Howick Intermediate - 27/11/2015

Findings

The principal and board are working strategically and collaboratively with a strong focus on student learning. Effective strategies foster student wellbeing and engagement, and positive partnerships with families and community. Recent improvements have strengthened teaching, leadership and governance. The school is well placed to consolidate good practices and continue to implement future-focused developments. 

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

1 Background and Context

What is the background and context for this school’s review?

Howick Intermediate School is a multi-cultural school in East Auckland. It provides education for students in Years 7 and 8. Over recent years there have been changes in the local community and fluctuations in the school roll. The school roll is now increasing.

At the time of ERO’s 2014 review a long-serving principal had recently retired and an acting principal had been appointed. The school’s declining roll at that time presented challenges with regard to staffing. Many teachers and leaders were new to their roles. While ERO’s report acknowledged ongoing areas of strength in the school, a number of key areas for school improvement that had been noted in ERO’s 2011 review still required considerable work.

A new principal was appointed in October 2014. A new deputy principal started at the beginning of 2015. Since then a new associate principal has also been appointed and a number of other leadership roles established.

In September 2014 the Ministry of Education (MoE) appointed a Limited Statutory Manager (LSM) to support the board of trustees in curriculum, employment and financial matters. The board, LSM and principal have implemented many strategies to address the areas for development identified by ERO. They have worked with external expertise to progress these improvements. Since October 2014 ERO has undertaken an ongoing evaluation of the school’s progress.

2 Review and Development

How effectively is the school addressing its priorities for review and development?

Priorities identified for review and development

ERO’s 2014 report and subsequent discussion with the school identified the need to:

  • lift the quality of governance practices
  • review and develop the school curriculum to align more closely with The New Zealand Curriculum (NZC) and better reflect New Zealand’s bi-cultural heritage
  • improve processes for the collection and use of data
  • increase engagement with the community, including whānau Māori
  • build leadership and teacher capability.

Progress

School leaders and trustees are very effectively addressing the identified priorities for review and development. They demonstrate a strategic approach to change management, which includes consideration of strategies for sustaining initiatives and improvements.

The board has made very good use of the LSM and other external support to resolve areas of concern and to develop effective systems and frameworks that promote successful governance. Areas of non-compliance identified in the 2014 ERO report have been addressed.

The board, senior leaders and staff have worked together on the development of the school charter, strategic and annual plans. An improved framework for policies and procedures has been developed, along with processes for board assurance about implementation of policies and health and safety matters. Systems are in place for regular review against school goals. Improved reporting processes now ensure that trustees receive comprehensive and clear information to inform decision making.

Curriculum review and development is resulting in a balanced curriculum, with focused instruction in all learning areas and an appropriate emphasis on literacy and mathematics. School leaders have developed comprehensive curriculum statements that align very well with the NZC and promote effective teaching practices. They are using reflective frameworks and collaborative practices to increase clarity and consistency in expectations, and to scaffold and support teachers in making changes to improve their practice.

The development of effective teaching and learning practices includes resourcing to support the use of digital devices in students’ learning. The continued development of future-focused teaching practices should provide a good platform for the planned upgrade to create more modern learning environments.

Ongoing curriculum development and property improvement should also provide opportunities for staff and leaders to better ensure that the school’s rich cultural diversity is reflected in learning programmes and in the environment.

Staff are using MoE resources to support Māori and Pacific students’ engagement in learning. They are continuing to consider ways they can use culturally responsive practices to accelerate progress for Māori and Pacific students whose learning and achievement needs accelerating.

The principal, senior leaders and board have a strong focus on supporting student engagement, progress and achievement. They have developed good school-wide systems for the collation, analysis and use of data, including processes for internal and external moderation. Teachers have increased their understanding of the National Standards and now use a range of assessment information to make more reliable overall judgements about student achievement.

Good processes are in place to identify the needs of students at risk of not achieving. Some groups of students are already showing good progress as a result of targeted interventions. School leaders recognise the need to raise the achievement of boys, and Māori and Pacific students. They are appropriately targeting writing as a priority area for improvement.

Parents now receive clear reports about their children’s progress and achievement in relation to the National Standards. Students are responding positively to having greater ownership of their learning and are increasingly able to talk about their learning and achievement.

School leaders and trustees are re-establishing connections with the wider community and raising the profile of the school. Useful contacts have been made with representatives from local iwi. Effective partnerships with families and whānau are now well established and formal consultation processes are in place. Staff, parents and students who spoke with ERO affirm the new direction for the school.

Key next steps

Trustees and school leaders agree that the school is now moving into a phase of embedding, refining and extending recent initiatives to help ensure good practices are consistently evident across the school.

As well as overall consolidation, school leaders have identified specific areas for ongoing development. These include:

  • extending the analysis and use of student achievement information, particularly to identify comparisons over time
  • continuing to build teacher capability in te reo me ngā tikanga Māori
  • continuing to use external support and opportunities to grow leadership capability.

3 Sustainable performance and self review

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

The school is now well placed to sustain and continue to improve and review its performance.

Findings

Increased capability in governance, leadership and teaching, together with by strong systems and documentation, has created a very good foundation for continued development.

Strategic appointments have strengthened leadership in the school. Good opportunities for professional learning and development (PLD) are being provided for staff new to leadership roles. Well considered PLD during the latter part of 2014 and in 2015 has had a positive impact on teaching practices. School-wide processes for inquiry into practice have been established. A new appraisal system that aligns with PLD and school goals has been introduced.

Trustees are demonstrating the capability to govern independently and to sustain ongoing review and improvement. Clear systems and useful documentation now support board processes and the induction of new trustees. Trustees value external guidance and continue to participate in a range of governance training opportunities. New trustees have been co-opted for particular roles to meet specific needs and strategic goals. The board now receives good information about school operations, teaching and learning, and student attendance, engagement in learning and achievement.

School leaders and trustees are establishing self review as part of governance and management practice, including strategies for the board to review its own governance role and effectiveness. They are developing a strong foundation of productive partnerships that are focused on student learning. Multiple perspectives are valued and inform decision-making. School leaders have identified appropriate next steps and shifts in priorities as they consolidate and embed good practices.

Key next steps

The board recognises that, while they now have a foundation of good practices in place, they can further improve practice by:

  • extending the good self-review systems being established
  • refining and improving the documentation for some governance processes
  • continuing to use external support and training to enhance governance capability.

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

The principal and board are working strategically and collaboratively with a strong focus on student learning. Effective strategies foster student wellbeing and engagement, and positive partnerships with families and community. Recent improvements have strengthened teaching, leadership and governance. The school is well placed to consolidate good practices and continue to implement future-focused developments. 

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

Graham Randell
Deputy Chief Review Officer Northern

27 November 2015

About the School 

Location

Howick, Auckland

Ministry of Education profile number

1318

School type

Intermediate (Years 7 to 8)

School roll

407

Number of international students

2

Gender composition

Boys      54%
Girls       46%

Ethnic composition

Māori
Pākehā
Indian
Samoan
Cook Island Māori
Chinese
African
Fijian
Filipino
Tongan
Middle Eastern
Niue
other Asian
other

11%
24%
13%
12%
  8%
  6%
  4%
  3%
  3%
  3%
  2%
  2%
  4%
  5%

Special Features

1 Somerville Special School satellite class

Review team on site

October 2015

Date of this report

27 November 2015

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review
Education Review
Education Review

June 2014
May 2011
February 2008