Hamilton East School - 03/07/2020

School Context

Hamilton East School is an inner-city school located in Hamilton. It provides education for students in Years 1 to 6. The school’s current roll of 444 students includes 27% Māori. Approximately 28% of the school roll are English language learners. There has been a significant growth in the school roll over the past three years. Attendance data shows that approximately one third of the school roll changed in 2019. 

The school vision is for students to ‘Stand tall, Reach high, Tū tangata, Tū māia.’ Learners are encouraged to be engaged, respectful, literate, curious and connected.

Strategic goals place priority on:

  • reducing disparity of outcomes for learners
  • engaging students as lifelong learners to reach their highest potential
  • continuing to develop and support teacher excellence
  • establishing strong community connections and partnerships.

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

  • reading, writing and mathematics
  • English language learners
  • Years 1 and 2 oral language
  • schoolwide literacy interventions.

Since the January 2017 ERO report there have been some changes to the teaching team and all trustees are new to the board. Senior leaders have remained in their roles. Leaders and teachers have undertaken professional learning and development in literacy, mathematics, science, Māori language, culture and history, and hauora/wellbeing. There has also been significant property enhancement with the building of a new classroom block on Tōtara Whenua.

The school is a member of the He Piko He Taniwha Kāhui Ako and WaiMac (Waikato Māori Achievement Collective).

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 working toward achieving equitable outcomes for all its students, however disparity remains in some areas.

The school’s achievement data from 2019 shows that the majority of students are achieving at or above expected levels in reading and mathematics and less than half in writing. Significant disparity in achievement between Māori and Pacific students in comparison to their Pākehā peers in all areas is evident. Boys and girls are working at similar levels in mathematics. Girls are achieving at significantly higher levels than boys in reading and writing.

In 2019, the large majority of students in Years 4 to 6 are achieving at or above expected levels in reading and there has been significant improvement in achievement over the past three years. Less than half of Year 4 to 6 students are achieving the expected outcomes in writing and mathematics.

The school’s analysed data from 2019 shows the large majority of Years 4 to 6 Māori and other students have positive levels of wellbeing and feel safe and connected at school.

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

The school is accelerating learning for some Māori and other students who need it.

School-wide achievement data for 2019 has been collated and analysed to show rates of acceleration for all students who were identified as achieving more than one level below curriculum expectation. Approximately one third of these students made accelerated progress in writing, including English language learners. Approximately one third of Māori students made accelerated progress in reading. Higher rates of acceleration are evident for girls in literacy. English language learners made effective acceleration in oral language.

Data also shows a smaller number of targeted Māori and other students were effectively accelerated in literacy and oral language as a result of targeted interventions and programmes.

Students with additional learning needs are well supported and make appropriate progress in relation to their individual goals.

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?

The school has a highly inclusive culture for learning. A wide range of programmes and interventions contributes to positive progress and acceleration for students at risk. Students with additional learning needs are well catered for and effective liaison with outside agencies supports their learning and behaviour. Deliberate strategies enable positive transitions for students into and out of the school. Trustees make informed decisions about resourcing in response to student need and evidence of the benefits of specific interventions. Generous funding of learning support programmes contributes to equitable opportunities to learn. 

A responsive curriculum meets the cultural diversity within the school and community. A broad range of learning opportunities engage students through authentic learning contexts. English language learners are well supported through targeted learning programmes. Diversity is acknowledged and successfully integrated into the life of the school through festivals and celebrations. Regular consultation with the school’s multicultural community gathers views and aspirations of parents and whānau and informs school planning and direction. A planned approach to the teaching of te reo across the school and interwoven tikanga practices contribute to Māori students being affirmed in their culture and having a strong sense of identity.

Teachers use deliberate strategies to enhance learning. Students at risk are clearly identified through a range of appropriate assessment information. Classroom programmes and routines support students’ skills for self-management and independence. Regular and open communication with parents enables positive partnerships for learning and improved outcomes for students. Respectful relationships between teachers and students contribute to calm and settled environments for learning. 

Leaders facilitates a well-managed and supportive environment for learning and wellbeing. Clear systems are in place for developing teacher capability through coaching and mentoring, induction and appraisal. Professional learning is prioritised to build shared knowledge and improve practices. The school’s vision and values are actively promoted through leadership that is highly visible within the school. Strong pastoral care and personalised support enables a sense of community and belonging for students and their families.

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

Continuing to develop a strategic and sustainable approach to raising overall levels of student achievement and reduce disparity is a focus for the school. Priority should be given to strengthening annual targets to focus on all students whose learning requires acceleration. Ensuring appropriate systems are in place for data management should support improved reporting to the board on achievement trends, patterns and rates of progress over time. This should enable leaders and trustees to inquire more deeply into what is making a difference for student learning and inform strategic planning and direction.

There are some examples of classroom planning that are well aligned to student learning progressions. There is a need to improve the consistency of targeted planning in classrooms to respond more effectively to the individual needs of at-risk students and accelerate their learning. Considering ways to increase students’ knowledge of their own learning progressions and next steps, is also needed to further empower students in the learning process.

3 Other Matters

Provision for international students

The school is signatory to the Education (Pastoral Care of International Students) Code of Practice 2016 established under section 238F of the Education Act 1989. The school has attested that it complies with all aspects of the Code. No international students were enrolled at the time of the ERO review.

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 Hamilton East School’s performance in achieving valued outcomes for its students is: Developing.

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:

  • leadership for learning that is focused on promoting wellbeing and improving outcomes for students
  • a culture for learning that prioritises additional learning support for students
  • a curriculum that celebrates cultural diversity and promotes high levels of student engagement.

Next steps

For sustained improvement and future learner success, priorities for further development are in:

  • targeted action to reduce disparity and promote excellence.
  • student agency to grow fully independent learners.

Actions for compliance

ERO identified non-compliance in relation to health, safety and welfare.

In order to address this, the board of trustees must:

  • develop policy and procedures on surrender and retention of property and searches of students by the principal, teachers and authorised staff members.
    [Sections 139AAA to 139AAF of the Education Act 1989 and the Education Surrender, Retention and Search Rules 2013].

After the on-site visit the school provided ERO with evidence that showed the area for compliance was satisfactorily addressed.

Areas for improved compliance practice

To improve current practice, the board of trustees should:

  • make provision for post disaster relief
  • review the school’s child protection policy to include appropriate reference to sections 18 and 19 of the Children’s Act 2014.

Phil Cowie

Director Review and Improvement Services (Central)

Central Region - Te Tai Pūtahi Nui

3 July 2020

About the school

The Education Counts website provides further information about the school’s student population, student engagement and student achievement.