Irongate School - 17/08/2015

Findings

Positive relationships to promote learning are a feature of Irongate School. The board and school leaders are aware of the need to maintain a focus on accelerating progress for students at risk of not achieving expected outcomes. Systems and processes to lift student achievement are continuing to strengthen and develop.

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

1 Context

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

Irongate School is located in the Hastings suburb of Flaxmere. It caters for students in Years 1 to 8. At the time of this ERO review the roll was 314 students, with 74% identifying as Māori and 19% as Pacific.

Developing a culturally responsive curriculum has been a focus over the past three years. This development includes a quality teacher profile and an Irongate School graduate profile.

School leaders actively promote positive relationships between students, staff and whānau. Links to the wider community are an integral part of the school.

The school motto: Achieve, Learn, Grow, is visible throughout the school and is embedded in the curriculum.

The school has a positive reporting history with ERO.

2 Learning

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

The school is refining its use of achievement information to make positive changes to learners’ engagement, progress and achievement.

Achievement information reported in December 2014 shows many students achieved at and above in relation to the National Standards in reading and writing. Although mathematics showed a slight improvement across the school, this remains as an area to be strengthened.

The school is aware of the need to maintain a focus on accelerating progress for students who are at risk of not achieving at the expected levels in reading, writing and mathematics. Systems and strategies continue to be strengthened and developed to support this focus.

Individual needs of students are identified by well-established processes. A range of appropriate interventions support students’ engagement and achievement. Teachers regularly gather assessment information and progress is monitored over time.

Teachers think critically about how their teaching is improving students’ learning. They are reviewing their practice against current research about effective teaching strategies. This is strengthening shared understanding of what makes a positive difference for students.

Evaluating the impact of these strategies on student achievement outcomes needs to continue to develop. As these processes become embedded, the school will be better placed to recognise explicit strategies that promote accelerated progress for learners.

The practice for moderating teachers’ overall assessment judgements about students' achievement continues to strengthen. ERO’s evaluation finds that moderating assessment of writing and developing collective agreement about what achievement looks like at each level is an appropriate area for the school to focus on in 2015.

Continuing to strengthen this practice will allow teachers to more effectively measure students' progress. Identifying specific next learning steps will provide students with the information to talk clearly about their learning. The moderation of teachers’ judgements in relation to reading and mathematics should continue to be a focus.

Teachers know students well. School leaders and staff provide a settled learning environment with a focus on student wellbeing and sense of belonging. Students and whānau have positive relationships with staff.

3 Curriculum

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

The Irongate School curriculum promotes and suitably supports student learning. It has clear links with the principles and key competencies of The New Zealand Curriculum. The school’s motto, logo, and syndicate names are centred on the idea of a tree growing, being nourished and flourishing through the year levels of the school.

The school's quality teacher profile draws on current research and other sources, including Ka Hikitia - Accelerating Success 2013-2017. The profile provides clearly expressed expectations for teachers.

Teachers benefit from participating in professional development with both internal and external providers. There has been a recent focus on mathematics and writing. This continues to strengthen research-based teaching practices with a view to impacting positively on learning outcomes for students.

There are clear guidelines for assessing students in reading, writing and mathematics. Parents receive useful information about student progress in relation to National Standards.

The graduate profile within the curriculum clearly articulates the skills and attitudes the school believes students should develop before they leave the school. It would be useful for the school to review how well these aspirations for learners are being met.

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

Since the July 2012 ERO report, there has been a focus on promoting educational success for Māori. A systematic, planned approach has contributed to building the capacity of staff in te reo me ngā tikanga Māori and culturally responsive practice.

Whānau engagement is a priority and the aspirations of whānau and iwi should continue to be sought to guide development for improvement. An appropriate next step identified by the board is to enhance the physical environment to better reflect the kaupapa of the school.

Continuing to strengthen teaching practices that have the greatest impact on improving progress and achievement for both Māori and Pacific students should remain a priority.

4 Sustainable Performance

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

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

Trustees govern well and continue to develop their governance knowledge. Appropriate strategic goals have been developed within the charter. Regular reports from the principal keep the board informed about student achievement. This information is used to make decisions about funding and resourcing.

Annual achievement targets set for reading, writing and mathematics focus specifically on learners at risk of underachievement. Targeted action is beginning to support acceleration of student achievement.

Analysis of achievement data should further explore trends and patterns over time for groups of students not making accelerated progress. This will allow the school to monitor progress more accurately and the board to provide resources where most needed.

Teachers regularly receive feedback and are supported to reflect on their practice through the appraisal system. Aligning the appraisal system more closely to teachers inquiring into the impact of their teaching should further assist professional growth and development.

The principal has a clear focus on building and maintaining engagement between the school and the wider community. This contributes to a strong sense of belonging within the school.

The board recognises, and ERO agrees, that continuing to strengthen self review is a next step. This should include asking deeper questions about quality and effectiveness. Evidence and information should be gathered from a wide range of sources and reviewed against desired outcomes.

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

Positive relationships to promote learning are a feature of Irongate School. The board and school leaders are aware of the need to maintain a focus on accelerating progress for students at risk of not achieving expected outcomes. Systems and processes to lift student achievement are continuing to strengthen and develop.

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

Joyce Gebbie
Deputy Chief Review Officer Central

About the School

Location

Hastings

Ministry of Education profile number

2582

School type

Full Primary (Years 1 to 8)

School roll

314

Gender composition

Male 55%, Female 45%

Ethnic composition

Māori
Pacific
NZ European/Pākehā

74%
19%
  7%

Review team on site

June 2015

Date of this report

17 August 2015

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review
Education Review
Education Review

July 2012
July 2009
April 2006