Leamington School - 30/06/2014

Findings

Leamington School continues to provide high-quality education and care for students in an inclusive school culture. Appropriate priority is placed on literacy and mathematics and developing skills for learning. The board, school leaders, staff and students benefit from respectful and supportive relationships guided by the school’s values and goals.

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?

The school is situated in attractive, well-maintained grounds in Leamington, Cambridge. The roll has increased to 380, including 60 students who are of Māori descent. Since the previous ERO review in 2011, the principal and most staff have remained the same. A new deputy principal was appointed in Term 4 2013, and new trustees were elected in May 2013.

The school has responded positively to areas for review and development identified in the previous ERO report. These included the further development of practices to increase students’ understanding and ownership of their learning, and implementing a planned approach to strengthening the presence of Māori language and culture in the school. The school has significantly increased the use of information and computer technologies (ICT) to promote learning and teaching, reviewed school virtues and core goals for learning, and developed a comprehensive programme for teacher learning and inquiry.

Staff have engaged in appropriate and effective professional development specific to school priorities. There are consistently high standards of teaching, and students are actively engaged in their learning. They benefit from the number of extra programmes that successfully support their wellbeing, engagement and development.

The principal and senior leaders capably lead teaching and learning and promote an extensive culture of ongoing improvement. There continues to be a strong sense of pride, belonging and guardianship among staff, students, parents and members of the wider community. Students benefit from the safe and inclusive school environment that fosters their confidence, wellbeing, and belief in themselves as capable and competent learners.

Trustees contribute valuable skills and expertise to the governance of the school. They work closely with the principal to bring about improved outcomes for students.

2 Learning

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

The school makes very good use of student achievement information to make positive changes to learners’ engagement, progress and achievement. Teachers and school leaders gather and thoroughly analyse student achievement information using a range of school assessments and standardised assessment tools. They use this information effectively to:

  • set meaningful goals and targets for raising student achievement
  • plan programmes, group students, and identify those at risk of underachieving
  • regularly report student achievement and progress to parents and the board in relation to National Standards in reading, writing and mathematics
  • make decisions about appropriate learning programmes and special interventions to raise the achievement of priority learners.

School-wide Public Achievement Information from 2012 to 2013 indicates that most students have made good gains and are achieving at or above National Standards in reading, writing and mathematics. Teachers have implemented a number of strategies that are having a positive effect on raising the achievement of Māori students. The levels of achievement in National Standards for Māori students increased significantly from 2012 to 2013 in reading, writing and mathematics. The school is making very good progress in relation to the government goals of 85% at or above National Standards by 2017.

Students with additional learning needs are well supported to access all aspects of the school curriculum through inclusive and well-coordinated school systems and practices. They benefit from the knowledge and commitment of responsive school leaders and teachers, skilled and experienced learning assistants, and external specialist personnel. High-quality individual education plans and additional learning programmes support their wellbeing and progress.

ERO recommends, and school leaders agree, that reports to the board in relation to students with special education needs, should include information about their achievement and progress.

3 Curriculum

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

The Leamington school curriculum is designed, planned and implemented to effectively promote and support high-quality student learning opportunities. Priority is placed on the teaching of reading, writing and mathematics, and this is well supported by:

  • clear learning progressions that are shared and used with students who talk confidently about their learning
  • core virtues and goals closely aligned to the key competencies of The New Zealand Curriculum
  • an increased emphasis on including te reo and tikanga Māori
  • effective and well-integrated use of mobile digital technologies as tools for learning.

Students engage in a wide range of learning experiences in other areas of the school curriculum such as music, choir, sport and education outside the classroom activities. Activity interest groups include operating a TV station and caring for a plant nursery. Students throughout the school can participate in a wide variety of leadership opportunities that promote tuakana/teina relationships and build a culture of collective responsibility. Students with special abilities are extended through projects related to their interests and talents.

A team of professional and dedicated teachers consistently use a wide range of highly effective strategies to engage students in their learning. These include:

  • sharing the learning processes, the purpose of the learning, and what success looks like
  • creative and innovative ways to support students to understand their progress and achievement
  • developing a deeper knowledge of the interests, culture and identity of students and their families.

Attractive, well-resourced classroom environments reflect and celebrate students’ learning and success. Highly engaged and focused students have opportunities to work collaboratively and engage in hands-on, interactive activities and discussions about their learning. They respond well to high expectations for learning and behaviour. Respectful and affirming relationships are modelled by teachers and school leaders.

Teachers benefit from a strong culture of professional learning, reflection and cooperation. They are exploring additional strategies to effectively engage all learners and raise student achievement. A next step for school leaders and teachers is to fully implement and embed the newly developed professional learning inquiry cycle.

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

The school has made considerable progress in promoting success for Māori students as Māori since the 2011 ERO review. School developments include:

  • the formation of a teacher development group called Whaia te Mātauranga
  • the further extension of a strategic plan to promote te reo and tikanga Māori
  • ongoing implementation of school-wide protocols such as whakatau, karakia, pepeha, kupu of the week, and the use of phrases and commands
  • appointment of Māori staff and Māori student leaders, and the translation of core goals and virtues into Māori
  • a planned approach to the teaching of learning strategies and contexts to engage Māori students
  • the continuation of a large and vibrant kapa haka, inclusive of students throughout the school, and the celebration of events such as Matariki.

The school has identified in the 2014 Whaia te Mātauranga plan that priorities for further development are to:

  • continue to build relationships with local marae and iwi
  • implement a sequential learning programme for Māori language
  • integrate local Māori history and contexts into the curriculum.

4 Sustainable Performance

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

Leamington school is very well placed to sustain and improve its performance. The school’s self- review processes are purposeful and well aligned to strategic goals and priorities. Inquiry and reflection occur at all levels of the school and are informed by current research and good practice in education. Trustees, senior leaders and staff demonstrate a strong commitment to improving learning outcomes. They are effectively implementing new strategies that are making a positive difference for students.

The leadership of the principal and the senior leaders continues to be effective in building a collegial and caring learning community focused on raising student achievement. There are consistently high standards of teaching in every classroom. Students benefit from the number of extra programmes that successfully support their wellbeing, engagement and development.

The parents' and wider community are strongly supportive of the school. Parents contribute enthusiastically to a range of sports, cultural and social events. They are regularly surveyed and consulted, and their views are actively considered in school decision making and resourcing.

Provision for international students

The school is a signatory to the Code of Practice for the Pastoral Care of International Students (the Code) established under section 238F of the Education Act 1989. The school has attested that it complies with all aspects of the Code.

At the time of this review there was 1 international student attending the school.

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

Leamington School continues to provide high-quality education and care for students in an inclusive school culture. Appropriate priority is placed on literacy and mathematics and developing skills for learning. The board, school leaders, staff and students benefit from respectful and supportive relationships guided by the school’s values and goals.

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

Dale Bailey

National Manager Review Services Northern Region

30 June 2014

About the School

Location

Cambridge

Ministry of Education profile number

1789

School type

Contributing (Years 1 to 6)

School roll

380

Number of international students

1

Gender composition

Girls 51% Boys 49%

Ethnic composition

NZ European/Pākehā

Māori

Other European

Asian

Other

Pacific

75%

16%

5%

2%

1%

1%

Review team on site

April 2014

Date of this report

30 June 2014

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

September 2011

June 2008

May 2005