Ilminster Intermediate - 25/09/2014

Findings

Ilminster Intermediate provides a positive and inclusive environment. The curriculum offers wide experiences and options to cater for students’ strengths, interests and engagement in learning. Students make good progress in relation to National Standards for reading, writing and mathematics. Senior leaders and trustees seek continuous improvement to promote positive outcomes for students.

ERO is likely to carry out the next review in four-to-five years.

1. Context

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

Ilminster Intermediate School is located in Kaiti, Gisborne and caters for students in Years 7 and 8. Most of the 359 students attending at the time of this ERO review identify as Māori. The roll includes a small number of Pacific students.

The Ilminster vision, 'Simply the Best', is underpinned by high expectations and a strengths-based philosophy of student learning. Students work in learning centres, which are structured to cater for self-identified strengths and interests, and encourage engagement.

The school's 2011 ERO report affirmed good performance and recommended that leaders consider ways to accelerate student progress. Since then there have been no changes of senior personnel. They have worked with an external adviser to review school operation and use the findings to build leadership and teacher capacity across the school. Continuous professional learning and development (PLD) is leading to new beliefs about effectiveness.

Many trustees are long-serving. School members work collaboratively to foster student wellbeing and success through equity of access to the curriculum. The environment is welcoming.

2. Learning

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

School leaders use student information well to promote student engagement and learning outcomes. Attendance and achievement data are used to develop school wide and learning centre targets that support strategic goals for improvement.

Board planning is responsive to information received. Provision is made for PLD, interventions for students at risk of not progressing and meeting the National Standards, and programme resources.

School achievement data for reading, writing and mathematics shows:

  • patterns of performance across the three areas for the year, gender and ethnic groups
  • progress for the year groups over their time at the school and for identified students as a result of interventions
  • positive student responses toward many aspects of school life
  • improved and high levels of attendance.

Leaders know the extent of progress made by groups and how school performance compares with nationally referenced data. The 2012 and 2013 National Standards information reported indicates that the school wide level of student achievement has been sustained in reading and improved in writing and mathematics. School analysis of data shows an upward shift, especially for Year 7. Overall gains made by Year 7 students in 2012 were sustained and improved by the end of Year 8.

Specific programmes for assisting progress are having success. The mid-2014 monitoring information indicates expected progress for many students and an accelerated rate for some.

Improvement is a collective responsibility. School leaders are supporting teachers to use information for targeting individual student learning needs more precisely and identifying which strategies have made the difference. Teachers’ learning is further promoted through regular opportunities to discuss data, student progress and effective practice.

Continued promotion of consistency in understanding and practice across teachers is likely to sharpen their responsiveness to individual learning needs. Extending the scope of learning centre targets, through including all at risk learners in expectations for accelerated progress, should give additional support to the drive for success for all.

Written reports inform parents of their child's academic, social and creative success. Identified next learning steps are purposeful and useful for supporting learning at home. Teachers and parents work collaboratively to promote student outcomes.

3. Curriculum

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

School structures and curriculum design are effective strategies for fostering engagement and learning.

The school vision and values are well understood and clearly evident in the environment. Students’ interests, strengths, and needs are catered for within their chosen learning centre. Students know their opinions and those of their whānau are invited and respected.

Students are offered an extensive range of opportunities and new experiences for learning across academic, physical, social and cultural areas. They learn through inquiry-led teaching for connecting understandings, knowledge and thinking across the curriculum. The elements of personal choice and direction help to increase their level of engagement.

Teaching is of good quality. Leaders monitor how well new processes are promoting effectiveness and appreciate that development needs to be sustained. Formal guidelines to support teaching continue to be reviewed in line with professional learning.

The impact of PLD is evident in the quality of interactions and tone throughout the school. Students and teachers have worked to define strategies for promoting positive engagement and the success of these is evident across classrooms.

For a high proportion of Pacific students English is a second language. The progress and achievement of all Pacific students is a school priority. These students are assisted to access the curriculum through specific language development programmes. Learning is closely monitored by the support and centre teams.

Student transition from primary school, then to Year 8 and on to secondary school, is well considered and supported. Processes involve students, parents, whānau and other schools, to be informed about preferences and needs. Some aspects are under review to enhance how students are supported to continue their learning pathways.

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

Most students identify as Māori. Students’ culture, language and identity are reflected in the environment and contexts for learning. Aspirations for cultural inclusion and success are well expressed in the curriculum.

The Ministry of Education strategy Ka Hikitia – Accelerating Success 2013 - 2017, has been used to reflect on culturally inclusive practices in the school. To give more guidance to evaluation of effectiveness for informing review, leaders and teachers should consider using Tātaiako: Cultural Competencies for Teachers within the performance management process.

4. Sustainable Performance

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

The school is well placed to sustain good performance and further improve outcomes for students because:

  • the focus on student wellbeing, learning and success is persistent
  • actions for improvement are planned in response to review information
  • the approach is deliberate and coherent
  • strategies are effectively communicated, led and supported
  • progress is closely monitored
  • the extent of success is known, shared and celebrated
  • areas of further development are recognised and addressed
  • professional leadership is strong.

Board composition reflects its school community and provides a conduit for parent and whānau voice. Trustees are conscious of the need to be proactive in managing continuity of effective governance. They foster community relationships.

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

Ilminster Intermediate provides a positive and inclusive environment. The curriculum offers wide experiences and options to cater for students’ strengths, interests and engagement in learning. Students make good progress in relation to National Standards for reading, writing and mathematics. Senior leaders and trustees seek continuous improvement to promote positive outcomes for students.

ERO is likely to carry out the next review in four-to-five years.

Joyce Gebbie

National Manager Review Services Central Region

25 September 2014

About the School

Location

Gisborne

Ministry of Education profile number

2581

School type

Intermediate (Years 7 and 8)

School roll

359

Gender composition

Male 54%,

Female 46%

Ethnic composition

Māori

NZ European/Pākehā

Pacific

85%

10%

5%

Review team on site

August 2014

Date of this report

25 September 2014

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

September 2011

May 2008

May 2003