Cannons Creek School - 15/09/2014

Findings

Students engage positively and enthusiastically in learning tasks. Positive relationships are evident in classrooms. There is a need to increase rates of progress in learning for significant groups of students. A deliberate, coordinated approach to raising achievement is required. Strengthening community partnerships, curriculum and self review should support the school to improve its performance.

ERO intends to carry out another review over the course of one-to-two years.

1 Context

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

Cannons Creek School caters for Years 1 to 6 students in Cannons Creek, Porirua. Of its 164 students, most are of Pacific heritage and 16% identify as Māori. The three main Pacific nations represented are Samoan, Cook Islands Māori and Tokelauan.

The junior literacy programme continues to be implemented through the First Chance programme which has been in place for 14 years. A Reading Together programme has been introduced to support parents’ involvement in reading with their children.

Ongoing strategic goals include a focus on mathematics and literacy in relation to National Standards. An important aspect of the curriculum is to provide student excursions into the wider community. Students have opportunities to learn through environmental studies as part of their involvement as an Enviro School. The school is participating in a Positive Behaviour for Learning (PB4L) project to develop consistent values and teacher strategies to support students’ positive engagement in learning.

School staffing is stable, with some long serving staff. Several beginning teachers were recently appointed.

2 Learning

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

The school is developing its use of assessment information to increase students’ rates of progress.

Teachers use a range of appropriate assessment tools to gather information about students’ learning. They are increasing their ability to make robust judgements about achievement through moderation with local schools. Teachers are working to strengthen their monitoring and analysis of assessment data, and to respond to this information through their teaching. A recently introduced tracking sheet should assist teachers to monitor, communicate and report student achievement in relation to National Standards.

The school records the achievement and progress of learners with wedge graphs in relation to the First Chance programme for reading. This helps leaders and teachers to identify students who require additional support. A range of support programmes are put in place for these learners.

Some students, both Māori and Pacific, achieve well. However, there are significant groups of students whose progress and achievement is of concern. Data for 2013 shows writing continues to be a high priority as most students are below in relation to the National Standard. The school has also identified mathematics for Years 5 and 6 students as an area for improvement. A mathematics specialist teacher works in the school to help raise achievement. The number of students achieving below the standard in reading, writing and mathematics increases as they progress through the school.

A schoolwide, coordinated approach to increasing the rates of progress for learners is required. This should involve:

  • deliberate actions and strategies, supported by clear expectations of outcomes and progress
  • professional development to ensure schoolwide understanding and implementation of current best practice in literacy teaching and learning
  • further analysis of achievement data to identify trends and patterns and set more specific targets for groups of students
  • regular reporting to the board and community of progress towards targets.

A range of programmes and practices is in place to support learners with special needs, including learners of the English language. Students with complex needs are included in school life. Placement in classes is well considered. A teacher with responsibility for students with special education needs supports staff to identify their needs and co-ordinates appropriate provision for these learners. Learning is supported by trained personnel and teacher aides. Progress of high needs students is monitored and outcomes are regularly discussed among staff. The school has yet to review how effective these practices and programmes are in addressing needs and promoting progress.

Three-way conferencing contributes to learning conversations by teachers with families and students. Recently introduced E-portfolio presentations support students to participate in these conferences. The reports show learning and achievement in relation to next steps for learners and how parents can help at home.

3 Curriculum

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

The school’s curriculum requires review and development to better promote learning for all students, and to develop them as self-directed, confident learners.

Most students engage positively and enthusiastically in learning tasks. Teachers give them opportunities to work together as they learn. Small-group teaching helps develop students’ skills, strategies and knowledge. Teachers support learning with useful questions, prompts and strategies. Excursions outside the school provide further experiences for students. Positive relationships are evident in classrooms.

The school continues to support junior reading and writing development through the First Chance programme. It is timely to review how effective this programme is in promoting schoolwide literacy teaching, learning and achievement.

The curriculum should be reviewed and strengthened to:

  • make the priorities of numeracy and literacy more evident
  • better reflect the principles of The New Zealand Curriculum, particularly the Treaty of Waitangi and Learning to Learn
  • include a deliberate response to students’ cultures, languages and identities
  • better respond to students’ strengths and interests.

Curriculum development should occur in partnership with the community and clearly reflect the important things parents, aiga and whānau want for their children. This is likely to provide useful support for teaching and learning, and a clear framework for self review.

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

The school does not have a clear vision for Māori success, as Māori. Trustees and staff should work in partnership with whānau and iwi to develop a plan to affirm Māori students' identity, language and culture. Teachers should continue to explore and develop a shared understanding of culturally responsive practices and teaching. This should be guided by Ka Hikitia: Accelerating Success 20132017 and Tātaiako: Cultural Competencies for Teachers of Māori Learners.

4 Sustainable Performance

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

Further development of self review and systems is required to improve school performance. Schoolwide development should be strategically planned and coordinated.

Trustees value their teachers and positively engage in the life of the school. The charter has been developed to set direction and inform annual planning.

  • More specific goals and regular, robust reporting about student achievement and programme effectiveness are required. This should assist the board to make appropriate decisions about resourcing and to evaluate progress towards targets.
  • Further developing trustees' understanding of the roles of governance and self review in promoting student achievement is a next step.

Staff meet regularly to discuss school organisation and student learning, and to respond to identified concerns. Teachers are in the early stages of formally inquiring into how well their teaching strategies support student learning. They reflect on teaching and learning, share strategies and support each other in their practice.

A system for teacher appraisal is in place, aligned to the Registered Teacher Criteria. The school acknowledges further development is required. The appraisal process should include:

  • teachers’ goals and targeted observations, clearly matched to school priorities and expectations
  • use of robust evidence to show progress toward goals
  • specific feedback and next steps to support teachers’ and leaders’ development.

Parents engage in a range of school events which celebrate student success. Cultural and sporting events are well supported. A parent group meets with teachers to discuss and support school activities. Providing further opportunities for parents to develop meaningful partnerships in learning is an important next step.

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.

To ensure it meets its accountabilities, the Board of Trustees must:

  1. consult with the school’s Māori community to develop and make known to the school's community policies, plans and targets for improving the achievement of Maori students
    [National Administration Guidelines 1 (v)]
  2. adopt a statement on the delivery of the health curriculum, at least once in every two years, after consultation with the school community.
    [Section 60B Education Act 1989]

Recommendation

ERO recommends that the Ministry of Education provides support to the board of trustees and staff to address actions outlined in this report.

Conclusion

Students engage positively and enthusiastically in learning tasks. Positive relationships are evident in classrooms. There is a need to increase rates of progress in learning for significant groups of students. A deliberate, coordinated approach to raising achievement is required. Strengthening community partnerships, curriculum and self review should support the school to improve its performance.

ERO intends to carry out another review over the course of one-to-two years.

Joyce Gebbie

National Manager Review Services Central Region

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About the School

Location

Porirua East

Ministry of Education profile number

2818

School type

Contributing Primary (Years 1 to 6)

School roll

164

Gender composition

Male 54%, Female 46%

Ethnic composition

Māori

Samoan

Cook Island Māori

Tokelauan

Other Pacific groups

Other ethnic groups

16%

37%

21%

9%

12%

5%

Review team on site

June 2014

Date of this report

15 September 2014

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Accountability Review

February 2009

March 2005

August 2000