Mission Heights Primary School

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Education institution number:
570
School type:
Contributing
School gender:
Co-Educational
Definition:
Not Applicable
Total roll:
584
Telephone:
Address:

Jeffs Road, Flat Bush, Auckland

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1 Context

Mission Heights Primary School shares a site with Mission Heights Junior College. The schools have a common vision for promoting excellence, and collaborate at both management and governance levels. Children learn in modern learning environments. Eighty percent of children come from homes where English is not the only language. The school roll is continuing to grow rapidly.

2 Equity and excellence

The vision and valued outcomes defined by the school for all children are captured in the school's vision of 'Growing Excellence through innovation and constantly evolving personalised learning'. The school's values reflect the vision, values and principles of The New Zealand Curriculum (NZC).

The school’s achievement information shows that over the last three years 80 percent of children have achieved at or above the National Standard in mathematics and 70 percent in reading and writing. School data from 2015 show that while Māori students' achievement is improving as a result of specific strategies their achievement levels are still not as high as those of other learners. This disparity is most evident in writing and to some extent in mathematics.

Good work has been done to develop a rigorous internal moderation process to enhance the reliability of achievement information. Moderation of assessment between schools is beginning.

Since the last ERO evaluation the school has:

  • restructured school leadership to build assessment capability across the school with a focus on accelerating the progress of those students who are at risk of not achieving
  • strengthened internal evaluation to show the impact of intervention programmes used in the school
  • ensured more explicit links are evident between the ACE (Abilities, Curiosity, Essentials) programme and the NZC
  • aligned planning and documentation to improve the tracking of students as they progress through the school
  • undertaken school-wide professional development in writing and in science to improve teaching in these areas.

3 Accelerating achievement

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

The school is effective in responding to children whose learning and achievement needs acceleration. The school's key priorities are raising the achievement of children whose first language is not English, and of children with special educational capabilities and needs. In addition, Kia Hiranga Ake has recently been introduced as a plan to raise achievement of Māori and Pacific students.

School leaders know the context of their community and are quick to respond to changes in the achievement data and ensure well considered systems are in place to support children whose learning needs accelerating.

A high priority is placed on maintaining a successful partnership between the school and children's families. Some teachers communicate with and support children and parents in their home languages.

From the time children arrive at the school, teachers are focused on maximising opportunities for them to be successful in their learning. Leaders and teachers use an extensive range of targeted approaches to identify children who are not achieving, and those who require enrichment or have special abilities. Education plans are developed for children with families/whānau, to identify pathways that incorporate children's individual strengths and prior knowledge, and help to build shared understandings of each child as a learner.

School leaders collate and analyse a wide range of data to identify how well programmes suit each student's specific learning requirements. Leaders and teachers have deepened their analysis of assessment data. A wide range of professional development, together with targeted in-class and out of class support, has helped teachers to accelerate progress for those students working below the National Standards.

Learning focused partnerships are evident in the school's reporting to parents. Parents receive very good information about their children’s progress and achievement in relation to the National Standards in reading, writing and mathematics. Parents who spoke to ERO affirmed the opportunities their children have to participate in individual and group learning that enables families to support their children’s learning at home.

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?

The school's curriculum and other organisational processes and practices are effective in developing and enacting the school's vision, values, goals and targets for equity and excellence. The curriculum is inclusive and responsive to the strengths and interests of each child. Purposeful learning experiences use real life contexts so that students are actively involved in learning. These experiences provide opportunities for students to collaborate with, learn from and facilitate the learning of others. Embedding the Mission Heights 'learner profile' will help children to take more ownership of their learning programme.

Children engage cognitively in challenging and purposeful learning through personalised learning plans and the ACE programme, which provides additional breadth and depth in the curriculum. It offers children choice and targeted support for accelerating their progress and meeting their identified needs. Children value the programme highly and parents who spoke to ERO also affirm the positive impact the programme has had on children's wellbeing as learners.

School organisational structures are interconnected to support learners. Teachers have collective responsibility for children across all learning communities. The 'Mission Heights Inquiry' framework is used by children, teachers and leaders. Senior leaders acknowledge it would be timely to expand this effective model to promote school-wide acceleration for target learners. The senior leadership team continues to provide professional development to help teachers inquire more deeply into their teaching practice.

Extensive learning support through interventions and programmes helps all students access the curriculum. The board of trustees has a commitment to providing resourcing that benefits students and helps to promote equity and excellence. Targeted groups have been identified to address disparity in achievement between boys and girls in particular year levels. This intervention has impacted positively on achievement results.

The school's charter contains goals, targets and actions that are focused on raising student achievement, particularly for children for whom English is an additional language. The goals support equity and excellence through key improvement strategies focused on teaching and learning, and inclusion. Senior leaders should refine targets to focus more deliberately on accelerating the learning of students who are at risk of underachieving. Internal evaluation that focuses on improved outcomes for learners is a worthwhile development.

Children, staff and parents demonstrate a strong sense of pride and cultural identity. School leaders and the board continue to build on the foundation of culturally responsive practices in the curriculum that promote the languages and cultural identities of all children in the school. Senior leaders are committed to strengthening the significance of The Treaty of Waitangi and biculturalism in the school's culture and curriculum.

Teachers and support staff work collaboratively to find new and innovative approaches to stimulate and challenge their students. A continued focus on improvement through professional learning and collegial support is a strong feature. A robust coaching and mentoring model supports teachers' professional practice and growth. The principal's educationally focused leadership and vision guide the continual development of the school's philosophy and teacher practice that is leading to improved learning outcomes for children.

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
  • respond effectively to the strengths, needs and interests of each child
  • regularly evaluate how well teaching is working for these children
  • act on what they know works well for each child
  • build teacher capability effectively to achieve equitable outcomes for all children
  • are well placed to achieve and sustain equitable and excellent outcomes for all children.

Mission Heights Primary School is well placed to continue promoting good practices that foster positive outcomes for children. Strategic and collaborative approaches across school systems, and practices are strongly aligned with the school vison, values and priorities. Improved planning that includes specific strategies for accelerating the progress of Māori and Pacific learners is now in place.

A new leadership structure has created opportunities to grow teachers' individual leadership capability and widen leadership capacity. This leadership emphasises the collective responsibility of the school community to create the conditions in which all children experience success.

ERO and senior leaders have identified relevant priorities for future development that include:

  • the board ensuring that the school's vision is at the forefront of all learning
  • ensuring that interventions are effective in accelerating learning for all children
  • refining achievement targets to ensure that disparity is addressed effectively and reduced
  • deepening teachers' analysis of assessment data and inquiry into their practice
  • extending the values of tikanga Māori and the bicultural identity of Aotearoa New Zealand, throughout the school.

ERO is likely to carry out the next 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 the school continues to demonstrate its commitment to positive outcomes for all children by continuing to build a culture of internal evaluation. 

Graham Randell

Deputy Chief Review Officer Northern

1 December 2016

About the school

Location

Flat Bush, Auckland

Ministry of Education profile number

570

School type

Contributing (Years 1 to 6)

School roll

725

Gender composition

Boys 52%, Girls 48%

Ethnic composition

Māori

NZ European/Pākehā

Indian

Chinese

South East Asian

other Asian

other

3%

6%

44%

27%

7%

4%

9%

Review team on site

August 2016

Date of this report

1 December 2016

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

October 2013

November 2010



1 Context

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

Mission Heights Primary School opened in 2009 on a site shared with Mission Heights Junior College. The leaders of the two schools work closely together to ensure the schools are managed for the benefit of all students. Some facilities, including the library are shared. Most students from the primary school transfer to the Junior College (Years 7 to 10) and then go on to Ormiston Senior College. The primary school leaders also maintain close contact with Mission KINZ, an early childhood centre that shares the same site.

The primary school roll has doubled in the last three years and the school is almost at its peak roll. During the period of rapid growth staff have successfully maintained a strong focus on students learning in a supportive environment.

Students come from the rapidly growing and culturally diverse community of Flat Bush. Eighty percent come from homes where English is not the only language spoken. There are high percentages of Indian and Chinese and a small number of Māori and Pacific students. High priority is placed on maintaining a successful partnership between the school and children’s families. Family members often participate in the many cultural events organised by the school.

The school is divided into three learning communities, Years 1 to 2, Years 3 to 4, and Years 5 to 6. However pastoral care, teaching and learning approaches and curriculum design are consistent across the school.

The school buildings are innovative in design. Learning spaces, referred to as learning zones, open out to shared spaces used by three or four classes. Teachers are referred to as learning leaders. The glass doors between learning zones allow children to engage with students and learning leaders beyond their learning zone. The school’s own terminology reflects a school focus on learning.

The school curriculum is designed to cater for the needs, strengths and interests of students. Teachers are expected to make innovative use of information and communication technologies (ICT) to support education and to equip students for further learning.

The recent board elections resulted in two experienced and three new trustees being appointed. The board is accessing training to support them in their governance role.

2 Learning

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

The school makes some good use of achievement information gathered using a suitable range of assessment tools. Teachers are provided with clear guidelines on how to make judgements about student achievement in relation to National Standards. The board uses this information when setting relevant achievement targets and making resourcing decisions to provide for students who require additional learning support.

The school’s achievement information indicates that, overall, students achieve well in relation to National Standards and that Māori students are achieving very well as a group. National Standards information shows that overall girls achieve better than boys and that there is a need to improve the achievement of Pacific students. The board has established relevant achievement targets.

Teachers make good use of achievement information to make decisions for grouping students and designing relevant programmes. They identify students that could benefit from closer monitoring and support. These students are catered for in both regular lessons and by participating in additional support programmes. Parents are well informed about their child’s learning.

School leaders and ERO agree that staff now consider how they will:

  • track the achievement of groups of students as they progress through the school
  • more formally assess areas of the curriculum other than literacy and mathematics
  • develop ways of knowing more about the levels of student engagement
  • moderate assessment judgements across the school and with other schools.

3 Curriculum

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

The school’s curriculum successfully promotes and supports student learning. It is well aligned with The New Zealand Curriculum. Students are offered a broad range of learning experiences and opportunities to be leaders. Teachers often provide meaningful learning contexts for students.

The ACE (Abilities, Curiosities, and Essentials) programme complements the classroom programme by offering many and varied opportunities where students can excel in their areas of strength, follow their interests, and catch up in areas where they would benefit from additional learning. The school’s six step learning framework guides student inquiry and encourages students to manage their own learning.

Students at all levels of the school are settled and many demonstrate high levels of engagement. Positive relationships are evident among students and between teachers and students. There are many opportunities for the older students to support younger students in their learning.

Many students are able to talk about their achievement in relation to National Standards, and what their next learning steps are. Some teachers are providing useful feedback to students on their learning. Teachers are in the process of developing effective strategies to help students take greater ownership of their learning. They are currently participating in professional development that promotes reflection on practice and using formative teaching approaches.

During the review school leaders and ERO identified the following as development areas to support learning and teaching:

  • clarifying the links between ACE activities and the objectives of The New Zealand Curriculum, and strengthen assessment and evaluation of ACE programmes
  • helping students to become more engaged with their learning goals and to reflect more on their progress towards meeting them
  • reflecting on the extent to which they are using ICT to support student learning
  • supporting Pacific students to build their cultural identity through having their languages and cultures celebrated.

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

Māori students achieve well in relation to National Standards. All students have opportunities to experience bicultural practices. Māori students value the opportunities to learn kapa haka and te reo Māori. Marae visits have helped students to understand aspects of tikanga Māori.

The board is working strategically to increase opportunities for Māori students to succeed as Māori. School leaders are providing opportunities for staff to build their capability to use te reo Māori and are developing a te reo Māori curriculum. This curriculum should define clear learning expectations for staff and students.

4 Sustainable Performance

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

The school is well placed to sustain and improve its performance. The school charter provides clear direction for school leaders to work strategically to meet charter goals. The charter goals indicate the school's intention to strengthen opportunities for Māori students to succeed as Māori.

Governance and management systems are robust. Trustees bring a range of useful skills and understanding about their role on the board. There are succinct policies and procedures to guide school operations

The principal provides very good professional leadership and is a capable manager. She knows the students, community and staff well. Leadership is successfully distributed and there is good support for staff to develop as leaders.

School leaders recognise that the culture and quality of learning and teaching needs to be maintained and further developed as the school continues to grow. There are good processes in place to induct staff and monitor the quality of teaching.

Performance management systems effectively promote on-going improvement in learning and teaching. Teachers are supported to set and work towards professional goals. The principal’s appraisal process is thorough, improvement focused and linked to the school charter goals. Professional development is purposeful and relevant with a clear expectation that it will improve teacher practice.

Throughout the development phase of the school self review has successfully guided decision making. It has been informed by a wide range of information including stakeholder surveys. Self-review guidelines have been established. Self review is valued by the board and is building the capacity of trustees through board training.

School leaders intend to strengthen the way that they document self review to show the process followed, how it was informed, and the impact that resulting changes have had on school effectiveness.

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.

When is ERO likely to review the school again?

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

Dale Bailey

National Manager Review Services

Northern Region

18 October 2013

About the School

Location

Flat Bush, Auckland

Ministry of Education profile number

570

School type

Contributing (Years 1 to 6)

School roll

630

Gender composition

Boys 55%

Girls 45%

Ethnic composition

Māori

NZ European/Pākehā

Indian

Chinese

South East Asian

Other European

Pacific (Samoan, Cook Island, Niue, Fijian, other)

Other Asian

Middle Eastern

African

Other ethnicities

4%

9%

35%

23%

10%

6%

6%

3%

1%

1%

2%

Review team on site

August 2013

Date of this report

18 October 2013

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

November 2010