Waitakere S D A School - 08/12/2011

1. Context

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

Waitakere Seventh Day Adventist School (SDA) in Auckland is a small state-integrated school for students from new entrants to Year 8. Christian beliefs and values underpin the special character of the school and continue to be strongly reflected in school operations. Close ties between the church, school and parents support students’ well-being and contribute to a strong sense of family within the school. The school culture is characterised by respectful, mutually trusting relationships between parents, trustees, teachers and students.

The principal and board responded positively to the recommendations of the 2009 ERO report and have a clear focus on school improvement. Classrooms have been recently refurbished and the board of trustees has plans for further property developments. The principal and teachers have continued to work on initiatives to improve student progress and achievement.

2. Learning

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

Students are enthusiastic learners who are proud of their work and their school. They learn in a supportive and inclusive school environment. Students are caring and considerate of others and work cooperatively in groups. There is a good rapport between teachers and students with a focus on personalised learning. Well organised learning environments support students to become confident learners.

Teachers expect that all students will achieve. They encourage students to see themselves as capable learners and to develop self-management skills. Teachers cater well for students’ different learning needs in two mixed-age classrooms. While they make effective use of targets by focusing on students achieving below expected levels, teachers now need to accelerate the progress of all students.

School information indicates that approximately half of the students achieve National Standards in reading, writing and mathematics. Although students make steady progress over time, there is a need for teachers to develop strategies that will help all students to make the progress they need to meet the National Standards.

Teachers are aligning assessment practices with the National Standards. They monitor how well students achieve in relation to the National Standards in reading, writing and mathematics, and report in regularly, in plain language, to parents. Teachers give parents/whānau information about how they could help their children at home. Further work on assessment practices would help teachers to have more confidence in their ability to make well based judgements about student achievement across the curriculum.

The principal has identified the need for teachers to change their teaching practice so that students can take greater responsibility for their own progress. Teachers could support students to think more critically about their learning and what they need to do next to further improve. To assist this deeper level of student engagement, teachers could make better use of achievement data to identify the learning needs of individual students and to give students more opportunities to explore ideas and evaluate their own success.

How well does the school promote Māori student success and success as Māori?

Currently no Maori students attend the school. School values and documents highlight the expectation that teachers will integrate Maori perspectives into classroom programmes. Further integration of te reo and tikanga Maori in appropriate contexts would support the growth of students’ understanding of the bi-cultural nature of Aotearoa/New Zealand.

3. Curriculum

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

The school curriculum aligns well with The New Zealand Curriculum and is firmly based on the school’s special character. Teachers have high expectations of students and make learning relevant and meaningful. They give appropriate priority to building students’ literacy levels, in reading, writing and oral language. Programmes increasingly reflect students’ own experiences and cultural backgrounds.

External advisory support has had a positive impact on improving teachers’ understanding of the curriculum. Teachers are developing good self-review processes and have designed a curriculum that reflects the school context and parents’ aspirations for their children. A significant feature of the curriculum design is the integration of the special character of the school into learning programmes. Senior teachers plan to increase digital learning across the curriculum to build students’ skills as independent, inquiring learners.

The school curriculum acknowledges the predominantly Pacific backgrounds of students and some learning areas include specific Pacific content. Teachers could continue to develop this area.

Overall, good foundations are in place to promote and support student learning. Teachers have identified, and ERO agrees, that students would benefit from more opportunities to take ownership of their learning, and from ongoing extension of their thinking skills.

4. Sustainable Performance

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

The school is well placed to continue making improvements to the quality of teaching and learning. Good self review contributes to the student-focused approach that underpins decisions made about teaching and governance. The board of trustees is well informed about student achievement and curriculum development. The board has a strategic approach to improving school performance and to maintaining the school values and vision.

Trustees encourage community engagement. In consultation with the community, the board and staff prioritise the interests of children in all developments in the school. Teachers know families well and are responsive to community aspirations.

The principal is aware of the need to focus on raising student achievement. She is proactive in seeking further professional learning and development to support teaching and learning initiatives and ongoing school improvements.

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 three years.

Richard Thornton National Manager Review Services Northern Region

8 December 2011

About the School

Location

Henderson, Auckland

Ministry of Education profile number

4151

School type

State Integrated Full Primary (Years 1 to 8)

School roll

38

Gender composition

Boys 19

Girls 19

Ethnic composition

NZ European/Pākehā

Samoan

Tongan

African

Filipino

Indian

other Pacific

12

14

3

2

1

1

5

Review team on site

October 2011

Date of this report

8 December 2011

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Supplementary Review

August 2009

November 2006

July 2003