Avondale Primary School (Auckland) - 22/08/2019

School Context

Avondale Primary School (Auckland) caters for students from Years 1 to 6. The roll of 331 includes many students with Māori and Pacific heritage and increasing diversity in students’ ethnicities and home languages.

The school has undergone staff and leadership changes over recent years. The senior leadership team consists of a newly appointed principal and assistant principal, the deputy principal and one senior teacher.

In 2018 the school began a re-visioning process. This has resulted in the development of the school’s SHINE values of Whakaute – Respect, Manawaroa – Resilience, Waihanga-tanga – Creativity, and Pono – Integrity. The school’s stated vision is ‘Connected and creative learners, thinkers and communicators who can effectively make a difference’. Leaders see their role as helping children to achieve this vision through genuine relationships and meaningful opportunities. They are developing a local curriculum that is relevant and responsive to their school.

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

  • achievement in reading, writing, and mathematics
  • self review including professional development, organisational systems and processes
  • culturally responsive practices
  • health and safety
  • wellbeing and pastoral care.

The school’s strategic priorities for improving valued student outcomes and success include:

  • raising student learning and achievement by strengthening teacher pedagogy
  • increasing student engagement and progress through rich learning environments and learner-focused partnerships
  • developing processes that give teachers and leaders the information needed to change and adapt teaching practices
  • developing a sustainable, distributed leadership model across the school.

The 2015 ERO report noted that Avondale Primary School was working to improve student learning and achievement. Students had good relationships with each other and their teachers. The school was continuing to develop its curriculum to more effectively respond to the diverse cultures and languages of its students. Since 2015 the school has made good progress in all of these areas.

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?

School data show that the school is making good progress in achieving equitable and excellent outcomes for students. A large majority of students achieve at or above expected national curriculum levels in reading, writing and mathematics. Very good shifts in student achievement have been made in recent years. Gender disparity has decreased in reading and writing, and especially in maths.

Leaders have established ways to analyse data and monitor achievement. Team leaders and teachers are strengthening their assessment practices and analysis of information to help them respond to students’ learning needs. They are developing an increased focus on supporting target groups of students.

School leaders and teachers focus on knowing the whole child. School data show that most students achieve well in relation to the school’s valued outcomes, for students to be:

  • happy and engaged in their learning
  • confident in their language, culture and identity
  • inclusive in their attitudes and actions
  • digitally proficient
  • confident, articulate and enjoying learning.

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

The school is actively implementing strategies to support the acceleration of learning for Māori and other students who need this. School leaders prioritise raising achievement levels for all students. Parity of achievement is increasing for Māori students in reading, writing and mathematics.

Teachers are developing culturally responsive practices to better support student learning. They use a variety of approaches, including tuakana/teina relationships and mixed ability groupings to grow learners’ confidence and engagement.

A recently appointed Special Education Needs Co-ordinator (SENCO) has introduced good schoolwide systems and processes to improve provision for children with additional learning needs. The school’s intervention programmes are responsive to students’ learning needs. Ongoing collaborative planning and review with parents, whānau and external agencies, support individualised programmes for students who need this.

To further reduce disparity for Māori, Pacific, and other cohorts who need to make accelerated progress, it would be timely to review and more clearly define school focuses and strategies. This should increase coherence and improve the impact of actions to accelerate 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?

School processes and practices are increasingly effective in enabling achievement of equity and excellence, and acceleration of learning.

The board has strengthened school stewardship. Trustees have a sound understanding of their governance role and make good use of their skills and knowledge to support the board’s work. They are continuing to review governance practices as Treaty of Waitangi partners. Trustees scrutinise a range of reports and information sources to help them make informed decisions to benefit students. The board has used external expertise to help determine the future direction of the school, and in the appointment of the new principal.

The board and senior leadership team work collaboratively and strategically to support the school’s direction and vision. They promote improvement and innovation across the school, with well-considered change management strategies and an appropriate sense of urgency. Leaders are establishing an inclusive school culture and developing distributed leadership opportunities for staff and students.

Leaders have high expectations of themselves, teachers, students and the wider school community. They are developing robust systems to support staff in developing a shared understanding of the school’s pedagogical direction. They support teachers well to strengthen teaching and learning approaches. Effective strategies include coaching, mentoring and modelling. Relevant ongoing professional development and good use of internal and external expertise are resulting in improved learner-focused teaching practices. Leaders make good use of professional networks to build their own and staff capability.

Staff have an increasingly collaborative focus on fostering student outcomes, progress and achievement. They use their knowledge of students’ holistic wellbeing and shared achievement data to inform decisions about learning programmes.

Leaders and teachers are developing processes to extend learning partnerships with whanau/families. Innovative learning environments are being trialled in the junior and senior teams to encourage collaborative approaches to teaching and learning. A digital student profile (‘Huarahi’) is supporting a change to personalised learning where the student, teachers and parents share information about learning, progress and achievement. Teachers are developing culturally sustainable practices to better support student learning.

Leaders use internal evaluation in a range of ways to reflect on their practice. Teachers and leaders are beginning to use collaborative inquiry processes that focus more specifically on raising student achievement, and on target groups of students. Leaders have developed a teacher appraisal system that includes using student achievement information to guide teachers’ ongoing reflection and evaluation of practice.

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

Leaders and teachers should continue with initiatives to improve curriculum provision and strengthen teaching and learning across the school. This includes strengthening effective teaching practices that promote student agency, and extending and embedding bicultural practices.

Continuing to improve community engagement to sustain a culturally responsive school culture is a school priority. Leaders and teachers are seeking to establish implicit whānau/parent partnerships to fully realise whānau/parents as significant participants in their children’s learning journey. They are continuing to build the ‘Huarahi’ digital platform to support more transparent sharing and ‘real time’ reporting of children’s learning.

Leaders and trustees are continuing to review systems and practices for ongoing improvement of school operations and board processes. This should include implementing a programme of induction and training for new trustees. Leaders should also continue to refine teacher appraisal processes.

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 Avondale Primary School performance in achieving valued outcomes for its students is: Well placed.

ERO’s Framework: Overall School Performance 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:

  • leadership vision that provides a strong foundation for continued school development
  • professional capability building that is underpinned by high expectations and strategic decision-making
  • internal evaluation that promotes continuous reflection and ongoing improvement.

Next steps

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

  • build teaching and learning capabilities
  • strengthen reciprocal community relationships that support students’ learning, progress and achievement
  • refine and build on evaluative processes to maximise ongoing improvement.

Steve Tanner

Director Review and Improvement Services Northern

Northern Region

22 August 2019

About the school

Location

Auckland

Ministry of Education profile number

1213

School type

Contributing (Years 1 to 6)

School roll

331

Gender composition

Girls 52% Boys 48%

Ethnic composition

Māori 22%
NZ European/Pākehā 16%
Samoan 17%
Indian 10%
Tongan 6%
Chinese 6%
Middle Eastern 5%
other Pacific groups 5%
other ethnic groups 13%

Students with Ongoing Resourcing Funding (ORS)

Yes

Provision of Māori medium education

No

Review team on site

June 2019

Date of this report

22 August 2019

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review November 2015
Education Review February 2012
Education Review June 2008