Auckland Point School - 25/05/2016

1 Context

Auckland Point School is a small school in Nelson. Students come from across the city and from culturally diverse backgrounds. Some have English as a Second Language (ESOL) and some are short-term international students. The school roll is growing.

The school has a family-like and caring culture. Staff know the children and their families well. There is a strong focus on pastoral care and ensuring that every child has equal opportunity to participate in what the school has to offer. Students learn in spacious, open-plan classrooms. Parents are made to feel welcome.

There has been ongoing work to upgrade the school buildings and grounds. On-site buildings include a kindergarten and a young parents' school. They both make use of the school's facilities.

Since the 2012 ERO review, the school has had support from the Ministry of Education to help improve student achievement. The school has the same senior leaders but most classroom teachers are new. The majority of trustees have been on the school board for more than three years.

Progress against the recommendations in the 2012 ERO report is varied. Some recommendations have been well addressed and some partially addressed.

2 Equity and excellence

The vision and valued outcomes defined by the school are that all children will be confident, connected and actively involved lifelong learners. The vision prioritises key competencies (positive attitudes and dispositions for life and learning), literacy, numeracy and physical activity. It also emphasises respect of cultural diversity and the unique place of Māori.

The school’s achievement information shows that close to 65% of students achieved the National Standards in reading and mathematics. For writing, less than 50% reached the National Standard. Māori and Pacific achievement was significantly lower, especially Pacific. About half of the Pacific students are ESOL students and this impacts on their achievement.

Since the 2012 ERO review, the school has:

  • developed a useful plan outlining how it would address the recommendations in the 2012 ERO report and made some progress towards addressing these
  • strengthened how it values Māori and Pacific students and their cultures
  • been part of a three-year initiative to improve students’ writing achievement.

The principal and teachers are currently working to improve school-wide planning, evaluation and aligned systems.

3 Accelerating achievement

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

The school needs to urgently accelerate the progress of its Māori and Pacific students in reading, writing and mathematics so that more students reach the National Standards. Students especially need to make more progress in their first two years of school. Writing is the area of highest need.

Overall, teachers have good systems for identifying and monitoring those students who need extra support with their learning. Some show special skill in the way they use assessment to identify students’ needs. They adapt their teaching accordingly, reflect on what strategies work/don’t work and try new approaches.

School-wide systems to support Māori and Pacific (and other) students’ achievement need to be improved. These include implementing school-wide progressions for learning, tracking of individual and group progress over time and improved analysis and reporting to the board about student progress and achievement. ERO suggests that the school develops a plan as to how it will raise Māori and Pacific achievement.

The school could more effectively support all students who are making insufficient progress. To do this, school-wide systems that impact on student progress and achievement need strengthening. Most students are well supported in class with their learning. Some students make significant gains.

In addition, leaders need to:

  • regularly report to the board on the progress of its ESOL and target group students
  • consider additional interventions/support to lift progress and achievement.

Students who are learning English, benefit from tuition from a specialist teacher who is experienced in supporting ESOL students.

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?

Leaders agree that they need to improve the school’s curriculum guidelines, organisational processes, systems and practices in order for all children to experience success in their learning.

Older students, including Māori and Pacific, spoke enthusiastically to ERO about their school, learning and their teachers. New students, such as Pacific and international students, are made to feel welcome and settle quickly. The school environment celebrates Māori language and culture. Pacific culture is also valued.

Students benefit from a broad curriculum. Topic work often includes local contexts and a Māori dimension. Students enjoy varied art experiences, including the performing arts. They frequently go on interesting trips beyond the school. Classroom environments are visually attractive, include appropriate resources and students’ work is well displayed.

The school’s values are visible and known by the students. There is an appropriate focus on the key competencies (desired attitudes and behaviours). Core Māori values, such as manakitanga (culture of care) and whanaungatanga (family-like relationships) are very evident.

Through informal and formal meetings and reports, parents are well informed about their children’s learning. Teachers share useful ideas and resources with parents so that they know how they can best help their children.

The school provides a supportive and caring environment for its Māori and Pacific children. Leaders and teachers have worked hard to build positive relationships with their families. They have also developed a whakawhanaungatanga plan that describes how the school will value Māori students and their culture. The next step is to gather and formally report to the board, these parents’ wishes for their children’s learning and what the school intends to do.

There are some gaps in curriculum guidelines and supporting documents. Similarly, there are no guidelines, systems or schedule to support regular, planned review of the curriculum, teaching and learning.

The principal has updated and improved guidelines and systems for teachers’ appraisal. These improvements are in the early stages of implementation. The external appraisal of the principal needs to better comply with the expectations and guidelines of the Education Council of Aotearoa New Zealand.

Trustees show a strong commitment to providing the best for Auckland Point students. They bring relevant skills and knowledge to their governance role and show a commitment to ongoing learning.

School leaders and the board often seek parent and staff views on different matters. The board needs to extend this to include general satisfaction surveys of parents and staff.

The school has developed useful strategic goals and accompanying plans. It is working towards aligning other school systems to these. The next step is to report to the board in greater depth on how well the school is progressing towards implementing these and other plans.

The school’s charter includes targets to lift the achievement of identified groups of students in literacy and mathematics. School leaders need to better track the progress of these students and regularly report this to the board.

5 Going forward

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

Leaders and teachers:

  • have not yet adequately built their knowledge of the children whose learning and achievement need to be accelerated
  • have not yet adequately established necessary conditions to effectively accelerate learning and achievement
  • are not well placed to achieve and sustain equitable and excellent outcomes for all children.

ERO intends to carry out a process of ongoing evaluation to support development over the course of one-to-two 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

  • provision for international students.

Provision for international students

The school is a signatory to the Code of Practice for the Pastoral Care of International Students (the Code) established under section 238F of the Education Act 1989. The school has attested that it complies with all aspects of the Code.

At the time of this review, there were five international students attending the school.

The students are well supported. They are fully included in, and enjoy school activities.

7 Recommendations

Next steps for this school are to:

  • lift student progress and achievement, especially for Māori and Pacific students
  • provide the board with more frequent and better analysed information on student progress and achievement
  • review and develop the school’s curriculum and supporting documents so that there are clear school-wide expectations and systems to support teaching and learning
  • deepen leaders’ and trustees’ understanding of effective evaluation/self review
  • regularly carry out planned reviews of different learning areas and/or teaching practices and/or special programmes/initiatives
  • continue to implement and embed improvements to the appraisal of all staff. 

Chris Rowe

Deputy Chief Review Officer Southern (Acting)

25 May 2016 

About the school

Location

Nelson

Ministry of Education profile number

3181

School type

Contributing (Years 1 to 6)

School roll

87

Number of international students

5

Gender composition

Girls 46; Boys 41

Ethnic composition

Māori

Pākehā

Pacific

German

Other ethnicities

17

44

17

5

4

Review team on site

March 2016

Date of this report

25 May 2016

Most recent ERO reports

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

December 2012

November 2009

December 2006