Fitzroy School - 20/05/2014

1 Context

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

Fitzroy School caters for Years 1 to 6 students in Fitzroy, New Plymouth.

A steadily growing roll has resulted in an enrolment zone for the school. Of the current roll of 384 students, 78 are Māori and 14 are Pacific. The largest year groups are in the junior school. The increasing roll has prompted a number of property developments, including two new classrooms, and presented challenges for staffing and use of space.

Many staff are long serving, and several new teaching positions have been established. School and board leadership is stable. The established Fitzroy Family concept continues to underpin school values.

2 Learning

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

A focus on identifying and monitoring the achievement of students who require additional support to be successful is highly evident in the school.

Assessment information is used to appropriately identify students not achieving in relation to the National Standards and to set achievement targets. These are shared with teachers. School data shows most students, particularly Pacific, achieve well in reading. Although most students achieve well in writing and mathematics, data shows there are groups of students who do not achieve the standards.

Team leaders monitor students’ progress towards set targets throughout the year and undertake an annual review of achievement to report to the board. Further inquiry into trends and patterns in achievement data by teachers and leaders should help to focus strategies to improve outcomes for students.

A range of programmes is provided for learners with additional learning needs. A new role of literacy support teacher has been developed. Teachers track the learning support provided and levels of achievement for these students.

Important next steps are to establish a shared understanding of accelerated learning and clear expectations for effective, focused response to underachieving students. This should assist leaders to make clear judgements about the success of interventions in promoting progress. Teachers should also be able to evaluate the effectiveness of their teaching strategies.

Useful guidelines assist staff to make overall teacher judgements about students' achievement in relation to National Standards. Increased moderation opportunities should strengthen consistency and robustness of judgements.

Three-way conferencing promotes students' involvement in their learning. Written reports to parents provide some useful next steps and information about how parents can help at home.

3 Curriculum

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

Recent development of the curriculum to integrate learning areas and incorporate an approach to support students’ thinking skills is highly evident in the school. Teachers are developing consistent use of models and practices to ensure cohesive curriculum implementation.

Students confidently participate in learning. Classes offer opportunities for students to collaborate and support each other. Teachers provide small group teaching in mathematics and literacy and support the focus of learning with related independent tasks.

Provision is made for all students to learn te reo Māori. Classrooms promote a sense of belonging and are busy, attractive and orderly environments. Positive relationships are evident.

Student leadership is fostered and many students take on a range of prominent roles and responsibilities within the school. Students clearly understand expectations for positive behaviour. Values and principles promoted through the Fitzroy Family concept underpin school activities and interactions.

A recent review of this concept sought the views of teachers and students to establish common understandings. Further review should include analysed input from parents, whānau and other groups, to ensure diverse perspectives are represented.

Recently introduced professional learning groups provide opportunities for teachers to share strategies and build professional knowledge. These should support teachers’ growing understanding of effective teaching and learning, and assist them to inquire more deeply into their teaching practice.

It is timely to review the curriculum in partnership with parents, whānau and the wider community, to ensure it reflects their aspirations. Review should consider how well the curriculum responds to the local context and to the cultural diversity of students and their families.

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

The school is strengthening its provision for Māori students. Funding of external expertise supports curriculum delivery. Te reo Māori me ngā tikanga lessons and kapa haka provide opportunities for students to make connections with their identity, language and culture. Additional opportunities are provided for some students to enrich their te reo learning through extension classes.

The Māori curriculum team provides good support for the development and implementation of the te reo Maori me ngā tikanga programme. Team members are improvement focused. They set direction, reflect on provision and initiate change.

Establishing a more strategic and cohesive plan for development should ensure efforts are coordinated and aligned. This should be guided by a clear vision of success for Maori, as Māori, developed in partnership with local iwi, hapū and whānau, and Ka Hikitia: Accelerating Success 20132017. Use of Tātaiako: Cultural Competencies for Teachers of Maori Learners should support the development of teachers’ capacity to be more culturally responsive in their practice.

4 Sustainable Performance

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

Good relationships are evident throughout the school. Trustees have a range of expertise and experience and work collaboratively with school leaders. Staff value and support each other.

The use of external appraisal and professional development for the senior leadership team provides appropriate support for their development as managers and professional leaders. Teachers have a range of leadership opportunities in curriculum and syndicate teams. Developing clear expectations of roles and responsibilities is a next step.

Established practices to support student wellbeing are evident in the school. A number of school staff provide highly responsive care and support for students and liaise with families. Ensuring there are clear, coordinated systems with defined responsibilities for identifying needs, accessing and monitoring support, and evaluating outcomes for students should strengthen practice.

School leaders use planned, regular self review and a schedule provides for the evaluation of a wide range of school activities and initiatives. Review promotes reflection on practices through useful questions and clear indicators of success. Student and teacher perspectives are well represented.

Next steps should include:

  • a more evaluative approach to the focus of review to determine significance, impact or effectiveness
  • greater consideration of the sources of information and who might be involved
  • deeper analysis and interpretation of data
  • clear evaluative judgements from findings.

Results of review, including annual planning outcomes, should be shared with the community and inform ongoing strategic goals and priorities.

School leaders recognise teacher appraisal needs strengthening. Further development should include: setting of relevant and specific goals; observations of practice with specific feedback to guide improvement; and clear links to teachers’ roles in promoting students’ progress. Planned developments include the use of a portfolio to provide evidence of progress towards goals and support teachers to systematically inquire into the effectiveness of their teaching.

Trustees have focused on ensuring school staffing and property is adequate for new enrolments brought about by increased numbers of students, particularly in the junior area. Senior leaders have recognised the need to review school practices and systems as the school develops.

Improving systems for managing documentation to support self review, accountability and communication should support this. Increased partnerships with parents and whānau in decision-making and goal-setting should also be promoted through review.

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.

In order to improve practice, trustees should ensure minutes of board meetings are properly kept and available for public viewing. [Good practice; Local Government Official Information and Meetings Act 1987, Public Records Act 2005]

When is ERO likely to review the school again?

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

Joyce Gebbie

National Manager Review Services Central Region (Acting)

20 May 2014

About the School

Location

New Plymouth

Ministry of Education profile number

2167

School type

Contributing (Years 1 to 6)

School roll

378

Gender composition

Female 48%, Male 52%

Ethnic composition

NZ European/Pākehā

Māori

Pacific

Asian

Indian

Other ethnic groups

68%

20%

4%

4%

2%

2%

Special Features

Resource Teacher of Literacy

Reading Recovery Centre

Review team on site

March 2014

Date of this report

20 May 2014

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

March 2011

April 2008

April 2005