Houghton Valley School - 21/01/2020

School Context

Houghton Valley School is situated on Wellington’s south coast. It caters for children in Years 1 to 6. At the time of the review there were 227students on the roll.

The recently developed schools vision is ‘Ka Manaaki, Ka Rapu, Ka Whakamanawa tahi ai tatou. Caring, Exploring and Inspiring together’, and is underpinned by values of sustainability, courage, adventure, kindness, inclusion and diversity. The school is a silver Enviroschool.

Annual targets for 2019 focus on accelerating the progress of all Māori learners in writing and establishing positive behaviour expectations for learning for all students.

Since the 2016 ERO review, a new principal has been appointed and a distributed leadership model established. A new board chair has been elected and there have been personnel changes in both the board and staff.

Teachers have participated in professional learning and development (PLD) in writing, cultural responsiveness and social competencies.

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

  • progress and achievement in reading, writing and mathematics
  • Māori student progress and achievement in reading, writing and mathematics
  • student wellbeing
  • children with additional needs.

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 continues to work towards achieving equitable and excellent outcomes for all its students.

2019 end of year achievement data shows that most Year 1 to 6 students achieve at or above school expectations in reading, writing and mathematics. Māori students achieve as well or better than their peers.

Girls achieve better than boys in reading and writing. The 2018 disparity between boys and girls, most evident in writing, has been successfully addressed in 2019.

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

The school is successful in accelerating the learning for Māori and other students whose achievement requires acceleration, including a number of students with additional learning needs.

Useful processes are in place to monitor and track the progress and acceleration of students. There is evidence showing that many students make accelerated progress from targeted teaching.

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?

Students engage positively in learning experiences within settled classroom environments. Their strengths, interests, friendships and learning needs are well known and valued by teachers. A deliberate focus on growing positive relationships in an inclusive, caring and respectful learning culture has successfully promoted a strong sense of belonging for students.

Students identified with specific learning needs are well supported. Additional learning support programmes contribute to improved student outcomes. External agencies are accessed as appropriate in consultation with whānau.

Trustees, leadership and staff are committed to the learning and holistic wellbeing of each child. They care about and promote students’ success. Deliberate evidence-based strategies promote the engagement, participation and achievement of all children.

The newly developed local curriculum alongside the New Zealand Curriculum appropriately underpins and guides teaching and learning across the school. The outdoor classroom, bush and extensive gardens provide authentic, rich learning about sustainability, the environment and being kaitiaki, guardians of the land.

There is a well-considered, strategic focus on improving educational outcomes for Māori learners. Whānau Māori knowledge and expertise is valued and informs culturally responsive practices. Tikanga me te reo Māori is integrated throughout the curriculum in meaningful ways. 

The board represents and serves the school community well. Trustees value and actively engage with families, whānau and the wider community. Trustees are well informed about student achievement, wellbeing and school operations. Their resourcing decisions enhance teaching and learning and enable students to experience individual success as learners.

The leadership team, effectively led by the principal, is strongly improvement focused. It collaboratively develops and pursues the school’s vision. There is growing alignment between the vision, values, future planning and current initiatives. Strategic goals are informed by reflection, review and consultation with the school community.

There has been a deliberate approach to developing consistency of teaching practice and establishing a culture of professional engagement and collaboration.

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

Next steps for Leaders and teachers are to:

  • further strengthen internal evaluation practices so that they will better determine the impact of strategies and interventions on improving outcomes for students
  • continue the current focus on building shared understanding and consistency of teacher practice.

3 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.

4 ERO’s Overall Judgement

On the basis of the findings of this review, ERO’s overall evaluation judgement of Houghton Valley School’s performance in achieving valued outcomes for its students is: Well placed.

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.

5 Going forward

Key strengths of the school

For sustained improvement and future learner success, the school can draw on existing strengths in:

  • the shared vision of trustees, leadership, staff and school community on improving children’s learning and wellbeing
  • a well-considered, strategic focus on improving educational outcomes for all learners
  • a deliberate focus on growing positive relationships in an inclusive, caring and respectful learning culture.

Next steps

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

  • further strengthening internal evaluation practices to identify the impact of strategies and interventions on improving outcomes for students
  • continuing the current focus on building shared understanding and consistency of teacher practice.

Dr Lesley Patterson

Director Review and Improvement Services Te Tai Tini

Southern Region

21 January 2020

About the school

Location

Wellington

Ministry of Education profile number

2861

School type

Contributing

School roll

227

Gender composition

Boys 53%, Girls 47%

Ethnic composition

Māori 16%
NZ European/Pākehā 68%
Other ethnic groups 16%

Students with Ongoing Resourcing Funding (ORS)

No

Provision of Māori medium education

No

Review team on site

October 2019

Date of this report

21 January 2020

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review November 2016
Education Review January 2014
Education Review September 2009