Bellevue School (Newlands) - 04/07/2014

Findings

This school is well placed to sustain and improve progress. Students are engaged in their learning and achieve well. The new principal leads a collaborative, reflective staff. An inclusive, values-based curriculum integrates digital learning well and values tikanga Māori. Next steps are to review the curriculum and strengthen evaluation capability.

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

1 Context

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

Bellevue School is a contributing school in Newlands, Wellington. It currently caters for 262 students and 13% are Māori. Children from a range of nationalities contribute to the diverse ethnic makeup of the school.

The curriculum emphasises cornerstone values education in an inclusive environment, driven by student learning needs and interests.

Before and after school programmes operate daily at the school.

The effective practices identified in the June 2011 ERO report continue to be implemented.

A new principal started at the school in May 2014.

2 Learning

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

Leaders and teachers make good use of achievement information to improve learning outcomes for students. A rich array of assessment information is collated, analysed and reported to the board. Senior leaders use schoolwide data appropriately to identify priorities for future focus, teacher professional development and setting goals. Individual teachers use their assessment data to group students and to inform their planning to meet specific, identified needs.

National Standards information is shared with trustees at mid and end of each year. Data from 2013 shows that a substantial majority of students, including Māori and Pacific, are achieving at or above the National Standards expectations in reading. Over two thirds of students are at or above National Standards expectations in writing and mathematics. Senior staff are aware of the need for boys and Māori students to improve achievement in writing. Formal reports to parents, with clear reference to National Standards, provide useful information about their child’s learning, progress, and competencies.

Teachers help students to understand the purpose of their lessons. Students are actively engaged in learning. Those at risk of not achieving are well supported to accelerate their progress.

Students with diverse learning needs are well catered for in an inclusive climate. A wide range of strategies is used to support their progress and participation. The new special education needs coordinator (SENCO) agrees that it is timely to review the current approach. In particular, to review procedural guidelines and evaluate the effectiveness of the many interventions and support strategies.

3 Curriculum

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

The local curriculum, developed in 2009, clearly aligns with the principles and key competencies of The New Zealand Curriculum. It provides direction for teaching. The curriculum includes values education effectively woven into term planning. It is timely to review curriculum documentation to ensure it continues to meet community aspirations and reflects improvements made to teaching practice.

Teachers are reflective practitioners and are working to ensure the purpose for learning is clear to students. Collaboration is strong. They engage in regular professional discussion about the successes and challenges of their teaching programmes. Professional development and support is designed to respond to needs identified through analysis of school data.

Teacher interactions with students are positive and affirming. Student wellbeing is a priority.

Use of digital technologies (ICT) is a strength. Classrooms are well resourced and ICT is effectively integrated into teaching and learning. Teachers report increased confidence in their use of technology and improved student engagement.

Teachers help each other to use te reo Māori meaningfully in classrooms. They are working to be more culturally responsive. In some rooms, students' culture, language and identity are celebrated. Curriculum review should include consideration of how Pacific cultures and the other nationalities of the school community are reflected. This is likely to contribute to a sense of belonging for both student and family.

Students have a variety of opportunities to develop leadership skills.

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

Te reo me ngā tikanga Māori is valued throughout the school. This is apparent and celebrated by appropriate use of karakia, whakataukī, and waiata. Pōwhiri protocol is well developed and provides opportunities for student leadership. The kapa haka group is led by Māori parents with teacher support and occurs during school time. Recognition of the value of tuakana teina relationships is behind the school’s decision to merge its playground areas.

A whānau group meets regularly, providing opportunities for whānau participation. They discuss how best to support Māori learners and raise the profile of te ao Māori across the school.

Links have been made with the local marae including involvement in joint activities. Hui with other local schools at the marae, strengthen this connection.

4 Sustainable Performance

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

The school is well placed to sustain and improve its performance. Its approach to improving teacher performance is well conceived. Teachers’ inquiries into their practice show strong links to school priorities, Registered Teacher Criteria and cultural competencies. Best examples are highly reflective and supported by focused, constructive feedback about the quality of practice. Interviews with students are included.

Understanding and use of evaluative review needs further development at all levels to enhance decision-making about priorities linked to improvement. With the appointment of a new principal, it is timely to review board practices to develop more sustainable systems for the smooth running of the school. This should include:

  • a schedule for formal review of policies and procedures
  • revising guidelines for board roles and responsibilities
  • taking a more active role in strategic and annual planning.

The board should receive reports about the effectiveness of funded programmes and initiatives to prioritise future resourcing.

Leaders share responsibilities and remain focused on improved outcomes for children. They lead professional development and ensure time is given for learning conversations.

Key Next steps

The following are areas for review and development to sustain good practice.

  • Review the curriculum to ensure documentation reflects current practice.
  • Build evaluation capacity of board, managers and teachers.
  • Refine the school charter and strategic planning to give clarity to school direction.
  • Develop systems and documents to support the inclusive practice evident in the school.
  • Continue to explore strategies to improve achievement in writing for boys and Māori.
  • Continue to develop the transition to school approach.

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

This school is well placed to sustain and improve progress. Students are engaged in their learning and achieve well. The new principal leads a collaborative, reflective staff. An inclusive, values-based curriculum integrates digital learning well and values tikanga Māori. Next steps are to review the curriculum and strengthen evaluation capability.

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

Joyce Gebbie

National Manager Review Services Central Region

4 July 2014

About the School

Location

Newlands

Ministry of Education profile number

2806

School type

Contributing (Years 1 to 6)

School roll

262

Gender composition

Male 54%, Female 46%

Ethnic composition

Māori

NZ European/Pākehā

Indian

Asian

Pacific

Other ethnic groups

13%

49%

14%

11%

4%

9%

Review team on site

May 2014

Date of this report

4 July 2014

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

June 2011

May 2008

August 2005