Houghton Valley School

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Education institution number:
2861
School type:
Contributing
School gender:
Co-Educational
Definition:
Not Applicable
Total roll:
168
Telephone:
Address:

110 Houghton Bay Road, Houghton Bay, Wellington

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School Context

Houghton Valley School is situated on Wellington’s south coast. It caters for children in Years 1 to 6. At the time of the review there were 227students on the roll.

The recently developed schools vision is ‘Ka Manaaki, Ka Rapu, Ka Whakamanawa tahi ai tatou. Caring, Exploring and Inspiring together’, and is underpinned by values of sustainability, courage, adventure, kindness, inclusion and diversity. The school is a silver Enviroschool.

Annual targets for 2019 focus on accelerating the progress of all Māori learners in writing and establishing positive behaviour expectations for learning for all students.

Since the 2016 ERO review, a new principal has been appointed and a distributed leadership model established. A new board chair has been elected and there have been personnel changes in both the board and staff.

Teachers have participated in professional learning and development (PLD) in writing, cultural responsiveness and social competencies.

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

  • progress and achievement in reading, writing and mathematics
  • Māori student progress and achievement in reading, writing and mathematics
  • student wellbeing
  • children with additional needs.

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?

The school continues to work towards achieving equitable and excellent outcomes for all its students.

2019 end of year achievement data shows that most Year 1 to 6 students achieve at or above school expectations in reading, writing and mathematics. Māori students achieve as well or better than their peers.

Girls achieve better than boys in reading and writing. The 2018 disparity between boys and girls, most evident in writing, has been successfully addressed in 2019.

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

The school is successful in accelerating the learning for Māori and other students whose achievement requires acceleration, including a number of students with additional learning needs.

Useful processes are in place to monitor and track the progress and acceleration of students. There is evidence showing that many students make accelerated progress from targeted teaching.

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?

Students engage positively in learning experiences within settled classroom environments. Their strengths, interests, friendships and learning needs are well known and valued by teachers. A deliberate focus on growing positive relationships in an inclusive, caring and respectful learning culture has successfully promoted a strong sense of belonging for students.

Students identified with specific learning needs are well supported. Additional learning support programmes contribute to improved student outcomes. External agencies are accessed as appropriate in consultation with whānau.

Trustees, leadership and staff are committed to the learning and holistic wellbeing of each child. They care about and promote students’ success. Deliberate evidence-based strategies promote the engagement, participation and achievement of all children.

The newly developed local curriculum alongside the New Zealand Curriculum appropriately underpins and guides teaching and learning across the school. The outdoor classroom, bush and extensive gardens provide authentic, rich learning about sustainability, the environment and being kaitiaki, guardians of the land.

There is a well-considered, strategic focus on improving educational outcomes for Māori learners. Whānau Māori knowledge and expertise is valued and informs culturally responsive practices. Tikanga me te reo Māori is integrated throughout the curriculum in meaningful ways. 

The board represents and serves the school community well. Trustees value and actively engage with families, whānau and the wider community. Trustees are well informed about student achievement, wellbeing and school operations. Their resourcing decisions enhance teaching and learning and enable students to experience individual success as learners.

The leadership team, effectively led by the principal, is strongly improvement focused. It collaboratively develops and pursues the school’s vision. There is growing alignment between the vision, values, future planning and current initiatives. Strategic goals are informed by reflection, review and consultation with the school community.

There has been a deliberate approach to developing consistency of teaching practice and establishing a culture of professional engagement and collaboration.

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

Next steps for Leaders and teachers are to:

  • further strengthen internal evaluation practices so that they will better determine the impact of strategies and interventions on improving outcomes for students
  • continue the current focus on building shared understanding and consistency of teacher practice.

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 Children’s Act 2014.

4 ERO’s Overall Judgement

On the basis of the findings of this review, ERO’s overall evaluation judgement of Houghton Valley School’s performance in achieving valued outcomes for its students is: Well placed.

ERO’s Framework: Overall Findings and Judgement Tool derived from School Evaluation Indicators: Effective Practice for Improvement and Learner Success is available on ERO’s website.

5 Going forward

Key strengths of the school

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

  • the shared vision of trustees, leadership, staff and school community on improving children’s learning and wellbeing
  • a well-considered, strategic focus on improving educational outcomes for all learners
  • a deliberate focus on growing positive relationships in an inclusive, caring and respectful learning culture.

Next steps

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

  • further strengthening internal evaluation practices to identify the impact of strategies and interventions on improving outcomes for students
  • continuing the current focus on building shared understanding and consistency of teacher practice.

Dr Lesley Patterson

Director Review and Improvement Services Te Tai Tini

Southern Region

21 January 2020

About the school

Location

Wellington

Ministry of Education profile number

2861

School type

Contributing

School roll

227

Gender composition

Boys 53%, Girls 47%

Ethnic composition

Māori 16%
NZ European/Pākehā 68%
Other ethnic groups 16%

Students with Ongoing Resourcing Funding (ORS)

No

Provision of Māori medium education

No

Review team on site

October 2019

Date of this report

21 January 2020

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review November 2016
Education Review January 2014
Education Review September 2009

1 Context

Houghton Valley School caters for students in Years 1 to 6. Twenty nine students identify as Māori. The school's extensive grounds are surrounded by native bush. There is continued focus on developing learning opportunities for students to benefit from this environment. The school is a focal point for the local community.

There is continuity of school leadership. A new board of trustees has been elected this year, with one trustee continuing.

Leaders and teachers have participated in a variety of professional learning and development (PLD) opportunities led by external facilitators. A school focus on inclusion, led by senior managers, has involved all teachers and teacher aides.

2 Equity and excellence

The vision and valued outcomes defined by the school for all children are to be confident, collaborative, inspired children and learning for life. This vision is supported by five strategic school objectives that include a focus on children knowing how to learn and embracing and celebrating diversity.

The school’s achievement information shows that most students were at or above in relation to the National Standards in reading, mathematics and writing at the end of 2015. Māori students were achieving at similar levels to their non-Māori peers in reading and writing, but lower in mathematics.

Mid-year 2016 student achievement data shows that approximately half of the students who needed to make accelerated progress in reading, writing and mathematics have done so. A few of the Māori students achieving below the National Standards have made accelerated progress.

While there has been moderation of teachers' overall writing judgements in relation to the National Standards, systems for moderating judgements in reading and mathematics have yet to be determined. Developing these moderating processes across the school is a next step.

Since the last ERO evaluation the school has:

  • successfully implemented learning support systems, including the introduction of new programmes
  • provided training for staff to deliver these programmes
  • developed the curriculum with a focus on student inquiry
  • increased engagement with whānau
  • undertaken PLD focusing on te reo Māori to enhance teaching and learning programmes for all students.

3 Accelerating achievement

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

The school is implementing some practices that respond to Māori students whose learning and achievement need acceleration. Continued development is needed to support further progress for these learners.

Leaders and teachers know about the achievement of Māori students and value strong relationships with students and their whānau. Formal and informal communication with whānau has begun to focus on partnerships for student learning. Teachers have high expectations that Māori students will succeed.

Māori students meet regularly with a senior leader. The introduction of this Roopu Māori has increased students' sense of identity and enabled more focus on their knowledge and use of te reo Māori.

A board member and deputy principal are leading trustees to develop their understanding of Ka Hikitia - Accelerating Success 2013 - 2017 and Hautū - Māori cultural responsiveness self review tool for Boards of Trustees. A plan has been developed to guide the board in its response to te ao Māori and promoting success for Māori students.

The next steps to improve achievement for Māori students who need to accelerate their progress, and to promote equity, are to:

  • develop a shared understanding of both biculturalism for all and promoting success for Māori
  • ensure that school targets focus on those Māori students who require targeted support
  • report the progress of target students to the board throughout the year
  • ensure that guiding documents for the school prioritise authentic, culturally responsive learning contexts for Māori students.

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

While teachers reflect on the progress of target students, the work of teachers, leaders and trustees will be strengthened by the development of a shared understanding of accelerating achievement. This will enable a more effective response to underachieving learners.

Students participate and learn in a caring, collaborative learning community. Those who are achieving at levels below the National Standards are identified and programmes are provided to support their learning.

Measuring each student's progress in relation to the National Standards to determine if they are making accelerated progress is a next step. Evaluating the impact of learning support programmes on outcomes for students should be a priority.

Senior leaders have good systems for monitoring and tracking learning support. The SENCO (Special Education Needs Coordinator) leads a collaborative approach to working with students with additional learning needs. There are clear guidelines for teachers and teacher aides, who have developed a shared understanding of the learning support process.

4 School conditions

How effectively do the school’s curriculum and other organisational processes and practices develop and enact the school’s vision, values, goals and targets for equity and excellence?

Some of the school's organisational processes and practices effectively provide conditions that support an ongoing focus on equity and excellence.

Since the 2014 ERO report the board has revised the school charter following extensive consultation, developed a governance manual and established a Board of Trustees work plan.

New trustees add a good range of skills and experience to the board. Trustees understand their roles and responsibilities and have a strong focus on positive outcomes for all students. Digital technologies support collaboration and communication between trustees, leaders and staff. The board has developed a plan to strengthen community engagement and this is ready for implementation.

The principal regularly provides student achievement reports to the board. These include analysis of data and next steps. Reports include a statement about Māori student achievement. Ensuring that there is a process for regularly reporting overall school achievement in relation to the National Standards and the progress of target students should support the board to make responsive, evidence-based resourcing decisions.

Reports to parents give a clear picture of each child's achievement in relation to the National Standards. Three-way conferences provide opportunities for students, parents and whānau and teachers to discuss students' ongoing progress.

A collaborative leadership approach is promoted. The deputy principals hold specific roles that support school initiatives and leadership by teachers is encouraged.

An area of major focus has been the development of an inquiry approach for students' learning. Teachers provide a wide range of experiences with purposeful learning opportunities. These include input from visiting resource people.

Some work has been carried out to develop an overarching curriculum since the 2014 ERO review. This includes documenting links to The New Zealand Curriculum. Increasing the use of culturally responsive contexts for learning should strengthen the curriculum.

Teachers are following a sound process to inquire into their practice. Ensuring that all steps of the process are followed is likely to strengthen this process and increase the impact on improving outcomes for students.

The appraisal process is appropriate. Clear job descriptions have been developed and teachers receive specific, useful feedback. To improve this process, the school's appraisal guidelines should be followed consistently.

Internal evaluation for improvement remains an area for attention. Leaders have participated in professional development focused on internal evaluation and are beginning to use appropriate tools to grow their expertise. Developing a shared understanding of evidence-based internal evaluation with a focus on outcomes for students is an important next step.

5 Going forward

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

Leaders and teachers:

  • know the children whose learning and achievement need to be accelerated
  • need approaches that effectively meet the needs of each child
  • need to ensure the school is well placed to accelerate the achievement of all children who need it.

While most students are achieving well, school systems should be further developed to support those students who are underachieving to make sufficient, accelerated progress. The school should increase the consistency of specific teaching and evaluate the effectiveness of interventions to better meet these students' learning needs.

Action: The board, principal and teachers should participate in an internal evaluation workshop. They should use this workshop, the Internal Evaluation: Good Practice exemplars and the School Evaluation Indicators to address the findings of this evaluation and develop more targeted planning that includes a significant focus on building teacher capability to accelerate learning and achievement.

As part of this review ERO will continue to monitor the school’s planning and the progress the school makes. ERO is likely to carry out the next full review in three years.

6 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 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

  • processes for appointing staff

  • stand down, suspensions, expulsions and exclusions

  • attendance

  • compliance with the provisions of the Vulnerable Children Act 2014.

7 Recommendation

ERO recommends that leaders and teachers strengthen their understanding of acceleration for learners who need this support and of evaluation for improvement. This should help the school to promote equity and excellence for all students. 

Joyce Gebbie

Deputy Chief Review Officer Central

30 November 2016

About the school

Location

Houghton Bay, Wellington

Ministry of Education profile number

2861

School type

Contributing (Years 1 to 6)

School roll

228

Gender composition

Male 51%, Female 49%

Ethnic composition

Māori

Pākehā

Other ethnic groups

13%

77%

10%

Review team on site

October 2016

Date of this report

30 November 2016

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

January 2014

September 2009

September 2006