Green Island School - 25/06/2012

1. Context

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

Green Island School caters for Years 1 to 8 students. Senior students have a variety of special responsibilities and are encouraged to be leaders in the school.

Teachers have looked at ways to help young children be ready for school. Four-year olds attend a weekly programme where they get to know the junior teachers and what school is like. They also gain some early-literacy and mathematics knowledge before they start school.

Most students come from the local area. About 20% of the students arrive from or leave to go to other schools during the school year. The principal puts considerable time and effort into supporting children and their families.

The school has recently gained some students, resources and finance as a result of the closure of a neighbouring school. Green Island School has upgraded its information communication technologies (ICT) resources. Students told ERO that they enjoy working on the computer and learning different ICT skills.

Since the 2008 ERO review, four new teachers have been appointed, including a new deputy and assistant principal. The deputy principal has led the review of the school’s curriculum and other initiatives to improve teaching and learning.

Some of the areas for improvement identified in the 2008 ERO report have been addressed well. Other areas need further work. These are discussed in Section 4 of this report.

Staff members, including the caretaker, work hard to provide a safe school environment.

2. Learning

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

Levels of student engagement and achievement vary across the school.

The school’s information indicates that at the end of 2011:

  • 75% of all students had reached the National Standard in reading
  • 70% in mathematics
  • 40% in writing.

This information had not been shared with the board at the time of this review.

Key findings

ERO found that Green Island School supports student engagement, progress and learning in a range of ways.

Teachers gather useful information about how well students are achieving. Most teachers skilfully integrate assessment into their day-to-day teaching. Some teachers give their students particularly useful oral and written feedback about their learning and next learning steps. All teachers are becoming more confident in using the National Standards to make judgements about students’ achievement.

Teachers plan carefully to meet the range of needs in their classrooms. ERO saw many instances of students showing interest and enthusiasm in their learning. Students are encouraged to reflect on their learning.

The senior leadership team has identified concerns about: some students’ behaviour and engagement in learning, and the lower levels of achievement in written language. Some useful steps are being taken to address these matters.

Students with high needs are well supported. Considerable time and effort are also put into assisting children and their families that need help.

Classrooms are well resourced, attractive and include useful visual displays to assist students with their learning. Students’ work is valued and well displayed.

Parents are well informed about their children’s learning. They receive-easy-to understand, written reports, with useful next learning steps.

Areas for review and development

In the past there has not been a systematic gathering and monitoring of syndicate and school-wide information about students’ progress and achievement. Some assessment data could be better analysed to identify trends, patterns and teaching needs.

There has been no effective school-wide system for identifying all students who are well below with their learning, monitoring their progress and having an overview of support programmes and their impact.

Teachers have identified that they and other staff need to be more consistent in identifying and managing inappropriate student behaviour. An initiative to improve students’ behaviour and their focus on learning has begun.

3. Curriculum

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

The recently developed curriculum provides useful guidelines for teaching and learning. Teachers work well as a team to develop interesting inquiry topics. Different learning areas are well integrated into most of these topics. Some teachers show skill in how well they identify and include a Māori perspective. Areas of strength

The school's curriculum document. The new curriculum clearly shows how the desired values and competencies will be interwoven into students’ learning. It defines what effective teaching in core-curriculum areas should look like. It has better aligned the school’s expectations for learning with the National Standards.

Teaching as inquiry. All teachers regularly evaluate the teaching of completed units and plans. Some critique in detail their own teaching to identify what they could have done better.

Teaching practices. ERO observed some examples of particularly effective teaching practice. Examples of best practice were seen when teachers:

  • managed student behaviour effectively
  • skilfully questioned to encourage deeper thinking
  • gave their students specific and in-depth feedback about their next learning steps.

Areas for review and development

Curriculum review. The school has recently developed useful curriculum guidelines. It is now time to regularly review how well teaching in each curriculum area supports students’ learning.

Teachers have also identified that as a school, they need to:

  • develop their understanding and confidence regarding te ao Māori
  • more effectively integrate te reo and tikanga Māori into day-to-day learning.

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

The trustees, senior leaders and teachers are committed to providing the best for their Māori students. The board expects and receives regular information on Māori student achievement.

 

Key findings

Parents that ERO spoke with appreciate what the school is doing for their children and the way that they are made to feel welcome in the school. The principal has talked with and sought feedback from parents of Māori students. The school has listened and responded to parents’ wishes. For example, it has funded a tutor for the kapa haka group. Students and parents spoke very positively about this group.

Overall, Māori students achieve at similar levels to other students in the school. Several students attend a one-day-per-week Māori language immersion programme at another site.

Areas for review and development

The next step is for the school to discuss with Māori students and their parents what success for Māori as Māori means for them and how the school can best support this.

Teachers need to make sure that students who have strengths in te reo and tikanga Māori have easy access to resources and support to maintain and develop these strengths.

4. Sustainable Performance

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

ERO has identified some positive initiatives and practices to improve learning for students. ERO and the school have also identified several significant areas for development that relate to school management. These need to be addressed in order to sustain and improve the school’s performance.

Key findings

Teachers benefit from well-planned and purposeful professional learning. Leadership is well shared, with the deputy principal empowered to take responsibility in significant areas. ERO also found that:

  • there are positive relationships between the board, senior leaders and teachers
  • the board is very responsive to requests for resources to improve teaching and learning
  • parents get regular and detailed reports about the board’s work
  • the school has developed useful long-term and annual plans to guide its work.

Areas for review and development

Self review. The school has not developed effective self-review practices. There is no schedule or useful guideline for this. Some policies, procedures and guidelines need updating.

There is little monitoring or reporting of the outcomes of school initiatives, including learning support. The implementation of the annual plan could be better monitored. Future planning should include periodic surveying of parents, staff and students.

Reporting student achievement to the board. The board has not received sufficient good quality information about student progress and achievement in reading, writing and mathematics. Past reports were based on limited sources of information.

These reports could be improved by including better analysis of the data, relevant background information and useful recommendations for the board and/or for teachers. Better information for the board should enable trustees and senior leaders to set more useful targets to lift student achievement. It should also help the board judge what difference their resourcing decisions have made.

Teacher performance management. Systems to monitor and improve teacher performance lack rigour. Formal classroom observations need to be put back into the appraisal process. The performance-management system should be reviewed to ensure that it contributes to improved teaching and learning.

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.

Recommendation

ERO requests that the board develops planning that shows how it will plan, monitor and evaluate the school's actions to address issues identified in this report.

When is ERO likely to review the school again?

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

 

Graham Randell

National Manager Review Services Southern Region

25 June 2012

 

About the School

Location

Dunedin

Ministry of Education profile number

3743

School type

Full Primary (Years 1 to 8)

School roll

185

Gender composition

Girls 52%

Boys 48%

Ethnic composition

NZ European/Pākehā

Māori

Asian

Pacific

83%

11%

4%

2%

Review team on site

May 2012

Date of this report

25 June 2012

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

December 2008

March 2003

October 2005