Birkdale Primary School

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School Context

Birkdale Primary School, Auckland, caters for students in Years 1 to 6. The school has an increasing, culturally diverse roll of approximately 266 students. It includes 42 percent Māori, 15 percent of Pacific heritage, and other ethnicities.

Te Puāwaitanga immersion unit includes three classes. It provides good opportunities for students to participate in full immersion in Te Reo Māori education. The school continues to host Kohanga Reo Ngā Pihi O Te Purapura while their new building is being completed.

The school’s mission is to empower positive, creative kaitiaki (guardians) of the future. This mission is underpinned by the school values of kaitiakitanga (resilience, curiosity and self-direction), whanaungatanga (community, relationships, and friendship), and manaakitanga (respect, caring and honesty). These values are well understood and supported by parents, teachers and students.

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

  • student achievement in reading, writing and mathematics
  • outcomes for students with additional learning needs
  • progress and achievement in relation to school targets
  • whole school improvement in achievement overtime
  • outcomes related to student enjoyment, attendance, and wellbeing for success.

Since the school’s 2014 ERO review, some school leadership roles have changed with the appointment of new staff. Recruiting suitable, qualified teaching staff to Te Puāwaitanga continues to be a challenge for school leaders. A new board was elected in June 2016 and trustees access external support to build their capability. 

Evaluation Findings

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 making good progress towards achieving equitable and excellent outcomes for all its students.

Over the last three years, school data show the majority of students achieve at or above expected levels in the NZ Curriculum in literacy and mathematics. An upward achievement trend is evident in reading and writing. Data in Te Puāwaitanga show most ākonga are achieving and progressing well in relation to Ngā Whanaketanga Rumaki Māori.

The school has implemented effective professional learning in literacy, particularly in writing. This has resulted in achievement improvement and increased parity over time in writing.

Student achievement in mathematics has remained consistent over the past three years. In 2017 school leaders responded to this by implementing professional learning for teachers with a focus on problem solving. Parity between boys’ and girls’ achievement overall is increasing.

Teachers collect useful data to monitor student achievement. Some teachers use data well to inform children’s next learning steps. The principal has identified the importance of collecting data to analyse and interpret information to evaluate the effectiveness of teaching strategies for those children who need acceleration.

Students achieve very well in relation to the school’s other valued outcomes. Almost all students:

  • demonstrate the school values that support positive interaction
  • are confident in their identity, language and culture as citizens of Birkdale Primary School
  • show a sense of pride and belonging to Birkdale Primary School.

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

The school is developing its effectiveness to respond to those Māori and other students whose learning and achievement need acceleration.

Teachers know children well, and develop useful plans at class and syndicate levels to accelerate children’s achievement. Teachers talk together about ways to improve the achievement of individual children.

Leaders and teachers work collaboratively with parents/whānau, teacher aides and external agencies to support children who need individual achievement plans. Children benefit from the in-depth knowledge teachers have of them as learners and their whānau. This is having a positive impact on children’s overall engagement with learning. Māori children, children from diverse ethnic backgrounds, and other children with additional learning needs, benefit from the inclusive and responsive approaches that support them in their learning.

Some teachers have participated in Ministry of Education (MoE) professional development contracts in literacy and mathematics. These programmes now provide effective models to accelerate children’s progress. A next step is to adapt and embed these models schoolwide.

2 School conditions for equity and excellence

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

Children experience a responsive curriculum that places a significant focus on developing students’ literacy and mathematics skills. Access to external professional learning supports teachers to use effective teaching and assessment practices. It is timely to strengthen cultural responsiveness in other learning areas, such as science and technology.

Māori learning contexts are evident in class programmes, the environment, and in everyday school life. The school is building on internal and community expertise to provide opportunities for Māori children to experience success as Māori. Strengthening the interconnection and integration of Te Puāwaitanga and mainstream is having a positive impact on all learners, especially Māori students in mainstream classes.

The school develops connections and relationships with parents, whānau and the wider community in a variety of ways. Parents and whānau receive information and participate in learning opportunities that enable them to purposefully support their children’s learning.

The principal is strategically building shared responsibility and consistency across the leadership team. She is supporting a strengths-based approach to pursuing equity and excellence for all learners. Teachers enhance their practice in a culture of learning and reflection using current research on best practice. They use evidence of student learning outcomes for a collective inquiry into the effectiveness of teaching practice.

School leaders have strengthened processes that support teachers to make more consistent achievement judgements in writing. Teaching staff work collaboratively to ensure their overall judgements about achievement are reliable. These features have improved consistency in teachers’ interpretation of student achievement data across the different year levels. Plans for improvement include continuing to expand this effective practice into other learning areas. Te Puāwaitanga staff have moderated achievement data with other te reo Māori immersion units across Auckland and reported this information to whānau and the board.

Since the 2014 ERO report, positive practices have been sustained and further developed. Recent focus areas that are contributing to greater equity and excellence for children include:

  • promotion of learning-focused partnerships between the school, parents/whānau and the wider community
  • strengthening te reo and tikanga Māori in mainstream classes
  • improved analysis of achievement data, and implementation of Te Marautanga o Aotearoa in Te Puāwaitanga
  • high expectations for teaching and learning to support children to achieve success.

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

Good school processes and practices for achievement of equity and excellence are continuing to be strengthened. To enhance these practices, the board, leaders and staff could deepen the school’s strategic evaluation. The board and school leaders agree this could include reviewing and refining the school strategic goals, and developing measurable indicators for evaluation of progress.

School leaders agree it would be beneficial to review the effectiveness of the curriculum in some areas. This review could include evaluating the impact of the school curriculum in relation to the desired student outcomes.

The principal and board should continue to develop the school’s strength-based approach to building leadership capability. This could include internal evaluation of leadership practice and its effectiveness.

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:

  • an inclusive school culture underpinned by school values that promote children’s wellbeing
  • the use of current research to guide best teaching practice across the school
  • guidelines and frameworks that support teachers to implement expected practices.

Next steps

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

  • deepening internal evaluation practices, with a focus on the impact and effectiveness of strategies and initiatives on outcomes for learners
  • continuing to develop leadership opportunities and capability across the school.

ERO’s next external evaluation process and timing

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

Julie Foley
Deputy Chief Review Officer Northern (Acting)

Te Tai Raki - Northern Region

5 April 2018

About the school 

Location

Birkdale, Auckland

Ministry of Education profile number

1230

School type

Contributing (Years 1 to 6)

School roll

266

Gender composition

Girls 51%, Boys 49%

Ethnic composition

Māori
Pākehā
Asian
Pasifika
MELAA
other

 42%
 17%
 16%
 15%
   5%
   5%

Provision of Māori medium education

Yes

Number of Māori medium classes

3

Total number of students in Māori medium (MME)

49

Total number of students in Māori language in English medium (MLE)

0

Number of students in Level 1 MME

49

Number of students in Level 2 MME

0

Review team on site

December 2017

Date of this report

5 April 2018

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review
Education Review
Education Review

 October 2014
 October 2011
 June 2008

Findings

Students at Birkdale Primary School experience an inclusive school culture that encourages students to show respect for others and the environment. Te Puāwaitanga provides good opportunities for students to participate in full immersion Māori education. Students benefit from a curriculum that is relevant and provides them with good opportunities to learn through real life experiences.

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

1 Context

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

Birkdale Primary School, located on Auckland’s North Shore, is a well established multicultural school providing education for students from Years 1 to 6. Te Puāwaitanga immersion unit provides good opportunities for students to participate in full immersion Māori education. The school is hosting Kohanga Reo Ngā Pihi O Te Purapura Pai while their building is being rebuilt.

The school has undertaken a significant journey in recent years. This has included Ministry of Education assistance support to strengthen community engagement with parents and whānau. A new literacy initiative for all Years 1 to 2 students was introduced at the beginning of 2014.

A focus for the school is developing a culture of encouraging students to be curious thinkers. Students have been involved in a number of projects that support these new learning experiences. An inclusive school culture inspires students to show respect for others and for the environment. The school is the recipient of a bronze award from the Enviro Schools Project and is enthusiastically aiming for a silver award this year.

The school has responded well to recommendations in the 2011 ERO review. New trustees have been elected to the school board. They are committed to their role and have established good working relationships with school management.

The school’s mission statement of ‘Learning together, belonging together for a brighter future’ is being realised.

2 Learning

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

Senior leaders and teachers have a good understanding of student progress and achievement. They have a commitment at all levels to ongoing improvement in student’s learning. A school assessment and reporting cycle provides a clear framework to guide teacher practice. Senior leaders and teachers are implementing strategies to monitor the progress of identified groups of students. As a result, students are beginning to make accelerated progress.

A school-wide focus in literacy is strengthening students’ skills and knowledge. Publically available National Standards achievement data in reading, writing and mathematics shows that Māori students are achieving at slightly lower levels, particularly in reading, when compared with 2012 – 2013 local, regional and national data. Pacific student achievement compares more favourably with other schools locally and nationally.

A school culture of reflection and continual improvement underpins teaching and learning practices. Senior leaders and teachers are developing ways to strengthen effective teaching practice. The use of professional development is raising teacher performance and encouraging students to take ownership of their learning. A new performance appraisal system is guiding teaching practice and strengthening teacher capability. Senior leaders and teachers could now also reflect Tātaiako - Cultural Competencies for Teachers of Māori Learners, in teachers’ appraisal goals.

The school has responded positively to the specialist assistance received from the Ministry of Education following a request by the board. Senior leaders and teachers are continuing to use this learning opportunity to further strengthen teaching and learning practices and support parent partnerships across the school.

Teachers use achievement information to identify students who are underachieving or have special learning needs, and to inform their planning and teaching practices. Teacher aides work alongside students in the classroom and in withdrawal programmes. They are skilled at supporting these students to progress.

Written reports to parents are detailed and give good information about their child’s learning in relation to National Standards. These reports are continuing to be refined over time.

Students are engaged in their learning and enjoy positive, respectful relationships across the school. They have opportunities for leadership roles and to work with others within and between classes. Students are beginning to articulate their learning goals and implement steps to achieve them.

ERO and school leaders discussed next steps to further enhance the use of achievement information. These included:

  • analysing student achievement information more deeply to inform teaching practice
  • strengthening assessment practices through refining assessment tools and moderation
  • embedding effective teaching practice through greater understanding of 'Teaching as Inquiry'
  • strengthening parent partnerships in order to further support student learning.

3 Curriculum

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

Birkdale Primary School offers a curriculum that is effective in promoting and supporting student engagement, progress and achievement. It is embracing a ‘thinking culture’ that caters for students’ interests, strengths and abilities. The idea that everyone is a learner is modelled by staff and reflected in the school culture.

Learning programmes provide meaningful opportunities for students to gain knowledge through real life experiences. Teachers support students to become innovative and inquiry focused. Through this students are empowered to take ownership of their learning.

A significant feature of the programme is the development of a number of gardens and a large school native bush area. Senior leaders acknowledge that this is becoming a unique feature of the school.

Literacy programmes are a focus across the curriculum. Teachers are continuing to seek ways to increase student engagement and enthusiasm for literacy. They share professional practice and take responsibility for improving student achievement. This is an area that senior leaders and ERO agree should continue.

An important aspect of the curriculum is the wellbeing of students. Senior leaders and teachers are continuing to promote the successful delivery of the ‘Positive Behaviour for Learning Programme’. This is clearly visible throughout the learning environments and integrated across all school systems.

The school has a number of Pacific students from Tonga, Samoa, Fiji, Cook Islands and Niue. Pacific students are progressing and achieving in literacy and mathematics. They are represented in leadership roles across the school. A Pasifika cultural group has recently been established. Senior leaders and teachers acknowledge that they need to continue building parent partnerships with Pacific families in order to enhance student learning.

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

Trustees, senior leaders and teachers are committed to supporting and enhancing Māori students’ success as Māori. Many Māori students and their whānau have strong historical and generational links with the school.

Te Puāwaitanga the Māori immersion unit attached to Birkdale Primary School was established in 1986. There are currently 44 students enrolled in the unit and students have very good Māori language skills. Their learning programmes are designed by teachers using Te Marautanga, the Māori curriculum. Junior learning programmes cater for students from Years 1 to 4 and senior learning programmes for students from Years 5 to 6. Students learn English language skills for 4 hours each week.

The unit supports students’ learning in well-designed classroom environments. Good processes are in place to support classroom expectations, routines and teaching practices. The immersion classes lead the school in school ceremonies through waiata and cultural events.

A new initiative for Te Puāwaitanga has been to encourage whānau to attend goal setting evenings for their children and to share the progress of every child.

The next steps for review and development in Te Puāwaitanga are to:

  • develop policy to reflect the learning vision, philosophy and entry criteria of Te Puāwaitanga
  • develop Te Marautanga and related assessment procedures and expectations to reflect the vision, philosophy and learning programmes of Te Puāwaitanga
  • develop an analysis of Ngā Whanaketanga achievement data to identify student progress in panui, tuhituhi and pangarau, including strengthening moderation processes
  • continue to seek professional development around Ngā Whanaketanga and Marautanga development.

Māori students in mainstream classes benefit from a curriculum that supports their individual interests. Teachers are beginning to work more closely with parents and family/whānau to increase student progress and achievement. Celebrations such as Matariki are enjoyed by all students and whānau. The school has a strong kapa haka group which is available to both Te Puāwaitanga and mainstream students.

The board and senior leaders are keen to further explore parent and student feedback to evaluate the extent to which they are meeting the aspirations Māori parents and family/whānau have for their children.

4 Sustainable Performance

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

Birkdale Primary School is well placed to sustain and improve its performance. The school is well led by a capable principal and an experienced leadership team. The principal has a clear plan for implementing the school vision and is strategically guiding the school through this. She is ably supported by the leadership team who are, together, developing distributed leadership across the school.

Sound self review processes support ongoing improvement. The school culture supports critical reflection and values the contributions of staff, students, trustees and school community. Senior leaders work collaboratively to promote positive outcomes for students.

Trustees are developing a good understanding of their governance roles. They know their community well. Trustees are improvement focused and are committed to serving their school community effectively. They are well informed through good reporting processes.

Provision for international students

The school is a signatory to the Code of Practice for the Pastoral Care of International Students (the Code) established under section 238F of the Education Act 1989. The school has attested that it complies with all aspects of the Code. At the time of this review one international student was attending the school.

The school should ensure that information about the welfare, academic progress and social integration of international students is reported to the board.

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.

To improve practice, the board of trustees should always ensure that it acts in a timely fashion and in accordance with the relevant employment legislation and expectations of the New Zealand Teachers Council.

Area of non-compliance:

Education outside the classroom: Board processes must be consistent with legislation relating to the approval of overnight trips. [Education Act 1989, the Health and Safety in Employment Act 1992 and the Crimes Act 1961]

Conclusion

Students at Birkdale Primary School experience an inclusive school culture that encourages students to show respect for others and the environment. Te Puāwaitanga provides good opportunities for students to participate in full immersion Māori education. Students benefit from a curriculum that is relevant and provides them with good opportunities to learn through real life experiences.

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

Dale Bailey

National Manager Review Services

Northern Region

16 October 2014

About the School

Location

Birkdale, Auckland

Ministry of Education profile number

1230

School type

Contributing (Years 1 to 6)

School roll

212

Number of international students

1

Gender composition

Boys 51%

Girls 49%

Ethnic composition

Maori

NZ European/Pākehā

Tongan

Filipino

Samoan

British

other Pacific

other Asian

other

44%

19%

10%

9%

8%

2%

3%

2%

3%

Special Features

Te Puāwaitanga: 3 Māori immersion classes

Review team on site

August 2014

Date of this report

16 October 2014

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

October 2011

June 2008

June 2005