Grants Braes School - 28/01/2020

School Context

Grants Braes School is a Years 1 to 6 primary school in Waverley, Dunedin. The roll is 275 students, 38 of whom identify as Māori.

The school’s vision is Kia tūhura, kia kite, kia mahi ngātahi: To explore, discover and learn together. Its values are: E kumanu ana - we care; E ako ana - we learn; E āhei ana - we can; E mahi ngātahi ana - we are. The school states that its strategic goals are that all students and staff will be actively engaging with the school curriculum and progressing towards achievement, and to strengthen and encourage family and whānau participation and engagement in the school community.

Leaders and teachers regularly report to the board, schoolwide information about outcomes for students in the following areas:

  • reading, writing, mathematics, and other learning areas of the New Zealand Curriculum
  • progress of groups of students receiving additional learning support.

Since the February 2015 ERO review a new principal and junior school team leader have been appointed. There has been considerable growth in the roll and an enrolment scheme has been implemented. Learning spaces have been redeveloped to provide flexible learning areas for students in Years 2 to 6. School-wide professional learning has been undertaken in mathematics, literacy, collaborative practices and future focused curriculum.

Grants Braes School continues to be a high performing school.

Evaluation Findings

1 Equity and excellence – achievement of valued outcomes for students

1.1 How well is the school achieving equitable and excellent outcomes for all its students?

The school is achieving consistently positive outcomes for most students. Achievement information for 2016 to mid-2019 shows that most students achieve at or above the school’s expectations in reading, writing and mathematics, and across the wider curriculum.

Some disparity in the outcomes for girls and of a group of Māori learners in mathematics, in 2018, resulted in strategic interventions being implemented in 2019, and this disparity is reducing significantly.

1.2 How well is the school accelerating learning for those Māori and other students who need this?

Specific and targeted responses to accelerate progress have been effective in supporting those students who need this.

Learning interventions are carefully considered and selected to meet the needs of each student, and progress is closely monitored. Students who are not experiencing success in a particular learning support programme are quickly directed on to other interventions or agencies. Those who have completed a programme are monitored to ensure progress is sustained.

2 School conditions for equity and excellence – processes and practices

2.1 What school processes and practices are effective in enabling achievement of equity and excellence, and acceleration of learning?

Students are the focus of all work of the school. Close collaboration among leaders, teachers, students and parents supports and enriches learning. Work with other education professionals and organisations extends students’ opportunities for learning. The social and collaborative nature of learning is recognised and well organised, with students experiencing multiple opportunities to work with a range of peers and adults.

Students’ creativity, curiosity and exploration are promoted across the curriculum through play and inquiry, which also develops oral language, social skills and leadership. Clear progressions, thoughtful planning and carefully scaffolded learning ensure that the individual and collective needs of students are well met. Students are confidently engaged and empowered as learners.

Leaders pursue equity and excellence for students by building and embedding effective relationships, structures and processes. The school community works together to create a positive environment that is inclusive, open minded and strengths based. Relational trust at all levels supports openness, collaboration, risk taking and receptiveness to change.

The perspectives of parents, whānau and runanga are gathered, valued, and incorporated into the school’s vision, values and curriculum. Learning is enriched by cultural and community resources. Leaders are directly involved in planning, coordinating, evaluating and knowledge building to support best outcomes for all students.

Trustees, leaders and teachers are well informed about the progress of their priority learners, and resources are appropriately directed to meet the needs of students most at risk of not achieving. Students are provided with equitable opportunities to learn and achieve success.

The board of trustees effectively represents and serves the school community to enact its vision, values and priorities. Strong board processes, including comprehensive policy reviews, support the principal and enable effective governance. External support is appropriately sourced, when required. Trustees receive a range of quality learning information and evaluations, including multiple perspectives, to support their understanding for strategic decision making. Decisions are appropriately focused on the learning, achievement and wellbeing of students.

Trustees, leaders and teachers make use of coherent systems and practices that support equitable student participation and engagement. Robust systems are used for assessing, tracking and monitoring achievement and progress, including those students who have recently left the school. Coherent communication tools and practices ensure that learning is widely known about and celebrated. Teachers’ inquiry and knowledge building processes are purposeful and responsive to student needs. Students learn in a well-informed, cohesive and orderly environment.

2.2 What further developments are needed in school processes and practices for achievement of equity and excellence, and acceleration of learning?

Trustees, leaders and teachers, in association with students and whānau, should further explore and clarify the ways in which the school’s curriculum is connected to their valued outcomes for learners. This should enable the school to better evaluate how well its students are prepared, with the necessary knowledge, skills, values and dispositions, to be successful lifelong learners.

3 Other Matters

Provision for international students

The school is a signatory to the Education (Pastoral Care of International Students) Code of Practice 2016 (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.

The school is providing well for this student’s educational and pastoral needs.

4 Board Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the board 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
  • finance
  • 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 and certification
  • processes for appointing staff
  • stand down, suspension, expulsion and exclusion of students
  • attendance
  • school policies in relation to meeting the requirements of the Children’s Act 2014.

5 ERO’s Overall Judgement

On the basis of the findings of this review, ERO’s overall evaluation judgement of Grants Braes School’s performance in achieving valued outcomes for its students is: Strong.

ERO’s Framework: Overall Findings and Judgement Tool derived from School Evaluation Indicators: Effective Practice for Improvement and Learner Success is available on ERO’s website.

6 Going forward

Key strengths of the school

For sustained improvement and future learner success, the school can draw on existing strengths in:

  • positive, collaborative relationships that support students’ learning and personal development
  • effective leadership that builds a culture of openness to growth across the learning community
  • the board’s, leaders’ and teachers’ knowledge of, and responses to, individual needs that lead to excellent and equitable outcomes
  • well-established systems and processes that sustain effective practices at all levels.

Next steps

For sustained improvement and future learner success, a priority for further development is in making explicit the connections between the school’s curriculum and its valued outcomes for learners, so that the effectiveness of these can be clearly known and evaluated.

Dr Lesley Patterson

Director Review and Improvement Services Southern

Southern Region

28 January 2020

About the school

Location

Dunedin

Ministry of Education profile number

3742

School type

Contributing primary (Years 1-6)

School roll

275

Gender composition

Male 53%

Female 47%

Ethnic composition

Māori 13%

NZ European/Pākehā 59%

Chinese 6%

Middle Eastern 4%

Other 18%

Students with Ongoing Resourcing Funding (ORS)

Yes

Provision of Māori medium education

No

Review team on site

November 2019

Date of this report

28 January 2020

Most recent ERO reports

Education Review February 2015

Education Review December 2011