Albany School - 12/08/2015

Findings

Albany School promotes high levels of student achievement. A responsive, inclusive culture, and student-centred teaching motivate students to take responsibility for their learning. Students are supported to become confident communicators, and self-managing, active learners. The school demonstrates an openness to learning. This is promoting a well organised continually improving school.

ERO is likely to carry out the next review in four-to-five years.

1. Context

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

Albany School on Auckland’s North Shore is a primary school for Year 1 to 6 students. The school roll reflects the increasingly ethnically diverse community surrounding the school. For instance, the percentage of Māori students at the school has doubled in recent years. The inclusive and responsive school culture helps students to gain a sense of identity and confidence. This promotes high levels of engagement.

The school's vision "where learning makes a difference" is the foundation for school development. Values of ‘respect, excellence, aroha and caring, creativity, and honesty’ (REACH) are modelled and promoted by teachers, leaders and trustees. 

The board has developed a variable space environment to promote flexible, collaborative teaching and learning for students in Years 5 and 6. There are plans to develop other such environments in the future. The school’s computer network has recently been upgraded, offering students and teachers greater access to digital learning and communication.

The 2011 ERO report noted the school’s high standard of education and that trustees and school leaders continued to work strategically to improve outcomes for students. These features continue to be highly evident. Good progress has been made with the school’s 2011 development priorities to further promote student-led learning and personalise teacher development.

2. Learning

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

Teachers, leaders and trustees make very good use of achievement information to support students to be successful learners. Achievement information indicates that most students achieve well in relation to the National Standards.

Students are respected as capable learners and take an active role in improving their own achievement. They confidently and knowledgeably talk about their learning. Students are supported to learn how to learn, understand their achievement and how to build on this.

Parents are well informed about their children’s achievement through written reports and conferences with their children and teachers. School leaders and teachers are increasingly partnering with parents to support children’s learning at home.

Leaders and teachers share a collective responsibility for promoting successful learning. They share teaching approaches to raise achievement and to address the needs of individual students. The school’s charter targets are relevant and aim to accelerate the progress of specific groups of students who have yet to achieve National Standards.

Analysis of assessment data is detailed and is well used to increase student progress and to set school priorities for development. A particular feature of data use is teachers’ close monitoring of progress of groups of students in each class. There is good evidence that these learners are making accelerated progress.

Inclusive and responsive approaches support students with special educational needs to be successful learners. Teaching teams regularly strategise together to support these students and those who are not yet achieving National Standards. These groups of students benefit from tailored support programmes that are targeted to address learning gaps and complement classroom programmes. English language learning programmes support students’ language acquisition and confidence to engage in class programmes.

Good processes are followed to help teachers to make reliable and accurate judgements about student progress in relation to the National Standards. This includes moderation work during 20122013 with a local cluster of schools. The aim of this work has been to help ensure consistency of assessment judgements across the schools. The cluster intends to resume this moderation work again this year.

3. Curriculum

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

The school’s curriculum is closely aligned to The New Zealand Curriculum (NZC) and motivates students to engage and succeed in their learning. School leaders and teachers continue to sustain curriculum initiatives that promote student skills and understandings related to the NZC key competencies. The emphasis on the school’s values and key competencies is reflected in the positive way that students learn interactively with their peers and teachers.

The curriculum continues to prioritise literacy and mathematics as the foundations of learning. Students have many opportunities to apply reading, writing and mathematics skills and knowledge in meaningful contexts across the curriculum. Contexts for learning draw from local, regional, national and global influences or issues.

Leaders and teachers maintain regular, relevant review of the school’s curriculum. Curriculum reviews lead to improved outcomes for students. For instance, teachers’ professional learning has helped them better guide students’ knowledge of and curiosity about the nature of science. Students now benefit from increased learning opportunities in this area. This worthwhile initiative was as a result of a review of the school’s science curriculum in 2012.

Student perspectives are valued and included in school review and curriculum programmes. As a result, students are confident communicators, and self-managing, active participants in learning. Students are encouraged from their early years to become reflective and inquiring learners. Teachers’ approach to inquiry learning has recently focused on increasing the depth and breadth to students' inquiry learning as they share their research with others.

The school has good practices to support students’ transition into the school and on to intermediate. Senior leaders and teachers have recently reviewed new entrant children’s transition to school. They continue to be responsive to these children’s strengths, interests and needs to support their successful transition into the school.

Student-led and collaborative learning is guiding the school’s curriculum development. ERO affirms school leaders’ plans to further:

  • encourage students’ sense of citizenship through seeing themselves as contributors, at the local, national and global levels
  • extend opportunities for students to learn through e-learning
  • develop culturally responsive approaches to support the school’s increasing diversity
  • build adaptable teaching approaches to promote a student-led curriculum.

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

The school is developing strategies to promote educational success for Māori students, as Māori.

Māori students benefit from effective teaching and learning and the majority of Māori students achieve well in relation to the National Standards. Māori achievement at the school is considerably higher than local, regional and national Māori achievement levels. Senior leaders are aware that further targeted action is necessary to ensure that Māori student achievement is more comparable to that of other students at the school.

In alternate years, the school curriculum includes a week where students learn knowledge and skills in tikanga Māori. Students participate in tuakana/teina groups with different teachers. The school has an established kawa where the staff and kapa haka lead pōwhiri to welcome new teachers, students and whānau to the school at the beginning of each term. A recent initiative has been to engage external expertise to deliver a programme of te reo Māori me ōna tikanga in Years 3 and 4. Senior leaders are considering how to extend this learning to students in other year levels.

Senior leaders have introduced hui each term to give whānau opportunities to meet as a group. The purpose of these hui are to share Māori student progress, and to learn from each other to clarify understandings about success as Māori. Senior leaders acknowledge that there would be considerable value in developing a strategic plan with whānau to further support Māori students to have pride in their language, culture and identity in the school.

4. Sustainable Performance

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

Albany School is very well placed to sustain and improve its performance. Trustees, leaders and teachers continually review and develop practices aimed primarily at improving student learning. Evidence is systematically gathered and analysed to inform school planning and development. At all levels of the school there is openness to learning and growing together. This self knowledge promotes a well organised continually improving school.

School governance is very effective. The board is guided by clear, documented, and regularly reviewed governance beliefs and practices. Trustees continually question the effectiveness of their governance practice, and set personal development goals. Professional trust is evident between the board and leadership team. This trust has been developed through trustees' and leaders' mutual focus on evidence of the school’s impact on student outcomes. The board and senior leaders promote inclusive, responsive relationships amongst staff and the community.

Self review is very well understood and used productively at all levels of the school. The board and senior leaders value and seek perspectives from teachers, students and parents, including different ethnic groups. Leaders and teachers work collaboratively to evaluate the impact of teaching programmes and practices on outcomes for students. They adapt teaching practices in response to this evaluation.

School leadership is very effective. Leaders successfully sustain curriculum and teaching initiatives and manage the pace of change of further teaching developments. Growing staff leadership has been a key focus in recent years. Multiple opportunities are offered to teachers to take on leading roles and responsibilities in curriculum and within teaching teams. Internal and external expertise is used well in teachers’ professional learning and to guide curriculum developments. Evidence-based teacher performance appraisal and collaborative teamwork are enabling teachers to reflect more deeply on their teaching.

The school’s charter is relevant to the context of the school and aligns well with the school's management and classroom practices. The principal and board plan to refine the charter so that this document can be readily accessible to and used by the school’s community.

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. At the time of this review there were 21 international students attending the school. The school has attested that it complies with all aspects of the Code and ERO’s investigations confirmed that the school’s self-review process for international students is thorough.

The school provides an inclusive culture, responsive pastoral care and effective education for international students. Students and their families are well supported to integrate into the school community. Students receive English language support, as needed, to complement the school’s good quality teaching and learning programmes.

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

Albany School promotes high levels of student achievement. A responsive, inclusive culture, and student-centred teaching motivate students to take responsibility for their learning. Students are supported to become confident communicators, and self-managing, active learners. The school demonstrates an openness to learning. This is promoting a well organised continually improving school.

ERO is likely to carry out the next review in four-to-five years.

Dianne Moffitt Deputy Chief Review Officer Northern (Acting)

12 August 2015

About the School

Location

Albany, Auckland

Ministry of Education profile number

1202

School type

Contributing (Years 1 to 6)

School roll

615

Number of international students

21

Gender composition

Boys 50% Girls 50%

Ethnic composition

NZ European/Pākehā

Māori

Chinese

African

Korean

Indian

European

Middle Eastern

British

Pacific

other Asian

other

46%

8%

11%

7%

6%

6%

3%

3%

2%

1%

2%

5%

Review team on site

June 2015

Date of this report

12 August 2015

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

February 2011

August 2007

May 2004