Arthur Miller School - 24/12/2018

School Context

Arthur Miller School in Napier has students in Years 1 to 6. The roll has continued to grow since the March 2016 ERO report and there are currently 366 children attending. Twenty one percent identify as Māori.

The vision defined by the school is for all children to strive for excellence. ‘3C’ values underpin the vision – being ‘Caring (Kia Manaakitanga), Collaborative (Kia Mahi Tahi) and Curious (Kia Pakiki)’. The current priority for improvement in student outcomes is to continue to raise achievement through extending teacher capability in the teaching and assessment of reading and writing.

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

  • achievement in reading, writing and mathematics
  • end-of-year progress and achievement in relation to school targets for reading and writing
  • outcomes for children with additional learning needs
  • wellbeing.

Since mid-2017, a new principal and members of the senior leadership team have been appointed. Some of these appointments have included existing staff. Recent developments in enhancing learning, linked to the vision, are the adoption of a learning through play approach in the junior school, introducing a shared hub space in the middle area and encouraging ‘bring your own device’ in the senior classrooms.

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?

The school’s achievement information shows that in the past three years most students are at or above expectation in reading, writing and mathematics. Nearly all achieve the expected curriculum level as they leave Year 6.

Most Māori students achieve well in reading and mathematics. The disparity between Māori and non-Māori overall achievement in literacy areas has declined over time. It remains significant in writing. Girls achieve higher in literacy and lower in mathematics than boys. The gap is small and has remained similar over the past three years.

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

A range of processes and practices identify and successfully assist Māori and other students to accelerate their progress to meet curriculum expectation at their year level. School data indicates that in the past two years around half of those below curriculum expectation in reading, writing or mathematics made this significant accelerated shift.

A range of appropriate programmes are in place for children identified as having additional needs and requiring learning support. Teachers work closely with families and external agencies to develop collaborative action plans and to provide suitable assistance. Well-considered transition for these students successfully supports their inclusion. Progress is regularly monitored and outcomes for specific programmes are reported to the board of trustees.

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 highly supportive learning environment is conducive to enhancing children’s wellbeing and learning. The ‘3C’ values promote wellbeing, underpin positive relationships and empower students to take greater responsibility for their learning. Student voice is valued and responded to.

Student strengths and interests are well known and fostered through a broad curriculum attuned to learner interests, including challenge and encouragement to problem solve. Providing opportunities to ‘learn to learn’ across the curriculum are prioritised. Learner self-direction is promoted through a range of deliberate teacher strategies. Students increasingly lead their own learning. Goals are set to assist achievement of realistic next steps. Well-resourced environments enrich learning.

Partnerships with families and the community are promoted. Children share their learning with parents and whānau. Transition-to-school programmes ensure students and their families are well supported to begin school. Learning strengths and needs are promptly recognised and responded to.

Valuing and promoting te ao Māori is prioritised in schoolwide practices and within classrooms. Student learning is enriched through access to te reo me ngā tikanga Māori. Teachers continue to build knowledge and understanding of competencies likely to extend success of Māori students.

A systematic focus on building teaching and leadership capability successfully contributes to improvement. A collaborative approach is prioritised. Professional learning is aligned to strategic priorities, teacher and student needs. Relevant internal and external professional expertise is used to grow knowledge and understanding of effective practice to promote learning.

An appropriate framework for appraisal has been developed over the past year. The Standards for the Teaching Profession are used to promote teachers’ understanding of their capability and to set goals for improvement. Appraisal includes reflection about practice and provides opportunities for teachers to learn from their peers and share their learning. Leaders continue to ensure the focus of appraisal is on improving teaching to enhance valued learner outcomes.

Expectations for teaching and learning are collaboratively developed by senior leaders. The principal effectively promotes inquiry and knowledge building to support student outcomes. Building leadership capability across the school is prioritised.

Trustees confidently carry out their role and effectively meet statutory responsibilities. They focus on knowing about and improving student learning, wellbeing and achievement. A range of student data and information is accessed to support understanding of school effectiveness and to contribute to decision making. Progress towards objectives identified in the annual plan is regularly reported by the principal. Trustees review their effectiveness in supporting the school to realise its vision, values and strategic objectives.

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

Assessment processes have been strengthened and are contributing to greater consistency across the school. Leaders and teachers should continue to build assessment practice through further clarifying the process for making dependable overall judgements, relative to curriculum expectation and identifying specific measures to show the extent of acceleration in learning.

Students below expectation are identified through reference to a range of assessment information. Strategies are put in place to support accelerated progress for the identified children. The school is continuing to develop targeting processes to increase its effectiveness in accelerating learning. Further development should include ensuring more focused responses for those learners identified as part of the targets and more deeply evaluating the impact of strategies on the outcomes for these learners.

Expectations for teacher practices that will promote successful learning are regularly shared. Leaders should continue to build consistency of implementation across the school of high quality teaching and learning practices identified as contributing to valued outcomes.

Evaluation frameworks are in place to support ongoing review and development. Strengthening analysis of outcome information should better support identifying the impact of strategies and promote continued improvement.

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 Going forward

Key strengths of the school

For sustained improvement and future learner success, the school can draw on existing strengths in:

  • a consistently high percentage of students achieving well in the foundation areas of reading, writing and mathematics
  • enactment of the caring, collaboration and curiosity values that support positive relationships and purposeful learning
  • a future-focused curriculum that supports learners to develop their ability to direct their own learning
  • expectations and processes in place that support ongoing improvement
  • knowledgeable trustees with a focus on improving conditions to promote student wellbeing and learning.

Next steps

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

  • continuing to improve assessment practice
  • ensuring consistent implementation of teaching and learning expectations
  • improved analysis of outcome information to strengthen evaluation.

ERO’s next external evaluation process and timing

ERO is likely to carry out the next external evaluation in three years.

Phil Cowie

Director Review and Improvement Services

Central Region

24 December 2018

About the school

Location

Napier

Ministry of Education profile number

2543

School type

Contributing Primary (Years 1 to 6)

School roll

366

Gender composition

Female 51%, Male 49%

Ethnic composition

Māori 21%
Pacific 1%
Pākehā 71%
Asian 4%
Other ethnic groups 3%

Students with Ongoing Resourcing Funding (ORS)

No

Provision of Māori medium education

No

Review team on site

November 2018

Date of this report

24 December 2018

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review March 2016
Education Review February 2012
Education Review December 2008