Greenhithe School - 14/05/2015

1 Context

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

Greenhithe School, situated on Auckland’s North Shore, caters for students from school entry to Year 6. Originally a small rural community, Greenhithe is now a growing suburban area. The community is a blend of long-established local families and more recent arrivals. Greenhithe School’s roll growth is expected to continue with the progress of nearby housing developments. The board are successfully managing property development to accommodate projected roll growth.

The inclusive school tone continues to be a strength of the school. Students benefit from positive relationships with their peers and staff. The long-serving principal leads a collaborative staff effectively. The board, senior leaders and teachers have a strong, shared understanding of the school’s strategic direction.

The school is now in its third year of teacher professional development in the use of formative assessment, and its first year in a programme for Accelerating Learning in Mathematics.

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. In relation to National Standards, school data over the last three years indicate that most students achieve very well in reading, writing and mathematics. Māori student achievement follows this positive trend. School leaders should continue to further raise Māori student achievement and ensure that equitable outcomes for all students are achieved.

Achievement data are well analysed and clearly reported to the board. Trustees have a good understanding of this information, including trends and patterns of student achievement. This useful information has enabled the board to make well informed resourcing and planning decisions.

The strategic targets for 2015 have been sharpened to accelerate progress for identified students. There are good systems and processes in place to identify, track and monitor student progress over time.

Senior leaders share leadership responsibilities that supports more specific achievement focused teaching. Improved leadership opportunities for teachers are contributing to a collaborative team ethic. In team meetings teachers engage in useful professional discussions about specific students’ achievement and targeted teaching approaches. Teachers work collaboratively to inform their overall teacher judgements and to promote a holistic understanding of students’ achievement.

Teachers keep parents well informed about their children’s progress and learning. They report to parents in relation to the National Standards and identify students’ next learning steps. Teachers continue to strengthen teaching approaches that enable the many confident and articulate students to manage their own learning. They could now also consider how students could demonstrate their journey as independent, life-long learners by leading discussions about their learning experiences with parents.

3 Curriculum

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

Greenhithe School provides an effective curriculum to promote and support student learning. A positive and inclusive school tone supports the learning of all students. Students show respect for each other and towards adults. They have a strong sense of pride in their school. Teachers have professional regard for their colleagues and students’ families. This respectful approach contributes to an environment that supports student wellbeing and learning.

The school is well resourced to provide a broad curriculum that meets varied student learning needs. The board funds withdrawal programmes for extra learning support and enrichment for identified students. Specialist teachers also provide reading recovery, sports and Mandarin language. Ongoing self review of students’ progress should inform the board of the effectiveness of these school initiatives.

School-wide professional development is further promoting student-directed learning. It has enabled staff to implement a consistent expectation of what learning to learn looks like for students at Greenhithe School. As a result, students throughout the school have a strong understanding of learning behaviours and tools that support their thinking.

Teachers provide many good teaching strategies that assist students in understanding more about their own learning. The most effective teachers enable students to apply this knowledge to a real learning experience. Senior leaders are continuing to support teachers to improve the consistency in the good teaching practices across the school.

Consultative self review is leading to improved outcomes for students. Senior leaders have reviewed the school curriculum in consultation with staff and parents. The school’s model of inquiry learning is well understood by students and teachers.

Teachers plan programmes that are tailored to student’s abilities and designed to be relevant, motivating and challenging. Senior leaders agree that planned professional development could now support teachers to improve the use of information communication technologies (ICT) as an effective tool to enhance student engagement in their learning. They recognise that more in-depth evaluation of the programmes could contribute to promoting student-led curriculum design.

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

The school has 19 Māori students. Over the last three years the school has had variable success in engaging whānau. A key next step is for the board and school leaders to successfully engage whānau to promote educational success for Māori as Māori. Senior leaders and ERO agree that this is an area that requires further development.

Senior leaders and staff are reviewing the implementation of the Ministry of Education’s Māori education strategy: Ka Hikitia - Accelerating Success. Senior leaders and the board have reviewed the school-wide approach to engaging parents and are committed to developing a shared bicultural partnership with Māori whānau. The school has recently appointed a teacher to lead this initiative.

4 Sustainable Performance

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

Greenhithe School is well placed to sustain and improve its performance. There is a growing school culture of continual improvement that results in positive outcomes for students.

Trustees work collaboratively with the principal. They make effective use of their combined skills to ensure that the board is operating efficiently and meeting their governance obligations.

There is an increasing commitment to seeking feedback from the school community. The board have worked on developing transparent communication processes. Parents who spoke to ERO appreciated the school’s welcoming environment and open-door-policy. They valued the commitment of staff in working alongside them to provide children with a positive school experience. Parent participation at school events throughout the year is high. The board are continuing to seek ways to improve their engagement with groups of parents that have been harder for them to reach.

The distributed leadership that is modelled by the senior management team is contributing to a shared responsibility for the school’s strategic direction. Senior leaders promote and participate in professional learning with staff. Teachers, team leaders and senior leaders are increasingly engaging in professional learning discussions.

There is good mentoring and support for staff to take on leadership roles. The new leadership structure is supporting teachers to work in professional learning groups to meet their appraisal goals. Appraisals have been reviewed to ensure that professional development is sustained in practice.

Self review has been strengthened and decisions based on data are evident at all levels of the school. The board and senior leaders agree that a useful next step would be to continue strengthening the depth of evaluative commentary in planned self review, including an evaluation of the strategic plan. This approach would provide more useful information for the board of trustees and senior leaders.

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 were 3 international students attending the school. There were no exchange students.

The school provides sound provision of pastoral care and education for students. The school has implemented good strategies to integrate students into the school community. Senior managers report students’ progress and achievement to the board of trustees.

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

Greenhithe School has a positive and inclusive school tone that supports student wellbeing and learning. Most students achieve very well in reading, writing and mathematics. Māori student achievement follows this positive trend. Teachers are continuing to embed approaches that enable students to be increasingly confident and articulate, independent learners.

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

Dale Bailey

Deputy Chief Review Officer Northern

14 May 2015

About the School

Location

Greenhithe

Ministry of Education profile number

1299

School type

Contributing (Years 1 to 6)

School roll

518

Gender composition

Boys 53%

Girls 47%

Ethnic composition

NZ Māori 4%

Pākehā 88%

Chinese 2%

Korean 2%

other ethnicities 4%

Review team on site

March 2015

Date of this report

14 May 2015

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review May 2012

Education Review March 2009

Education Review February 2006