Newton Central School

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Education institution number:
1392
School type:
Contributing
School gender:
Co-Educational
Definition:
Bilingual Year 7 and Year 8 School
Total roll:
294
Telephone:
Address:

Monmouth Street, Grey Lynn, Auckland

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School Context

Newton Central School, Te Kura-ā-Rito o Newton is an urban school situated in central Auckland. The school has a stable roll. Thirty-four percent of learners are Māori, and 13 percent have Pacific heritage. Students learn in rūmaki Māori (Te Uru Karaka), bilingual (Whānau Awahou) or English medium (Whānau Auraki) classes.

The school’s mission is to grow their tamariki to become critical and creative lifelong learners and positive participants in their communities. The motto “celebrating difference, diversity and success” and the Newton values of “truth, excellence, respect and aroha” underpin the school’s vision.

Newton Central has a co-governance structure, reflecting the partnership model of Te Tiriti o Waitangi. Two groups, Te Whao Urutaki and the board of trustees, operate alongside each other. Two chairpersons represent the partners. The board’s strategic focus areas are:

  • supporting learning success for all

  • growing unique students

  • forming productive partnerships

  • valuing people and the environment

  • ensuring positive and effective learning environments

  • providing leadership and innovation in Māori education and Te Tiriti o Waitangi.

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

  • achievement in reading, writing and mathematics for Whānau Auraki and Whānau Awahou learners

  • achievement in te reo oral language for Whānau Awahou

  • achievement in relation to Ngā Whanaketanga Rūmaki Māori, including Kōrero, Tuhituhi, Pānui, and Pāngarau

  • outcomes for students with special/additional learning needs.

Since the 2014 ERO review, the school has experienced changes in school leadership. Between 2015 and 2016 the long-serving principal was seconded to another position and other staff moved into acting leadership roles. The board appointed a new permanent principal to begin in 2017. In 2018 the school opened a new teaching block for Māori medium learning.

Newton Central School is part of the Waitemata Community of Learning | Kāhui Ako (CoL), comprising 14 schools from the surrounding area. The CoL is focused on raising student achievement in writing and Kōrero, and growing student agency to enhance wellbeing.

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?

Students achieve very good educational outcomes.

Data over the last four years show that the school has maintained high levels of student achievement in reading and mathematics across the school’s three pathways of Māori immersion, bilingual and English medium education. Writing achievement levels also remain consistently high in Rūmaki Māori.

The school has a focus on lifting writing achievement levels. School writing data in Whānau Auraki and Whānau Awahou shows a small overall decline in the last three years, and some disparity between the achievement of boys and girls, with girls overall achieving at slightly higher levels. There is good planning in place to address this through a shared focus across the CoL.

The cohort of Pacific children remains too small to report overall achievement in reading, writing and mathematics or to identify trends over time. The school monitors the achievement of these children individually.

Children achieve very well in relation to the school’s broader valued outcomes. They are:

  • highly confident in their language, culture and identity

  • highly engaged in their learning

  • respectful and collaborative

  • display very positive attitudes and behaviours for learning that reflect wellbeing and wairuatanga.

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

The school is effective in responding to those students whose learning progress needs accelerating.

Student achievement data is used to identify students who would benefit from accelerated progress. Effective interventions for these groups of students in literacy and mathematics have accelerated progress and lifted achievement levels for many. The interventions have also increased children’s self-confidence as learners. As a result, many teachers are improving the learning support that they provide for students across the school.

Māori language learning is helping many children to experience accelerated progress. School data show that acceleration occurs for children in the Māori medium pathways early in their school life and there is no notable disparity in achievement for these children. Access to te reo me te ao Māori, me ōna tikanga, is used well to bridge new learning for students.

Leaders, teachers and teacher aides respond well to children with additional learning needs. The provision of an inclusive environment helps children to make positive shifts in their wellbeing, confidence and engagement in their learning.

A new digital management structure is improving school systems for tracking, monitoring and evaluating the impact of school initiatives on improving outcomes for children. The board continues to work with school leaders towards having a wider range of data presented to them to help trustees make evidence-based decisions for children’s wellbeing, health and learning.

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 went through an unsettled period with the changeover in school leadership during 2015 and 2016. The board and school leaders found it difficult to progress initiatives. Since 2017 with the new permanent principal in place, conditions for equity and excellence have been greatly strengthened.

The principal has led appropriate restructuring of school leadership, and is growing distributive leadership across the school to support more sustainable processes and practices. The new leadership structure places greater value and responsibility on the contribution of middle leaders. More clearly defined leadership roles, and increased expectations and accountability for leaders is allowing the school to respond to the needs of students and to pursue the school’s future direction.

The school continues to be very successful in realising Māori learners’ potential. The school has a well-resourced, Māori learning environment for Māori medium pathways. The new building, Te Aka Pūkāea, ensures designated spaces that support the elevation and protection of te reo Māori. There is increased leadership resourcing and professional learning and development for teachers in Māori medium.

Teachers use effective teaching practices. They are responsive to individual children and have a good awareness of children whose learning needs acceleration. To respond to these children, many classroom teachers have moved from a remedial teaching model to an acceleration model. Practices such as flexible groupings for instruction, deliberate acts of teaching, and front loading the learning when introducing new concepts are becoming more common practices in classrooms. Recent changes in the school’s appraisal system are having a positive impact on teachers’ professional capability and collective capacity for delivering the curriculum. Teachers are taking greater ownership of their professional learning and development and meeting the requirements of the Education Council. Professional development to support high quality appraisal is ongoing. A new focus is on growing the role of middle leaders in supporting teachers to inquire into how effectively their teaching practices improve student outcomes.

The school motto of “celebrate diversity, difference and success” is highly evident.

Staff share a strong commitment and sense of purpose in relation to ensuring equity and excellence for all learners. Children and teachers have productive learning relationships that engage the learner.

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

School leaders are appropriately planning to review the school’s curriculums for English medium and Te Marautanga. The aim is to create strong guiding documents that will support the school vision for learning and the elevation and protection of te reo Māori in the English and Māori medium pathways. The key focus areas for the school are:

  • developing graduate profiles for the different pathways that establish the common and shared understandings about valued outcomes for students

  • preparation for the New Zealand digital curriculum mandated for 2020

  • increasing the profile of the social science, arts, health and science learning areas.

School leaders are exploring further ways to include child and whānau voice in building the curriculum.

School leaders continue to refine assessment systems and processes to strengthen the rigour and regularity of monitoring, analysis and reporting of student achievement. This refinement is being strategically managed to focus on:

  • reporting to the board in ways that better inform resourcing decisions

  • greater sharing of assessment information with students and parents to increase children’s ownership of their learning

  • the use of student achievement outcomes in teacher inquiries into the effectiveness of their teaching practice on improving student outcomes.

The board continues to work with the Ministry of Education to recognise the school’s co-governance structure. The present model is dependent on the goodwill of all partners to serve the aspirations of different community groups. While this model has served the community well for many years, this can be challenging for the board when competing demands are made upon them. The board wishes to ensure sustainable governance practices that allow it to continue to represent and respond to its community.

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:

  • effective leadership that is building sustainable systems and strategies to support confident professional teachers and responsive and adaptive teaching practice

  • a commitment to Te Tiriti o Waitangi that realises Māori learners’ potential and provision for all children to learn and understand about the bicultural heritage of Aotearoa New Zealand

  • an inclusive school culture that celebrates diversity, difference and success for all learners.

Next steps

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

  • curriculum development to support the school vision for learning and the protection of te reo me te ao Māori, me ōna tikanga

  • expanding the use of achievement information in ways that better inform decisions about students’ learning

  • working with the Ministry of Education to ensure the board constitution structure supports sustainable governance practices.

ERO’s next external evaluation process and timing

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

Steve Tanner

Director Review and Improvement Services

Te Tai Raki - Northern Region

25 January 2019

About the school

Location

Grey Lynn, Auckland

Ministry of Education profile number

1392

School type

Contributing (Years 1 to 6)

School roll

315

Gender composition

Girls 52% Boys 48%

Ethnic composition

Māori 34%
Pākehā 40%
Pacific Nations 13%
Asian 5%
other ethnic groups 8%

Students with Ongoing Resourcing Funding (ORS)

Yes

Provision of Māori medium education

Yes

Number of Māori medium classes

6

Total number of students in Māori medium (MME)

104

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

211

Number of students in Level 1 MME

52

Number of students in Level 2 MME

52

Review team on site

November 2018

Date of this report

25 January 2019

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review June 2014
Education Review February 2011
Education Review May 2008

Findings

Newton Central School works in a partnership model with whānau and the community to provide very good quality education for its diverse groups of learners. The school’s practices and curriculum, founded on Te Ao Māori, foster success for all students, including those with special education needs.

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

1 Context

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

Tēnei te mihi ki a koutou te whānau o te Kura-ā-Rito o Newton e kaha ana ki te tautoko i ā koutou tamariki. E mihi tonu ana ki a koutou e mau ana ki ngā tikanga a ō koutou mātua tīpuna arā o Ngāti Whātua o Orakei. Ko te tumanako, kia kaha tonu koutou ki te whai i ēnei āhuatanga hei ārahi i a koutou i roto i ēnei kaupapa.

Whaia te iti Kahurangi-i te tuohu koe me he maunga teitei

Aspire to great heights-should you bow down, let it be to a lofty mountain

Newton Central School, Te Kura-ā-Rito o Newton, is an urban school situated in central Auckland. The school environment includes native bush and has views of the sacred mountains of Maungawhau and Maungakiekie.

The school’s vision ‘Truth without Fear’ inspires and guides students to have pride in their heritage and strive to attain the highest goals. The curriculum is developed and implemented to realise this intent. Relationships and connections are based on trust, respect and acceptance. Teachers strive to build and nurture a diverse community of bicultural and bilingual learners.

Students come from diverse cultural backgrounds. Forty three percent of students are of Māori descent and 36 percent are NZ European /Pākehā. Smaller numbers of students come from Pacific, Asian and Indian cultural backgrounds. Students learn in rumaki Māori, bilingual or English medium classes. The school’s culture of high expectations effectively supports its diverse community to be connected and active life-long learners.

ERO’s 2008 and 2011 reports for Newton Central School have recognised the leadership, commitment and vision of the board and school leaders. They have also noted consistently good levels of student achievement and effective strategies for promoting success for Māori and Pacific students. Since ERO’s 2011 report, changes in school organisation and leadership have enhanced the consistency of teaching and learning. Targeted school-wide professional learning and development has also contributed to the very good quality of teaching and learning evident across the school.

2 Learning

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

The school uses achievement information to make positive changes to learners’ engagement, progress and achievement. Students confidently engage with their school work and contribute to the direction of their learning. Tuakana/teina relationships support effective learning in classrooms and across the school.

Students are supported by teachers who are committed and skilled in teaching te reo Māori. The school continues to develop and strengthen the quality of resources and programme support for te reo Māori teaching and learning. The rate of participation and achievement of learners in Māori language education has increased. Students confidently use te reo Māori in both formal and informal learning situations throughout the school. They extend their good quality language by participating in pōwhiri, engaging with the school’s bicultural curriculum and tikanga Māori experiences at iwi celebrations and on marae.

While most students achieve at or above the National Standards, the school is focused on continuing to embed successful teaching and learning strategies that accelerate progress for students achieving below expectations. School achievement information for 2013 shows that the school is already meeting the government target of 85 percent of students achieving at and above the National Standards in reading and mathematics. Senior managers coordinate school-wide strategies to ensure that this target will be met and exceeded in writing and for specific groups of students.

The school has good processes for evaluating student progress and achievement in relation to the National Standards. Senior leaders have plans to extend school moderation practices. Parent views have been taken into consideration for improving reporting about students’ progress in relation to the National Standards.

Students can access resources and learning guides to support their independent learning. Senior leaders and teachers plan to continue embedding the development of student-led learning school wide. Models of very good practice in the school can support this ongoing professional learning and development.

3 Curriculum

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

The schools’ curriculum is very effective in promoting and supporting student learning.

‘Diversity as a strength’ drives the curriculum. The curriculum includes Te Ao Māori, bicultural/bilingual and environmental pathways to learning. These learning pathways provide all students and whānau with a platform for celebrating and learning through their respective cultures and identities. Students can make connections between the past, the present and the future. They appreciate the varied opportunities they have to build on their strengths, interests and capabilities. Whānau play a key role in their children’s learning and the life of the school. Home/school learning partnerships are strengthened by:

  • active whānau and community involvement and contribution to accelerated learning in Māori immersion, Māori bilingual, mainstream and Pacific education
  • Te Ara Reo Māori classes for whānau
  • the use of whānau skills, knowledge and expertise to broaden curriculum and learning experiences for all students.

In this school the concept of ako reinforces the positive reciprocal relationship between ‘learners as teachers and teachers as learners’. Teachers build on students’ interests and this encourages their engagement and depth of thinking. Students have a voice and are provided with opportunities to develop their views and opinions and a strong sense of social justice. Advocacy skills are promoted through leadership opportunities in an open and supportive environment.

The curriculum is flexible and responsive to student and whānau needs and aspirations. Teachers adopt a holistic approach to delivering the curriculum. Inclusive teaching and learning practices cater for children’s wairua and spiritual wellbeing. Students value teachers’ care and interest. They are confident to take risks, to question and make informed decisions about their lives. In this environment, students with identified special needs are well catered for. The recognition of these students’ capabilities contributes to the school’s positive and accepting culture.

The schools’ outdoor environment is an extension and key component of the curriculum. Well tended vegetable gardens provide kai for whānau gatherings and the bush area reinforces students’ understandings about environmental sustainability. Rongoa gardens and beehives provide students with experiences and understanding about the ways the natural environment supports whānau wellbeing. For children and adults, the mauri of the whenua reinforces the importance of life and living.

The school has prioritised:

  • applying the school’s good practices to supporting Pacific students and aiga and raising achievement levels, particularly in reading
  • completing the development of the marautanga, and implementing a connected and cohesive approach to guide teaching and learning in the rumaki
  • developing the mathematics handbook to complement the collaborative work that has produced the schools’ useful literacy guidelines.

ERO agrees that these are useful next steps in developing the school's curriculum.

4 Sustainable Performance

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

The school is very well placed to sustain and improve its performance.

The partnership model of Te Tiriti o Waitangi provides an effective governance and management framework for the school’s successful operation. This framework underpins the special character of the school, promotes strong whānau participation, and equitable provision and social justice for all students and their whānau. All groups within the school share a commitment to the school whakatauki and its vision. This shared commitment contributes significantly to the school’s continuous improvement and sustainability.

The governance structure represents all whānau groups within the school. Two groups, Te Whao Urutaki and the board of trustees, successfully operate alongside each other. The two chairpersons represent the treaty partners. They facilitate open and trusting relationships that are focused on positive student outcomes.

The principal’s astute leadership positions the school at the forefront of educational thinking. She encourages innovation, embraces social changes and builds on new knowledge and thinking. Cultural values and attitudes are embedded in teaching and learning programmes. Strong relationships and partnerships are developed with teachers, whānau, iwi, community, and educational organisations. The school is well positioned and prepared to cope with challenges as they arise.

Regular reviews of the senior management roles have resulted in more targeted support and resourcing for teachers. School organisation supports teachers to work collaboratively, to use their skills and expertise and to make decisions in the best interests of their students. Teachers have ongoing opportunities to study and reflect on their practice. This learning culture helps them to meet the changing needs of students, whānau and community.

Te Āo Māori and bicultural frameworks for self review impact positively on how:

  • the quality of curriculum implementation is evaluated and modified
  • governance, management and leadership roles are reviewed to meet changing needs
  • senior management quality assurance processes are reviewed and enhanced
  • parents are consulted in order to inform school operations and direction.

These well established good practices ensure the sustainability of the school’s unique and positive features.

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.

Conclusion

Newton Central School works in a partnership model with whānau and the community to provide very good quality education for its diverse groups of learners. The school’s practices and curriculum, founded on Te Ao Māori, foster success for all students, including those with special education needs.

When is ERO likely to review the school again?

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

Dale Bailey

National Manager Review Services Northern Region

24 June 2014

About the School

Location

Newton

Ministry of Education profile number

1392

School type

Contributing (Years 1 to 6)

School roll

270

Gender composition

Girls 51%

Boys 49%

Ethnic composition

Māori

NZ European/Pākehā

Pacific (Samoan, Niue, Tongan, Cook Island Māori, Fijian)

Indian

Asian

Other

43%

36%

4%                                   

3%

5%

9%

Special Features

Māori Medium Education: immersion and bilingual classes

Review team on site

May 2014

Date of this report

24 June 2014

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

Febuary 2011

May 2008

May 2005