Glenbrae Primary School - 12/11/2015

1. Context

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

Glenbrae Primary School is a full primary school located in Glen Innes, Auckland.

Pacific and Māori students make up most of the school roll, which is forecast to grow significantly in the future with the implementation of the Tamaki Regeneration Project. Currently, the area surrounding the school is undergoing significant change as work for the project progresses and some families are relocated to other areas. The principal and board of trustees have worked closely with authorities alongside this process to ensure positive outcomes for children.

The schools’ role in maintaining these ongoing relationships with local authorities and organisations has enabled the establishment of a ‘Glenbrae Kids Early Childhood Centre’ adjacent to the school. The centre and school are developing good processes to help ensure optimal transitioning for children. The board has also contributed to the refurbishment of an existing neighbourhood scout hall, and the processes which have enabled it to become a wider community resource.

The wider school community look to the principal and senior leadership team for guidance beyond school matters and regard the school as their Iwi. The community take pride in the good progress they have made alongside the significant social and housing changes taking place around them.

Since the 2012 ERO review a new associate and deputy principal have been appointed and school renewal has been the key undertaking of the board and senior leadership team. An important part of this initiative has been developing coherence across all areas of school operations. The board and senior leaders have prioritised deepening the schools’ culture of learning for students and staff.

Glenbrae School is part of the Manaiakalani Education Trust group of schools. Their purpose is to grow digital, technical and learning capacity for teachers and students. The schools’ participation in the Manaiakalani Trust greatly benefits children’s learning. A recent board decision to join a ‘Community of Schools’ (COS) group should further increase and strengthen teachers’ professional learning capacity.

2. Learning

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

A positive school tone supports student learning. Strong relationships and school values underpin practices. Cultural responsiveness is an integral feature of the school’s day-to-day operation, with the board and teachers providing good affirmation for students’ language, culture and identity.

Senior leaders, teachers and increasingly students use student achievement information very effectively to make positive changes to learners’ engagement, progress and achievement. Robust professional inquiry underpins teacher practice. Achievement information is used well to set school priorities, to closely monitor student progress, and to identify students who are underachieving.

About half of all students are achieving at or above National Standards in reading, writing and mathematics. Senior leaders are focused on continuing to improve student outcomes and responsive teaching programmes help to ensure maximum benefit for learners. There is evidence of improved student achievement over the past two years in reading for most learners. Māori students overall have made good progress in reading and mathematics. Pacific students overall are progressing in reading, and focused teaching is supporting some students to make accelerated progress with their learning. Teachers monitor students closely with the expectation that all students will show accelerated progress with their learning.

In response to student achievement data senior leaders have identified mathematics as an area for development. Teachers and students are participating in a school-wide mathematics programme that is further promoting students’ engagement and understanding of mathematics. This is likely to lead to continuous improvement in students’ mathematical skills and abilities.

Researchers from a local university working in the school contribute information that adds to the bigger school overview on student progress and achievement. This enriches professional decisions made by teachers. They carefully review the effectiveness of teaching and learning programmes, adjusting these programmes, as required, and helping to ensure they are responsive to students’ needs. Teacher aides support learning in classrooms, as well as in additional learning programmes external to the classroom. This is an area that senior leaders and teachers could now review to identify the most effective outcomes from this support.

Students with special abilities are identified, fostered and encouraged to achieve their potential. Placements are available for students at the local college to provide extension in specific curriculum areas. These students are well catered for through the school’s inquiry based learning approach, and are supported by digital technologies that are developing across the school.

The school has inclusive, responsive practices and systems to support students. Student needs are central to all school decisions. Through the school’s involvement with the Manaiakalani Trust, students have very good access to digital technology. Student engagement in learning is high, and their enjoyment is clearly evident as they share their learning and support the learning of their peers.

School leaders continue to refine the good systems in place to support teachers to make reliable judgements in relation to National Standards. Senior leaders and teachers identify that regular evaluative reviews of teaching programmes have very good benefits for learners. They are continuing to embed this good review practice across the school.

School systems are strengthened by professional and collegial relationships that work for the benefit of children. The professional connections between teachers, schools and preschools help to promote a free flow of communication. The very good community relationships between the Glenbrae community and the school are also a significant factor in promoting positive outcomes for students.

3. Curriculum

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

Glenbrae Primary School is very effective in the way it promotes and supports student learning. A cornerstone of the schools’ curriculum is an understanding that teachers know their students’ very well. This learning characteristic places students at the heart of the learning process. The school’s curriculum and achievement plan (SCaAP) drives this initiative. The school focus is on literacy and mathematics, with high interest in science across the school also evident.

Students also engage in studies linked to environmental sustainability and in a wealth of sporting, arts-based and cultural events. These aspects of the curriculum are valued by students and the community. The school ensures that good quality, well resourced programmes are in place.

The school has an explicit focus on teachers meeting the needs of students. They have developed a comprehensive and responsive curriculum document. It promotes best teaching practice to positively influence and guide school improvement.

The school requires all teachers to complete professional papers for the teaching of learners for whom English is a second language (TESSOL).This helps to ensure teachers are very well equipped to support the needs of these learners. The school is culturally respectful and responsive to the diversity of its students. School leaders and teachers value students’ differences and, as a result, students flourish within a curriculum that allows them to be proud of who they are.

Senior leaders have identified that the next step for further enriching the curriculum is to increasingly move towards more student-driven learning approaches, while continuing to grow and embed inquiry based teaching and learning. Senior leaders and teachers are mindful of the pace of this development, given the present housing and social context impacting many students.

The school engages the learner through personalising learning, its focus on a learner-centred curriculum, and by empowering students through meaningful partnerships between school and whānau. A supportive feature of this partnership is the online availability of each student’s learning programme, homework, class lessons and teacher feed-back. This enables family members to see in detail what learning is taking place for their child. This transparency is appreciated by whānau, who feel included and valued by the school. The schools’ outreach to community fosters an authentic and effective community partnership.

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

Glenbrae School very effectively promotes educational success for Māori. Nineteen percent of students identify as Māori and they are a priority for the board and school leaders.

There is clear and shared understanding about what it means to have Māori students enjoying success as Māori. A commitment to bicultural practices and te Ao Maori is evident throughout the school. A kapa haka group reflects the vibrancy of the school’s Māori students and the importance placed on affirming and fostering Māori students’ te reo and tikanga.

School and whānau work together in meaningful partnership. This relationship is founded on trust, and characterised by mutual respect. School leaders and teachers welcome whānau Māori, who acknowledge the school as a point of community stability through this time of significant change. Māori whānau have historical connections with the school and contribute meaningfully to school decision making processes. The views of whānau are listened to, and responded to, by the school. These good practices serve children well.

4. Sustainable Performance

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

Glenbrae School is very well placed to sustain and improve its performance. Leadership of the school is very effective. The principal and board have been instrumental in key appointments and in building leadership capacity. This approach has been strategic and has successfully raised the quality of teaching and learning school wide.

The principal’s effectiveness in nurturing learning is evident at all levels: from students, to teachers, and community. Students see themselves as leaders, and senior leaders and teachers work relentlessly to raise student achievement and to care for the wellbeing of students. Good systems are in place to ensure accountabilities are met. The board focuses on making strategic decisions that bring about best outcomes for students.

The school engages very well with parents and whānau. Staff respect the role of parents and whānau and provide them with the knowledge and skills to support their children’s learning at home.

Well aligned and cohesive systems and processes for guiding teaching and learning are enabling meaningful change to take place. This is reflected in the school’s teacher appraisal system which promotes best practice and supports school directions. Senior leaders have identified that, as a next step, more collaborative approaches that enable teachers to contribute in mutually supportive ways to one another’s appraisal processes could be beneficial for extending their professional knowledge and teaching capabilities.

Leadership of the board is effective and the board governs the school well. Board members continue to make significant decisions that contribute to the wellbeing of the school. They show a deep commitment to the learners and whānau they represent. The board is forward thinking and works collaboratively with the school and wider community to ensure its strategic planning and decision making will serve the students well in the years to come.

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

Glenbrae Primary School promotes high quality education. Students enjoy and fully engage in the learning process. They benefit from learning in an inclusive environment that supports diversity, values leadership and encourages increasingly high levels of progress and achievement for all students.

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

Graham Randell

Deputy Chief Review Officer Northern

12 November 2015

About the School

Location

Glen Innes, Auckland

Ministry of Education profile number

1291

School type

Full Primary (Years 1 to 8)

School roll

174

Gender composition

Boys 59%

Girls 41%

Ethnic composition

Māori 19%

Pākehā 1%

Tongan 35%

Samoan 19%

Cook Island Māori 16%

Niue 8%

African 2%

Review team on site

September 2015

Date of this report

12 November 2015

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review October 2012

Education Review August 2009

Education Review June 2006