Beckenham School - 29/02/2016

Findings

Beckenham School provides very good quality learning programmes and pastoral care for students. Strong relationships within the school and with the community support students’ learning and wellbeing. School-wide achievement is continuing to improve. The board consults widely regarding areas of importance for ongoing school improvement. School leadership is a significant strength. Reflection, inclusion and collaboration define the school’s positive culture.

ERO is likely to carry out the next review in four-to-five years. 

1 Context

What are the important features of this school that have an impact on student learning?

Strong connections and relationships with the school’s community, including the parent teacher association and a local education cluster, continue to benefit students’ learning and wellbeing. Recent centenary celebrations provided an opportunity for all students to investigate the school’s long history and compare it to modern education.

The school’s roll is continuing to grow and become more diverse. Stable leadership is contributing to increasingly meaningful collaboration at teaching and learning levels. Use of the adjoining park extends opportunities for students’ learning and enjoyment. Over time, many students have won a number of scholarships to secondary schools.

The school is proactively managing the planning for the major redevelopment, in 2016, of most classrooms. During this time, the number of on-site classrooms attached to a local special education school will increase to two.

School leaders and staff have maintained the strengths that were identified in the 2012 ERO review. Their positive response to external evaluation is apparent in the way all areas for improvement in that review have been addressed.

2 Learning

How well does this school use achievement information to make positive changes to learners’ engagement, progress and achievement?

The school uses achievement information very well to make positive changes to learners’ engagement, progress and achievement.

A significant development in this area since the 2012 ERO review is the way teachers and team leaders now use achievement information to develop learning targets for the school’s charter. The benefits of this are apparent in the way:

  • students’ learning progress, either in groups or as individuals, is a consistent focus of professional discussions that are informed by data
  • teacher ownership of achievement information, leadership and expertise are promoted with responsibilities shared
  • improved use of data in teachers’ planning and practices is helping to identify changes to programmes that benefit students’ learning and achievement.

School-wide achievement information for 2014 shows good rates of progress, overall, from mid-year to the end of the year in reading, writing and mathematics. Achievement against the National Standards for that year across these learning areas is very good and reflects an upward trend.

Senior leaders and teachers provide high quality, strengths-based support for students who need extra help with their learning. Teacher aides are capable and take advantage of ongoing opportunities to build their knowledge and skills to support learning.

Students with identified learning needs are well supported by:

  • the early identification of learning and social needs, and involvement of parents in this process
  • support for students that targets their learning needs, including the use of individual learning and action plans
  • close monitoring of, and responsiveness to, students’ progress over time
  • effective systems and processes, including self review, that promote continuous improvement.

A number of initiatives are in place to accelerate students’ learning progress. Senior leaders told ERO that the achievement information of many students reflects accelerated rates of progress.

The school has identified, and ERO agrees, that the school now needs to consider ways of sustaining the very positive outcomes from the school’s transition-to-school programme for 2015.

3 Curriculum

How effectively does this school’s curriculum promote and support student learning?

The school’s curriculum is very effectively promoting and supporting student learning. Students benefit from a wide range of rich and authentic learning opportunities within and beyond the school. Learners are at the centre of curriculum programmes that are flexible and responsive to their needs and interests.

As a result of ongoing curriculum review, significant developments since the 2012 ERO review include:

  • the strengthening of shared beliefs about effective learning programmes and teaching practices
  • a significant increase in collaboration across teams and teachers
  • a comprehensive process for reviewing and redeveloping the school’s vision and values that included meaningful opportunities for students, staff and the community to contribute
  • a sustained focus on curriculum coverage to promote balance across the learning areas.

Students have many opportunities to express their opinions and ideas at classroom and school-wide levels. They are encouraged to participate in leadership activities such as peer mediation and the school’s ambassador programme. Older students play an active role in supporting younger students.

The pastoral care and inclusion of all students remain strong focus areas of the school. Leaders and staff prioritise student wellbeing as a key element of student learning and achievement. They use a wide range of internal and external expertise and approaches to support social skills development and learning progress. School systems clearly identify expectations and guidelines for effectively promoting positive learning behaviour. Leaders have identified the need to continue to develop effective responses to complex and challenging barriers to the learning of some students.

School leaders have identified, and ERO agrees, that there is a need to further develop and extend current good examples of the school’s approach to inquiry learning and critical thinking skills.

Leaders and teachers should ensure that reporting to the board includes a fuller evaluation of what is having the most positive impact on students’ learning and progress.

How effectively does the school promote educational success for Māori, as Māori?

The school continues to make steady progress in the way it promotes educational success for Māori, as Māori, and has maintained the strengths identified in the 2012 ERO review.

The board has increased Māori representation at a governance level. This is considerably strengthening the way the board, through these new members, is leading initiatives that promote Whānau involvement and contribution to setting priorities and directions for improvement.

Students have many opportunities to engage in a range of cultural activities, tikanga and leadership. The leadership and expertise of the kaiāwhina is supporting the school to continue to build effective and culturally responsive teaching practices.

School leaders know that the achievement of Māori students, especially a small group of boys, needs to continue to improve to ensure that they are achieving well against the National Standards. Leaders and teachers ensure that their achievement is well monitored and tracked. Appropriate targets and support are in place and are accelerating the progress of Māori students.

The board has undertaken very useful consultation with whānau and has identified some key areas for development. It is now timely for the board and school leaders to use this information as part of a formal and planned process for ongoing improvement. An annual review of progress towards planned goals would support strategic developments in this area.

4 Sustainable Performance

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

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

The board has a useful range of experience and expertise. Board members prioritise student learning and achievement in decision-making processes. Trustees maintain a strong focus on the wellbeing of students and staff and recognise the need to sustain this focus. Ongoing consultation with the community is valued and promoted. Positive relationships are evident between the board, senior leaders and staff. The board encourages ongoing research into teaching and learning through the annual provision of a scholarship for teachers to undertake tertiary study.

Leadership of the school is a significant strength. The principal’s and senior leaders’ flexible and supportive leadership style is based on high expectations for teacher and student performance. Their strong focus on capacity building and using staff strengths is contributing to a very reflective, collaborative and inclusive school culture.

The principal’s reports to the board are clearly aligned to the strategic goals set by the board. Considerable review and development of the school’s charter has contributed to well-developed strategic and annual planning that is an active focus for improvement across the school.

High expectations are evident in the school’s robust appraisal process. The professional learning programme for teachers is focused on school improvement priorities for learning and wellbeing. Self review is regularly undertaken by the board and staff. This often includes a range of input from staff, students and the community. External expertise has been used, where appropriate, to review various aspects of the school. The board and school leaders ensure that student learning and wellbeing are at the centre of self-review practices and outcomes.

The board and senior leaders should now extend self review to include board and senior leadership evaluation of their own effectiveness in regard to meeting school goals and priorities.

Provision for international students

The school is a signatory to the Code of Practice for the Pastoral Care of International Students established under section 238F of the Education Act 1989. No international students were enrolled at the time of the ERO review.

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

Beckenham School provides very good quality learning programmes and pastoral care for students. Strong relationships within the school and with the community support students’ learning and wellbeing. School-wide achievement is continuing to improve. The board consults widely regarding areas of importance for ongoing school improvement. School leadership is a significant strength. Reflection, inclusion and collaboration define the school’s positive culture.

ERO is likely to carry out the next review in four-to-five years. 

Chris Rowe Deputy

Chief Review Officer Southern (Acting)

29 February 2016

School Statistics

Location

Christchurch

Ministry of Education profile number

3291

School type

Full Primary (Years 1 to 8)

School roll

456

Gender composition

Girls 52%; Boys 48%

Ethnic composition

Pākehā

Māori

Asian

Other

Pacific

72%

14%

7%

6%

1%

Special Features

Satellite class attached to Ferndale School

Review team on site

November 2015

Date of this report

29 February 2016

Most recent ERO reports

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

September 2012

September 2008

December 2005