Winchester School (P North) - 28/03/2014

1. Context

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

Winchester School is a Years 1 to 6 primary school in Palmerston North. It has an enrolment scheme zone that is responsive to roll growth.

At the time of this review, the roll was 337 with 12% of students identifying as Māori. The roll includes a diverse range of other ethnic groups. Cultural diversity provides valuable social, cultural and language interactions for students in a welcoming environment. The positive school tone supports all students' learning.

The school’s philosophy is to offer an innovative and modern curriculum to provide students with a wide range of experiences and a well-rounded education. This is supported by the school’s "econected" feature which actively involves students in gardening, recycling and caring for animals. Accessible, modern computer technology is an integral part of students’ learning experiences.

2. Learning

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

The school reports that a significant majority of students, including Māori, are achieving at and above the National Standards in reading, writing and mathematics. Standardised assessments and extensive school-based assessment information supports teachers’ judgements about students' achievement.

Analysed schoolwide achievement information is used effectively by leaders and trustees to:

  • identify targets and actions for improving outcomes for groups of students
  • evaluate how successfully goals have been reached
  • review and set direction for the school
  • report to parents and the community.

Parents are well informed about the engagement, progress and achievement of their children. Students and teachers use achievement information to set appropriate learning goals. They share progress in relation to the goals with parents in student-led conferences and through written reports.

The school has identified the need to review and revise assessment tools and information to show progress and achievement over time. This should strengthen the validity of data and further support the reliability of overall teacher judgements about students' achievement in relation to the National Standards.

Teachers use data to identify the needs of individual students and to plan for differentiated teaching and learning. Students with identified learning needs are supported effectively through a range of appropriate interventions. Progress and achievement of priority learners, in some cases accelerated progress, and the effectiveness of interventions is evaluated and reported to the board of trustees.

3. Curriculum

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

The school’s curriculum is highly effective in promoting and supporting student learning.

Extensive, well-considered review is undertaken collectively to provide a responsive and cohesive curriculum. The school’s vision and beliefs have been developed in alignment with the principles of The New Zealand Curriculum (NZC). The curriculum emphasises the development of NZC key competencies as applicable to Winchester School and gives priority to literacy and mathematics.

The design of the curriculum enhances learner engagement. Well-integrated learning across the curriculum supports students to transfer knowledge, follow interests and build on strengths. Students have many opportunities to participate and enjoy success in a wide range of activities outside the classroom. There are clear expectations for high quality teaching across all learning areas. A strong commitment to te ao Māori is evident.

Teachers inquire into their own practice. They work collaboratively with colleagues to share teaching strategies that are likely to provide best outcomes for students.

Classrooms are settled environments. Students are focused on and enthusiastically involved in learning. Teachers use a wide range of strategies to engage students. Consistently high quality teaching reflects the school’s expectations and successfully promotes learning for all. Positive, friendly and respectful interactions are evident in the classroom and playground.

New Zealand’s bicultural languages, cultures and identities are acknowledged and celebrated. The curriculum includes a focus on te reo me ngā tikanga Māori. Te ao Māori is evident in the class and school environments. The board supports this focus through resourcing of leadership and professional development to promote teachers’ understanding and use of te reo Māori.

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

A strategic commitment to improving outcomes for Māori students is evident.

Regular meetings with parents of Māori children contribute to decision-making about resourcing and curriculum programmes to promote learning and success for Māori. Regular whānau hui encourage parents' and families' involvement in the school and their children's learning.

The school continues to develop connections with a local marae. A strong kapa haka programme supported by the Māori community encourages opportunities for leadership in a Māori context.

Staff continue to grow their understanding of te ao Māori and develop culturally responsive teaching practices. Findings from a review of learning languages have informed use of te reo Māori as a focus for teachers inquiring into their practice.

4. Sustainable Performance

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

The school is very well placed to sustain practice and continue to identify and prioritise actions that improve the engagement and achievement of students.

A culture of rigorous critical reflection and review is evident. Senior leaders and trustees understand and respond to the wishes of families to ensure that changes lead to improvement and enhanced outcomes for students. Comprehensive planning and review processes support the gathering of relevant information, and consider research and best practice examples to guide development.

Knowledgeable, dedicated trustees focus on receiving and using a variety of information to set and maintain a clear strategic direction, prioritising the needs of students. Achievement information and evaluations contribute to the board’s planning and decision-making.

High quality leadership focuses on enhancing student outcomes through effective teaching and positive, affirming relationships amongst staff and students. The senior leadership team knows teachers’ capabilities and has high expectations that teachers will use identified strategies that promote learning. Improvement focused appraisal, supported by professional learning, successfully assists teachers to acquire and develop expertise.

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 four-to-five years.

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Joyce Gebbie

National Manager Review Services

Central Region (Acting)

28 March 2014

About the School

Location

Palmerston North

Ministry of Education profile number

2484

School type

Contributing (Years 1 to 6)

School roll

337

Gender composition

Female 51%

Male 49%

Ethnic composition

NZ European/Pākehā

Māori

Other European

Asian

Other ethnic groups

68%

12%

11%

7%

2%

Review team on site

February 2014

Date of this report

28 March 2014

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

October 2009

June 2006

June 2003