West Melton School - 16/01/2018

School Context

West Melton School is a semi-rural, full primary school on the outskirts of Christchurch. The roll is 477 children. The number of children enrolled has increased significantly since the 2013 ERO review. The roll growth has resulted in opportunities for new learning environments and more staff.

The school’s vision and valued outcomes for students are embodied in ‘ICE DRIVER’ – that is, for students to be Innovative, Connected and Empowered and for the curriculum to support students to show Determination, Respect, Integrity, Vitality, Empathy and Resilience. These values are integrated into all aspects of the curriculum and underpin the strategic direction of the school.

The school has attained silver status in the Enviro programme which enhances the rural context and global sustainability aspects of the curriculum.

The school is in the recently approved Ngā Peka o Tauwharekākaho Kāhui Ako|Community of Learning.

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

  • achievement in reading, writing and mathematics in relation to the National Standards

  • outcomes for children with additional learning needs

  • progress and accelerated progress

  • progress and achievement in relation to school and national targets

  • progress against the school’s strategic goals.

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 effectively achieving equitable outcomes for learners.

In reading, writing and mathematics learners have, over time, achieved broadly consistent levels of very good achievement in the National Standards. In writing girls are achieving more highly than boys. In mathematics, which has shown strong improvement and achievement across the school, boys are slightly outperforming girls. The school has programmes in placed to address these issues and has narrowed the gap between girls and boys in mathematics.

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

The school very effectively responds to those Māori and other students whose learning and achievement need acceleration.

The achievement of Māori students is comparable to that of other students in reading, writing and mathematics over time. In 2016 there was a drop in achievement in Māori students in mathematics and the school has responded to this.

The school effectively identifies and monitors students requiring additional support. Interventions are based on a range of data and are personalised and flexible. Information shows that approximately half of those students identified as needing to accelerate their progress do so and that most other students make good progress.

2 School conditions for equity and excellence

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

There is strong professional leadership at all levels of the school. The principal and board have embedded a clear strategic vision. This vision is supported by coherent plans and actions which underpin the school curriculum with explicit links to desired learning and wellbeing outcomes for children. As a result, there is a shared understanding across the school about vision and purpose. This extends from the charter and annual planning to teaching practices. Strategic direction is strengthened by a detailed and targeted approach to building leadership capability and depth.

A broad, well designed curriculum offers children rich opportunities for learning. Extensive collaborative planning for team teaching, and prioritised professional learning and development, assist the school to meet the needs of its children. There are thoughtful, well considered and carefully planned approaches to teaching and learning practices within the recently completed modern teaching spaces. Robust systems and practices support all children, including those with additional learning needs and those capable of high achievement. Children have some choice in what and how they learn and are effectively supported to develop self-management skills. Their achievements in a wide range of learning endeavours are acknowledged and celebrated. The school’s clearly developed and understood student graduate profile highlights the future-focused direction of the curriculum. Effective processes for enrolling at and moving beyond the school ensure seamless transitions.

The school leadership has built strong relational trust within the school and with the wider community. Effective communication within the school community has led to successful team building, consistent practices and a collective view about how to balance stability with ongoing school growth. Detailed systems which support teacher expertise and confidence are significant in managing the challenges of the new teaching environments and of rapid change in the community. Children understand the school values well and these are reflected in their inclusive and respectful relationships. Parents and the wider local community are directly involved in the school and their views are sought and valued.

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

School leaders need to continue to build on existing strong information gathering practices to establish a planned, detailed programme for evaluating all aspects of the school over time. The impact of decisions, practices and initiatives needs to be fully considered when establishing future pathways.

Leaders and teachers need to provide more support for Māori to confidently achieve as Māori. Bicultural inclusion in the curriculum needs to be deliberate and visual. New ways to engage Māori whanau need to be explored.

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:

  • strong professional leadership which ensures that the strategic vision forms a foundation for all school decisions and practices. This alignment results in a cohesive, student focused approach to all aspects of the school operations

  • a broad, cohesive and responsive curriculum based on well-developed collaborative planning and practices to engage learners

  • sound relational trust and strong connectivity both within the school and with the wider and rapidly changing community.

Next steps

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

  • continuing to develop the use of evaluation to understand the impact of programmes, practices and initiatives on outcomes for learners and to inform future decision making

  • continuing to develop and embed school-wide bicultural understandings and practices to reflect more strongly the bicultural nature of Aotearoa New Zealand and affirm Māori learners as Māori.

ERO’s next external evaluation process and timing

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

Dr Lesley Patterson

Deputy Chief Review Officer Southern

Te Waipounamu - Southern Region

16 January 2018

About the school

Location

West Melton, Canterbury

Ministry of Education profile number

3587

School type

Full primary, co-educational

School roll

477

Gender composition

Female 48%

Male 52 %

Ethnic composition

Māori 7%

Pākehā 81%

Other ethnicities 12%

Provision of Māori medium education

No

Review team on site

November 2017

Date of this report

16 January 2018

Most recent ERO report(s)

February 2013
November 2009