Amesbury School - 17/08/2016

1 Context

Amesbury School opened in 2012. Since the August 2013 ERO report, the roll has grown significantly to 211 students. Of these, 5% identify as Māori and 25% as Asian. The school celebrates the cultural diversity of the wide range of ethnic groups within the school. Learning spaces are organised in two hubs and are used in flexible ways to respond to the needs, strengths and interests of all students. The leadership team has been at the school since opening. New board members have joined experienced ones at the last elections.

This report evaluates how effectively inquiry and innovation supports the school to:

  • enact its vision to continually fulfil learners' potential
  • accelerate the progress and learning of identified students.

2 Equity and excellence

The vision and valued outcomes defined by the school for all students is for every student to experience what it means to be fully human and continually fulfil their potential. The mantra 'learning for life-learning to live, joy for learning-joyful living', is at the forefront of school practice and operation. Supporting the realisation of the vision and valued outcomes is the 'Amesbury High Five': excellence; connecting and including; authenticity; creating and inquiring; and sustainability.

The school’s achievement information shows that over the past three years, over 80% of students are achieving at and above National Standard expectations in reading, writing and mathematics. This includes Māori students. Senior leaders report that the coaching approach used to build teacher capability is contributing effectively to strengthening outcomes for students.  

School leaders and teachers work collaboratively to ensure the consistency, validity and reliability of judgements about students' progress and achievement. Well-considered, planned processes support assessment within hubs and across the school.

Since the previous ERO evaluation the school has continued to develop and implement processes and systems to support students to continually improve their progress and reach their achievement potential through:

  • humanising education
  • personalising teaching and learning
  • evolving the framework for an integrated curriculum
  • designing learning to meet the needs of every student
  • using data and evidence-based practice to make decisions
  • ongoing inquiry into student agency
  • embracing the paradoxes between traditional and progressivist approaches to knowledge. 

3 Accelerating achievement

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

The school effectively identifies students, including Māori, whose progress and learning needs accelerating, using a thorough assessment process and setting appropriate annual targets. Teachers plan collaboratively for target students in each hub. There is a collective responsibility for students through teacher collaboration, modelling, sharing practice and inquiring into data to identify next learning. There is a relentless focus on student progress, particularly for those identified in target groups.

Staff work together to track and monitor progress of students over time. The Amesbury Learning Framework (ALF), an online tool, gives clear guidance for expected achievement levels and next learning steps. Teachers, students and parents access and provide evidence in relation to children's learning journey.

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?

Open, transparent relationships between the board of trustees and school leaders result in reciprocal high trust and integrity. Trustees are well informed and have a persistent focus on improving student achievement and wellbeing. They bring a wide range of expertise and skill to their stewardship role. The board is resolute in their strategic thinking.

The cohesive leadership team works collaboratively to develop and enact the school's vision, values, goals and priorities. School leaders are actively involved in planning, modelling pedagogy and curriculum design. They know students, teachers and the school's community well. Leaders are highly focused on building the collective capacity of the staff to best meet the precise needs of every student. Responsive capability plans for teachers enhance professional growth.

The school has developed a flexible, future-focused curriculum where students are:

  • adaptive and resilient
  • understanding themselves as learners
  • actively involved in their learning
  • self-regulating and motivated.

Student voice is highly valued to inform change and innovation.

An extensive range of communication tools is used to support parents' knowledge about their children's learning, progress and achievement. Learning-centred relationships are supporting effective engagement and involvement of parents in the school and their children's education. Parents' aspirations for their children are responded to and their feedback valued, supporting decision-making about school practice and operation.

Students are engaged in purposeful learning activities. They know the expectations for their individual learning and confidently articulate their learning levels and goals. Their independence is fostered, enabling them to know how, where and when to access support and who from. Teachers collaboratively plan and deliver personalised programmes that enhance student ownership.

Leaders have developed systems and structures that outline expectations to guide highly effective teaching and learning. Continuing their implementation should strengthen the consistency of schoolwide practice.

The school has consulted with Māori whānau and together have formed a well-considered approach to build authentic integration through learning contexts. This has informed:

  • extending understanding of what it means to be Māori in this time and place
  • continuing to build confidence and competence in teachers' and students' use of te reo and understanding of te ao Māori.

ERO and the school have identified that having gone through the responsive start-up phase of a new school, it is now transitioning to a more stable establishment phase. Continuing to ensure the foundation procedures and practice are guided by clear documentation would further support this transition.

A clear framework and practice for review and inquiry that influences strategic direction and change is evident. Strengthening this to more explicitly incorporate expected results, should further enhance effective evaluation. This should strengthen identification of the impact innovations and initiatives are having on improving student progress, achievement and equitable outcomes.

5 Going forward

How well placed is the school to achieve and sustain equitable and excellent outcomes for all children?

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.

The board, school leaders and teachers work together and with parents to create a learning community that fosters children's wellbeing and engagement in learning. Students are confident and articulate and demonstrate that they know what it means to be a successful learner. The strong enactment of the school's vision and values, results in high levels of progress and achievement for all learners.

ERO is likely to carry out the next review in four-to-five 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
  • the school’s policy and procedures in relation to the application of the Vulnerable Children Act 2014

7 Recommendation

ERO recommends that to enable students to fulfil their potential, school leaders should continue to focus on promoting teachers' capability to foster student learning in a future-focused environment. More explicitly articulating intended outcomes should further support internal evaluation. 

Joyce Gebbie
Deputy Chief Review Officer Central

17 August 2016 

About the school 

Location

Churton Park Wellington

Ministry of Education profile number

614

School type

Contributing (Years 1 to 6)

School roll

211

Gender composition

Male 54%, Female 46%

Ethnic composition

Māori
Pākehā
Indian
Chinese
Other Asian
Other ethnic groups

  5%
45%
12%
12%
13%
13%

Review team on site

June 2016

Date of this report

17 August 2016

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

August 2013