Waimairi School - 17/07/2012

1 Context

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

Waimairi School provides high quality education and care to students and their families. The key focus is on developing teaching quality to improve learning outcomes for students. The principal has led the development of an effective learning community. Teachers use a range of innovative ways to help students think about their learning.

Relationships are respectful, positive and caring at all levels of the school. Seniors leaders and teachers know that they can make a difference. They understand the importance of knowing the child and believing in individual children’s potential.

There are high levels of family and community participation in the life of the school. A bicultural framework underpins school organisation and practices.

The 2010 and 2011 Canterbury earthquakes had a significant impact on the well-being of students, staff and their families. The principal’s daily communications to families played a pivotal role in retaining a sense of belonging and community. The board and principal continue to support students and their families and staff.

The well informed board strongly supports the learning culture of the school by making this a priority in the allocation of resources.

2 Learning

How well are students learning – engaging, progressing and achieving?

Students are highly engaged, confident and focused learners. There is a focus on self management supported by an environment that is flexible with well-established routines. The school has adopted a framework for students to understand their learning and identify what their next steps are. ERO observed a high level of reflective practice amongst students supported by focused feedback from teachers and other students.

The school reports that a high proportion of students is achieving at or above the National Standards in reading and writing with particularly strong achievement in the junior and middle years. A significant group of students is achieving well above the national standard in mathematics across the school. Māori students are achieving at a comparable level to their peers in reading and mathematics. The school is accelerating the progress of the Māori students who are identified as not meeting the national standard in writing.

Students identified with learning needs are well supported by a range of highly effective specialist learning programmes. Teachers receive specific training in the implementation of the programmes. The teacher responsible for special education provides strong leadership and specialist knowledge to improve learning outcomes for students. Students with learning needs receive focused teaching within classrooms. Every month progress is closely monitored at class and school level to ensure that what teachers are doing is making a difference. Parents are well informed about the programmes and involved in discussions about progress made.

Some students with high learning needs participate in their class programmes in the mornings and attend a targeted programme in the afternoon that is consistent with overall school learning.

Students identified as gifted in particular areas are provided with a range of more challenging opportunities within and beyond the class.

Students are able to articulate their achievement, progress and next steps for improving their achievement. The teachers' self review has identified that students cannot yet identify their achievement confidently in relation to the national standards.

3 Curriculum

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

Highly effective review processes have resulted in a well developed and evolving local curriculum that meets the learning needs of the students. It reflects the high expectations of the community. Coverage of the essential learning areas is monitored well. Particular strengths of the curriculum design include:

  • all teachers contributing to self review
  • a high level of reflective practice by teachers
  • good guidelines for teaching practice
  • a wide range of learning experiences for students in and beyond the classroom.

Curriculum reviews are contributing to a more holistic and inclusive approach that fosters a joy for learning.

Teachers appreciate and students are benefitting from the high level of professional development provided by the board. Senior leaders use a range of effective strategies to encourage teachers to learn from their peers, to reflect on their own practice and to further develop their teaching practice.

Teachers use key competencies effectively to help students make connections in their learning, share their thinking, and develop positive relationships. Formal reporting on key competencies is related to the area that is the student’s most important next step.

The implementation of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) in the school is considered and deliberate. This occurs within a framework of research-based knowledge and the considerable expertise of the principal. Senior leaders have identified that an important next step is to document the relationship between the use of ICT and enhanced student achievement.

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

Senior leaders and teachers are increasingly building strong relationships with children by knowing and understanding Māori students and their whānau. A planned programme is in place to build the confidence of staff to include te reo and tikanga Māori in class programmes. The principal has identified the need to build the cultural responsiveness of staff. He has appointed a staff member to work with him to lead developments in this area.

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 school and board have an ongoing cycle of robust self review that enables them to identify priorities for improvement, develop and implement plans, and monitor student progress and school effectiveness.

The board members are skilful in carrying out their roles. The board is an integral part of the school’s learning community. It is focused on continuous improvement. The board is effective in including the community in decisions that are focused on improving student outcomes.

The principal provides strong leadership across the school. The principal is the leader of learning. He is knowledgeable and up-to-date with current research-based educational thinking and practice. Teachers are provided with high quality and relevant professional development to improve teaching practice knowledge and understanding. This enables them to confidently implement new strategies and interventions for the benefit of their students.

Change has been well managed and the principal has played an effective role in leading the change. In implementing change, the senior leadership team has focused on opportunities. Leaders use teachers’ skills and expertise in innovative and creative ways.

There is high level professional development for leaders and emergent leaders. Leadership is distributed throughout the school.

Areas for review and development

The board, principal and teachers have identified that they will continue to build on initiatives to support bicultural perspectives and success for Māori as Māori.

The board has identified that it is timely to review the school’s charter to more clearly align the school's vision, values and goals and reaffirm the school’s strategic direction.

Provision for international students

The school is a signatory to the Code for Pastoral Care of International Students established under section 238F of the Education Act 1989. At the time of this review, there were two international students attending the school.

The school provides high quality education and pastoral care for these students. There are particularly effective processes to include these students and their families into the life of the school.

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 international students 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
  • stand-downs, suspensions, expulsions and exclusions
  • attendance.

When is ERO likely to review the school again?

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

Graham Randell

National Manager Review Services Southern Region

17 July 2012

About the School

Location

Christchurch

Ministry of Education profile number

3571

School type

Contributing (Years 1 to 6)

Decile

9

School roll

455

Number of international students

2

Gender composition

Boys 52% Girls 48%

Ethnic composition

NZ European/Pākehā

Māori

Pacific

Other ethnicities

86%

11%

2%

1%

Review team on site

May 2012

Date of this report

17 July 2012

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

June 2009

October 2005

September 2002