Rutherford School

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Summary

Rutherford School has a current roll of 275 of whom 28 percent are Māori, 30 percent Pākehā and 13 percent from islands in the Pacific. The remaining children are from more than 25 diverse ethnicities. The school hosts a satellite unit for Arohanui Special school.

The board consists of mainly new trustees. They have a professional approach to their stewardship role and are proactive in expanding their knowledge. Many families and staff have longstanding and inter-generational connections with the school. A new experienced principal was appointed at the beginning of 2017. She and five leaders of learning make up the leadership team.

The school has sustained areas of strength identified in the 2014 ERO report and made some good progress in response to ERO’s recommendations. Teachers have participated in professional learning to help raise children’s achievement in writing. However, this is yet to be reflected in achievement results.

The school’s 2016 achievement information shows that about three-quarters of the children achieve at or above the National Standards in reading, writing and mathematics. Over the past three years there has been no significant shift in thisoverall achievement.

The school is part of the Te Atatu Community of Schools|Kāhui Ako (COL). This group of local schools includes the adjacent college.

How well is the school achieving equitable outcomes for all children?

Rutherford School’s systems and practices are partially effective in achieving equitable outcomes for all children. School leaders and teachers know which children are at risk of not achieving equitable outcomes. The leadership team is committed to increasing equity in outcomes for children.

School leaders have begun to share more useful, well analysed achievement information with the board. However, they are yet to develop robust processes for collating, analysing and using achievement information to plan responsive, effective programmes.

Improving outcomes for children whose learning needs acceleration is a school priority. At the time of this review, the school’s internal professional development and learning is focused on raising the capability of all teachers. The revised teacher appraisal process will support this growth, as teachers use evidence based inquiry into the effectiveness of their teaching practice.

Children are achieving well. The school demonstrates strong progress toward achieving equity in educational outcomes, supported by effective, sustainable processes and practices.

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

Equity and excellence

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

Rutherford School is working towards responding well to Māori and other children whose learning and achievement need acceleration. The school has the capacity and capability to accelerate learning for all children. There are useful strategies for ensuring teachers’ judgements about achievement in relation to the National Standards are robust. Involvement in the CoL will enhance these moderation practices.

School wide data from 2013 to 2016 show that children’s overall achievement has not improved significantly over time, especially in reading and writing. Pacific children’s achievement in reading, writing and mathematics has improved over the last three years and is similar to that of their peers.

Māori children are yet to experience the same level of achievement in National Standards as their peers, particularly in writing. School leaders recognise the importance of addressing this disparity so that Māori children are well supported to achieve the National Standards.

A 2017 strategic target is to improve achievement in writing. Leaders identify and monitor a group of children at risk of not achieving and use an action plan to quickly improve teachers’ capability to address inequity. Some of these children are making accelerated progress.

The school’s inclusive practices support children to achieve more equitable outcomes. Their emotional and social competence is promoted. Children who require additional learning support benefit from an inclusive curriculum. Their progress is monitored and planned interventions provide very good learning opportunities that enable these children to make good progress.

School conditions supporting equity and excellence

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

Leaders are building teachers’ professional capability and collective capacity to realise excellence and equity for all. They support teachers to use formative assessment strategies and to establish consistency and coherence across the school. Promoting purposeful, improvement focused internal evaluation is a priority for the school.

Strategic leadership is supporting organisational change. The principal is building a culture of strong relational trust, integrity and openness with the school community. She is working to build collective ownership of the school’s strategic direction.

Settled, organised learning environments support children’s learning well. Teachers use effective teaching strategies to engage learners. Some teachers’ practice increasingly personalises learning for children.Teacher aides are an integral part of the classroom programme and life of the school. They support children very well under the direction of the class teacher.

The curriculum is aligned with The New Zealand Curriculum (NZC), and offers children a wide range of learning opportunities. Children’s ideas and interests are displayed in classrooms. Teachers openly share professional practice with each other as a way to support and progress the learning of all children.

Trustees and teachers are committed to the principles of the Treaty of Waitangi and to fostering bicultural practices. All children, including Māori, enjoy learning waiata and being involved in school tikanga. Leaders, teachers, whānau and children participate fully in school whakatau. Parents value these learning experiences for their children.

Learning leaders and teachers know the children well and demonstrate a shared responsibility for their wellbeing. The school has a focus on consistently promoting positive behaviour to support learning. The school values of whanaungatanga, manaakitanga, tūrangawaeawae, ako and ‘accentuating the positive’ are interwoven throughout the school curriculum.

Learning leaders and teachers have high expectations for children to succeed. The school’s community advocates for and supports the school in a variety of ways. Parents have many opportunities to contribute to the school and to know about their children’s learning.

The board is well informed about the general progress and achievement that children make over time. They receive useful reports from school leaders about children’s engagement with the school activities and about health and safety matters.

Sustainable development for equity and excellence

What further developments are needed in school processes to achieve equity and excellence?

Further developments for the school include:

  • developing a school-wide understanding about accelerated learning and addressing disparity for groups of children

  • continuing to build partnerships with whānau to support children’s learning

  • increasing opportunities for children to manage their own learning, discuss the knowledge, skills and strategies they are learning, set goals and evaluate their own success

  • strengthening strategic approaches to supporting children whose learning and achievement need acceleration.

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

  • 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.

Actions required

ERO identified non-compliance in relation to of the health curriculum. In order to address this the board must:

  • consult with the community at least once every two years on the delivery of the health curriculum
    Education Act 1989, s60B.

To improve current practice, the board of trustees should:

  • implement systems to ensure that all policies and procedures are regularly reviewed and updated in relation to current legal requirements.

Going forward

How well placed is the school to accelerate the achievement of all children who need it?

Children are achieving well. The school demonstrates strong progress toward achieving equity in educational outcomes, supported by effective, sustainable processes and practices.

Agreed next steps are to:

  • implement and evaluate school-wide strategies for accelerating learning and addressing disparity
  • strengthen partnerships with whānau to support children’s learning
  • increase opportunities for children to manage their own learning.

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

Violet Tu’uga Stevenson

Deputy Chief Review Officer Northern (Acting)

30 June 2017

About the school

Location

Te Atatu Peninsula, Auckland

Ministry of Education profile number

1478

School type

Contributing (Years 1 to 6)

School roll

275

Gender composition

Boys 52% Girls 48%

Ethnic composition

Maori
Pākehā
Pasifika
Indian
Chinese
other Asian
other European
other

28%
31%
12%
6%
3%
7%
6%
7%

Provision of Māori medium education

No

Review team on site

May 2017

Date of this report

30 June 2017

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review
Education Review
Education Review

June 2014
June 2011
May 2008

 

Findings

How effectively is this school’s curriculum promoting student learning - engagement, progress and achievement?

The school is welcoming and inclusive, with shared community values and a commitment to bicultural practice and the celebration of diversity. Every student is supported to experience success and the majority of students achieve well. Collaborative leadership and effective governance and self review contribute to sustainable practice and ongoing improvement.

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?

Rutherford School is next to Rutherford College on the Te Atatu Peninsula, in West Auckland, and caters for students in Years 1 to 6. More than 30 nationalities are represented in the school and about half of the students are of Māori or Pacific descent. The school’s vision and values are clearly reflected in school-wide practices that show the commitment of the board and staff to inclusion, bicultural practice and celebrating diversity.

A welcoming atmosphere, inclusive practices and a sense of community are longstanding features of the school. The board of trustees and principal have continued to build on this strong foundation, after an unsettled period prior to ERO’s 2011 review. Together, they are re-establishing community relationships, promoting the wellbeing of students and their families, and creating a culture of success and shared leadership. Students’ families are becoming more involved in providing support and many have generational connections with the school.

The principal, who was appointed in 2011, has skilfully led an increasingly cohesive leadership team and a collaborative school-wide approach to school development. Since 2011, the deputy principal has taken on a full-time leadership role and a new associate principal has been appointed to lead the senior school.

The board, leadership team and staff have high levels of commitment to including and supporting all students. Whānau and staff report that students benefit from the presence of the Arohanui Special School satellite class on site. The layout of classrooms, and purposeful connections with early childhood services, the intermediate school and Rutherford College, all promote tuakana/teina relationships and help cement a strong sense of whānau and community.

The board has supported leaders, teachers and support staff to participate in a variety of professional learning and development opportunities. In 2014 professional development is focused on better use of individual students’ assessment information to support learning.

2 Learning

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

Achievement information is used well by the board, leaders, and increasingly by teachers, to make decisions about resourcing, achievement targets and teaching strategies. The school’s internal and publicly available data includes the achievement of students with special education needs. It shows that the majority of students achieve at levels that are at or above the National Standards and make good progress over their time at the school. Māori and Pacific students achieve well and school data shows that Pacific students achieve particularly well in reading.

Effective systems are well used to track the progress of individuals and groups of students. Leaders and teachers carefully monitor the progress of students with special education needs and those who are at risk of not achieving to their potential. They know students and many of their families very well. As a result, classroom programmes can be adapted and personalised so that they better support students to experience success.

Highly quality inclusive practices ensure that students with special education needs are well supported to experience success in their learning. A variety of interventions and cross-agency support helps the school to respond to the needs of individual students and their families. Teacher aides are highly valued and make a significant contribution to teaching and learning and to the school’s inclusive culture.

School leaders and teachers recognise that relationships with students and families are key to fostering learning. Strategies for supporting new students to transition into the school and for promoting students’ interest in their learning are carefully planned. Most students focus well in their classrooms. They are caring and supportive and relate well with each other in the playground. Their incremental progress and small successes are celebrated throughout the year. Student leaders are confident and articulate and represent the school well. They have good opportunities to contribute to school self review and decision making.

Some examples of particularly high quality teaching practice are evident in the school. The leadership team is building on these strengths to help promote greater consistency of good practice across the school and to increase:

  • the use of assessment information to help teachers personalise programmes for students
  • students’ knowledge about their own progress, achievements and next steps for learning.

3 Curriculum

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

The school’s curriculum promotes student learning effectively. It reflects the principles of The New Zealand Curriculum and is clearly based on the school’s vision, values and community. Students and their whānau appreciate the broad range of learning experiences that the Rutherford curriculum provides.

Meaningful study topics increase students’ understanding of their immediate community and environment and make connections with global concerns. The school’s commitment to bicultural practice is increasingly integrated in the curriculum. Teachers are well supported to increase their confidence in including te reo and tikanga Māori as part of the everyday curriculum.

The board has led the development of a Pasifika Education Plan to strengthen relationships with Pacific families so that they can better support their children’s learning and achievement. A successful after-school Home Learning Club has been established as part of the Pacific Leadership group’s strategy. The group is reviewing the extent to which Pacific themes are visible across the curriculum.

The school continues to review and adapt its curriculum through ongoing self review and community consultation. Teachers’ engagement with professional learning is increasing their shared understanding of and commitment to the values and implementation of the Rutherford curriculum. They are becoming more confident to critique their practice, individually and as a group, with a focus on accentuating positive achievements and continually making improvements.

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

The school has a conscious and purposeful commitment to practices that support Māori students to have pride in their cultural heritage and success in their learning.

Māori students benefit from the tuakana/teina relationships that are promoted throughout the school. Senior students are confident in leadership roles. The school and Māori students also benefit from the high levels of commitment and leadership of key teachers.

The school’s vision is underpinned by the whakatauki ‘He aha te mea nui o te ao? He tangata, he tangata, he tangata’. The vision is expressed in the concepts of whanaungatanga, manaakitanga, ako and tūrangawaewae. The charter and school practices reflect the principles of Ka Hikitia, the Ministry of Education’s strategy for accelerating success for Māori students.

Kaumātua and whānau support the school to ensure that the tikanga is appropriate to the mana of Te Kawerau a Maki. Whānau on the Te Atatu peninsula descend from many different iwi. They value the school’s inclusive practices and sense of community, and contribute to events and activities in a variety of ways.

The board and principal recognise that their regular consultation with whānau could be better documented. It should also include more specific information about policies, plans and targets for increasing success for Māori students.

4 Sustainable Performance

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

The school is well placed to sustain and continue building on current good practices. Respectful and caring relationships, and an inclusive school culture, are special features of the school. The board and school leaders have established effective partnerships with whānau and community.

The board works collaboratively with increasingly cohesive leadership and teaching teams. Trustees respond to and have high levels of commitment to the school community. They are well informed and provide a clear sense of purpose and direction. Longstanding board members provide continuity and knowledge of the school’s history. They encourage and support others to become involved and have recently co-opted a Pacific trustee. The board has responded well to the Ministry of Education’s Ka Hikitia strategy and its Pasifika Education Plan.

The principal provides effective, inclusive leadership. She purposefully builds on teachers’ strengths to increase leadership capability across the school. External advice and networks are used effectively to support school development and to help create a dynamic learning community.

Strategic planning is well established and regularly monitored. Self review is used effectively to inform decisions about resourcing, programmes and initiatives aimed at improving students’ wellbeing and levels of achievement.

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. No international students were enrolled at the time of the ERO review.

The school has attested that it complies with all aspects of the Code. ERO’s investigations confirmed that the school’s self-review processes and records relating to provision for past international students are thorough.

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 current practice, the principal and teachers should continue to refine the ways that they report in writing and in plain language, to students and their parents, about the students’ progress and achievement in relation to the National Standards.

Conclusion

The school is welcoming and inclusive, with shared community values and a commitment to bicultural practice and the celebration of diversity. Every student is supported to experience success and the majority of students achieve well. Collaborative leadership and effective governance and self review contribute to sustainable practice and ongoing improvement.

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

Dale Bailey

National Manager Review Services Northern Region

26 June 2014

About the School

Location

Te Atatu Peninsula, Auckland

Ministry of Education profile number

1478

School type

Contributing (Years 1 to 6)

School roll

212

Number of international students

0

Gender composition

Boys 54% Girls 46%

Ethnic composition

Māori

NZ European/Pākehā

Chinese

Fijian

Indian

Tongan

Tuvaluan

African

Cook Island Māori

Filipino

Samoan

German

Korean

Niue

Other Asian

Other

25%

35%

5%

5%

5%

5%

4%

2%

2%

2%

2%

1%

1%

1%

2%

3%

Special Features

Arohanui special school satelite class

Review team on site

May 2014

Date of this report

26 June 2014

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

June 2011

May 2008

July 2005