Wakaaranga School - 14/08/2013

1 Context

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

Wakaaranga School is a large primary school located in Pakuranga, in the eastern area of Auckland. The school’s ethos and culture caters well for a diverse mix of students and their families. The Māori community is positively engaged in the school. Learning relationships at all levels in the school are positive and affirming.

The 2010 ERO report noted the links Wakaaranga has to the history of its locality. The school’s waka toa and three pine trees are icons that continue to be effective in communicating the school’s educational vision to its community.

The Wakaaranga School curriculum has a strong focus on sustainability. Cooperative learning promotes and fosters students’ social competencies. The board of trustees continues to resource developments in communication technology within the school’s e-learning programmes. This strategic vision for digital learning increases opportunities for students to understand and participate in twenty-first century learning. Parents comment on the confidence these learning approaches instil in their children.

School leaders have considered the recommendations made during the2010 ERO review. Students now demonstrate a wider responsibility for their own learning and teachers continue to inquire rigorously into the impact of their teaching practices on student learning and achievement.

2 Learning

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

Leaders and teachers make good use of achievement information to identify students’ learning pathways and to support them to be successful learners. Data indicate that most students achieve very well in relation to National Standards in mathematics, reading and writing. Māori and Pacific students are achieving at comparable levels to other students.

Teachers’ inquiry into their assessment and tracking information has continued to develop at class and team levels. The school’s charter targets aim to accelerate the small groups of students, who are not yet at the expected levels, to achieve National Standards. These students spend time with learning support teachers who monitor progress and regularly liaise with each child’s class teacher. Children’s learning is therefore integrated into the main class programme. Students with specific learning and behaviour needs are included in these groups and are benefitting from one to one specialist teaching.

Syndicate leaders work with their teams to plan collaboratively. At the time of this review the school was part of a local school cluster to improve the teaching of writing. Inter-school initiatives such as this continue to assist teachers to make reliable and confident judgements about student assessment.

Parents are well informed about their children’s progress and achievement through written reports and face to face conferences. Reports clearly express how students are achieving in relation to each National Standard. They also outline meaningful ways that families can support their children’s learning at home.

Senior leaders will continue to explore ways that the school can report on the progress made by identified groups of learners to ensure that the programmes, approaches and strategies used are making a difference.

3 Curriculum

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

The Wakaaranga curriculum is very effective in engaging students to become reflective, lifelong learners. Students take ownership and responsibility for their learning. The school's curriculum is closely aligned to The New Zealand Curriculum document and effectively merges core subjects into three main learning areas: e-learning, landscape learning and co-operative learning. Key competencies and school values are an integral part of the curriculum through the focus on co-operative learning.

Mathematics and literacy skills are integrated within the wider curriculum and form part of students’ learning in investigative topics. Māori perspectives are often included in these inquiries. Students are viewed as capable learners and take ownership of their learning and goal setting. There are high levels of cognitive engagement in most classrooms, particularly where students are working in groups and teams on complex activities that are both challenging and stimulating. Parents and other community members have opportunities to participate usefully in the school’s curriculum delivery.

Teachers are supported to continue to develop high quality teaching practice, through relevant professional development.

The senior executive team agree that the school should continue to develop the visibility of the Pacific cultures within the curriculum and school environment.

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

Māori students benefit from effective processes for teaching, learning and the valuing of relationships school-wide. Most Māori students are achieving well in relation to National Standards.

Whānau contribute to student learning through timetabled te reo Māori me ōna tikanga classes that explore Māori language, identity and culture. Students share an understanding about the cultural heritage of Aotearoa in meaningful contexts. Teachers are also benefiting from this whānau involvement as they develop their own knowledge and skills.

Māori students have opportunities to perform in the school kapa haka group and celebrate significant events in the Māori calendar such as Matariki.

The senior executive team acknowledge the value of reporting more formally and evaluatively on the Māori programme in the school. This will inform the board of trustees and the Māori community about the effectiveness and quality of this learning and what still needs to be planned for in the future to ensure the success of Māori learners.

4 Sustainable Performance

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

Wakaaranga School is effectively led and is well placed to sustain and build its capability through systematic self review practices. Leadership is grown from within the school using the expertise of different teachers. Trustees, leaders and teachers are committed to improving student learning.

A positive tone and culture in the school supports the learning of all students. Different perspectives sought from students and the school community often contribute to self review.

The senior executive team is considering ways to deepen the evaluative component of their strategic self review. This may lead to a clearer expression of the elements that contribute to quality teaching and learning within the context of Wakaaranga School. It may also add value to shared, school-wide understandings about teaching practices that best suit priority learners.

Trustees use the information they receive from school leaders to set positive directions for the school. The board of trustees values the views and involvement of its community in strategic planning.

The current board is aware of its legal obligations and responsibilities in relation to good employment practice. An external consultant has been appointed to manage the principal's appraisal.

Provision for international students

Wakaaranga School provides an effective education, an inclusive culture and a responsive pastoral care system for international students. The school is a signatory to the Code of Practice for the Pastoral Care of International Students (the Code) established under 238F of the Education Act 1989. At the time of this review there was one international student attending 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
  • processes for appointing staff
  • 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.

Graham Randell

National Manager Review Services Northern Region (Acting)

14 August 2013

About the School

Location

Pakuranga, Auckland

Ministry of Education profile number

1560

School type

Contributing (Years 1 to 6)

School roll

645

Number of international students

1

Gender composition

Boys 50% Girls 50%

Ethnic composition

NZ European/Pākehā

Māori

Chinese

Indian

Other European

Other Asian

African

Middle Eastern

SE Asian

Fijian

Samoan

Tongan

Other

35%

8%

25%

11%

5%

4%

2%

2%

2%

1%

1%

1%

3%

Review team on site

June 2013

Date of this report

14 August 2013

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

August 2010

June 2007

February 2004