Kaurilands School - 14/08/2015

1. Context

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

Kaurilands School, in West Auckland, is a large urban primary school that caters for students in Years 1 to 6. The welcoming and inclusive school culture provides many opportunities for parents to be involved. Parents particularly appreciate that their child is not ‘lost’ within the large school setting. The school community is proud of their school.

Environmental education is a feature of the school. The native plantings and natural features of the school grounds provide authentic contexts for students’ interest in the environment. Students have many opportunities to learn about aspects of sustainability through the school’s involvement in programmes to minimise waste and to grow and cook food.

Senior students learn in classrooms that have been refurbished to provide modern learning environments. The board plans to extend this model of learning to other levels of the school.

Significant professional development has been undertaken to support the school direction. School leaders have high expectations of teachers to incorporate new strategies into their practice. As a result the impact of professional development is clearly evident in teaching and learning programmes.

A very affirming 2012 ERO report noted the school’s supportive learning culture and its highly effective leadership, governance and teaching practice. These positive features continue to be consistently evident across the school. Good progress has been made in reporting on student achievement in National Standards to parents.

2. Learning

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

School leaders and teachers make good use of student achievement information. They know students well as individuals and as learners. There is a strong focus on supporting identified groups of students to make accelerated progress and to ensure others are extended.

Students value education and are highly engaged in their learning. They are confident and articulate in conversations with their peers and adults. Students have high self belief as learners. Positive and respectful relationships between teachers and students are evident throughout the school.

Data provided by the school shows that student achievement in relation to the National Standards in reading, writing and mathematics is at a higher level than other schools in the local area and nationally. Following a review of assessment practices, senior leaders have reduced the number of ways used to measure student achievement. They plan to continue to use nationally recognised assessment tools that provide good information to guide and support teacher judgements about students’ achievement.

Senior leaders set targets for student achievement. These targets identify students who are currently achieving below the relevant standard in reading, writing and mathematics. Being more specific about the groups of students being targeted and the accelerated progress expected would help the school when reviewing how successful initiatives have been for particular groups of students.

Teachers use good systems to track the progress and achievement of students who have been identified for closer monitoring. Regular professional conversations between teachers provide good opportunities for them to reflect on the impact of their teaching practice on students and for sharing effective practices.

Children with special needs are well included. The school has good systems for providing these students with additional help with their learning. Teacher aides participate in good quality professional development to build their understanding of the students and their individual learning needs.

3. Curriculum

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

The school’s curriculum promotes and supports student learning very well.

The school values based on whanaungatanga, kaitiakitanga, ako,manaakitanga and kotahitanga strongly influence learning priorities and contexts. The curriculum provides clear guidelines and expectations about how teachers will foster this learning. Social skills, te reo Māori, science, reading, writing and mathematics are all prioritised. Cultural diversity is affirmed and the addition of a Pacific culture group has further enriched the curriculum, bringing a heightened appreciation and awareness of their language, culture and identity of the schools’ Pacific students.

Teachers collaborate well to plan programmes of work, to share their expertise and to evaluate the effectiveness of teaching and learning programmes. They make good use of students’ learning time during the school day. Teachers plan appropriate activities that engage students. They make the purpose of tasks clear for students and provide helpful feedback and areas for development. Classrooms are well organised and attractive, with many displays of students’ work, especially art work. These elements promote the value of education and maintain a focus on learning.

Teachers participate in professional development that is aligned to school goals and facilitated by staff with expertise and external providers. The planned implementation of new initiatives, together with expectations leaders have of teachers, means professional learning has a significant and positive impact on the quality of teaching. This helps ensure students experience good consistency of practice when they move to new classes.

Teachers and students in Year 5 and 6 classes have successfully taken on board a range of specific teaching approaches that reflect modern theories of learning. Students in these classes are developing a good understanding of the learning process. They work in conjunction with teachers, taking personal responsibility for planning for their learning. They use information from assessment tasks to help them identify gaps in their learning, and to set goals and develop learning tasks that are likely to result in improved outcomes. Students speak very positively about the difference this style of teaching makes to their learning. Senior leaders and ERO agree that broadening and accelerating the implementation of modern learning practice that fosters student ownership of learning to other year levels is a next step for the school.

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

The school promotes educational success for Māori, as Māori, very well. It values New Zealand’s bicultural heritage and Māori as tangata whenua. Kaumatua, other experts and key teachers support teachers well to promote te reo Māori me ōna tikanga.

Te reo Māori is an important priority for the school. Every class has focused te reo lessons on a weekly basis. Māori language is also used incidentally throughout the day, integrated into topics and visible in displays. Students’ confidence in using te reo in conversations is the result of the school’s progressive and school-wide Māori language programme.

Māori students report a sense of pride in te ao Māori being highly visible in their school. They see the school pepeha, waiata and two kapa haka groups as affirming their language, culture and identity. Older students have opportunities to lead the younger group. The well supported Matariki celebration is a further example of the acknowledgement of te ao Māori by the whole school.

As a group, Māori students achieve at a higher level in National Standards for reading, writing and mathematics than Māori students in other schools in the local area and nationally.

4. Sustainable Performance

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

The school is very well placed to sustain and improve its performance. It is led by highly professional school leaders and governed by capable trustees. The school’s direction and values provide clear signposts for expectations and decision making. Consequently there is a well considered approach to the adoption and implementation of new initiatives.

The principal provides strong leadership for the school. She is well respected and highly regarded by the school community. The school leadership team works well together to ensure its high expectations are met and school directions are promoted and embedded.

Teachers collaborate well to provide students with a very consistent and effective learning culture across the school. Decisions about teacher professional development are well considered and aligned with school goals to provide best outcomes for students.

School leaders are closely involved in classrooms and team discussions. This helps them to know what is happening for students as individuals to provide support and guidance for teachers. Senior leaders provide good opportunities for teachers to develop leadership in their areas of strength or interest.

Trustees are future focused and think strategically. They are well informed, understand their roles well and value the insights they have gained into governance through their training. They have a good understanding of the groups of students that are priority learners in their school. Trustees promote student wellbeing and success for all students.

Self review is planned and responsive. Parents, teachers and students have opportunities to contribute their ideas and suggestions. As a result, decision making is considered, based on evidence and aligned to the school values. Trustees, senior leaders and teachers should continue to use the school’s good self-review processes to evaluate the quality and effectiveness of programmes and initiatives in promoting positive outcomes for students.

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

Kaurilands School has a welcoming and inclusive culture. The school values permeate all aspects of operations. The curriculum prioritises science, te reo Māori and environmental education. Students achieve well. The board is committed to future focused learning. The school is professionally led and well governed.

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

Graham Randell

Deputy Chief Review Officer Northern (Acting)

14 August 2015

About the School

Location

Titirangi, Auckland

Ministry of Education profile number

1328

School type

Contributing (Years 1 to 6)

School roll

701

Gender composition

Boys 51%

Girls 49%

Ethnic composition

NZ European/Pākehā 74%

Māori 14%

English 2%

Indian 2%

Samoan 2%

other 6%

Review team on site

June 2015

Date of this report

14 August 2015

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review March 2012

Education Review July 2008

Education Review August 2005