Douglas Park School - 07/07/2015

1 Context

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

Douglas Park School is a Years 1 to 6 contributing school in Masterton. At the time of this review the school roll was 361 and 28% of students identify as Māori. The school has a stable staff, who are ably led by an experienced principal.

PRIDE values (peace, respect, independence, dare to dream and excellence) underpin teaching, learning and the school culture.

The school has a positive reporting history with ERO. Aspects of practice, identified for further development in the previous ERO report, have been progressed and strengthened.

2 Learning

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

Leaders, teachers and trustees are highly effective in using achievement information to promote improved engagement, progress and achievement for students. Rich use of data underpins decision making at all levels of school operation. Further development of systems for tracking student achievement over time is a next step.

School achievement data shows that most students achieve well in relation to the National Standards in reading and mathematics. Māori and Pacific learners’ achievement is similar to that of their peers. The school has appropriately identified achievement in writing and achievement of boys as areas for improvement. Senior leaders have set targets in these areas for 2015.

Leaders make good use of information to identify individuals and groups of students in need of additional support. Appropriate programmes and systems are put in place to accelerate the learning of individual students and to track their progress. Additional teaching staff and teacher aides work with these students and to support junior classes. National Standards achievement data from 2014, shows that the achievement of junior students has improved as a result of this initiative.

Trustees are well informed about student achievement. Principal's reports to the board provide useful information and progress updates in relation to school goals, annual plans, targets, and trends and patterns in student achievement. Trustees use this information to assist their decision making about resourcing of learning support, budget and staffing.

Achievement information is well used to identify areas for staff development. A schoolwide focus on the teaching of mathematics has resulted in improved student outcomes in this curriculum area. Professional learning in writing and the development of modern learning environments are planned for 2015.

Parents receive good and timely information about their child’s learning in relation to National Standards. They have regular opportunities to discuss their child’s current learning priorities. These opportunities allow for evidence-based discussions and goal setting by whānau, students and their teacher.

3 Curriculum

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

Students have a carefully considered, locally referenced curriculum that promotes and supports learning for all. Classroom environments are learning focused.

A focus on modern learning practices is part of the school’s long term planning, and includes: developing students’ independence and ownership of their learning; changes to classroom physical environments; and development of related teacher practices. Further consideration of the curriculum and consolidation of curriculum documentation will need to reflect these and other developments

Teachers effectively use a diverse range of strategies to engage students in meaningful learning. High levels of student interest, motivation and engagement are evident across all groups of students. Students confidently manage their own learning and support the learning of others. Those with high and diverse needs are well supported to fully participate at school.

Opportunities are made for students from a range of cultures to share their language and culture with others. The school supports two kapa haka groups and a Polynesian group. A cultural evening, held in conjunction with Matariki, offers opportunity for these groups to celebrate the culture, language and identity of all students.

Leaders and teachers value parents and whānau as partners in the development of opportunities for student learning beyond the school.

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

Douglas Park School is building a curriculum that is responsive to Māori learners. There are a range of authentic opportunities for Māori students to take leadership.

The documents, Ka Hikitia - Accelerating Success 2013 - 2017 andTātaiako: Cultural Competencies for Teachers of Māori Learners, have been well used to support the development of teachers understanding and inform a considered approach to supporting Māori learners to achieve success.

Relationships with whānau of Māori learners and iwi are progressing. Regular hui provide whānau with opportunities to contribute to school decision making.

Leaders acknowledge, and ERO affirms, the need for ongoing work in order to strengthen whānau engagement and contribution, and to further develop teachers' confidence in and understanding of te reo me ngā tikanga Māori.

4 Sustainable Performance

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

The school is very well placed to sustain and improve its performance. The school tone, climate and culture provide a sound foundation for improving student learning. The school values pervade every element of the life of the school.

School leaders work effectively as a team to promote and implement change and improvement leading to better student outcomes. Continued development of teacher practice is supported by appraisal systems. Teacher inquiry should be refined to further support improvements in practice.

Useful review processes have been developed and these result in improved practices and continued development.

Trustees are committed and focused on improving outcomes for students. They are aware of their roles and responsibilities for governance and in the raising of student achievement. They receive useful information to inform their understanding of programmes and student achievement.

Multiple perspectives are sought to inform decision making. A wide range of opportunities are available to parents to purposefully engage in and contribute to learning, school direction and the wider life of the school. There is regular communication and consultation with the school community on aspects of school operations.

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 responsive curriculum is delivered by reflective teachers using a range of effective teaching strategies. A welcoming, supportive environment develops students’ sense of belonging. Students are actively involved in their learning. Effective systems and review processes support continued improvement. Positive relationships exist between staff, leaders, trustees and whānau.

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

Joyce Gebbie
Deputy Chief Review Officer Central

About the School

Location

Masterton

Ministry of Education profile number

1661

School type

Contributing (Years 1 to 6)

School roll

361

Gender composition

Female 51%, Male 49%

Ethnic composition

Pākehā
Māori
Pacific
Asian
Other ethnic groups

55%
28%
  6%
  2%
  9%

Special features

RT:Lit and SWIS workers hosted on site

Review team on site

May 2015

Date of this report

7 July 2015

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review
Education Review
Education Review

July 2012
June 2009
June 2006