Anchorage Park School - 12/10/2011

1 Context

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

Anchorage Park School is a Year 1 to 6 primary school in East Auckland. Students enjoy the benefits of the small, family-focused, community-oriented school. The school’s good relationships with the neighbouring kindergarten and intermediate school help students to make smooth transitions into and between schools in the local area.

The school’s long-serving principal brings stability and experience to school management. Together with the dedicated board of trustees, the principal provides capable leadership and guides ongoing school improvement. Parents are supportive of the school. The good information they receive about student achievement enables them to work in partnership with teachers to support their children’s progress in learning.

The school has an inclusive tone and a clear focus on improving outcomes for students. Students’ cultural backgrounds are valued and those with additional learning needs are well catered for. In 2010 the Sommerville Special School established a satellite unit within the school. The setting up of the satellite class was consultative and well managed. Children in the unit and in the mainstream enjoy mutual benefits from opportunities to play and learn together.

The school has a history of positive ERO reports. Senior managers welcome external feedback and use it to strengthen their own self review. Staff work collegially and are encouraged to share good teaching practices. They use student achievement information to meet the identified learning needs of students.

The school operates effectively and is well placed to make ongoing improvements that have a positive impact on students’ learning.

2 Learning

How well are students learning – engaging, progressing and achieving?

Students make good progress and, overall, achieve well. Teachers collect reliable information about levels of student achievement in reading, writing and numeracy. Data reported to the board shows that students make very good progress in the junior years and by Years 4, 5 and 6 the majority are achieving above national expectations in reading, spelling and numeracy. The data enables the principal to identify targets for improving the achievement of individual children and of specific groups.

Teachers have identified writing as an area that needs further attention. Literacy data for 2011 shows that most students are achieving at levels that are either at or below expected levels in writing. Teachers are undertaking professional learning in teaching and assessing written language and, consequently, are seeing an improvement in student achievement. Teachers are further developing their assessment practices so that they cover all strands of the mathematics curriculum.

Teachers are well supported to work with National Standards. They use a variety of assessment and observation strategies to form judgements about student achievement in relation to the National Standards in reading, writing and numeracy. Teachers’ overall judgements about student achievement levels in relation to the National Standards are moderated within the school and are reported clearly to parents.

Achievement information is used purposefully. Teachers group children for learning and monitor their progress carefully. The achievement of specific groups of students, including Māori and Pacific students and those with English as a second language, is collated and reported separately. Achievement data shows student progress across the year and is used to identify students whose progress could be further accelerated.

Respectful and trusting relationships between students and teachers provide a positive environment for learning. Students work cooperatively and develop confidence as learners. The board resources programmes for students who are achieving below expectations. Identified students have opportunities to work in classrooms with specialist reading teachers and learning support staff. School leaders coordinate and evaluate these interventions to ensure that students’ learning needs are being met effectively.

The board is making good progress in implementing the National Standards. School leaders agree they could strengthen reporting by:

  • identifying specific targets in relation to the National Standards for groups of students who are underachieving
  • extending the analysis of student achievement to report on the progress of students overall and on the progress of groups of students during their time in the school.

How well does the school promote Māori student success and success as Māori?

Māori students, who comprise 25% of the school roll, achieve well overall. School data shows that Māori students make good progress and reach achievement levels similar to those of their peers. Teachers and trustees engage effectively with Māori parents and whānau. Māori parents and whānau support student learning through their involvement in the school’s reporting and conferencing systems. Māori whānau also support student engagement through their involvement in kapa haka and other school-wide cultural and sporting events.

The board has recently included the goals of Ka Hikitia, Managing for Success, the Ministry of Education’s Māori education strategy, in the school charter. School managers are beginning to review the progress the school is making towards implementing the Ka Hikitia strategy. Ongoing evaluation will help to improve the coordination of school initiatives that promote the goal of ‘Māori enjoying success as Māori’.

3 Curriculum

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

Students benefit from a curriculum that has a strong focus on literacy and numeracy. Children learn to read and write from their early years at school and enjoy frequent opportunities to extend their oral language skills. Senior students are confident communicators and active participants in learning. Numeracy leadership is strong across the school and students show interest in and enthusiasm for learning mathematics.

The curriculum is broad and interesting. Students enjoy the school’s strong emphasis on sport and physical activity as well as on visual art, cultural performance and environmental sustainability programmes. Student representatives from each class contribute ideas about how to make the school a good place for learning. Teachers create learning environments that reflect their expectations and support students to become self-managing and responsible learners.

Senior teachers have strengthened the school’s curriculum plan. The emphasis on the values and key competencies of The New Zealand Curriculum is evident in classroom programmes. The principal has good monitoring systems that support teachers’ planning and assessment practices. Teachers are encouraged to share achievement information with students to help them set personal learning goals. Teachers are also encouraged to use student progress and achievement information to evaluate the effectiveness of their teaching practice.

Parents have input into the curriculum. The school has surveyed parents about health and physical education, new reporting procedures, and student behaviour and management. Senior managers work collaboratively with the principal to strengthen school-wide teaching and learning practices. They agree that areas for further development could include:

  • continuing to develop strategies for questioning, researching and presenting topic-based learning to strengthen school-wide approaches to inquiry-based learning
  • sharing achievement information more explicitly with students so that they can track their own learning progress and take greater ownership of their learning.

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 principal is a capable school leader and keeps teachers and trustees up to date with developments in education. The school charter is relevant to the needs of the school and is well aligned with the school’s management programme. Good planning and reporting systems ensure that the board is systematically informed about its obligations and priorities.

Teachers are well resourced to provide high quality education in the classroom. Teachers actively participate as learners and best practice is shared across the school. Teachers work in syndicates and implement consistent classroom management strategies. Some classroom environments are particularly well focused on supporting students’ progress in learning. Appraisal systems support the development of teachers’ professional skills.

Self review is an effective part of the school’s culture and frequently draws on information from parents. A schedule of self review supports trustees to reflect on their policies and National Administration Guideline (NAG) responsibilities. Reports to the board commonly contain analysed information and recommendations for improvement in school operations. This evaluative reporting supports good governance and management relationships.

The board is well led and all members have undertaken recent training in school governance. Trustees review their own operations and have considered using a more strategic approach to planning and reporting. ERO is confident that the school’s clear focus on student learning outcomes will continue to support ongoing school improvement.

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
  • 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 four-to-five years.

Richard Thornton National Manager Review Services Northern Region

12 October 2011

About the School

Location

Pakuranga, Auckland

Ministry of Education profile number

1204

School type

Contributing (Years 1 to 6)

Decile

4

School roll

134

Gender composition

Boys 50%, Girls 50%

Ethnic composition

NZ European/Pākehā

Māori

Pacific

Indian

Chinese

Middle Eastern

African

other European

34%

25%

24%

5%

4%

3%

2%

3%

Special Features

Satellite Unit of Sommerville Special School

Review team on site

August 2011

Date of this report

12 October 2011

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

September 2008

November 2005

August 2002