Good Shepherd School (Balmoral) - 12/10/2016

1 Context

Good Shepherd School in Balmoral, Auckland, provides education for boys and girls from Years 1 to 6. Founded in 1912 by the Sisters of St Joseph, the school's Catholic character continues to influence all aspects of school life. Many staff and parents have strong intergenerational connections to the school and its community. The school is culturally diverse with over 20 different ethnicities represented. Four percent of children enrolled are Māori and around fourteen percent are Pacific.

Since ERO's 2013 review a new principal and senior leadership team have been appointed, and in 2016 several teachers are undertaking different leadership roles. The current board consists of new and experienced trustees. The school has a positive ERO reporting history.

2 Equity and excellence

The vision and valued outcomes defined by the school for all children are underpinned by the school motto - together we learn and care. The school values of care (manaaki), honesty (pono) and respect (whakaute) are evident throughout the school's curriculum and within learning programmes. The board, staff and parents have a vision that all Year 6 children leaving the school are connected to their Catholic faith and community, have positive morals and personal strengths, are capable and competent learners, and are strong in their own identity.

The school’s achievement information shows that the majority of children achieve at or above the National Standards in reading, writing and mathematics, and that most Māori children achieve above the National Standards in all areas. Pacific children's achievement is also high in relation to the National Standards. The school receives English language learning funding from the Ministry of Education for a third of its Pacific children.

The board's strategic focus is to accelerate children's learning, and it sets specific and clear strategic achievement targets. The principal and school leaders ensure that there is a clear link from strategic targets to classroom practice and individual children. In response to analysis of their data for the last two years, school leaders have targeted students to accelerate their progress from achieving at the National Standards in writing and maths to achieving above the National Standards.

Sound school-wide procedures for forming consistent overall teacher judgments (OTJs) have been developed over the past three years. Teachers have implemented these with internal and external professional development and support. As a result, teachers are more confidently making informed decisions in OTJs.

Since the last ERO evaluation, the school has focused on strengthening teachers' practice and promoting equitable opportunities and outcomes for children. The school has engaged in various professional learning contracts that include Positive Behaviour for Learning (PB4L), writing, te ao Māori and digital technologies. The school is also a member of the Central Catholic Schools Community of Learning (CoL).

3 Accelerating achievement

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

The school responds very effectively to Māori, Pacific and all other children whose learning and achievement need acceleration. As school-wide achievement levels are high, the school places an appropriate focus on raising children's achievement to above the National Standards. This focus sits alongside accelerating learning for the small number of children whose achievement is below standard. The board and staff have a clear and unrelenting focus on improving and accelerating children's progress and achievement.

School leaders and teachers have established robust systems that allow them to track children's achievement and their accelerated progress. They engage in regular professional discussion about children's achievement, especially those whose learning requires acceleration.

Teachers receive good support from school leaders and external providers to make informed and valid OTJs about children's achievement in relation to the National Standards. They moderate their OTJs with each other and there are good systems in place to monitor the consistency of these judgements. Further collaboration through the CoL will build on these opportunities to externally moderate. These very good approaches promote greater consistency in the way teachers assess children's achievement throughout the school.

School leaders, teachers and support staff know children and families well. They use achievement information and their knowledge and understanding of individual children to apply effective learning interventions and programmes. Engaging parents as partners in their children's learning is a key component of the school's success. Leaders and teachers communicate well with parents. The high levels of care, support and guidance they provide for children and families promote children's wellbeing and learning.

The school responds very well to accelerate the progress of children, including those with special educational needs and for whom English is a subsequent language. School leaders and teachers use data very well to ensure that programmes and interventions are personalised and purposeful for children.

The board and school leaders consult meaningfully with Māori whānau and are responsive to their views and ideas, especially in promoting Māori language, culture and identity. Improvements include the establishment of kapa haka, increasing use of te reo me ngā tikanga throughout the school, and increased recognition of te ao Māori in classroom programmes. In addition, fono is promoting Pacific parents' contribution.

The board and school leaders agree that useful next steps in strengthening partnerships with their Māori and Pacific parent communities could include the strategic use of the Ministry of Education's Pacific Education Plan, and the New Zealand School Trustee Association's resource, Hautū.

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's curriculum is very effective in developing and enacting the school's vision and values, and its goals and targets to promote equity and excellence. It is a broad curriculum, and is designed to enhance children's thinking abilities. The curriculum provides children with varied and rich experiences across all learning areas, and includes good opportunities to explore and celebrate children's cultures, identities and languages. Increasingly, teachers integrate children's reading, writing and mathematics learning into other areas of learning.

Teachers plan programmes that are highly responsive to children's interests, talents and learning needs. They promote children's confidence, support them to take risks in their learning and celebrate their successes. Teachers are increasingly adept at encouraging meaningful learning through the use of digital devices. In addition they are strengthening how they incorporate Māori concepts and language into daily programmes. As a result of these good practices and the positive relationships that exist between children and their teachers, children are well engaged in their learning.

The principal is an experienced professional leader. She works strategically in partnership with capable senior leaders to lead the school. This team values teachers as professionals and uses strengths-based approaches in supporting them to adapt their practice, based on children's changing learning needs. Senior leaders are continuing to manage the pace of change by individualising professional learning approaches for teachers.

School leaders are building a cohesive learning community model that promotes high levels of parent, child and staff input. They use this information as part of their high quality internal evaluation system and to make continual improvements for children. Teachers' professional learning and appraisals align well with the school's strategic goals and targets.

The board of trustees is very supportive of the principal and staff, and has a significant role in strategic decision making. Trustees engage meaningfully with their community. They scrutinise the useful information they receive from the principal and use it to evaluate and resource initiatives and programmes in response to the changing needs of children and staff. Trustees resource the school generously to promote equity for Māori and all other children.

5 Going forward

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

Leaders and teachers: 

  • know the children whose learning and achievement need to be accelerated
  • respond effectively to the strengths, needs and interests of each child
  • regularly evaluate how well teaching is working for these children
  • act on what they know works well for each child
  • build teacher capability effectively to achieve equitable outcomes for all children
  • are well placed to achieve and sustain equitable and excellent outcomes for all children. 

In response to the school's high quality leadership, clear vision and well enacted values, parents are very well engaged in the school and satisfied with their children's learning and achievement. Relational trust is high at all levels of the school. Staff work collaboratively and aim for continual improvement and positive outcomes for children.

In going forward, the board and senior leaders are continuing to enhance equity and excellence for Māori, Pacific and all other children throughout the school.

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

7 Recommendation

ERO recommends that the board and school leaders continue with current approaches to support teachers in strengthening their adaptive expertise. This should align with the board's integration of the Pacific Education Plan and Hautū into its strategic planning.

Graham Randell

Deputy Chief Review Officer Northern

12 October 2016

About the school

Location

Balmoral, Auckland

Ministry of Education profile number

1297

School type

Contributing (Years 1 to 6)

School roll

219

Gender composition

Girls 53%; Boys 47%

Ethnic composition

Pakeha

Maori

Filipino

Samoan

Indian

Tongan

other ethnicities

55%

4%

7%

6%

6%

5%

17%

Review team on site

August 2016

Date of this report

12 October 2016

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review Education Review Education Review

September 2013 June 2010 June 2007