Churchill Park School - 06/10/2014

Findings

How effectively is this school’s curriculum promoting student learning - engagement, progress and achievement?

The school provides high-quality education for students. The future-focused curriculum, underpinned by Enviroschools principles, fosters students’ development as confident, independent learners and capable leaders. The board and school leaders have high expectations and a focus on continual improvement. They are responsive to and well supported by the community.

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?

Churchill Park School is a full primary school, catering for students up to Year 8. The school is at the edge of a large farm park close to Karaka Bay and the Tāmaki River. These physical features are an important aspect of the school’s focus on building students’ connection with the natural environment and their awareness of sustainability issues. Students are justifiably proud of the work they have done to achieve Green Gold Enviroschools status and of the contribution that they make to the school community.

The school benefits from a supportive, involved community, good relationships with families and a longstanding teaching team. There is a strong sense of belonging and inclusion in the school.

The board of trustees has a clear vision for students’ learning and high expectations for all areas of school operations. The school’s motto of Stand Tall, its vision of growing confident learners, and the values of respect, honesty and striving for excellence, are apparent throughout the school.

Since a fire in the school in 2011, there have been significant developments. A new building opened at the end of 2013. It contains the library and a variety of flexible learning and resource spaces. These are all well equipped with information and communication technologies (ICT). School-wide ICT access has been improved to support e-learning. Students in Years 5 to 8 are able to bring their own digital devices.

ERO’s 2008 and 2011 reports noted high-quality teaching practices and recognised the commitment and capability of the board and school leaders. Since ERO’s 2011 review, the school has increased the rigour of its self review and focused on enhancing teaching and learning so that students have greater independence in their learning.

2. Learning

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

School leaders and teachers make effective use of comprehensive, well-analysed data to enhance students’ engagement, progress and achievement. A significant majority of students achieve at or above the National Standards and enjoy high levels of achievement across the curriculum.

Specific school initiatives have been successful in promoting students’ engagement in learning and have fostered their sense of ownership and contribution in the school. Students talk confidently about their learning, progress and achievement across the curriculum, and share this information with their parents. They know about their next steps in learning, what will be needed to achieve their goals, and how to assess their progress. School systems and practices provide effective support for Year 7 and 8 students to manage many aspects of their own learning. The Year 7 and 8 students are confident, capable role models in the school.

Data are well used to monitor student progress and achievement and to identify trends and patterns. This information helps the board to make strategic decisions about targeted interventions aimed at accelerating learning for students who may not be achieving to their potential. Additional programmes and external expertise are used effectively to support students with special abilities and special learning needs. A recently introduced approach to data analysis is providing more specific, in-depth information about students’ learning progress. This should enable teachers to tailor their teaching to students’ individual needs to an even greater extent.

School leaders value the involvement and support of parents. They are currently planning a review of the school’s partnership with parents including the ways in which information about students’ learning is made available to parents. This review will recognise how ICT and formal reporting are being used to provide parents with ongoing and up-to-date information. It will also explore how parents’ knowledge and contributions inform decisions about their children’s learning.

3. Curriculum

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

The Churchill Park curriculum promotes learning in the broadest sense, very effectively. The curriculum is underpinned by Enviroschools principles. Students’ engagement and positive attitudes to learning and their high achievement levels are evidence of the positive impact of the school’s curriculum.

Students’ sense of responsibility, community and citizenship and their awareness of diversity is being promoted and fostered through the school’s future-focused curriculum. Older students make a significant contribution to curriculum development and delivery. For example, they initiate and direct projects that enhance the school environment and raise funds to support others who are less fortunate. They have good opportunities to learn through exploring and building on their particular areas of interest.

School leaders promote shared knowledge and ownership of the learning process between students, parents and teachers. Leaders and teachers are currently focusing on increasing the extent to which a commonly understood language of learning is used in conversations between students and their parents. This commitment to highlighting learning and making it more visible is a feature of teachers’ professional learning discussions. This focus on learning is increasingly apparent in every aspect of school operations.

The school’s curriculum recognises and promotes understanding about local Māori history. Students are familiar with Māori concepts and symbols, especially in relation to their Enviroschools work. They also experience tikanga Māori at school events such as the opening of the new building. Whānau have good opportunities to contribute to decisions about aspects of the curriculum that relate to Māori.

Teaching approaches are responsive to students’ capabilities and to topical, local or international events. Specific strategies and tools are used effectively to promote critical thinking and to inform decisions that result in action being taken by students, teachers or school leaders. ICT is becoming more integrated to support learning. Specialist expertise is well used to extend the range of learning experiences available to students. Teaching and resourcing initiatives are carefully planned and trialled before being introduced. Students and parents also contribute to the review of initiatives, to determine their effectiveness and identify future directions.

School processes and expectations support school leaders and teachers to engage in ongoing professional learning. Leaders and teachers work together collaboratively and take collective responsibility for successful learning programmes. A feature of leaders’ and teachers’ professional development is their use of action research to review and enhance their practice. Their networking with other professionals contributes to the school’s forward thinking.

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

Māori students benefit from high-quality opportunities for learning across the school. The majority of students achieve very well.

The board, school leaders and teachers are committed to implementing curriculum practices that promote bicultural understandings. This commitment is evident in the school environment, strategic planning, and increasingly in the curriculum. An external tutor provides a basic te reo Māori and waiata programme across the school. A Māori parent maintains regular communication with whānau Māori. She leads consultation processes and contributes to curriculum developments relating to Māori.

School leaders and teachers are currently exploring ways to implement Tātaiako - Cultural Competencies for Teachers of Māori Learners, more effectively. The board and school leaders agree that to enhance support for Māori students to “stand tall” as Māori they should:

  • increase understanding about what Success as Māori means for Māori students and whānau
  • consider establishing a sequential te reo Māori programme that recognises and builds on students’ prior knowledge and abilities throughout their time at the school.

4. Sustainable Performance

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

The school is very well placed to sustain and continue building on its high-quality practices. The board and school leaders have a clear focus on maximising potential for all students by striving for excellence through professional development, improvement and growth.

The board is capable, critically reflective, and future focused. Trustees use self review and achievement information well to inform their decisions and strategic planning. They have high expectations of school leaders, teachers and students.

Effective leadership results in a school-wide, shared commitment and responsibility for student success. A collaborative approach that values each person’s strengths, contributes to consistent practices across the school.

Self review is a well established aspect of school culture. It is strategic, research based, systematic and well documented. The school leaders’ and teachers’ self review contributes to decision making and improvement. The board and school leaders have identified the benefits of better aligning school documents with the Ministry of Education documents, Ka Hikitia-Accelerating Success 2013 - 2017 and Tātaiako - Cultural Competencies for Teachers of Māori Learners, to enhance success for Māori students.

Whānau and students have good opportunities to contribute to school leadership, decision-making and development. The school community is supportive and involved and shares a commitment to high quality outcomes for students.

The school’s focus on continually growing students’ capacity to be self motivated, self-directed learners provides a strong foundation for their ongoing success in education and life.

Provision for international students

The school is a signatory to the Code of Practice for the Pastoral Care of International Students (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 ERO review there were five international students attending the school. They benefit from the school’s high levels of pastoral care and the settled, inclusive tone of the school. The students are well integrated in the life of the school and form friendships with New Zealand families. The school maintains good relationships with students’ families.

Students’ learning programmes are well planned and carefully monitored. The school’s processes for reviewing provision for international students are thorough and well documented.

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 school provides high-quality education for students. The future-focused curriculum, underpinned by Enviroschools principles, fosters students’ development as confident, independent learners and capable leaders. The board and school leaders have high expectations and a focus on continual improvement. They are responsive to and well supported by the community.

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

Dale Bailey National Manager Review Services Northern Region

6 October 2014

About the School

Location

Glendowie, Auckland

Ministry of Education profile number

1246

School type

Full Primary (Years 1 to 8)

School roll

410

Number of international students

5

Gender composition

Boys 56% Girls 44%

Ethnic composition

Māori

NZ European/Pākehā

Asian

Cook Island Māori

Niue

other

6%

77%

6%

1%

1%

9%

Review team on site

August 2014

Date of this report

6 October 2014

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

August 2011

June 2008

June 2005