Anchorage Park School - 09/06/2016

1 Context

Anchorage Park School in Pakuranga, has a positive history of ERO reports and is highly regarded by its community. Families appreciate the school's small, family-oriented atmosphere. Long-serving and new staff and trustees provide stability and balance. In 2015 the school and Anchorage Park Kindergarten were runners up in the Prime Minister's Education Excellence Awards for their transition to school programme.

2 Equity and excellence

The vision and valued outcomes defined by the school for all children are expressed in the motto, 'Achieving success through perseverance and striving for excellence'. Treat others with kindness and respect, work hard, never give up, be honest and make wise choices, are values that are easily articulated by children and regularly reinforced through classroom programmes.

The school’s achievement information shows that about 75 percent of children achieve well in relation to the National Standards in reading, writing and maths. There has been a decline in writing and maths achievement over the last two years for some groups. About two-thirds of Māori children achieve at or above the National Standards. Overall, Pacific children achieve well, especially in literacy. By Year 6, most of the children who have attended Anchorage Park for all of their primary schooling achieve very well in National Standards. The principal is confident that in-school moderation helps to ensure that teacher judgements about student achievement are reliable.

Since the 2011 ERO evaluation the school has strengthened its target setting for groups of children who are underachieving in relation to the National Standards, and for those who achieve well and whose learning needs extending. Senior leaders have improved their analysis of achievement information and have continued to refine tracking systems to monitor progress and identify which children might benefit from additional support. Teachers have had access to a variety of relevant professional development programmes to develop their reflective practice and shared understandings of effective teaching, particularly for target learners.

3 Accelerating achievement

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

School leaders and teachers have good processes for identifying Māori children who are at risk of not achieving equitable outcomes and are becoming increasingly responsive to their learning needs. School leaders have identified accelerating Māori children's progress as a priority. They have developed specific targets and action plans to lift achievement. School-wide practices for sharing successful strategies for raising achievement are proving helpful in implementing these plans.

School leaders and teachers are building their cultural knowledge to help them make stronger connections with children and whānau. Teachers are developing their ability to identify children who demonstrate giftedness from a Māori cultural perspective. The board has recently employed a Kaiārahi i te reo Māori. She is continuing the kapa haka programme and has started to teach te reo Māori in the senior school.

The school's te reo Māori implementation plan was last reviewed in 2012 and is appropriately identified for review again in the current year's annual plan. Ensuring that children's learning in te reo Māori is sufficiently challenging as they move through the school, and broadening it to include links to local iwi, tikanga and Te Ao Māori should further support Māori to succeed as Māori.

Strengthening partnerships with Māori whānau is important to school leaders and teachers. A wide range of strategies are used to provide whānau with information about their child's learning and to maximise the educational benefits of these partnerships for children.

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

In addition to their good processes for identifying children whose learning needs to be accelerated, teachers are also developing their ability to respond to children who demonstrate giftedness from Pacific cultural perspectives.

Teachers meet weekly to share approaches that they have found successful in improving the learning for individuals or groups of children. This professional development is contributing to staff taking shared responsibility for the progress and achievement of learners across the whole school.

Teachers could now identify and link the goals each child will achieve, to the strategies they use to accelerate learning. Specific next learning steps and potential whānau support for this progress could also be refined and documented for each child.

Additional learning support for children whose learning needs to be accelerated, includes teacher aides and withdrawal literacy and numeracy programmes. The principal closely tracks and monitors the progress these children make. Information about the outcomes and effectiveness of intervention and support programmes, should be reported, with evaluative commentary, to the board to assist its decision making.

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 priorities for equity and excellence?

The school has a variety of effective processes and practices that promote equity and excellence.

The principal's leadership has continued to contribute to the positive, inclusive and nurturing school culture. Staff work proactively with children and whānau to ensure that they have access to the resources or support they need so that children feel safe and can be successful at school.

The school is exploring ways to further develop the learning partnership they have with whānau to improve learning outcomes for children. This could include consulting them about developing the bicultural and multicultural curriculum, reinforcing the value that the school places on their cultural backgrounds.

School leaders and the new entrant teacher have continued to develop effective links with the adjacent kindergarten and other early childhood centres. Most children and their parents are involved in the transition programme and as a result children settle quickly and are ready to learn. School leaders and teachers have continued to strengthen their networks, which include other local schools. These practices support children as they transition out of primary school and also contribute to teachers' ongoing professional learning.

Teachers have been provided with opportunities to extend their leadership capability. This has had a positive impact on the quality of children's learning experiences, particularly in mathematics and science. Senior leaders have recently taken responsibility for strengthening the appraisal and peer mentoring programme for teachers. This has included using Tātaiako: Cultural Competencies for Teachers of Māori Learners to help teachers support Māori to succeed as Māori.

Teachers use an increasing variety of strategies to know children's strengths, needs and interests at school and beyond the classroom. Children know that perseverance is valued and that they can take risks in their learning. Science is used effectively to motivate and engage children across the curriculum and provides authentic contexts for literacy learning. School leaders and teachers could now evaluate how well the curriculum and inquiry approach support children to become life-long learners.

Teachers share achievement information with children and support them to develop learning goals. Most children can talk confidently about their learning, but are not always clear about what the current focus of their learning is in reading, writing and maths. A review of the systems used to support children to take ownership of their learning is the next step in further developing personalised learning for all children. Greater coherence should particularly support children whose learning requires acceleration, as they move through the school.

The school regularly surveys parents and children and trustees have recently consulted with the community to review the strategic plan.

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 school has very good processes to support children as they transition into the school. Processes for identifying and responding to children whose learning needs acceleration are well established. Teachers regularly reflect on their practice and share successful strategies. Teachers' professional learning and development is ongoing. The board continues to strengthen partnerships with whānau. Collaborative governance and leadership position the school well to sustain and build on current good practices.

To more clearly assure the board that interventions for accelerating learning are having the desired effect school leaders and teachers should:

  • evaluate the extent to which shared expectations of teaching and learning are being implemented, particularly for children who require additional learning support
  • consider further ways to assist teachers in their moderation of overall judgements in relation to National Standards
  • review the programme for internal evaluation to ensure it includes all key areas relating to accelerated learning
  • include evaluative commentary in their internal evaluation and achievement reports.

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 Recommendations

ERO recommends that to further develop teacher practice and improve learning outcomes senior leaders and teachers should continue to refine their internal evaluation practices. 

Graham Randell

Deputy Chief Review Officer Northern

9 June 2016

About the school

Location

Pakuranga, Auckland

Ministry of Education profile number

1204

School type

Contributing (Years 1 to 6)

School roll

159

Gender composition

Boys 90, Girls 69

Ethnic composition

Māori

Pākehā

Samoan

Tongan

Indian

Middle Eastern

Chinese

other Pacific

other Asian

other

24%

28%

9%

9%

4%

4%

3%

7%

4%

8%

Review team on site

April 2016

Date of this report

9 June 2016

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

October 2011

September 2008

November 2005