Deanwell School - 23/11/2015

Findings

Deanwell School has a strong tradition of explicitly promoting its school values to provide a purposeful culture for learning. There has been significant recent progress in assessment and curriculum development. Pastoral care, inclusiveness, parent participation and a strong focus on raising student achievement, are positive school features.

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?

Deanwell School is a contributing primary school located in south-west Hamilton. It caters for students in Years 1 to 6. Of the 380 students on the roll, 52% are of Māori descent and 13% are from Pacific heritages.

Since the previous ERO review, the roll has remained stable and students and families have benefited from consistent staffing. The experienced principal has continued to provide strong and supportive leadership for the school and its community. The senior leadership team has been restructured and two new deputy principals have been appointed. Teachers have engaged in both external and internal professional development to accelerate students’ literacy and mathematics learning and achievement. The board, led by an experienced and supportive chairperson, continues to provide effective school governance.

School leaders, teachers and trustees have responded positively to development areas identified in the 2012 ERO report, particularly in relation to leadership for learning and strengthening the use of assessment information to improve students’ progress and achievement. There is a more coherent and aligned approach to strategic and annual planning to guide school operations and resource allocation.

The school’s values as expressed in ‘Deanwell Cares’ are consistently promoted. These shared values contribute to a calm, affirming and inclusive culture that supports students’ engagement in learning. Many parents/whānau are actively involved in the life of the school. They provide valued support for class programmes and school-wide activities and events. Grounds and facilities are well maintained, resourced and presented.

2 Learning

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

The school makes effective use of student achievement information to make positive changes to learners’ engagement, progress and achievement. The school’s 2014 achievement information indicates that approximately two thirds of students achieved at or above National Standards in reading, writing and mathematics. School leaders have a clear focus on accelerating students’ progress and raising overall levels of achievement.

Senior leaders have developed and continue to refine systems that support teachers to make reliable judgements in relation to National Standards. They have a strong focus on monitoring the progress and achievement of individuals and groups of students over time. The school’s achievement data shows that many students make better than expected progress during their time at Deanwell School. School leaders make particularly effective use of achievement information to:

  • identify students requiring additional support
  • monitor the effectiveness of learning programmes and initiatives
  • identify areas for teachers’ professional learning and development.

Teachers use achievement information to identify the learning needs of groups and individuals, and to plan programmes that address these needs. A recent initiative has been the identification of a small group of at-risk students in each class, who are benefitting from targeted teaching to accelerate their progress. A strength of this initiative is the systematic teacher reflection and professional sharing of effective strategies that have improved students’ learning. All students with identified learning needs are well supported through a range of programmes and interventions provided by trained teacher aides and specialist teachers.

Parents receive comprehensive information about their students’ progress and achievement. They have opportunities to participate in student-led conferences, and receive two detailed written reports each year.

The board receives regular and useful reports about school-wide student achievement from senior leaders and teachers. This information guides appropriate annual target setting, which is focused on raising achievement.

To further develop current practices, consideration should now be given to extending the use of curriculum learning progressions to support students in identifying their personal achievement levels and their next steps for learning.

3 Curriculum

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

The school’s curriculum effectively supports and promotes student learning. Senior leaders provide clear guidelines with a strong emphases on literacy and mathematics. This is resulting in a consistent school-wide approach to teaching and assessment. Teachers are collaboratively developing a new learning framework based on broad concepts that provide meaningful integrated learning experiences across subjects. The curriculum also includes opportunities for:

  • students’ culture and identity to be valued and celebrated
  • student leadership
  • creative expression and performance
  • sports and physical activity
  • education outside the classroom
  • environmental sustainability education.

Effective teaching practices observed during this ERO review included:

  • establishing warm and positive class relationships
  • a range of strategies that promote student engagement in learning
  • facilitating opportunities for cooperative learning
  • maintaining attractive and stimulating displays of student learning

In addition, students benefit from access to a well-stocked and attractively presented library, an established native bush area, extensive grounds, and a covered court area.

Senior leaders are continuing to review the school’s curriculum. As part of this ongoing review, considerations should be given to:

  • further developing and integrating the use of digital technology as a tool for learning
  • providing guidelines for the identification of, and provision for, students with special abilities
  • further developing expectations for the teaching and use of te reo Māori in class programmes.

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

Deanwell School effectively promotes educational success for Māori students as Māori. The school’s achievement information indicates that Māori students achieve as well as their non-Māori peers at this school, and better than regional statistics for Māori students in reading, writing and mathematics. The school has taken deliberate steps to build partnerships with its Māori community. This has included regular whānau hui, where information about school-wide achievement is presented and discussed, and whānau have opportunities to share their aspirations for their tamariki.

A significant initiative has been the involvement of a respected and knowledgeable kaumātua to advise the school about tikanga Māori. Students demonstrate confidence in participating and accepting leadership in pōwhiri, class karakia and waiata.

Whānau Māori and their tamariki feel valued as Māori at Deanwell School.

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 because:

trustees have a strong commitment to promoting equitable outcomes for all students, by giving priority to the school’s vision of ‘every day, every child, every opportunity’

the principal and deputy principals bring complementary professional skills and experience to school leadership. The principal strongly models a culture of care for students, parents/whānau and staff. The deputy principals contribute in-depth curriculum and assessment knowledge as key leaders of learning

senior leaders work collaboratively with staff to share good practice and build teaching capability

the performance management system has been strengthened to provide teachers with regular and robust feedback about the effectiveness of their practices

parents are well supported to be partners with the school in the education of their children.

the school is implementing a range of evidence-based self review processes leading to continual school development.

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

Deanwell School has a strong tradition of explicitly promoting its school values to provide a purposeful culture for learning. There has been significant recent progress in assessment and curriculum development. Pastoral care, inclusiveness, parent participation and a strong focus on raising student achievement, are positive school features.

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

Graham Randell

Deputy Chief Review Officer Northern

23 November 2015

About the School

Location

Hamilton

Ministry of Education profile number

1710

School type

Contributing (Years 1 to 6)

School roll

380

Gender composition

Boys 52%  Girls 48%

Ethnic composition

Māori

Pākehā

Pacific

Asian

Indian

Other

52%

22%

13%

6%

4%

3%

Review team on site

September 2015

Date of this report

23 November 2015

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

August 2012

August 2009

October 2006