Vauxhall School - 12/06/2014

Findings

How effectively is this school promoting student learning - engagement, progress and achievement?

School leaders, staff and trustees have a clear focus on progress, achievement and success for all students. Strong partnerships with families support effective decision making. Student wellbeing is recognised as key to learning and students are valued as individuals within a highly collaborative school culture. The curriculum and teaching practices are responsive and student centred.

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?

Vauxhall School, in Devonport, Auckland, provides education for students in Years 1 to 6. The board and school leaders maintain high quality practices and ensure ongoing improvements in the governance and management of the school. The school has a history of positive ERO reports. Good practices noted in the 2010 ERO report have been extended.

Since the 2010 ERO review, a new principal has been appointed. The principal and the long-serving senior leaders form an effective leadership team. A collaborative and reflective teaching and learning culture promotes opportunities for many people to contribute to the life and development of the school.

Positive relationships foster students’ sense of belonging and engagement in learning. Strong links are made between students' wellbeing and their learning. Leaders and teachers focus on students as individuals to support all children to reach their potential. Student-centred decision making is evident at all levels of the school.

2. Learning

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

The school uses achievement information very well to make positive changes to learners’ engagement, progress and achievement.

Students are highly engaged in their learning. They see themselves as confident and capable learners. Students experience focused learning environments, effective teaching strategies, and opportunities to follow their own interests.

Teachers use student achievement information collaboratively to plan programmes and teaching practices in response to students’ learning needs and interests. Flexible approaches to grouping mean that teachers can tailor programmes to meet changing student requirements. Teachers identify students requiring additional learning support and provide targeted support for them in classroom programmes and through intervention programmes. Good transition processes into and through the school support students’ uninterrupted learning.

Senior leaders use the school’s achievement information very well to make strategic decisions, set school goals and targets, and to inform professional development. They also use achievement information to accelerate the progress of students who are not achieving at National Standards, and to identify and monitor the progress and achievement of priority groups of learners. Through their collaborative leadership approach, senior leaders provide opportunities for teachers to be involved in this strategic decision-making.

School student achievement data indicates that most students achieve well in reading, writing and mathematics in relation to the National Standards. The progress and achievement of Māori and Pacific students is well monitored and most achieve at levels similar to those of other students. The board receives regular reports about student achievement. Trustees, leaders and teachers regularly reflect on this information and on current practices to make ongoing changes to further raise achievement levels. Teachers are well supported to make judgements about student progress and achievement. Good work has been done within the school, and with other schools, to develop effective moderation processes to enhance the reliability of achievement information.

Parents receive good information about their children’s progress and achievement in relation to the National Standards in reading, writing and mathematics, through written reports and parent-teacher interviews. Senior leaders are continuing to review the clarity of reports to parents.

Students are very involved in their own learning. They contribute to decisions about programmes and can discuss the knowledge, skills and strategies they are learning. They make good use of feedback from teachers to set goals and evaluate their own success. The school recognises that teachers should continue to build on these good practices and explore ways in which they can extend the sharing of achievement information with students.

3. Curriculum

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

The school’s curriculum promotes and supports students’ learning very effectively.

Student learning is well supported through a responsive curriculum in which students’ interests and capabilities are interwoven with the learning areas and key competencies of The New Zealand Curriculum. The Vauxhall School values are actively promoted and taught through the curriculum, thus contributing to the school’s positive learning environment and aligning with the focus on student wellbeing.

Teachers provide good quality teaching in literacy and mathematics. They make overall judgements about students’ achievement in these areas, using information from a range of contexts across the curriculum. The school’s integrated inquiry approach provides purposeful, meaningful learning in contexts that reflect students’ interests, the local environment and wider themes. Strong connections with families and the community support students in their learning.

The school’s variable space philosophy, based on collaborative practices and flexible use of shared teaching areas, provides good support for curriculum implementation. Leaders promote teacher dialogue and reflection, and foster shared understandings and consistent practices. Curriculum documentation provides clear direction for teachers.

The use of an inquiry learning framework as a tool to support learning is consistent throughout the school and across curriculum areas. Students use this framework to monitor and evaluate their own learning.

A significant focus has been the development of e-learning as a key feature of the school’s approach to teaching and learning. Students use information and communication technologies (ICT) in purposeful ways to improve their learning. School leaders are continuing to explore possibilities for using digital technologies to further enhance the curriculum, extend learning partnerships, and provide wider opportunities for students to manage and share their own learning.

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

The school effectively promotes educational success for Māori, as Māori. This has been an area of significant development over recent years.

Trustees, leaders and staff have built a good foundation of culturally responsive practices that promote the language, culture and identity of Māori students, and encourage all students’ appreciation of New Zealand’s bicultural heritage. This development has contributed to te reo and tikanga Māori being a normal part of the school and has helped to provide an environment in which Māori students feel confident to share their knowledge and capabilities.

Māori students are well engaged in learning and school activities. The school’s kapa haka group, pōwhiri and marae visits are among leadership opportunities provided for Māori students.

School leaders make good use of staff and community strengths to support ongoing improvement. Staff and trustees use Ministry of Education resources as frameworks to guide ongoing review and development. They have an understanding of the current focus on accelerating success for Māori students.

The school emphasises whanaungatanga, which underpins interactions and relationships at many levels of the school. School leaders and staff value relationships with the whānau of Māori students. Systems are established for formal and informal consultation with the Māori community. Trustees and leaders are proactive in seeking and responding to input from whānau and iwi.

Leaders are continuing to promote positive developments in this area. Their strategic goals include:

  • continuing to build positive partnerships with whānau to support student learning and school culture
  • using external resource personnel to build staff confidence and skill and strengthen the integration of te reo Māori into the school curriculum.

4. Sustainable Performance

How well placed is the school to sustain and improve its performance?

The school is very well placed to sustain its current high quality practices and continue to improve its performance.

The principal and senior leaders provide effective educational leadership. They promote current best practice and seek new ideas and networking opportunities. Their leadership model promotes a culture of shared responsibility and accountability, provides opportunities for all staff, and is building leadership capacity across the school. Team leaders provide effective leadership. Staff expertise is well used and valued.

Leaders ensure that the collaborative school culture is supported by effective systems and clear documentation. This organisation supports consistency in school operations and in the implementation of the school’s teaching philosophy. Professional development and performance management processes reflect identified staff needs and align with school strategic goals.

Trustees bring a variety of expertise to their role. They have a good understanding of governance and management, and of well considered induction and succession strategies. Trustees have accessed external training and support to improve their governance practices. They are considering ways to extend their self review of their own performance. The board should continue to make use of the resources and personnel available to guide this self review and enhance their governance capability.

A strong culture of reflective practice and review is evident at all levels of the school. A range of formal and informal reporting practices ensure the board is well informed. Trustees and school leaders agree that this could be further strengthened through more evaluative reporting in some areas. Trustees regularly review against the school’s goals and targets. School leaders and trustees have a strong focus on promoting meaningful partnerships with different groups in the school community. They make good use of information from parents, whānau, staff and students to inform strategic decisions.

These effective strategies support decision making that is focused on continual improvement. ERO affirms the board’s commitment to the ongoing review of procedures to ensure that documentation shows sufficient detail and evidence of the board’s assurance role and processes. Trustees agree that they could now further consolidate strategic review processes by formalising some aspects of self review, so that good practices are embedded in ways that ensure their ongoing use.

Provision for international students

The school is a signatory to the Code of Practice for the Pastoral Care of International Students (the Code) established under section 238F of the Education Act 1989. At the time of this review one international student was attending the school. International students are able to access The New Zealand Curriculum and to integrate well into the life of the school. They have many opportunities to participate in school activities and to take on leadership roles. Information and relevant guiding documents relating to international students are well organised and up to date. The school has attested that it complies with all aspects of the Code.

ERO’s investigations confirmed that the school’s self-review process for ensuring compliance with the Code is thorough.

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

School leaders, staff and trustees have a clear focus on progress, achievement and success for all students. Strong partnerships with families support effective decision making. Student wellbeing is recognised as key to learning and students are valued as individuals within a highly collaborative school culture. The curriculum and teaching practices are responsive and student centred.

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

Dale Bailey

National Manager Review Services Northern Region

12 June 2014

About the School

Location

Devonport, Auckland

Ministry of Education profile number

1541

School type

Contributing (Years 1 to 6)

School roll

276

Number of international students

1

Gender composition

Boys 52% Girls 48%

Ethnic composition

Māori

NZ European/Pākehā

British

Asian

Pacific

other

2%

75%

5%

2%

2%

14%

Review team on site

May 2014

Date of this report

12 June 2014

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

January 2010

December 2006

April 2004