Waltham School - 19/02/2018

School Context

Waltham School is a full primary school and has a roll 261 students. Of these children, 23% identify as Māori and 14% as Pacific. Children come from diverse backgrounds and from an increasing range of ethnicities. Many children are English Language Learners (ELL). Considerable numbers of children enter and leave the school throughout the year.

The school roll has increased substantially in the last three years. As a result there has been significant refurbishment of buildings, with redesigned learning spaces. This has also increased the number of staff. There continues to be an experienced senior management team, which has supported consistency across the school. The board has a mix of new and longer serving trustees which provides stability to the board. Waltham School is a member of Te Mana Raupō CoL|Kāhu Ako.

The school’s vision is ‘Reaching for the Stars’ and the valued outcomes for children are:

  • respect for ourselves

  • respect for others

  • respect for the world

  • ready to learn

The school’s current aims and goals are to raise student achievement in line with national expectations, particularly in reading, writing and through the integration of digital technologies. The school is also focused on improving children’s social interactions and supporting the development of collaborative practice across teaching teams.

Leaders and teachers regularly report to the board, school-wide information about outcomes for learners in the following areas:

  • achievement and progress in reading, writing and mathematics and across other learning areas

  • participation and engagement of all learners.

Evaluation Findings

1 Equity and excellence – valued outcomes for students

1.1 How well is the school achieving equitable and excellent outcomes for all its students?

The school is highly proactive in working towards achieving equitable and excellent outcomes for all learners.

Achievement information from 2014 to 2016 is complex, with a significant number of children entering and leaving the school over this time. The majority of children achieve at or above expectations in mathematics, reading and writing. Girls achieve well in reading and writing. The school has identified that just less than half of Māori and Pacific children and boys need support to raise their achievement in reading, writing and mathematics. School leaders and teachers have a well-planned approach to raising achievement through targeted interventions.

1.2 How effectively does this school respond to those Māori and other students whose learning and achievement need acceleration?

The school is effectively focused on supporting individuals and groups of children whose learning needs accelerating. The school’s information shows that while children are at Waltham School, they make good rates of progress in reading, writing and mathematics.

The school identifies children whose learning needs accelerating by closely monitoring their progress and regularly reviewing interventions. Many of these children make positive progress during their time at the school. ELL children are well supported with carefully planned programmes and additional monitoring. Most successfully meet their individual goals.

2 School conditions for equity and excellence

2.1 What school processes and practices are effective in enabling achievement of equity and excellence?

The school has many processes and practices that effectively support the achievement of equity and excellence. There is a strong focus on children’s holistic wellbeing, engagement and learning.

Leaders are improvement focused and have clear expectations for learning and teaching. They work well together and skilfully use their complementary skills. Leaders are highly supportive of children, families and their staff. Leaders and teachers regularly engage with external expertise to improve teaching programmes that support positive outcomes for children.

Senior managers make well-considered decisions when engaging with new ideas and initiatives. They build capacity across the teaching teams through careful use of teachers’ strengths and interests. School leaders and teachers make good use of teaching as inquiry to improve their practices. There is a strong culture of regular reflective practice about what is working well and what needs to change for successful learning.

Teachers are positively engaged in improving professional practice. Since 2014 the school has participated in a number of targeted initiatives to enhance children’s learning and engagement. Teachers work collaboratively and have shared responsibility for improving learning outcomes for all children.

The vision and values underpin the basis for the school’s localised curriculum. Te ao Māori is integrated authentically throughout school programmes and practices. This has been enriched through new initiatives and consultation with children’s whanau.

Children benefit from a positive and inclusive school culture. School leaders and teachers proactively build partnerships with children’s families and the wider education community. There are strong pastoral care provisions and behaviour is managed positively. The school is very well supported by the local community.

2.2 What further developments are needed in school processes and practices for achievement of equity and excellence?

The school has identified and ERO agrees that in order to further strengthen process and practices for achievement of equity and excellence there is a need to:

  • extend the board’s understanding of their governance role through targeted training

  • continue to build internal evaluation understanding and practices across the school

  • embed the school’s cultural narrative within the documented curriculum

  • strengthen the appraisal process to provide teachers with formalised next steps for improvement.

3 Board assurance on legal requirements

Before the review, the board 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

  • finance

  • asset management.

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

  • emotional safety of students (including prevention of bullying and sexual harassment)

  • physical safety of students

  • teacher registration and certification

  • processes for appointing staff

  • stand down, suspension, expulsion and exclusion of students

  • attendance

  • school policies in relation to meeting the requirements of the Vulnerable Children Act 2014.

4 Going forward

Key strengths of the school

For sustained improvement and future learner success, the school can draw on existing strengths in:

  • the ways teachers and leaders are monitoring and responding specifically to children whose learning needs accelerating

  • a culture of collaboration among teachers and leaders that ensures a shared understanding of best practices to support positive outcomes for all learners

  • clear direction setting and expectations of leaders that promotes a positive and inclusive school culture.

Next steps

For sustained improvement and future learner success, development priorities are in:

  • analysing, evaluating and reporting of the sufficiency of progress learners are making over time at the school

  • increasing internal evaluative understanding and practices to enable the school to show what is working well and what is having the best impact for all learners

  • improving the appraisal process to ensure a robust process that supports teachers’ professional growth

  • strengthening trustees’ understanding of their governance role.

ERO’s next external evaluation process and timing

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

Dr Lesley Patterson

Deputy Chief Review Officer

Te Waipounamu - Southern Region

19 February 2018

About the school

Location

Christchurch

Ministry of Education profile number

3581

School type

Full Primary

School roll

265

Gender composition

Girls 52%

Boys 48%

Ethnic composition

Māori 25%

Pākehā 37%

Pacific Island 15%

Asian 11%

Other ethnicity 12%

Provision of Māori medium education

No

Review team on site

November 2017

Date of this report

19 February 2018

Most recent ERO reports

Education Review January 2014

Education Review December 2010

Supplementary Review November 2007