Douglas Park School

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School Context

Douglas Park School in Masterton has 350 students from Years 1 to 6. Approximately 30% of students identify as Māori and a small number as of Pacific heritage.

The school’s valued outcomes for students are to develop them as lifelong learners through the Douglas Park School Kid Learner Profile. This promotes collaboration, critical thinking, creativity and agency through flexible learning environments. PRIDE values - Peaceful, Respect, Independence, Dare to Dream and Excellence - continue to underpin schoolwide practices.

The school’s achievement focus is on accelerating the progress in literacy of groups of identified learners, to reduce disparity of outcomes.

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

  • reading, writing and numeracy

  • engagement and attendance.

There have been recent changes to leadership. Trustees and staff are building links to the neighbouring Te Rangimarie Marae.

Ongoing professional learning and development (PLD) has been undertaken to support the review of curriculum and leadership development. Current PLD is supporting the development of collaborative teacher inquiry and culturally responsive practice. Recent property developments and reorganisation have provided collaborative teaching spaces across the school.

The school is a member of the Masterton (Whakaoriori) Kāhui Ako.

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?

A majority of students achieve expectations in reading, writing and mathematics. Similar patterns of achievement are evident over time. The school recognises there is persistent disparity for Māori children in the three learning areas, and ongoing disparity for boys in literacy. Outcomes for Pacific learners are variable.

Students with additional learning needs are well supported to access the curriculum through a range of deliberate strategies and inclusive support.

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

There is a clear focus on raising Māori boys’ achievement in literacy. Many of these students and others make accelerated progress.

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?

A shared vision for learning successfully guides school development, operation and improvement. Change is well managed through purposeful and well-considered decision-making. Strategic actions and goals are coherent and clearly aligned to school priorities. There is an improvement-focused, thoughtful approach to development.

Trustees and leaders strategically develop leadership and teacher capability and promote a collaborative learning culture for teachers and students. Their strengths are appropriately recognised, valued and developed. Opportunities to lead are provided and well supported.

Good processes are in place for teachers to share, reflect on and build effective practice. Enhanced systems for using student achievement information assist teachers and leaders to track achievement, monitor progress and inform teaching.

Well-considered, ongoing development of the school’s curriculum supports children’s positive engagement in learning and school life. A number of useful initiatives support teachers to be responsive to students’ learning needs. Environments are thoughtfully organised to support learning. Students have opportunities to develop leadership skills and participate in sporting and Enviro School activities. They work purposefully, confidently and collaboratively.

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

Useful systems have been developed to help leaders and teachers focus on raising the achievement of targeted learners. A next step is to further accelerate the achievement of all students at risk in their learning through specific actions and clearer analysis and reporting of rates of progress.

The school is improving its responsiveness to Māori students and their families. There is enhanced engagement with whānau Māori. Te ao Māori ways of knowing, doing and being are increasingly evident in the school. The board and leaders recognise the need to clearly articulate the school’s vision for success as Māori, in response to whānau aspirations to sustain ongoing improvement.

Leaders and teachers are building their understanding and use of inquiry and evaluation. Continuing to strengthen these processes should support knowledge building of effectiveness and inform decision-making.

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.

Areas for improved compliance practice

To improve current practice, the board of trustees should ensure regular appraisal is consistent in application and completion for all teaching personnel.

4 Going forward

Key strengths of the school

For sustained improvement and future learner success, the school can draw on existing strengths in:

  • a shared vision for learning that successfully guides school development, operation and improvement

  • trustees’ and leaders’ strategic development of leadership and teacher capability that is building a collaborative learning culture for teachers and students

  • well-considered, ongoing development of the school’s curriculum that supports children’s positive engagement in learning and school life.

Next steps

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

  • further accelerating the achievement of all students at risk in their learning

  • clearly articulating the school’s vision for success as Māori to sustain ongoing improvement

  • continuing to strengthen inquiry and internal evaluation practice to support knowledge building of effectiveness and inform decision-making.

ERO’s next external evaluation process and timing

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

Alan Wynyard

Deputy Chief Review Officer Central (Acting)

Te Tai Pokapū - Central Region

23 July 2018

About the school

Location

Masterton

Ministry of Education profile number

1661

School type

Contributing (Years 1 to 6)

School roll

369

Gender composition

Male 52%, Female 48%

Ethnic composition

Māori 30%
Pākehā 55%
Pacific 6%
Other European 4%
Other ethnic groups 5%

Students with Ongoing Resourcing Funding (ORS)

Yes

Provision of Māori medium education

No

Review team on site

June 2018

Date of this report

23 July 2018

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review, July 2015
Education Review, July 2012
Education Review, June 2009

1 Context

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

Douglas Park School is a Years 1 to 6 contributing school in Masterton. At the time of this review the school roll was 361 and 28% of students identify as Māori. The school has a stable staff, who are ably led by an experienced principal.

PRIDE values (peace, respect, independence, dare to dream and excellence) underpin teaching, learning and the school culture.

The school has a positive reporting history with ERO. Aspects of practice, identified for further development in the previous ERO report, have been progressed and strengthened.

2 Learning

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

Leaders, teachers and trustees are highly effective in using achievement information to promote improved engagement, progress and achievement for students. Rich use of data underpins decision making at all levels of school operation. Further development of systems for tracking student achievement over time is a next step.

School achievement data shows that most students achieve well in relation to the National Standards in reading and mathematics. Māori and Pacific learners’ achievement is similar to that of their peers. The school has appropriately identified achievement in writing and achievement of boys as areas for improvement. Senior leaders have set targets in these areas for 2015.

Leaders make good use of information to identify individuals and groups of students in need of additional support. Appropriate programmes and systems are put in place to accelerate the learning of individual students and to track their progress. Additional teaching staff and teacher aides work with these students and to support junior classes. National Standards achievement data from 2014, shows that the achievement of junior students has improved as a result of this initiative.

Trustees are well informed about student achievement. Principal's reports to the board provide useful information and progress updates in relation to school goals, annual plans, targets, and trends and patterns in student achievement. Trustees use this information to assist their decision making about resourcing of learning support, budget and staffing.

Achievement information is well used to identify areas for staff development. A schoolwide focus on the teaching of mathematics has resulted in improved student outcomes in this curriculum area. Professional learning in writing and the development of modern learning environments are planned for 2015.

Parents receive good and timely information about their child’s learning in relation to National Standards. They have regular opportunities to discuss their child’s current learning priorities. These opportunities allow for evidence-based discussions and goal setting by whānau, students and their teacher.

3 Curriculum

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

Students have a carefully considered, locally referenced curriculum that promotes and supports learning for all. Classroom environments are learning focused.

A focus on modern learning practices is part of the school’s long term planning, and includes: developing students’ independence and ownership of their learning; changes to classroom physical environments; and development of related teacher practices. Further consideration of the curriculum and consolidation of curriculum documentation will need to reflect these and other developments

Teachers effectively use a diverse range of strategies to engage students in meaningful learning. High levels of student interest, motivation and engagement are evident across all groups of students. Students confidently manage their own learning and support the learning of others. Those with high and diverse needs are well supported to fully participate at school.

Opportunities are made for students from a range of cultures to share their language and culture with others. The school supports two kapa haka groups and a Polynesian group. A cultural evening, held in conjunction with Matariki, offers opportunity for these groups to celebrate the culture, language and identity of all students.

Leaders and teachers value parents and whānau as partners in the development of opportunities for student learning beyond the school.

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

Douglas Park School is building a curriculum that is responsive to Māori learners. There are a range of authentic opportunities for Māori students to take leadership.

The documents, Ka Hikitia - Accelerating Success 2013 - 2017 andTātaiako: Cultural Competencies for Teachers of Māori Learners, have been well used to support the development of teachers understanding and inform a considered approach to supporting Māori learners to achieve success.

Relationships with whānau of Māori learners and iwi are progressing. Regular hui provide whānau with opportunities to contribute to school decision making.

Leaders acknowledge, and ERO affirms, the need for ongoing work in order to strengthen whānau engagement and contribution, and to further develop teachers' confidence in and understanding of te reo me ngā tikanga Māori.

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 school tone, climate and culture provide a sound foundation for improving student learning. The school values pervade every element of the life of the school.

School leaders work effectively as a team to promote and implement change and improvement leading to better student outcomes. Continued development of teacher practice is supported by appraisal systems. Teacher inquiry should be refined to further support improvements in practice.

Useful review processes have been developed and these result in improved practices and continued development.

Trustees are committed and focused on improving outcomes for students. They are aware of their roles and responsibilities for governance and in the raising of student achievement. They receive useful information to inform their understanding of programmes and student achievement.

Multiple perspectives are sought to inform decision making. A wide range of opportunities are available to parents to purposefully engage in and contribute to learning, school direction and the wider life of the school. There is regular communication and consultation with the school community on aspects of school operations.

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

The responsive curriculum is delivered by reflective teachers using a range of effective teaching strategies. A welcoming, supportive environment develops students’ sense of belonging. Students are actively involved in their learning. Effective systems and review processes support continued improvement. Positive relationships exist between staff, leaders, trustees and whānau.

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

Joyce Gebbie
Deputy Chief Review Officer Central

About the School

Location

Masterton

Ministry of Education profile number

1661

School type

Contributing (Years 1 to 6)

School roll

361

Gender composition

Female 51%, Male 49%

Ethnic composition

Pākehā
Māori
Pacific
Asian
Other ethnic groups

55%
28%
  6%
  2%
  9%

Special features

RT:Lit and SWIS workers hosted on site

Review team on site

May 2015

Date of this report

7 July 2015

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review
Education Review
Education Review

July 2012
June 2009
June 2006