Grey Lynn School - 26/06/2015

Findings

Students’ progress, achievement and wellbeing are central to decision-making at Grey Lynn School. School leaders are strategic, proactive and collaborative. They successfully place a high value on students being respectful, responsible and resilient. Students benefit from the ongoing focus on school improvement which is supported by effective self review.

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

1 Context

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

Grey Lynn School is well established in central Auckland and has a long and valued history. Over the years the school’s demographics have continued to change. The roll comprises 5% of students who identify with Māori heritage and 16% who identify with Pacific nations, mainly Samoa and Niue.

The school continues to have a focus on environmentally sustainable practices. To celebrate the school’s history a forest area is being developed with a New Zealand and Pacific influence.

The longstanding principal is supported by a newly created leadership team. Leadership roles are distributed across the team which includes experienced and newly appointed members. The team includes two deputy principals and three team leaders.

Grey Lynn School has responded positively to the areas for review and development noted in the 2010 ERO report.

Significant roll growth has been forecast for the school. The board and principal are developing strategies to help the school accommodate this predicted increase in student numbers. They are planning carefully to manage the challenges that may be associated with this growth.

2 Learning

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

Grey Lynn School leaders and teachers use achievement information well to track and analyse the learning progress of students.

Most students are achieving at or above National Standards in reading and mathematics. The school has a major focus on building teachers’ and students’ understanding of writing. Teachers have collaboratively developed a set of useful indicators to ensure greater consistency in the assessment of writing. As a result, teachers’ assessment is becoming increasingly accurate. This may account for a recent decline in the numbers of students achieving at or above the National Standards in writing.

There is very good support for students who are identified as needing additional learning support. Accelerating the progress of these students is a high priority for teachers and the board of trustees.

The learning support team caters for a large number of Pacific students. This year the school has developed a Pacific Education Plan. This is underpinned by the Ministry of Education (MOE) Pasifika Education Plan 2013 - 2017. The aim of this plan is to accelerate the progress of the school’s Pacific students.

A wide variety of appropriate assessment tools and practices are used to monitor the progress and achievement of all students. Teachers moderate assessment results with local schools to ensure assessment decisions are comparable and accurate. Making greater use of student assessment information to further guide planning for individual student’s progress could strengthen teachers' practice. Team leaders agree that they could evaluate the usefulness of the number of assessment tools currently used in planning for students’ ongoing learning.

Students are highly engaged in class activities. They are articulate and demonstrate independence. Teachers have high expectations for students and students can confidently talk about their own learning. It would be timely for teachers to offer students opportunities to participate in self-directed learning for longer periods of time. Teachers could also consider deepening the complexity of activities to make them more challenging for learners.

Teachers use an appropriate format for reporting to parents about their children's progress and achievement against National Standards. They have begun reporting achievement to parents of Years 1 to 3 students in relation to the National Standards, on the anniversary of their child’s entry to school.

3 Curriculum

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

Grey Lynn School’s curriculum promotes and supports students’ learning very well. It is a values - based curriculum, well aligned to The New Zealand Curriculum (NZC), and it promotes the values of respect, resilience and responsibility. Ensuring there is curriculum alignment and coherence is a major focus of senior leaders.

The curriculum closely reflects the recently redesigned school vision. There is an emphasis on ensuring that students have a strong foundation of reading, writing, and mathematics skills. Support for students who have special learning needs is well developed and maintained.

Students are encouraged to learn social and physical skills in the playground environment which is well designed for them to take sensible risks. It is notable that tuakana-teina relationships (where older children support their younger peers) are strongly evident across teams and in playground interactions.

The curriculum is designed to promote an inclusive culture and is regularly reviewed for its appropriateness in terms of meeting students’ needs and catering for their interests. Teachers are encouraged to use diverse teaching and learning approaches to cater for their students. Creativity and innovation within the curriculum are encouraged.

Teachers are increasingly inquiring into the impact that their teaching practices have on outcomes for students. They have opportunities to research and present findings about current trends and theories of good teaching practice.

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

Grey Lynn School is building its capacity to promote educational success for Māori students as Māori.

Māori students are achieving similar results as their peers in relation to the mathematics and writing National Standards. Their progress is closely monitored and regularly reported to the board to show how they achieve as a group and in relation to all students’ achievement.

The school has recently developed a Māori Education plan to help accelerate the achievement of the school’s Maori students. This plan is underpinned by the MOE Māori education strategy: Ka Hikitia Accelerating Success 2013 -2017. Senior leaders could consider using Tātaiako: Cultural Competencies for Teachers of Māori Learners as part of the teacher performance management process to support this initiative.

The board and senior managers are implementing positive strategies to further promote success for Māori students. They are aware of the benefit of developing more effective ways to consult with the Māori community. They also value strengthening their partnership with Māori to enhance all children's confidence in their identity, language and culture as citizens of Aotearoa New Zealand.

4 Sustainable Performance

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

The school is well placed to sustain its ongoing development and to build capability. It has a strong culture of continuous improvement. Trustees and school leaders have ensured there is a solid foundation of systems and processes to efficiently manage the school. Self-review processes are helping school leaders bring about appropriate improvement. These processes could be strengthened by ensuring that there is a greater evaluative component in the school’s self review.

The board of trustees comprises a good mix of experienced and recently elected members. Trustees are highly supportive of the school leadership. Trustees bring varied community and business expertise to their governance roles and they participate in governance training. Board resourcing decisions are based on students’ learning needs.

The school is led by a long serving and highly respected principal who works effectively with the board, staff and community. The principal is actively involved in professional learning networks in the local area and within greater Auckland. The leadership team is collaborative and team-orientated to ensure students have positive school experiences and their well being is promoted.

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.

To improve current practice, the board of trustees should:

  • consult with their community comprehensively regarding the school’s health programme every two years
  • formally consult with the school's Māori community, develop and make known to the school’s community policies, plans and targets for improving the achievement of Māori students.

Conclusion

Students’ progress, achievement and wellbeing are central to decision-making at Grey Lynn School. School leaders are strategic, proactive and collaborative. They successfully place a high value on students being respectful, responsible and resilient. Students benefit from the ongoing focus on school improvement which is supported by effective self review.

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

Dale Bailey

Deputy Chief Review Officer Northern

26 June 2015

About the School

Location

Grey Lynn, Auckland

Ministry of Education profile number

1301

School type

Contributing (Years 1 to 6)

School roll

376

Gender composition

Girls 51%

Boys 49%

Ethnic composition

Māori

Pākehā

Samoan

Niue

Indian

other Pacific

other Asian

other European

5%

70%

6%

5%

4%

5%

3%

2%

Review team on site

May 2015

Date of this report

26 June 2015

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

November 2010

December 2007

May 2005