Grants Braes School - 10/02/2015

Findings

The school has high expectations that students will achieve well, make appropriate progress and be engaged in their learning. Students benefit from effective teaching. There are robust processes to support sound governance and leadership. The school’s value for the language, culture and identity of Māori students and whānau is being made increasingly more visible.

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

1. Context

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

Grant’s Braes School provides a positive, inclusive environment for students and their families. A strong focus is placed on creating a family-like culture based on respect, care and co-operation (manaakitanga, whanaungatanga). Senior students that spoke with ERO expressed a strong sense of belonging and appreciation for their school and teachers.

Students achieve highly. They experience a well-balanced variety of learning. This includes effective programmes to support and/or extend their thinking and interests.

The school roll has grown significantly since the 2011 ERO review. Its local community and student population has become increasingly diverse. The school maintains close links with its parent and wider community. The community is kept well informed and involved through reports, consultation, surveys and a useful school website. Teachers and school leaders develop effective working relationships with the students and their families/whānau. Parent involvement is sought and welcomed. As a result, experiences for learning have been enriched.

The school’s focus on what is best for students and their achievement is well managed and planned for. The school has successfully addressed the recommendations from the last ERO report.

2. Learning

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

The school makes very effective use of a wide range of learning information to make positive changes to students’ learning. Trustees and teachers have high expectations that students will achieve well, make appropriate progress and be engaged in their learning.

Areas of strength

Students are highly aware of their learning. This includes the purpose of class and group lessons, their next steps and goals. They are appropriately involved in assessing their own and classmates’ work against set criteria and can identify how this helps with their learning.

Teachers make effective use of learning information to:

  • determine the learning levels and needs of individuals and groups of students
  • monitor and ensure students are making appropriate progress
  • evaluate the impact their teaching is having on students’ learning
  • identify the changes they need to make to progress students’ learning
  • engage students in their learning and the learning process.

Leaders make purposeful use of learning information to:

  • identify trends and patterns of achievement across the school and within groups of students
  • identify targeted groups and areas of learning that need to be supported and focused on
  • monitor the achievement and rates of progress of individuals and groups of students
  • evaluate the impact of interventions and other support programmes running within the school.

Trustees receive comprehensive and well-analysed information. They use this to inform their resourcing decisions, including professional learning and development, staffing, and purchasing and building plans. Trustees are knowledgeable about the impact of support programmes and interventions.

3. Curriculum

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

The school’s curriculum very effectively promotes and supports students’ learning.

Areas of strength

Students benefit from effective teaching. Key features of the teaching practices include:

  • consistency of approach across all classes with suitable flexibility to best meet the needs for the different ages
  • expectations of teachers being made clear to the students regarding their learning and behaviour
  • students having opportunities to learn through effective timetabling, curriculum content, and class tone and management
  • teachers using students’ interests well to provide interesting, relevant learning contexts
  • the competent use of ICT as teaching and learning tools.

The school’s curriculum is soundly based on the principles, values and key competencies of the New Zealand Curriculum. It places an appropriate emphasis on literacy, mathematics, fitness and physical education. Other learning areas are effectively taught through an inquiry approach. This approach has evolved over time to support the school’s vision of developing children who are inquiring, resilient, life-long learners with the skills and desire to contribute and succeed.

Learning support programmes are well implemented. Students benefit from a range of interventions to support identified needs. Their progress is well monitored. Teachers review this to ensure they are meeting the students’ needs. The school makes effective use of the skilful teacher aides.

Other key features of the curriculum include:

  • useful collaborative learning partnerships developed between teachers and whānau
  • explicit guidelines leading to robust assessment practices
  • regular gathering and responding to the ideas and opinions of students and parents
  • a purposeful programme and systems to transition students into school and between classes
  • purposeful, varied extension programmes for all year levels.

Next step

The school leaders and teachers need to make additions to the curriculum guidelines to ensure they reflect the current high-quality practices. This should help maintain the high expectations and guide practice in the future.

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

Since the last ERO review, the school has further improved the ways in which Māori students are supported to engage and achieve in their learning. The overall level of Māori achievement in reading, writing, mathematics and other areas of learning is consistently high. The progress Māori students make in their learning is closely monitored. Students with identified needs are prioritised and receive effective support.

Staff, school leaders and trustees have created a culture that promotes and supports respect and diversity. This is very well planned and managed. The school’s value for the language, culture and identity of Māori students and their whānau is being made increasingly more visible. The values of whanaungatanga and manaakitanga are widely known and practiced. As the school, with parents and whānau, work through the Māori plan they could further develop a shared understanding of what success as Māori will look like at the school.

The school-wide development of kapa haka is providing meaningful opportunities for learning for all students and their families. Teachers include aspects of language and culture into the daily learning of all students. The identification of Māori students on the school roll has increased. The support from lead teachers and Māori parents are helping to enrich the learning of te ao Māori for staff and students.

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. Trustees, leaders and teachers are committed to ongoing school-wide improvement.

Areas of strength

The board is very well informed about student achievement and all things happening to support their progress. Strategic planning places a strong focus on what is best for students and what contributes to improving their learning. School review is guided by well-analysed information that focuses on improving outcomes for students.

The school's vision is well developed and future focused.

School leaders have effectively built a culture of ongoing improvement within the school.

  • A shared focus on student outcomes informs decision-making.
  • Senior leaders and teachers work collaboratively and reflect on their practices.
  • Best-teaching practice is effectively built and shared.
  • School-wide systems are well-known and rigorously applied.

Provision for international students

The school is a signatory to the Code of Practice for the Pastoral Care of International Students (the Code) established under section 238F of the Education Act 1989. The school has attested that it complies with all aspects of the Code.

At the time of this review there was one international student attending the school. He and his parents receive good quality support from the school. He receives effective support for his learning and is well integrated into the school community.

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

The school has high expectations that students will achieve well, make appropriate progress and be engaged in their learning. Students benefit from effective teaching. There are robust processes to support sound governance and leadership. The school’s value for the language, culture and identity of Māori students and whānau is being made increasingly more visible.

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

Graham Randell

Deputy Chief Review Officer Southern

10 February 2015

About the School

Location

Dunedin

Ministry of Education profile number

3742

School type

Contributing school (Years 1 to 6)

School roll

201

Number of international students

1

Gender composition

Boys: 55% Girls: 45%

Ethnic composition

NZ European/Pākehā

Māori

Asian

Pacific

Other

70%

14%

6%

3%

7%

Review team on site

November 2014

Date of this report

10 February 2015

Most recent ERO reports

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

December 2011

July 2008

November 2005