Hillpark School - 23/06/2016

1 Context

Hillpark School located in Manurewa is a well-established school catering for children in Years 1 to 6. The school is ethnically diverse, a feature celebrated by children, parents and staff. Approximately twenty one percent of children identify as Māori, and nineteen percent of children are of Pacific heritage.

The learning environment includes a school orchard, gardens and a neighbouring native bush area. A special feature of the school setting is the before and after school care service provided by the school. These facilities are well used to enhance children’s learning and community participation in the school.

The school is part of the New Zealand Principal's Federation, and Ministry of Education, Māori Achievement Initiative (MAC) working with other local schools to improve achievement outcomes for Māori children.

2 Equity and excellence

Since ERO's 2011 review the school's vision and values have been reviewed and revised in consultation with children, staff and the wider school community. The vision and valued outcomes defined by the school is for all children to be confident and enthusiastic and learning in challenging and inclusive environments. The new school motto Kia Mataara, Ka Tipu, Ka Taea: Aspire, Grow, Achieve is focused on successful outcomes for all children.

The school’s National Standards achievement information shows that over the last four years student achievement in writing has increased. However, reading and mathematics results have remained static. Over this same period Māori achievement shows a similar pattern. As a group they achieve below the level of their peers in reading, writing and mathematics. From the end of 2014 to the end of 2015 Māori achievement in writing has increased significantly. During this period, Māori achievement progressed at a greater rate than that of non-Māori.

Over the last four years, Pacific students’ achievement data shows positive improvements in literacy and mathematics and in 2015 these children achieved at levels similar to their peers.

The associate principal is introducing improved processes for assessing, analysing and reporting student progress and achievement information in relation to National Standards. These improvements should enable leaders and teachers to better evaluate the impact of programmes on accelerating children’s learning. Teachers are moderating writing with other local schools, including an intermediate school that many Hillpark children go on to attend. This has established inter-school reliability and further builds teacher capability.

Children, in partnership with their parents, set learning goals and work with teachers to achieve them. Increasingly children are provided with multiple opportunities to take ownership of their learning.

Since the last ERO review a new three-classroom, flexible learning environment is helping teachers in this setting to work more collaboratively and to take on leadership roles. This collaboration is resulting in a more supportive learning culture, greater unity and innovation for Years 5 & 6 students. Children learning in this environment speak confidently of this new approach and value the opportunities to work with different teachers and other groups of children.

Executive leaders have updated the curriculum achievement plan to increase teachers’ and children’s understanding of achievement expectations at different year levels. An agreed next step is for the school is to review charter goals and targets to ensure they meet the needs of the community and remain aspirational to optimise the level of challenge for leaders and trustees. This could assist the school to bring about increased improvement for all children, especially those who need to make accelerated progress.

3 Accelerating achievement

How effectively does this school respond to Māori children whose learning and achievement need acceleration?

The school has been successful in accelerating the progress of significant numbers of Māori children particularly in 2015.

Māori children who needed to make accelerated progress in literacy and mathematics were targeted through external professional development programmes. The school reports that most of these children made accelerated progress. Key strategies promoted through the programmes focused on increasing children’s learning talk, providing more meaningful learning tasks and increasing learning relationships with whānau.

Since ERO’s 2011 review, the school has implemented a range of new initiatives focused on accelerating the achievement of Māori students. The Manu Māori Action Plan has focused on increasing teachers’ confidence and use of te reo Māori me ōna tikanga. Evaluating the effectiveness of these initiatives would be a useful next step to enhance strategic planning and help with decisionmaking about resources.

The executive leadership team work closely with teachers and whānau to facilitate additional support strategies and programmes to enhance Māori children’s wellbeing and improve achievement. They have promoted the use of the Ministry of Education’s Māori Education Strategy - Ka Hikitia: Accelerating Success andTātaiako to further develop trustees’, leaders’ and teachers’ understanding of what educational success as Māori means.

How effectively does this school respond to other children whose learning and achievement need acceleration?

The school is improving the effectiveness of its response to other children whose learning and achievement need acceleration. Many of the systems, practices and programmes in place for other children are very similar to those used to accelerate the achievement of Māori children.

National Standards achievement information is used by the board and staff to identify Māori and other children whose learning and achievement needs accelerating.

Teachers are using assessment information well to plan classroom programmes and target children needing to make accelerated progress. The new collaborative approach and planning promotes collective responsibility for accelerating student achievement and is building a stronger professional community.

4 School conditions

How effectively do the school’s curriculum and other organisational processes and practices develop and enact the school’s vision, values, goals and priorities for equity and excellence?

The school’s curriculum, processes and practices are becoming increasingly effective in promoting equity and excellence for all children.

Trustees, school leaders and staff have high expectations for all children to experience and celebrate success. Children benefit from a settled and positive school tone. They are confident, friendly and respectful. The school’s active promotion and support for the wellbeing of children impacts positively on their engagement and learning.

Executive leaders are taking steps to improve the effectiveness of the school curriculum. Positive developments are underway to review the school’s curriculum against the principles of TheNew Zealand Curriculum (NZC). ERO affirms the school’s intent to develop a connected curriculum that reflects the school community and promotes children’s ownership of learning. Executive leaders recognise that this curriculum review and redesign will be significant for school development.

Classroom programmes appropriately emphasise literacy and mathematics. Integrated programmes are helping children to make more connections across the different learning areas. The school’s LEARN inquiry approach is increasingly integrating the Māori dimension of New Zealand’s cultural heritage.

Provision for children with special education needs has been strengthened. Teachers and leaders now have a focus on tracking and monitoring these children. Improved transition processes for new students provide more robust information to quickly identify children who need to make accelerated progress. These are timely developments as increasing numbers of children with special learning needs enrol in the school.

Children have many opportunities to engage and experience success in a range of sporting, cultural and artistic interests. Senior students take pride in their various leadership roles. They proudly lead karanga, whaikōrero and waiata when welcoming visitors to the school.

The principal promotes a culture of learning for change. He is deliberate in growing the capacity of senior leaders. A new leadership structure has been developed with key roles and responsibilities allocated for leading curriculum and teacher development.

Internal and external expertise is used well to guide teachers’ professional learning and curriculum developments. Teachers are well supported by senior leaders to reflect on how their practice impacts on student achievement data.

Executive leaders recognise the value of building a culture of professional inquiry to improve teacher practice and increase valued outcomes for students. The new teachers’ performance appraisals are more robust and linked to the Practising Teacher Criteria (PTCs). Senior leaders could now consider aligning the appraisal evidence more closely to the PTCs.

Trustees work as a team and have a good understanding of their board responsibilities. They bring complementary skills and experience to their roles. With many trustees stepping down at the next board elections, it could be timely for the board to evaluate its own effectiveness in preparation for succession planning.

Parents and whānau Māori who spoke with ERO appreciate the school’s open and inclusive culture. They appreciate the opportunities to participate in and contribute to parent support groups, school events, and consultation and curriculum evenings.

Whānau Māori are keen to meet regularly and contribute to and participate in Māori school initiatives. children The New Zealand School Trustee Association’s resource Hautū could provide a useful selfreview tool to guide the development of this plan.The school should continue to work together with whānau to create a strategic education plan to provide a more coordinated approach to raising success for Māori. This planning could specify accelerated achievement targets and identify whānau and student aspirations for success as Māori.

5 Going forward

How well placed is the school to achieve and sustain equitable and excellent outcomes for all children?

Leaders and teachers:

  • know the children whose learning and achievement need to be accelerated
  • respond effectively to the strengths, needs and interests of each child
  • regularly evaluate how well teaching is working for these children
  • act on what they know works well for each child
  • build teacher capability effectively to achieve equitable outcomes for all children
  • are well placed to achieve and sustain equitable and excellent outcomes for all children.

The school’s 2016 charter and strategic goals are focused on improving outcomes for children and the community. Internal evaluation is well understood and focused on improvement. Executive leaders have used ERO’s recently published School Evaluation Indicators to create a baseline to further develop internal evaluation.

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

6 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 the following:

  • Board administration.

  • Curriculum.

  • Management of health, safety and welfare.

  • Personnel management.

  • 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.

  • Processes for appointing staff.

  • Stand down, suspensions, expulsions and exclusions.

  • Attendance.

  • Compliance with the provisions of the Vulnerable Children Act 2014.

7 Recommendations

ERO recommends that the school continue to progress internal evaluation, particularly its data analysis process, to improve tracking of children whose progress and achievement needs improvement.

Graham Randell

Deputy Chief Review Officer Northern

23 June 2016

About the school

Location

Manurewa, Auckland

Ministry of Education profile number

1312

School type

Contributing (Years 1 to 6)

School roll

446

Gender composition

Boys 51% Girls 49%

Ethnic composition

Māori

Pākehā

Indian

Samoan

Vietnamese

Tongan

Cook Island Māori

Middle Eastern

other Pacific

other

21%

32%

18%

8%

4%

3%

3%

3%

5%

3%

Review team on site

February 2016

Date of this report

23 June 2016

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

December 2011 December 2008 June 2005