Wellsford School - 29/06/2018

School Context

Wellsford School in Rodney District caters for students in Years 1 to 8. The school currently caters for just over 391 children and the roll is growing. Māori children make up 39 percent of the roll.

The school’s Mission is for students to become lifelong learners and for the board to develop partnerships within the community. This is underpinned by the school’s vision of fulfilling students’ individual potential as self-directed, positive, confident, young people. Key learning and social values include innovation, equity, perseverance and integrity.

The Board’s Charter identifies the school’s goals to:

  • improve students’ learning outcomes in reading, writing and mathematics

  • develop teaching and learning programmes and digital literacy programmes, including cyber safety

  • improve the engagement of the school community in the learning life of their children.

Leaders and teachers report to the board schoolwide information about outcomes for students in the following areas:

  • student achievement in reading, writing and mathematics (twice yearly)

  • initiatives and progress in curriculum areas.

Since the 2015 ERO report, there has been continuity in school leadership. Some new trustees have been elected to the board. The board has sought training from ‘The School Trustees Association’ (NZSTA) to help them with their stewardship role. Teachers have participated in professional development in assessment practices for learning.

Wellsford School is part of the Ara Tuhono Cluster, comprising five schools from the surrounding area. The cluster has a focus on developing learning pathways in the area.

Evaluation Findings

1 Equity and excellence – achievement of valued outcomes for students

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

School achievement data show that the school is working towards achieving equitable and excellent outcomes for all students.

The majority of students achieve at expected levels in reading, mathematics and writing. Most students in Years 3 to 6 are making good progress and achieving well, particularly in writing. However, there is increasing and persistent disparity for Māori learners and boys in reading, writing and mathematics. While the school has evidence of some acceleration of progress for these groups of students, a continued focus on accelerating learner progress for these students is required.

Many students achieve well in relation to other school-valued outcomes. They demonstrate that they:

  • clearly understand and are able to model the school values

  • have and use the skills of self-management

  • collaborate with, learn from, and support the learning of others

  • use digital technologies purposefully.

1.2 How well is the school accelerating learning for those Māori and other students who need this?

The school is developing ways to accelerate the learning progress of those Māori and other students who require this.

In some areas, teachers inquire deeply into children’s learning needs and respond with appropriate teaching strategies. This is resulting in accelerated progress for some children. Continuing to build on these successful teaching practices so that they are used consistently across the school should be a high priority for improvement.

The school’s provision of an inclusive learning environment where all students, including those with additional learning needs, learn alongside their peers, is part of efforts to accelerate children’s progress. Tuakana /teina practices are promoted in all classrooms. Students work alongside each other in caring and considerate ways. This helps them and their peers to access the curriculum, and benefit from learning alongside, and with each other.

The school’s established te reo and tikanga Māori programmes support all learners, including Māori tamariki. A teacher with responsibility leads the kapa haka group. Māori children and their whānau feel affirmed by the school’s positive initiatives in this area.

2 School conditions for equity and excellence – processes and practices

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

The school has a number of processes and practices that are likely to help achieve equity, excellence and acceleration of learning.

School leaders are deliberate in adopting policies and practices that promote positive student behaviour and wellbeing. The school environment promotes accessible and orderly learning environments. As a result, there is a calm and settled tone evident across the school.

The broad curriculum provides many opportunities for learning. Students benefit from opportunities including education in the outdoors, the performing arts and a specialist arts programmes. Teachers make good use of digital devices to support learning. This enhances students’ access to the curriculum and helps them engage in their learning.

Good levels of trust exist between school leaders, teachers, families and students. The school has good relationships with parents and the community. As a result, there is an increasing range of learning opportunities available and good support for student wellbeing. The school liaises closely with families to ensure clear communication is maintained, and children’s needs are at the forefront.

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

School leaders acknowledge that developing more robust internal evaluation processes across all aspects of the school is an area for further development. Such processes would help leaders evaluate the effectiveness of teaching and learning and analyse student achievement information more deeply. The outcome of such findings would be helpful for the board to better gauge the school’s progress and help them make well-informed resourcing decisions. Accessing professional development in internal evaluation practices would be helpful for leaders.

The school has developed good relationships with parents and whānau. It is now timely to provide the Māori community with more informative reporting about the outcomes for their children. Re-establishing a relationship with local iwi Ngati Whatua could be beneficial for all students, as the school seeks Ngati Whatua input about the iwi education strategy for Māori and local hapu. This will further strengthen consultation and align with the school’s charter and strategic direction.

The board and senior leaders identify the importance of growing the capacity of the school’s leadership team. Making use of professional learning opportunities that support senior and middle school leaders to help improve teaching practice and encourage an increased shared responsibility for accelerating learners’ progress is a school priority. Continuing to build teachers’ capacity to inquire into their teaching practice is a school-identified next step.

Leaders need to consider how they can be assured that the learning curriculum builds cognitive challenge and deeper learning for children as they move through the school. A review of current school guidelines will contribute to a student achievement profile and will help teachers identify achievement expectations and track and report children’s progress in relation to these.

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.

Actions for compliance

ERO identified non-compliance in relation to consultation with the school’s Māoricommunity and making known to the community the school’s policies, plans and targets for improving the progress and achievement of Māoristudents. [NAG 1 (e)]

4 Going forward

Key strengths of the school

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

  • a culture of respect that systematically responds to individual students’ needs, and promotes their wellbeing to support learning

  • evidence of whanaungatanga (wellbeing), Manaakitanga (care and kindness), Mahi tahi (working together)

  • a curriculum that offers breadth of learning opportunities for children.

Next steps

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

  • developing internal evaluation capacity and practices at all levels of the school to improve the effectiveness of school programmes and systems, and outcomes for students

  • deliberately building the collective leadership capacity of the school to support a shared responsibility for raising achievement for all learners

  • targeted planning to accelerate learning and achievement for Māori learners who are not yet achieving at curriculum expectation.

ERO recommends that the school seek support from the Ministry of Education in order to bring about improvements in:

  • developing more rigorous internal evaluation practices to help lift student achievement, accelerate students’ learning progress and address disparity

  • developing and distributing leadership capability.

ERO’s next external evaluation process and timing

ERO intends to carry out a process of ongoing external evaluation to support school development over the course of one-to-two years.

Julie Foley

Deputy Chief Review Officer Northern (Acting)

Te Tai Raki - Northern Region

29 June 2018

About the school

Location

Wellsford

Ministry of Education profile number

1126

School type

Full primary

School roll

391

Gender composition

Boys 54% Girls 46%

Ethnic composition

Māori 39%
Pākehā 55%
Pacific Nations 2%
other Ethnicities 4%

Students with Ongoing Resourcing Funding (ORS)

Yes

Provision of Māori medium education

No

Review team on site

May 2018

Date of this report

29 June 2018

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review March 2015
Education Review October 2011
Education Review September 2008