Golden Sands School - 29/08/2012

1. Context

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

Golden Sands School is a new school established in 2011 in Papamoa, near Tauranga. When opened it catered for students in Years 1 to 4, and in 2012 this has been extended to include students in Year 5. The current roll is 186 with 25% of these students identifying as Māori.

The current board of trustees was elected in June 2011 to take over school governance from the Ministry of Education appointed establishment board. Prior to the school opening, the establishment board developed mission, vision and value statements for the school. ERO and trustees agree that the board should now consult with parents and whānau to review these guiding statements to ensure they reflect current community aspirations.

The principal and senior leaders were appointed by the establishment board prior to the school opening. These leaders have focused strongly on establishing a collaborative learning culture, based on current research-based best practice. Teachers have participated in extensive school-wide professional learning and development about effective teaching and learning practices.

The concepts of being proactive, respectful, open, understanding and dependable (PROUD) have been identified as key values of the school, are well understood by teachers, students and their families, and are integrated into all aspect of school life. These values are contributing to the school’s calm, safe and settled environment for learning. Teachers and students enjoy working and learning in well-designed and spacious classrooms and environments.

Teachers, students and their families benefit from the activities and resources provided by an enthusiastic ‘friends of the school’ group.

This is the school’s first ERO Education Review.

2. Learning

How well are students learning – engaging, progressing and achieving?

Achievement information at the end of 2011 indicates that the vast majority of students achieved at or above the National Standards in reading, writing and mathematics. These results show that Māori students achieved slightly better overall than their non-Māori peers at the school. Results also showed that most students made expected or better than expected progress in these learning areas during 2011. There are many opportunities for students to experience success in a wide-variety of academic, sporting and cultural activities and events.

The school is continuing to develop processes to guide teachers to make robust overall teacher judgements in relation to the National Standards. School leaders collect and analyse achievement data effectively. It is well used to report to the board, inform decision-making and self review, and to set charter targets. An appropriate range of support programmes is provided to cater for students with identified learning needs. ERO and school leaders have identified the need to further review and refine current systems to monitor the achievement and progress of these students over time.

Teachers make good use of assessment information to provide meaningful programmes that cater for the varying needs of individuals and groups of students. They provide parents with regular and comprehensive information about their children’s progress and achievement, including suggestions for how they can further support learning. This information includes two written reports about achievement and progress in relation to the National Standards.

Students demonstrate high levels of interest and engagement in meaningful learning programmes.

3. Curriculum

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

The school’s broad-based curriculum effectively promotes student engagement and learning. It is strongly aligned to the principles of The New Zealand Curriculum (TNZC) and reflects current educational theory and research. Emphasis is placed on literacy and mathematics throughout the school. Comprehensive and clear guidelines have been developed that support teachers’ implementation of these learning areas.

School leaders and teachers have developed and documented clear expectations for teaching practice, which are effectively modelled by the deputy and assistant principals. This contributes to the high-quality teaching that is consistently evident throughout the school. Students spoken to by ERO had a clear understanding of their achievement and next learning steps, enabling them to take increased responsibility for their learning, and to reflect on their progress. Teachers work collegially in pairs taking joint responsibility for two classes. This enables them to share best practice and effectively cater for the wide range of ability levels of individuals and groups of students. Within this structure, teachers know students well and have developed positive and affirming relationships with them and their families.

Authentic learning contexts provide students with real life experiences including an emphasis on the local community and environments. A key element of the curriculum is the empowerment of both teachers and students in leadership. Students enjoy many opportunities to develop their leadership potential in class and school activities. Information and communication technologies (ICT) are well used to enhance learning for students, who are able to further their studies through access to the school’s web-based learning management system. This also provides useful information that enables parents to support their children’s learning.

The principal and staff are successfully fostering strong partnerships with families, whānau and the wider community. Well-managed transition processes support new students and families as they move into the school. Frequent opportunities are provided for parents to learn about the school’s curriculum and to be actively involved in school activities.

School leaders and ERO agree that the next step for curriculum development is to establish clear priorities and learning pathways in subject areas other than literacy and mathematics. These priorities should reflect community aspirations and TNZC.

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

The school’s motto (Te Rito o te Harakeke) reflects the history of the land on which the school has been built. Its logo is also representative of the local whenua. Relationships have been established with Nga Potiki iwi through consultation with kuia and kaumātua. Three trustees are parents of Māori students and provide useful links with whānau and iwi.

Extensive consultation has been undertaken with whānau to identify what being successful as Māori at Golden Sands School means. This has led to the development of an Achieving Success for Māori as Māori action plan that provides direction for the school and its community.

The school’s self review indicates that whānau and Māori students feel a strong sense of belonging and well-being within the school. The school community celebrate the high-levels of achievement by Māori students, including their active participation in leadership roles.

Guidelines for implementing a te reo Māori programme have been developed for all year levels. School leaders acknowledge the need to provide ongoing support for teachers to assist them to further integrate te reo Māori into class programmes.

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 because:

  • high-quality self-review process are well-embedded and used to inform decision-making
  • the board provides effective governance
  • trustees are supportive of the principal and staff and are focused on ongoing school development
  • the principal and school leaders provide high-quality professional leadership, are knowledgeable about best practice in primary school education, and provide a planned approach to school improvement
  • teachers work collegially and are implementing a reflective approach to their practice and professional learning and development
  • community support and involvement are strongly evident in the school.

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
  • stand-downs, suspensions, expulsions and exclusions
  • attendance.

When is ERO likely to review the school again?

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

 

Makere Smith

National Manager Review Services Northern Region (Acting)

29 August 2012

 

About the School

Location

Papamoa

Ministry of Education profile number

6070

School type

Contributing (Years 1 to 6)

School roll

186

Gender composition

Girls 51% Boys 49%

Ethnic composition

NZ European/Pākehā

NZ Māori

Other European

Other

63%

25%

10%

2%

Review team on site

July 2012

Date of this report

29 August 2012

Most recent ERO report(s)

This is the first Education Review of this school