them to learn and what their next learning steps are. They have increasing ownership for their learning through the school’s ‘Ignite’ and ‘Deep Learning Tasks’. School leaders and teachers have identified the need to continue to extend the ways children take responsibility for their own learning.

Māori culture is integrated into the curriculum in meaningful ways. The school is actively involved in a cluster of schools that is focused on increasing strategies to raise Māori children achievement. The sharing of good practice is having a positive impact on teaching practices that support children's engagement and wellbeing.

The board, senior leaders and teachers have high expectations for teaching and learning. The board is highly supportive and responsive to resourcing professional learning opportunities, additional staffing and teaching and learning initiatives. Trustees have fostered links with other local school boards of trustees to share best practice.

The school is well led and managed. Senior leaders have identified that they need to continue to develop processes for evaluating the effectiveness of initiatives, practices and learning outcomes. Senior leaders are focused on growing leadership capacity across the school.

Senior leaders foster a collegial and reflective team culture. Teachers are developing a shared understanding across and within teaching teams through common professional learning experiences. They regularly participate in professional dialogue through collaborative planning and professional learning groups.

5 Going forward

How well placed is the school to achieve and sustain equitable and excellent outcomes for all children?

Leaders and teachers:

  • know the children whose learning and achievement need to be accelerated
  • respond effectively to the strengths, needs and interests of each child
  • regularly evaluate how well teaching is working for these children
  • act on what they know works well for each child
  • build teacher capability effectively to achieve equitable outcomes for all children
  • are well placed to achieve and sustain equitable and excellent outcomes for all children.

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

6 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 the following:

  • Board administration.

  • Curriculum.

  • Management of health, safety and welfare.

  • Personnel management.

  • Asset management.

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

  • Emotional safety of children (including prevention of bullying and sexual harassment).

  • Physical safety of children.

  • Teacher registration.

  • Processes for appointing staff.

  • Stand down, suspensions, expulsions and exclusions.

  • Attendance.

  • Compliance with the provisions of the Vulnerable Children Act 2014. 

Lesley Patterson

Deputy Chief Review Officer Southern

20 June 2016

About the school

Location

Christchurch

Ministry of Education profile number

3557

School type

Contributing (Years 1 to 6)

School roll

424

Gender composition

Boys 52%; Girls 48%

Ethnic composition

Pākehā

Māori

Asian

Other Ethnicities

83%

5%

5%

7%

Review team on site

April 2016

Date of this report

20 June 2016

Most recent ERO reports

Education Review

Education Review

Supplementary Review

December 2012

February 2009

March 2006