Berkley Normal Middle School - 22/11/2018

School Context

Berkley Normal Middle School caters for students in Years 7 to 9 in Hamilton. At the time of the review the school roll was 719 and 16% of students identify as Māori. Students come from a wide range of ethnic backgrounds.

This school is an authorised International Baccalaureate (IB) Primary Years Programme (PYP) school. The PYP is designed to prepare students to become active, caring, lifelong learners who demonstrate respect for themselves and others, and have the capacity to participate in the world around them.

Through the school values of ‘we care – kia manaaki, we share – kia tiaki, and we dare – kia toa’ learners are empowered to ‘take up the challenge’. The key strategic goals of the school are to:

  • provide high-quality learning and teaching experiences
  • create a professional learning community to improve learning outcomes for all students
  • create and sustain positive relationships with all Berkley learners
  • enhance communication, collaboration and trust at each level of the school community.

The school has responded well to the 2014 ERO evaluation.

From 2015 to 2016, a commissioner was appointed by the Ministry of Education (MoE) to oversee the operation of the school. In 2016 a new board of trustees, with a wide range of expertise and experience was elected. Trustees have been further supported to strengthen their understanding of stewardship roles and responsibilities. A new principal was appointed in November 2015. The school has collaboratively reviewed its vision, values and strategic plans to realise the school community’s aspirations.

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

  • reading, writing and mathematics
  • IB learner profile and PYP units of inquiry.

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?

The school is positively working towards achieving equitable outcomes for all its students.

Many students entering at the beginning of Year 7 in 2016 and leaving at the end of Year 8 in 2017 made significantly more than expected curriculum rates of progress over the two years.

Most students in Years 7 and 8 achieve well in reading, writing and mathematics in relation to curriculum expectations. In 2017, most students in Year 9 achieved well in mathematics and writing. A large majority of students achieved well in reading. Significant disparity between Māori and Pākehā is evident in writing, reading and mathematics.

In Years 7 and 8, boys achieve at comparable levels to girls in mathematics. However, they are significantly below girls in reading and writing. In the small Year 9 cohort, boys’ and girls’ achievement is comparable in reading. However, girls outperform boys in writing, and boys achieve significantly better than girls in mathematics.

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

The school is effectively accelerating progress and achievement for Māori and other students who need this.

In 2018, the school has effectively accelerated the learning for Māori and other groups of learners in reading, writing and mathematics in Years 7 and 8. The disparity is narrowing in writing and significantly reducing in reading for Māori learners in relation to non-Māori.

The school has extended the range of strategies and initiatives used to accelerate the learning and achievement of targeted learners. More robust systems for making dependable judgements in relation to curriculum expectations have been developed. There is an increased focus on tracking and monitoring of progress and achievement.

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?

A highly skilled, experienced and collaborative leadership team is driving school-wide strategic improvement. Leaders are actively involved in the wider education community. Comprehensive curriculum frameworks guide teaching and learning.

A coherent and well-considered approach to strengthening teacher practice that is focused on improving outcomes for students is evident. Professional learning opportunities encourage teachers to engage in high-quality practice. Leaders and teachers collaborate well across areas of knowledge and learning activities within the school, and with the community and the wider education sector.

Students learn in caring, collaborative and inclusive environments. Positive learning focused relationships have been well established between leaders, teachers and students. Culture, language and identity for all students is nurtured and celebrated throughout the school. Teachers know students and their whānau well. Active engagement is encouraged and students are developing understanding of themselves as learners.

The school’s rich curriculum makes purposeful connections to learners’ lives, prior knowledge and real world contexts. An extensive range of opportunities and experiences supports all learners to fully participate in the life of the school. The school’s vision and values are highly visible throughout the school. A well-considered approach to support learners’ engagement and wellbeing reflects the school’s culture of care. Learners are confident and curious to explore their understanding of the world around them.

Strong relationships with contributing schools supports highly-effective transition processes for all learners, particularly those with additional needs. A welcoming and inclusive approach supports targeted learning and behaviour programmes for students. A new appointment has been made to lead this area in term 3, 2018. A recent review of the Enhanced Learning Centre (ELC) has identified the strengths and the key areas for improvement.

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

The school has identified that embedding consistently high-quality teaching practice across the school is a priority. This should include extending collaborative partnerships between teachers and with whānau for the teaching and learning of students with additional needs.

Enhancing the understanding and use of effective internal evaluation for innovation and ongoing improvement is needed. This approach should include:

  • supporting leaders and teachers to deepen their inquiry into the impact of strategies, initiatives and interventions on accelerating progress and achievement
  • continuing to build systems and processes to ensure data gathered to inform outcomes decisions is dependable.

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 Vulnerable Children Act 2014.

Provision for international students

The school is a signatory to the Education (Pastoral Care of International Students) Code of Practice 2016 (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 18 international students attending the school.

The school has an inclusive environment that welcomes international students and supports them to be actively involved in the life of the school. Students benefit from a wide range of experiences and activities. Their wellbeing and transition into, through and beyond the school is carefully considered and forms the foundation for successful learning. The school has responded well to their internal review of learning programmes for international students.

4 Going forward

Key strengths of the school

For sustained improvement and future learner success, the school can draw on existing strengths in:

  • school leadership that is effectively building high-quality teaching practice

  • curriculum design and delivery that responds well to students interests and needs

  • learning-focused relationships that underpin productive partnerships for progress and achievement.

Next steps

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

  • consistent implementation of effective teaching strategies to enhance equitable and excellent outcomes for learners

  • extending effective internal evaluation processes to further support trustees and leaders decision-making for improvement.

ERO’s next external evaluation process and timing

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

Adrienne Fowler

Director Review and Improvement Services

Te Tai Miringa - Waikato / Bay of Plenty Region

22 November 2018

About the school

Location

Hamilton

Ministry of Education profile number

1695

School type

Restricted Composite (Years 7 to 9)

School roll

719

Gender composition

Girls 51% Boys 49%

Ethnic composition

Māori 16%
Pākehā 58%
Chinese 5%
Other European 6%
Other Asian 4%
Other 11%

Students with Ongoing Resourcing Funding (ORS)

Yes

Provision of Māori medium education

No

Review team on site

September 2018

Date of this report

22 November 2018

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review October 2014
Education Review May 2010
Special Review June 2007