Good Shepherd School (Balmoral) - 27/09/2013

1 Context

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

Good Shepherd is a state-integrated Catholic school in Balmoral, Auckland. It provides education for students from Years 1 to 6. The roll is multi-cultural with New Zealand European, Māori, Samoan, Tongan, Indian and Filipino students making up the largest groups. The special character of the school is evident in all aspects of school life. The emphasis on school values supports the positive and caring school tone.

Since the 2010 ERO review the school has had change in leadership. A new principal took up the leadership position in term 2, 2013. An acting principal managed the school during term 1, 2013, to bridge the gap between the departure of the previous principal and the arrival of the new principal. The senior leadership team has maintained stability and coherence in school management during this time of change and staff are committed to the school and the wellbeing of all students.

The school community is very supportive of the school. The board mostly consists of trustees who are new to the governance role. An active Parent Teacher Association works hard in the best interests of the school.

The 2010 ERO report found many areas of sound governance, management and teaching practice in the school. These features continue to be present. Continuing to consolidate and embed teaching practices that promote students’ ownership of and participation in learning were identified next steps for the school. Good progress has been made in these areas.

2 Learning

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

The school uses achievement information very well to make positive changes to learners’ engagement, progress and achievement. Students participate well in their learning. They benefit from respectful relationships with their teachers and with each other. Students talk confidently and knowledgeably about their learning and achievement.

Teachers use effective processes to make judgements about student achievement in relation to the National Standards. They provide parents with clear reports about their child’s progress and achievement. Information gathered by the school shows that most students achieve well, particularly in reading and mathematics. Students needing additional support with their learning are the focus of school target setting for improved achievement. The majority of these students make accelerated progress to reach expected levels of achievement in literacy and numeracy.

Senior leaders closely monitor the progress of individuals and groups, and track trends across time. They interpret findings and provide meaningful reports to the school community. Staff are committed to ongoing improvement and have plans to extend and enhance good practice in the use of student achievement information.

Students with special needs are well included and supported to participate in school life. Teacher aides work closely with an external specialist teacher to provide appropriate programmes for their learning needs. Teacher aides meet regularly with the school’s special needs coordinator to promote clear communication and coordinated practices.

Professional conversations between school leaders and teachers help ensure all students are benefitting from appropriate teaching and learning programmes. Teachers work in highly collegial ways to develop and promote teaching and learning. They use sound strategies to engage students in their learning and high levels of consistency in teaching practice across classrooms are apparent.

Teachers use effective strategies so that students know what they are learning. They provide opportunities for students to use self and peer assessment of their learning. Senior leaders have plans to further increase students’ ownership of their learning.

3 Curriculum

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

The school’s curriculum is considered and comprehensive. It promotes and supports student learning very well. The curriculum gives rigour and value to both the New Zealand Curriculum and the Catholic special character of the school.

Teachers and senior leaders plan curriculum programmes from a very sound teaching and learning foundation. They include students in the identification of contexts for learning. Teachers focus on developing students’ thinking strategies and fostering students’ independence in learning.

Students learn in attractive classrooms that support and visually reflect their learning. They develop their interests through extra-curricular groups that are often run by parents. Students have opportunities to take on responsibility through many different leadership roles.

The board and senior leaders are implementing a strategic plan to develop information and communication technologies (ICT) opportunities for students. A clear emphasis on integrated teaching and learning approaches, along with the provision of appropriate e-learning resources, should enhance the school’s future focused curriculum.

Pacific students report they have a sense of belonging in the school. Teachers find ways to include the culture of these students in class programmes. School leaders could now introduce school-wide initiatives that further promote and celebrate students’ cultural identity, and particularly the cultures of Pacific students.

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

School leaders report that Māori students achieve at similar levels to other students. The board and senior leaders are committed to and value consultation with school whānau. Positive relationships with Māori families are resulting in increased whānau involvement in the school. Several ideas from consultation hui have been implemented. These include:

  • formalising arrangements for the school’s kapa haka group
  • increased opportunities for student involvement in powhiri and whakatau
  • more provision of bilingual signage around the school.

The religious education curriculum integrates bicultural practice and the use of te reo Māori. Most teachers provide some te reo Māori lessons for their own class and support to improve teacher knowledge of te reo and tikanga Māori is available from lead teachers within the school. A more sequential te reo programme to further extend students’ learning is a planned next step for the school.

4 Sustainable Performance

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

The school is well placed to sustain and improve its performance.

The board is effectively led and trustees bring a diversity of backgrounds, skills and expertise to their governance role. They understand the special nature of the school and value the relationships and caring culture. Trustees also identify what is effective in, and important to, the school. They are committed to training, access external advice and support, and want to be well informed about school operations.

The senior leadership team has a shared vision for learning and leads learning developments in the school well. Senior leaders model lifelong learning for staff and students. They create opportunities for other staff to develop their leadership skills.

Effective self-review processes are used at all levels of school operations. Senior leaders and the board seek input into reviews from students, teachers and parents. External reviews complement school self review. Teachers reflect on their practice in relation to school directions, the Registered Teacher Criteria, and school and individual developmental goals.

In order to improve governance practice, ERO and the school agree that the board could now develop an effective process to rationalise and review policies and procedures.

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.

When is ERO likely to review the school again?

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

Dale Bailey

National Manager Review Services Northern Region

27 September 2013

About the School

Location

Balmoral, Auckland

Ministry of Education profile number

1297

School type

Contributing (Years 1 to 6)

School roll

229

Gender composition

Boys 50% Girls 50%

Ethnic composition

NZ European/Pākehā

Māori

Samoan

Indian

Tongan

Fijian

Filipino

British

Other

48%

10%

8%

6%

6%

2%

5%

2%

13%

Review team on site

August 2013

Date of this report

27 September 2013

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

June 2010

June 2007

October 2003