Ascot Community School - 04/05/2020

School Context

Ascot Community School is a Year 1-8 primary school in Invercargill. Of its 301 students, 56% identify as New Zealand European, 31% as Māori and 13% as other ethnic groups. Since the January 2016 ERO review, the roll has significantly increased and become more diverse. During each school year a significant number of students arrive from or leave for other schools.

The school’s vision for its learners is that they will develop a life-long interest in learning, learn in a caring environment and develop the values of honesty, excellence, respect and ownership.

To achieve this vision the school has identified four strategic goals. These are to ensure: student achievement is raised (in writing for 2019); Māori and Pacific students are engaged, achieving well, and have pride in their identity, language and culture; teachers are well supported professionally; and that the board of trustees provides relevant resources for an effective teaching and learning environment.

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

  • achievement in the annual focus area (e.g. writing in 2019)
  • progress in relation to school targets or interventions to lift achievement
  • wellbeing.

Since the January 2016 ERO review, teachers have been involved in substantial professional learning and development (PLD) to improve mathematics and written language achievement, and promote students’ physical activity, positive behaviours and engagement. There has been little change in the board of trustees.

The school is part of a cluster of local and rural schools which cooperate to provide social and sporting opportunities for students. Its technology block is used by students from three of these schools.

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 is working towards achieving equitable and excellent outcomes for all its students.

At the end of 2019, the majority of students achieved at or above the school’s expected levels in reading and writing. Half achieved at or above expected levels in mathematics. Most achieved the school’s desired understandings in a health and social science inquiry topic.

In 2019, girls achieved significantly better than boys in writing. There was a small disparity for Māori learners in mathematics.

A recent report on student wellbeing indicates that most students feel positive about school, believe systems are fair and that there are adults who will help them if there is a concern.

1.2 How well is the school accelerating learning for students who need this?

The school has been very successful in accelerating the learning of students who have been part of target groups or interventions to lift achievement.

In 2019, over three quarters of a large group of students, targeted to improve their writing, made accelerated progress. Of these students, over half reached their expected level by the end of the year. Of the Year 1 and 2 students taking part in a reading intervention most made accelerated progress. Almost all did so in a second literacy intervention.

In 2018, over two thirds of a smaller group of students taking part in a mathematics intervention made accelerated progress.

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 school is caring and inclusive. Its open-door culture makes students and parents feel valued and welcome. Students value and include others with additional needs. Students at all year levels know the school values, and older students have a range of leadership opportunities.

Leaders and teachers deliberately build constructive relationships in order to support students’ learning and wellbeing. Leaders work closely with external agencies and experts to access help for students’ learning and pastoral needs. Children with additional needs are very well supported as a result of these close partnerships, careful monitoring and individualised learning plans.

Initiatives to help students reach expected achievement levels have been very successful. Specialised staff, relevant PLD for teachers and well-planned interventions have contributed to this. Key staff and leaders with oversight have ensured initiatives are well implemented, students’ rates of progress are monitored and analysed, and the board is well informed about the difference made for students.

Some school systems have had a positive impact on improving outcomes for students. Curriculum teams lead a range of initiatives to improve student engagement and behaviour, strengthen the integration of te reo and te ao Māori and promote physical activity. This approach is building staff capacity, ensuring leadership is more distributed and using teachers’ interests and strengths for the benefit of students.

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

School leaders have identified several priorities for ongoing development. These are strengthening students’ confidence, resilience and engagement, and ensuring Māori children experience success as Māori and their culture and language are valued. ERO’s review process affirmed these priorities. Lifting overall student achievement and addressing disparities in achievement for some groups is an ongoing challenge.

In order to meet these challenges and priorities, the next steps are to:

  • make sure that these priorities become central to the school’s strategic and annual goals

  • ensure that leaders provide regular, well-analysed achievement reports to the board in reading, writing and mathematics so that trustees can make resourcing and other decisions based on how well different groups of students are achieving

  • strengthen internal evaluation so that trustees, leaders and teachers have a better understanding of what is making the greatest positive difference for students, what needs to improve and how

  • ensure more deliberate planning to promote success as Māori, culturally responsive practices and the provision of rich opportunities for all students to learn te reo Māori and about te ao Māori.

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 Children’s Act 2014.

4 ERO’s Overall Judgement

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

ERO’s Framework: Overall Findings and Judgement Tool derived from School Evaluation Indicators: Effective Practice for Improvement and Learner Success 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 caring, inclusive and welcoming culture that helps students and their families feel valued and promotes positive relationships
  • how well students with additional needs and those who are part of specific interventions have been supported in order to make good progress with their learning
  • the relevant PLD that is helping teachers better meet students’ needs and interests.

Next steps

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

  • ensuring strategic and annual goals focus on what is likely to make the greatest different for students’ learning and wellbeing
  • making sure that trustees are well informed about the achievement of different groups of students in reading, writing and mathematics so that they can make sound resourcing decisions
  • strengthening internal evaluation in order to have a better understanding of what is going well for students and their learning, what is not, what needs to change and how
  • deliberate PLD and planning for success as Māori, culturally responsive practices and provision of rich opportunities for all students to learn te reo Māori and about te ao Māori.

Recommendations related to compliance

To improve current practices related to the requirement that schools consult with their Māori community, ERO strongly encourages the school to:

  • ensure that consultation happens every year
  • find more successful ways of gathering Maori parents’ views and ideas about how their children could be best supported in their culture and learning.

Dr Lesley Patterson

Director Review and Improvement Services Southern

Southern Region

4 May 2020

About the school

Location

Invercargill

Ministry of Education profile number

1625

School type

Full primary (Years 1-8)

School roll

301

Gender composition

Male 52%, Female 48%

Ethnic composition

Māori 31%
NZ European / Pākehā 56%
Asian 5%
Pacific 3%
Other ethnic groups 5%

Students with Ongoing Resourcing Funding (ORS)

Yes

Provision of Māori medium education

No

Review team on site

December 2019

Date of this report

4 May 2020

Most recent ERO reports

Education Review January 2016
Education Review December 2012
Education Review June 2009