Alexandra School - 24/06/2019

School Context

Alexandra School is located in Central Otago. It is a Years 1 to 8 primary school with a roll of 224 students. Of these students, 22% identify as Māori.

The school states that its vision is for students to learn to know, learn to do, learn to be, and learn to live together. Its values are: respect|te whakaute, responsibility|kawenga, and ready to learn|rite ki te ako.

Current strategic goals for improvement are in building student success, leading learning, and building cultural competency.

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

  • achievement in reading, writing and mathematics in relation to curriculum expectations
  • engagement and wellbeing for success
  • outcomes for students with additional learning needs.

Since the 2015 ERO review, a new approach to organising learning and a future-focused curriculum have been implemented.

The school is a member of the Dunstan Kāhui Ako| Community of Learning.

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?

Alexandra Primary School is achieving equitable and excellent outcomes for many of its students. Overall achievement information provided by the school shows that from 2016 to 2018 the majority of students achieved at or above curriculum expectations in reading, writing and mathematics.

There was some disparity in outcomes for boys in reading and writing and an overall downward trend in achievement in reading and mathematics.

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

School information shows that it is effective in responding to those students whose learning and achievement need acceleration.

The majority of those students who received targeted interventions were able to accelerate their progress and sustain gains made in achievement for reading and mathematics.

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?

The curriculum is responsive, future focused and learner centred. Teachers and students work collaboratively to design real-world learning contexts and tasks through an innovative curriculum. They make effective use of community resources and agencies to enhance opportunities for learning and achievement. The aspirations of parents and whānau are meaningfully included. This collaborative approach to curriculum enactment provides opportunities for all students to experience active engagement, individualised participation and agency in their learning.

The board and principal have established a collaborative culture, characterised by high relational trust and shared school values. These values are visible throughout the school’s planning. There is a clear focus on student wellbeing and whanaungatanga. Students participate and learn in a caring, inclusive environment. Teachers are supported to build their professional learning and efficacy. Resources are in place to support innovation and improvement. Students benefit from learning in an inclusive environment where their strengths, needs and passions are responded to.

School leaders and teachers have built effective relationships with whānau and the community to achieve valued outcomes for students. Parents, whānau and the community are welcomed, included and informed. Communication through new digital technologies supports and strengthens reciprocal, authentic sharing of learning between the home and school. Teachers, leaders and the board actively participate in the community of learning. Students learn within a connected, learning-focused community.

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

The school has identified, and ERO’s evaluation confirms, that some aspects of the school’s processes and practices are ready to be further strengthened and embedded in order to increase effectiveness in achieving equity and excellence for all students.

The school needs to establish explicit expectations for effective teaching in the essential learning areas, across Years 1 to 8, to ensure students’ learning pathways are consistent over time. This should include planned actions to scaffold the integration of te ao Māori across the curriculum.

The scope of internal evaluation should be widened by using a range of sources of evidence to evaluate the effectiveness of innovations and interventions, to know more about what is working best and for whom. Processes to measure, record and evaluate the sufficiency of students’ progress and acceleration should form part of this widened scope.

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.

4 ERO’s Overall Judgement

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

ERO’s Framework: Overall School Performance 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:

  • its culture of collaboration and professional dialogue that leads to carefully considered innovations for improvement
  • its inclusive culture that promotes success by systematically responding to needs of students and their families
  • its purposeful connection with its community, through its people, places and digital platforms, that provide enhanced learning opportunities for all students.

Next steps

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

  • completing the work on the school’s future-focused curriculum, philosophy of teaching and assessment guidelines, to ensure a coherent and consistent pathway for students’ learning
  • building processes for measuring acceleration, and sufficiency of progress, so that trustees, leaders, teachers, whānau and students know that needs are being met in a timely manner
  • using achievement information from a range of sources, for internal evaluation, that better identifies the impact of innovations and interventions on students’ learning.

Alan Wynyard

Director Review and Improvement Services Southern

Southern Region

24 June 2019

About the school

Location

Alexandra

Ministry of Education profile number

3701

School type

Full primary (Years 1 to 8)

School roll

224

Gender composition

Male 54%, Female 46%

Ethnic composition

Māori 22%
NZ European/Pākehā 70%
Other ethnicities 8%

Students with Ongoing Resourcing Funding (ORS)

Yes

Provision of Māori medium education

No

Review team on site

May 2019

Date of this report

24 June 2019

Most recent ERO reports

Education Review December 2015
Education Review August 2011