Parnell School

We maintain a regular review programme to evaluate and report on the education and care of young people in schools.

We are in the process of shifting from event-based external reviews to supporting each school in a process of continuous improvement.

There may be delays between reviews for some schools and kura due to Covid-19 and while we transition to our new way of reviewing.

Read more about our new processes and why we changed the way we review schools and kura.

Find out which schools have upcoming reviews.

Education institution number:
1436
School type:
Full Primary
School gender:
Co-Educational
Definition:
Not Applicable
Total roll:
440
Telephone:
Address:

48 St Stephens Avenue, Parnell, Auckland

View on map

Findings

Parnell School is a caring and inclusive learning community. It has a cohesive approach to driving good teaching and learning. Children now experience greater consistency of effective teaching and learning practices. Opportunities that enhance student agency and encourage children to be leaders of their own learning are emerging. 

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

1 Background and Context

What is the background and context for this school’s review?

Parnell School caters for students in Years 1 to 8. The school has a growing roll that includes children from a wide variety of ethnic backgrounds. The roll includes three percent Māori and one percent children of Pacific heritage. A significant number of children are bilingual and new learners of English.

The 2015 ERO report noted that children engaged well in learning and enjoyed positive teacher-student interactions. However, the report highlighted concerns about school leadership and the inconsistency of effective practices that impact on children’s learning. For these reasons ERO decided to continue to monitor the school’s progress through a longitudinal review process.

Over the last two years there have been several changes in school leadership and teaching personnel. A new board was elected in June 2016 and a new permanent principal began October 2016.

Evidence collected through ERO’s contact with the school since September 2015 has been used to evaluate progress made over the past two years. ERO’s findings are outlined in the following sections of this report.

Parnell School is a caring and inclusive learning community. The school has an holistic, strengths-based approach to student wellbeing. Valuing and respecting the individual child underpins all school practices.

2 Review and Development

How effectively is the school addressing its priorities for review and development?

Priorities identified for review and development

ERO chose the following priorities for the review:

  • develop school leadership practices to ensure school-wide coherence
  • establish greater consistency of effective teaching and learning practices
  • grow school governance and management capability to respond to challenges in the school
  • strengthen strategic planning and internal evaluation to support ongoing improvement.
Progress

There has been very good progress in all four review priority areas.

Develop school leadership practices to ensure school-wide coherence.

Highly effective school leadership is driving ongoing improvement. Considerable progress has been made in developing a robust professional culture that focuses all adults on teaching and learning. School leaders deliver consistent messages to staff, including those about accountability. They have introduced effective strategies to grow school-wide leadership.

The staff appraisal system introduced by the acting principal in 2016 continues to be refined by the permanent principal. The ways teachers reflect on their practice in relation to outcomes for learners has been strengthened. Teachers are now expected to gather a wider range of robust information to inform their appraisal process.

A clear sense of collective purpose and a building of coherence across school approaches is evident. The principal continues to work on building a collaborative professional culture that has increased levels of accountability and consistency of good practices. There is a new culture of professional expectations. Staff are responding positively to these expectations and to the new direction for teaching and learning in the school.

Establish greater consistency of teaching and learning practices.

Children now experience greater consistency of effective teaching and learning practices. The principal has focused on establishing collaborative systems to support a more cohesive approach to driving good teaching and learning. To date this has resulted in teachers being part of a professional learning group, a curriculum group and a teaching and learning team.

Teachers and middle school leaders are participating in professional learning and development that has a focus on embedding good classroom practice through the introduction of systems, such as mentoring and coaching. School-wide systems for collecting and using student achievement data are being built on to further strengthen the dependability of achievement information.

School leaders have made changes to encourage a child led curriculum. Opportunities that grow student agency and encourage children to be leaders of their own learning are emerging. Good practices observed in classrooms include:

  • the purpose of learning activities being made clear for students
  • students having opportunities for collaborative learning
  • students being offered strategies and resources to develop their independence in learning.

The school’s new vision is for a progressive and coherent curriculum through Years 1 to 8. Embedding the vision in the year 7 and 8 classes, ensuring all students receive an innovative and inspiring curriculum, is a priority for the school.

Children achieve well in relation to the National Standards. Achievement levels are very high in reading and mathematics. At present there is a school focus on raising achievement in writing, especially for boys.

The numbers of Māori and Pacific children are too small to report cohort achievement in relation to the National Standards or to identify trends over time. In 2017 the school established systems for monitoring these children individually and as a group.

Grow school governance and management capability to respond to challenges in the school.

Highly responsive school governance is in place.

The Board quickly responded to ERO’s 2015 report and worked with the acting principal to put in place an appropriate action plan to address the areas of concern. The board accessed external expertise to carry out a review of all school health and safety and personnel policies and procedures. A board operational plan and a governance manual was developed in 2016. This governance manual supported the smooth transition to a new board in 2016. Good systems are now in place for board to be assured it is meeting its legislative requirements.

The board works collaboratively and has a positive working relationship with the principal. Trustees receive informative and evaluative information regularly to support well evidenced decision making. They are justifiably confident about school operations.

Trustees are proactive in continuing to grow their capabilities as governors of the school. They use appropriate tools to help them reflect on their practice and their effectiveness as a board. They access ongoing governance training. The board is in a good position to focus on the school’s new vision for teaching and learning in the school.

Strengthen strategic planning and internal evaluation.

School leaders use strategic planning and internal evaluation well to support ongoing school improvement.

The school is now in a stronger position to be future-focused. The 2017 school charter includes a relevant strategic and annual plan that captures the priority areas identified by the school to drive future developments. These areas emphasise collaborative practice, effective pedagogy through teacher reflective practice, and targeted teaching that provides accelerated progress for all. Other areas captured include community engagement, and leadership conditions for equity and excellence.

The Charter includes “Ways of Being” which outlines the school’s aspirations for the Parnell graduate. These highlight the graduate as being an enabled learner, culturally aware and a student who is a Kaitiaki of themselves and others as well as of the environment. This statement is providing a shared understanding of what high quality teaching and learning looks like at Parnell school.

Internal evaluation processes are built into school systems. A newly developed internal evaluation framework is used effectively by school leaders and teachers for strategic review. Ongoing critical reflection and the outcomes of school-wide internal evaluation provide clear rationale for positive change.

3 Sustainable performance and self review

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

The school is well placed to sustain its current good practices and continue to improve its performance.

The board and school leaders have a strong focus on ensuring good outcomes for children. There is now a coordinated approach to educational development in the school.

The key next steps for school leaders are to:

  • explore further ways that the middle leadership team can support the school focus on leading teaching and learning through collaborative practice
  • further enhance the consistency of effective teaching and learning practices so children have an increasingly coherent learning pathway in terms of the language of learning, teaching practice, and curriculum content
  • offer further opportunities for children to be leaders of their own learning.

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

Parnell School is a caring and inclusive learning community. It has a cohesive approach to driving good teaching and learning. Children now experience greater consistency of effective teaching and learning practices. Opportunities that enhance student agency and encourage children to be leaders of their own learning are emerging.

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

Graham Randell

Deputy Chief Review Officer Northern

Te Tai Raki - Northern Region

31 October 2017

About the School

Location

Parnell, Auckland

Ministry of Education profile number

1436

School type

Full Primary (Years 1 to 8)

School roll

527

Number of international students

7

Gender composition

Boys 53% Girls 47%

Ethnic composition

Māori
Pākehā
Chinese
Korean
Japanese
other Asian
Latin American
British
other European
Middle Eastern
Pacific Nations

3%
44%
12%
5%
4%
17%
4%
3%
5%
2%
1%

Review team on site

September 2017

Date of this report

31 October 2017

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review
Education Review
Education Review

July 2015
March 2012
June 2008

Findings

Parnell School is strongly inclusive of its ethnically diverse community. Classrooms are purposeful learning environments with positive teacher-student interactions. The curriculum provides a variety of learning opportunities for students, including those with specific needs and abilities, and emphasises students’ social responsibilities. However, ERO has concerns about the quality of the school's senior leadership and personnel management.

ERO intends to carry out another review over the course of one-to-two years.

1 Context

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

Parnell School, which originally opened in 1873, has been on its current site for 81 years. Major property redevelopments have incorporated the style and character of the original buildings.

This community school caters for students in Years 1 to 8 from ethnically diverse backgrounds. Small numbers of students identify as Māori and Pacific. There has been a significant increase in the number of students who are bilingual and new learners of English. Positive interactions and inclusive relationships between students and teachers continue to be a feature of the school.

Since ERO’s 2012 review, an assistant principal has been appointed to replace a long-serving senior leader. The restructured senior leadership team now has clearly devolved responsibilities. The new board chairperson is well supported by continuing and newly elected trustees.

Over the past three years, the school has engaged in a variety of professional learning opportunities, focused mainly on the teaching of writing. The board has a strong commitment to developing information and communication technologies (ICT) and BYOD (bring your own device) to help student learning.

The school has responded positively to ERO’s 2008 and 2012 recommendations regarding the alignment of the school’s curriculum with The New Zealand Curriculum, and the understanding and implementation of National Standards.

ERO’s 2012 report identified that improvements should be made in school leadership and personnel management. Considerable external support has been provided, particularly for the principal. However, this support has not resulted in sufficient or sustainable improvement to the management of the school. 

2 Learning

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

The school is improving its use of achievement information to make positive changes to learners’ engagement, progress and achievement.

Students are well engaged in learning. Good progress is being made to grow students’ responsibility for their learning through goal setting, regular reflection and co-constructive approaches. Most students achieve at or above National Standards. Analysed school data trends show that girls are achieving better than boys, with a significant difference in writing. Māori students achieve at similar rates to their peers.

Over the past three years, there has been little change in the percentage of students achieving National Standards. While a considerable focus was placed on teacher professional development in writing during 2012 and 2013 there was a slight decline in student achievement in this area in 2014. The school attributes this to the increasing numbers of bilingual speakers and new learners of English.Ongoing reporting to the board about the progress and achievement of this group could provide valuable information about teaching approaches and resourcing decisions that are most effective in supporting improved learning outcomes for new learners of the English language.

Teachers and team leaders work well together. They maintain good processes for moderating assessments within and across syndicates. More effective implementation and monitoring of these processes would increase teachers’ confidence in the validity of school assessment data as students transition through the syndicates.

In response to a thorough and consultative process, reports to parents now have good information about their child’s progress and achievement in relation to the National Standards. The new report format includes student and teacher voice, and is focused on agreed teaching and learning goals for each student.

The board receives informative reports about student progress and achievement twice each year. Analysed data are accompanied by useful narrative and are used to set annual achievement targets. Charter targets for 2015 have been refined specifically to improve outcomes for students at risk of low achievement. More frequent reporting about the progress of target students could promote more responsive teaching, and better inform the board’s decision making.

Next steps include senior leaders:

  • developing and monitoring consistent teacher understanding and use of achievement data to inform teaching and learning for each student
  • rigorously monitoring and reporting progress towards achieving charter targets, and evaluating the effectiveness of these targets in improving student outcomes, as identified in ERO’s 2012 report
  • providing evidence-based and evaluative reports to inform the board of the impact, effectiveness and sustainability of initiatives and professional learning. 

3 Curriculum

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

The school’s curriculum is very effective in promoting and supporting student learning. Classrooms are busy and purposeful learning environments with positive teacher-student interactions. Students quickly settle into learning.

Significant work has been done to develop and document the Parnell School curriculum, which aligns well with The New Zealand Curriculum. A strong process of consultation with teachers and support from external expertise has contributed to shared knowledge of this document. Senior leaders are developing a responsive curriculum model focused on student collaboration, problem solving and 21st century learning in the context of Parnell School. The new curriculum document provides teachers with clear guidance to promote consistency of teaching and learning through the school.

Students apply their learning and knowledge skills in literacy and mathematics throughout the curriculum. Embedded in the curriculum is the importance of social responsibility and contribution to the community to grow as informed and responsible citizens. Students benefit from community projects and working alongside external organisations. They also experience programmes in the arts, social sciences, sports, science and outdoor education. The Year 7 and 8 programme includes an on‑site technology programme. Class programmes support and challenge students as learners.

Students have many leadership opportunities within the school. Students enjoy the use of BYOD, introduced in Years 7 and 8 in 2014, and extended to include Years 5 and 6 in 2015. An external facilitator is providing in-class coaching for teachers and students in the use of digital tools to enhance learning opportunities.

The teaching of Mandarin for students in Years 4 to 8 has been a special feature of the curriculum for many years. It is now timely for students to have similar opportunities to increase their knowledge of te reo Māori me ngā tikanga. Such an approach would reflect the school’s charter statement of commitment to Te Tiriti o Waitangi.

Effective programmes are provided for children who have specific learning needs. Teacher aides work well alongside teachers to support their learning. With the increase in the number children for who English is not their first language, there has been an additional focus on teaching strategies to support their language acquisition. Senior leaders have developed good relationships with early childhood services and this collaboration is helping children to adjust smoothly into school.

Senior leaders should strengthen curriculum leadership to ensure effective planning, coordination and evaluation of the school’s curriculum and teaching practice. This could include:

  • developing a shared sense of rationale for, and commitment to, appropriate professional learning and curriculum expectations and initiatives
  • extending the syndicates’ collaborative approach to teaching and learning to a cohesive, school‑wide expectation for teaching and learning
  • ensuring that the careers programme, as noted on the school website, continues to be an integral part of the Years 7 and 8 curriculum.

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

Over the past three years, the school has improved its promotion of educational success for Māori, as Māori.

The school has shared Māori student achievement with the community at a hui earlier this year. They have identified a specific focus on Māori students who are at risk of not achieving National Standards.

School leaders continue to value their long standing relationship with the local Orakei marae. Biennial visits to the marae, preparation for visits to the marae and lessons by the kaumatua from the marae are part of the school’s curriculum. The school uses pōwhiri, led by Māori students, in celebrations and in formal events. Some teachers are including te reo Māori in their daily programmes.

The school has identified appropriate next steps that include:

  • developing a shared understanding of what educational success for Māori, as Māori, means at Parnell School
  • raising expectations for teachers to support and sustain initiatives to promote te ao Māori
  • ensuring that the school curriculum clearly demonstrates an ongoing appreciation of, and practice towards, biculturalism and the school’s local history.

4 Sustainable Performance

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

ERO’s 2012 report expressed concerns about the effectiveness of the school’s leadership and personnel management. This ERO review finds that these concerns continue and that the school is not well placed to sustain and improve its performance.

Positive aspects of school performance over the past three years include:

  • curriculum leadership opportunities for teachers across the learning areas
  • restructuring the senior leadership team with more clearly identified roles and responsibilities
  • further development and refinement of performance management processes
  • examples of ongoing self review, and expectations for self review to inform decision making.

Trustees are strongly committed to school improvement and they have a range of experience and expertise. The board and senior managers have responded to information gained from community surveys and continue to look at ways to improve their communication with parents and the community. They have established several forums for parents to meet with each other and school staff.

Individually, senior leaders bring a variety of skills to their role. While there has been some improvement in school leadership, the effectiveness of the senior leadership team remains an area of substantial concern. Senior leaders need to communicate and model clear and consistent professional expectations to support teaching and learning.

Impediments to school progress are:

  • concerns about the perceived role of the principal as the school’s educational leader
  • a lack of cohesion and unity in the senior leadership team
  • a lack of clarity about the school’s vision, expectations and rationale for new initiatives and professional learning
  • insufficiently robust monitoring and reporting systems that have resulted in inconsistent practice across the school
  • insufficient time to embed professional learning and to build a whole-school approach to improving outcomes for students
  • insufficient evaluation, monitoring and reporting expectations to evaluate the effectiveness of initiatives and their impact on student learning
  • inadequate alignment between school systems, practices and the strategic plan.

ERO suggests that the board appoint an independent person to carry out a staff survey and/or investigate the concerns that have been identified through this Education Review.

Trustees agree that appropriate board professional training and self review could help to guide improvement in the effectiveness of their governance role.

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 there were 9 international students attending the school. The majority of these students are from Saudi Arabia. The school has recently had short stay students from a sister school in China.

International students are well included in learning and school activities. The multicultural nature of the school roll enables these students to settle in confidently. Students are very well supported by the English language and pastoral support teacher. They make good progress during their time at the school.

Self review is well used to improve the quality of care and education for international students. Leaders agree that reports to the board could be strengthened by including information about international student academic progress. They could also more formally evaluate the quality of in‑class support for international students.

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 comply with current legislation, the board must:

  • be assured of student safety in the grounds and during their play times, particularly in relation to the stone wall close to the road[National Administration Guidelines 5]
  • ensure that all employees, including non-teaching staff, are appraised annually[s77C State Sector Act 1988 (NZ Gazette No 180: Dec 1996)].

To improve current practice, the board should ensure:

  • consistent use of in-committee procedures to discuss aspects of personnel, and that these minutes are kept in an accessible but secure place
  • use of timely and well-structured systems and reporting to assure the board that all teachers have current registration status, and that all non-teaching staff have current police vetting status
  • better alignment between school policies and practice.

Recommendations to other agencies

ERO recommends, and the board agrees, that there is urgency in addressing the leadership and management issues identified in this and the 2012 ERO report. The board has approached the Ministry of Education for appropriate guidance in response to ERO's recommendation.

Conclusion

Parnell School is strongly inclusive of its ethnically diverse community. Classrooms are purposeful learning environments with positive teacher-student interactions. The curriculum provides a variety of learning opportunities for students, including those with specific needs and abilities, and emphasises students’ social responsibilities. However, ERO has concerns about the quality of the school's senior leadership and personnel management.

ERO intends to carry out another review over the course of one-to-two years.

Graham Randell
Deputy Chief Review Officer Northern (Acting)

31 July 2015

School Statistics

 

Location

Parnell, Auckland

Ministry of Education profile number

1436

School type

Full Primary (Years 1 to 8)

School roll

456

Number of international students

9

Gender composition

Girls       50%

Boys      50%

Ethnic composition

NZ European/Pākehā
Māori
Chinese
Indian
South East Asian
British
Japanese
Korean
Middle Eastern
Pacific
African
Dutch
Filipino
Latin American
Vietnamese
other Asian
other European
other

51%
  3%
13%
  4%
  3%
  2%
  2%
  2%
  2%
  2%
  1%
  1%
  1%
  1%
  1%
  3%
  2%
  6%

Review team on site

June 2015

Date of this report

31 July 2015

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review
Education Review
Education Review

March 2012
June 2008
June 2005