Beaconsfield School - 25/09/2014

Findings

The board, senior leaders and teachers have been proactive in addressing the areas for review and development identified in the 2013 ERO report. They have made good progress towards ongoing schooling improvement, particularly in regards to assessment practices. Professional development has had a positive impact in building shared understandings about teaching and learning amongst teachers. The board and staff have contributed to the development of the school’s curriculum. This major piece of work will take time to complete. The school is now well placed to sustain and improve its performance.

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

1 Background and Context

What is the background and context for this school’s review?

This report follows a review by ERO in 2013. At the time of this review, assessment practices, curriculum management and governance and leadership were identified areas for improvement. Since this time, there has been a new board chairperson and all new parent-elected trustees. The principal and full-time teaching staff have not changed.

The board, senior leaders and teachers are actively involved in lifting the school’s performance and have developed a useful action plan showing how this will be achieved. They have made considerable progress and have a clear sense of direction.

2 Review and Development

How effectively is the school addressing its priorities for review and development?

The board, senior leaders and teachers have been proactive in addressing the areas for review and development. They are committed to, and have made good progress towards, ongoing improvement.

Priorities identified for review and development

The priorities for this review are:

  • assessment
  • curriculum.

Assessment

At the time of the 2013 ERO review, it was necessary for the school to improve the quality and use of learning information about students’ reading, writing and mathematics achievement.

This included the need for:

  • clear guidelines and shared understandings for teachers about expectations for student achievement at each year level in relation to the National Standards
  • better analysis of data to identify trends and patterns and clearer reporting processes to parents on their child’s progress and achievement
  • more opportunity for students to take greater responsibility for their own learning as they move through the school.
Progress

The board, senior leaders and teachers have made significant progress. They are making better use of assessment information. They have set focused annual achievement targets.

Senior leaders meet regularly to discuss school-wide achievement information. They use good-quality student achievement data to discuss patterns and trends noted with the board and teachers. This collaborative process is improving teachers' practice and classroom programmes. Trustees, school leaders and teachers can now see how well they are tracking towards meeting their annual student achievement targets.

Teachers are supported by guidelines that provide specific information about making teacher judgements in relation to the National Standards in reading, writing and mathematics. They have worked together to develop systems and processes that are well understood. As a result, teachers are more confident in the decisions they are making about student progress and achievement.

Senior leaders and teachers are using achievement information well to identify groups of students who need support or extension. Progress is tracked and a range of suitable interventions are considered and implemented to meet students' learning needs. In particular, a number of useful actions have been put in place to raise student achievement in mathematics.

Students in Years 4 to 8 have begun to set their own learning goals in reading, writing and mathematics. They are also supported to think about what action they will take to achieve their goals. This goal-setting process, along with recently introduced learning conferences involving the student, teacher and parents, is helping students to better understand what their next steps are and to take increased responsibility for their learning.

Parents now receive useful National Standards reports about their child’s progress and achievement.

Areas for further review and development

The school is in the early stages of goal setting and three-way conferences. Senior leaders and teachers recognise a need to continue to grow student independence and ownership of learning.

The board and principal should further strengthen processes to evaluate the impact of intervention programmes.

Teachers engage in professional discussions about students’ progress and achievement based on the assessment information they collect and analyse. It is timely to further consider ways teachers could be supported to document the teaching strategies they have used, or will use to make a difference to student learning.

Curriculum

At the time of the 2013 ERO review, there was considerable work to do to develop, complete and align the school’s curriculum to the New Zealand Curriculum. This included developing a deeper understanding about how the school could provide richer bicultural learning for all students.

Progress

Professional development has had a positive impact on building teachers' shared understandings about teaching and learning. Increased professional discussions have contributed to building clarity and improved teacher practices, particularly in mathematics and writing. There is a more collaborative approach to planning and assessment.

The board and staff have worked together to develop the school’s curriculum. This major piece of work will take time to complete. Since the 2013 review, the following developments have been completed:

  • the numeracy and literacy curriculums
  • a curriculum framework that supports students to focus on the same theme from different perspectives over a year
  • school values, principles and the skills students need to be effective learners
  • assessment procedures, including how teachers will evaluate teaching and learning of areas other than literacy and mathematics
  • a process for curriculum reports to the board.

Teachers have begun to further explore bicultural practices through professional development. One senior leader is currently completing a paper on te ao Māori so she is better able to support staff in this area. There is an increased level of Māori culture in classroom programmes.

Areas for further review and development

Senior leaders and ERO agree there is a need to:

  • further support the way teachers are inquiring into their own practice by establishing clear guidelines for recording the change process
  • continue to develop curriculum documentation, including ways to promote bicultural practices.

It is timely for senior leaders and teachers to give further consideration to ways they can involve students in curriculum development and decisions.

3 Sustainable performance and self review

How well placed is the school to sustain and continue to improve and review its performance?

The school is now well placed to sustain and improve its performance.

Priorities identified for review and development

At the time of the 2013 review, there were key areas of governance and management that needed to improve. This included:

  • strategic planning
  • linking programmes and practices to charter goals
  • strengthening appraisal processes
  • curriculum management
  • understanding and using self review to improve outcomes for students and monitor school operations.
Progress

The board has a shared vision and is working collaboratively. Trustees have a focus on continual improvement. They have undertaken training to support them in their roles. The trustees have established sub-committees for curriculum and self review so they are better able to contribute in these areas.

There is a stronger link between the charter, strategic and annual planning, provision of professional development, classroom practice and appraisal.

The board now has a schedule to show how self reviews are managed. Trustees are regularly reviewing the quality of policies and keep good board meeting minutes.

The action plan developed in response to ERO’s findings in 2013 is being well used to keep school leadership focused and is ensuring everyone knows what needs to happen. School leaders are working together in a more purposeful way. School-wide documentation is better organised and more useful. Staff members now have access to key school documents.

Appraisal for teachers is more comprehensive and linked closely to professional development and school targets.

Areas for further review and development

The charter is developing into a more effective document to guide school operations and support forward momentum. Trustees should further refine long-term goals and annual plans so they are more specific and manageable.

The board and school leaders should continue to develop their framework for undertaking self review. There is a need to strengthen the level of analysis of data and other learning information, such as parent surveys so that these can be better used as evidence in decision making.

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
  • processes for appointing staff
  • stand-downs, suspensions, expulsions and exclusions
  • attendance.

Conclusion

The board, senior leaders and teachers have been proactive in addressing the areas for review and development identified in the 2013 ERO report. They have made good progress towards ongoing schooling improvement, particularly in regards to assessment practices. Professional development has had a positive impact in building shared understandings about teaching and learning amongst teachers. The board and staff have contributed to the development of the school’s curriculum. This major piece of work will take time to complete. The school is now well placed to sustain and improve its performance.

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

Graham Randell

National Manager Review Services

Southern Region

25 September 2014

About the School

Location

Timaru

Ministry of Education profile number

2114

School type

Full Primary (Years 1 to 8)

School roll

109

Gender composition

Boys 51%

Girls 49%

Ethnic composition

NZ European/Pākehā

Māori

Other ethnicities

97%

2%

1%

Special Features

Host school for rural sports cluster coach

Review team on site

August 2014

Date of this report

25 September 2014

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

June 2013

October 2009

September 2006