Flaxmere Primary School - 28/03/2017

1 Context

Flaxmere Primary School located west of Hastings, caters for 482 students in Years 1 to 8. Over two thirds of the roll is Māori. The Pacific population includes Samoan, Cook Island Māori and Tongan students.

Whānau can select Rumaki immersion, Rua Reo bilingual or Auraki mainstream learning options for their children. New entrants participate in a transition programme that supports these three pathways.

Stable staffing over time is a feature of the school. The principal and deputy principal have been in their roles for five years and a recently appointed assistant principal joins the school leadership team in 2017. Recently developed vertical teaching Rakau teams provide a valuable place to share professional practices to improve teaching and learning.

The school continues to enjoy strong community support and continuity in governance from a core group of long serving and representative trustees.

The school is in the formation stages of a Community of Learning (CoL) with Flaxmere schools and two nearby schools that serve Māori learners and their whānau.

2 Equity and excellence

The vision and valued outcomes defined by the school for all children are 'to empower and inspire our tamariki to be their best, be well and become lifelong learners - Kia Toa - Be Your Best, Kia Ora - Be Well, Kia Ako - Be a Learner'. The TOA framework reflects the work undertaken as part of the school's Positive Behaviour for Learning (PB4L) initiative.

A graduate profile provides a clear focus for what Year 8 students are expected to have accomplished by the time they leave the school. These expectations are strongly grounded in te ao Māori principles and values.

The strategic plan outlines expectations to further integrate experiences to support and celebrate students' individual cultural identities.

The school’s achievement information shows some overall progress between 2014 and 2015 in student achievement in relation to the National Standards in reading, writing and mathematics. In 2015, slightly less than half students achieved the National Standards in reading and writing, and just under two thirds in mathematics. Overall, there is a need to significantly raise National Standards achievement.

There are significant differences in achievement between some year levels, particularly in mathematics and writing. For 2016, end-of-year level data shows similar variable progress in these areas. Reading achievement is more consistent and shows more sustained progress over time.

A key next step is to develop a clearer schoolwide understanding about what constitutes accelerated progress and achievement, particularly for Māori and Pacific students, boys and girls.

Rumaki students' progress in Ngā Whanaketanga in pānui, kōrerō, tuhituhi and pāngarau shows some positive movements between 2014 and 2015, with good numbers of students progressing well. End of 2016 data, shows good progress with more students reaching the target level of at or above manawa ora.

Teachers have increased opportunities to improve assessment practices. Moderation of teachers' assessment judgements in relation to the National Standards in reading, writing and mathematics has occurred. Increasing the reliability and dependability of assessment data through robust moderation practices is an ongoing key next step. This should help improve the consistency of achievement across year levels and over time.

Since the February 2014 ERO evaluation the school has:

  • continued to embed Positive Behaviour for Learning (PB4L) systems to support a positive learning environment for students
  • focused on growing professional leadership opportunities through the expanded Rakau team structure
  • provided teachers and teacher associates with professional learning and development (PLD) that included intensive oral language for teachers of junior students as well as reading and pāngarau for Rumaki teachers
  • recently begun PLD in use of the reading Progress and Consistency Tool (PaCT)
  • further focused teachers' formal inquiries into their professional practices through a range of flexible approaches
  • increased students' access to digital technologies across the school.

Some key areas for improvement identified in the previous ERO report continue to be worked on by the school. These include: planning and programme provision for accelerating student learning, progress and achievement; the identification and reporting of schoolwide trends and patterns of achievement; and, ensuring consistency and clarity of reporting progress and achievement in relation to the National Standards and Ngā Whanaketanga Rumaki Māori. Clearer alignment of school priorities, annual targets, the strategic vision, curriculum expectations and the appraisal system should better assist ongoing development.

3 Accelerating achievement

How effectively does this school respond to Māori children whose learning and achievement need acceleration?

Following discussion during the on-site phase of the review, the school has reframed its definition of acceleration and supporting systems for lifting the achievement of Māori learners not yet at the National Standards. Trustees should ensure strategies promote increased equity and excellence in Māori learning outcomes.

The board receives annual student achievement information in relation to the National Standards and Ngā Whanaketanga for year levels and key groups of students. Some mid-year information about National Standards classroom achievement was received by the board early in Term 4, 2016.

Trustees, school leaders and teachers should continue to develop their understanding about student achievement and accelerated progress. This should allow them to better respond to Māori learners in relation to the National Standards and Ngā Whanaketanga. Some preliminary data indicates that some students made accelerated progress in 2016.

Increased analysis and supporting interpretations in reports to the board should include how well target students' learning is accelerated. The board should receive more regular reports of student progress in relation to Ngā Whanaketanga including Rumaki students' progress in relation to the annual school improvement target.

The school provides an environment that celebrates their iwi, hapū and whānau. Ngāti Kahungunu culture is highly evident in school events and practices. The school continues to strengthen learning contexts for Māori learners.

How effectively does this school respond to other children whose learning and achievement need acceleration?

Pacific learners are tracked separately and some general trends about their progress are understood. There is an awareness of the need to continue to focus on improving provisions for Pacific learners and their families. A Pacific education pathway is under consideration.

School systems appropriately identify students who need learning assistance and support for English second language speakers. A wide range of support programmes are provided and appropriate external expertise and agencies accessed. The board funds additional teachers and teacher associates to provide learning support. Trustees receive some information and data about these processes. Strengthening reporting on the impact on learning of additional programmes is a next step.

It is timely to consider how well the school's provisions align with Ministry of Education guidelines for learning support and inclusive practices. This should assist trustees to evaluate how well resourcing decisions contribute to accelerating students' learning and equitable outcomes.

The school should continue to build its effectiveness in responding to other learners, including Pacific students, whose learning and achievement need acceleration.

4 School conditions

How effectively do the school’s curriculum and other organisational processes and practices develop and enact the school’s vision, values, goals and targets for equity and excellence?

The school should continue to improve organisational conditions to increase equity and excellence in student outcomes. This includes improving the effectiveness of teaching and learning, and explicitly addressing in-school variability.

Students continue to learn in a supportive school environment that enhances their readiness to learn. PB4L developments have further strengthened this. Positive relationships between students and staff contribute to purposeful engagement in learning. Increasing student voice in evaluating the impact of PB4L initiatives is identified by school leaders and staff as a next step.

Experienced trustees provide strong community representation and stability in stewardship. Ongoing participation in governance PLD contributed to a recently strengthened board work plan. Property and finances are well managed to increase students' access to suitable learning resources. Progress with responding to changes in health and safety legislation and the Vulnerable Children Act 2014 is evident. The completed review of policies and procedures should contribute positively to a robust governance framework.

Trustees report that they are continuing to improve their use of student achievement information. They should seek assistance from New Zealand School Trustees Association to:

  • improve their understanding and use of data to inform target setting and a shared understanding of accelerated learning for equity and excellence in student outcomes
  • regularly monitor student achievement by receiving more frequent reports with supporting analysis to enable the board to gauge progress with school improvement targets and the impact of resourcing decisions.

School leaders are focused on building increased schoolwide professional leadership through new team structures and areas of responsibility. The newly expanded leadership team is focused on improving teaching and learning.

Forming educationally powerful connections is an area of ongoing focus with high levels of parent and whānau involvement in school events. This includes increased use of online platforms to share students' learning with parents at home. The school continues to focus on activities that contribute to positive relationships and information sharing to support learning partnerships.

The school curriculum is documented in ways that reflect the focus of the graduate profile in relation to The New Zealand Curriculum and Te Marautanga o Aotearoa. Teachers collaboratively plan and recently contributed to the schoolwide identification of priorities for action in 2017 through a wellconsidered schoolwide review process.

Revising the schoolwide curriculum expectations for effective teaching and learning to reflect recent PLD is a next step. This should include culturally responsive practices for Māori and Pacific students. Increasing student-led learning and increased use of digital technologies are identified priorities.

A clear focus on building teacher capability contributes to progress in individual teachers' and teams' reflective practices and use of inquiry. Provisionally certificated teachers participate in a wellplanned induction and mentoring programme. Evaluating the impact of PLD on improving the effectiveness of teaching programmes should assist with ongoing developments.

Teachers' understanding about the importance of appropriate evidence to support their appraisal process has increased. Improving the robustness of the appraisal process and its consistent implementation is a next step. Clearer expectations for individual goals specifically linked to students' learning, school targets and leadership roles should assist growth in professional practices.

The use of internal evaluation for improved teaching and learning is in early stages of development. Using ERO resources to establish clearer schoolwide expectations for inquiry and internal evaluation practices should contribute to further lifting student achievement at greater pace.

5 Going forward

How well placed is the school to accelerate the achievement of all children who need it?

The school should continue to improve systems and processes to support improved teaching and learning, and significantly raise student achievement overall. This includes strengthening stewardship, professional leadership, responsive curriculum, teacher appraisal, teacher inquiry and internal evaluation. More clearly aligning school priorities, annual targets, curriculum expectations and the appraisal system should assist with this.

Leaders and teachers need to:

  • build whole school knowledge and capacity to address the needs of children whose learning and achievement need to be accelerated
  • improve conditions to effectively accelerate learning and achievement
  • improve school operation to be well placed to achieve and sustain accelerated achievement for all children who need it.

ERO intends to carry out a process of ongoing evaluation to support development over the course of one-to-two years.

6 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 the following:

  • board administration

  • curriculum

  • management of health, safety and welfare

  • personnel management

  • asset management.

During the review, ERO checked the following items because they have a potentially high impact on student safety and wellbeing:

  • emotional safety of students (including prevention of bullying and sexual harassment)

  • physical safety of students

  • teacher registration

  • processes for appointing staff

  • stand down, suspensions, expulsions and exclusions

  • attendance

  • compliance with the provisions of the Vulnerable Children Act 2014.

To improve current practices, the board of trustees should complete their ongoing review of the policy and procedure framework, and:

  • strengthen procedures for managing unexplained daily student absences
  • ensure National Standards reports to parents make clear references to how well students achieve in relation to the Standards.

7 Recommendation

ERO recommends that the board of trustees seeks support from the New Zealand School Trustees Association to increase the school's use of student achievement information for continued improvement in student outcomes.

Joyce Gebbie

Deputy Chief Review Officer Central

28 March 2017

About the school

Location

Flaxmere

Ministry of Education profile number

2560

School type

Full Primary (Years 1 to 8)

School roll

482

Gender composition

Female 50%, Male 50%

Ethnic composition

Māori

Samoan

Cook Island Māori

Pākehā

Tongan

Other ethnic groups

68%

12%

11%

4%

2%

3%

Special Features

3 Level 1 Te Reo Māori Rumaki 5 Level 2 Te Reo Māori Bilingual classes

Review team on site

November 2016

Date of this report

28 March 2017

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

February 2014

June 2009

April 2006