Lincoln Primary School - 20/02/2014

1 Context

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

Lincoln Primary School is located in a semi-rural community on the outskirts of Christchurch. Growing links with local early childhood centres, high school and university are helping to extend students’ learning experiences.

The school’s emphasis on environmental issues and sustainability helps to enrich students’ learning and provide opportunities for student leadership.

Lincoln is a growing community with an increasing number of young students attending the school. The school is responding well to this change with effective transition to school practices that include older students actively supporting younger ones.

Over 50% of the school staff have been appointed over the last three years. These appointments have involved changes in both senior leadership and teaching staff. These changes have contributed to school improvement through increasing the range of experiences, ideas and skills within the staff.

The school provides technology education for Years 7 and 8 students from a number of local schools.

The school has two swimming pools that are well used by the school and community to develop students’ aquatic skills.

Since the school’s November 2010 ERO review, the principal, other leaders and staff have made very good progress in improving the quality of some management practices and teaching programmes.

2 Learning

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

The school continues to make good use of achievement information to help make positive changes to learners’ engagement, progress and achievement.

School leaders and teachers make appropriate use of achievement information to:

  • identify individual students most at risk of not achieving well and provide some well-targeted additional support for them
  • help identify individual students who are gifted and talented and increasingly provide for their needs
  • focus programmes and make suitable adjustments to class groupings and teaching approaches
  • provide reports to the board that help them to make informed decisions about how best to raise student achievement.

School leaders and teachers have improved the range and quality of achievement information they gather, particularly in reading, writing and mathematics. These improvements mean that the judgements teachers make about student achievement and progress are becoming increasingly accurate.

Senior leaders have identified that some aspects of the management and monitoring of support programmes need improving. They have begun to take appropriate steps to address this need.

Areas for review and development

As part of current initiatives, school leaders should develop better systems for evaluating and reporting to the board about the effectiveness of learning support and provisions for gifted and talented students. Such reporting should make clear the impact of these interventions on all students receiving extra support.

The value of the school’s annual targets to help students improve their achievement would be greater if they included more students and in some instances were more challenging. The usefulness of the plans associated with annual achievement targets would be increased if these were more extensive and better identified the specific strategies to be used to help students reach these targets.

3 Curriculum

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

The school’s curriculum promotes and supports students learning well.

The school’s curriculum provides students with a wide variety of suitable learning opportunities. Strengths of the curriculum include:

  • the range of learning activities students take part in both within and beyond the school
  • the use made of teacher strengths and resource people to enhance science, physical education, technology programmes and additional language learning
  • a renewed focus on the teaching of values and developing students’ skills for learning
  • the efforts teachers are making to motivate students by including their interests and integrating studies in ways that make learning meaningful.

Another feature of the school’s curriculum is the range of opportunities Years 7 and 8 students have to develop their leadership skills through taking on responsibilities in a variety of areas and contributing to school decision making.

Reviewers confirmed what school leaders told them about the quality of teaching within the school and the improvements that have been made since 2010. Common strengths of teaching practices evident across classrooms now include:

  • increasingly focused, well-paced and purposeful teaching that builds on students’ previous learning
  • clear expectations for learning and helpful feedback to students about their progress and achievement
  • teacher questioning that helps to extend students’ thinking and problem-solving skills
  • a growing integration of e-learning in classrooms to help motivate students and effectively support learning and teaching.

Teachers foster positive learning environments and teach in ways that promote very good levels of cooperation, engagement and interest. Supportive relationships, regular acknowledgement of success and the various ways students support each other help to create such environments and promote their sense of wellbeing.

A strength of the school is its provisions for the effective transition of young students into the school. Factors that make these a strength include the:

  • priority given to building strong relationships and to working in partnerships with students, parents and early childhood educators
  • range and quality of information shared with parents and the opportunities they and their children have to visit and be involved in class programmes
  • flexible and responsive transition processes in place that help to foster a sense of belonging
  • rich and varied learning experiences provided for new entrant students that help to stimulate their curiosity and willingness to explore and learn.

The clearest evidence of the impact of improved teaching programmes and practices on students’ learning is in reading. School achievement information shows levels of reading achievement have improved over the last three years. For instance, over half of the students are achieving above the National Standards.

Areas for review and development

School leaders and teachers should continue to update and refine the school’s curriculum guidelines in ways that:

  • better reflect the uniqueness of the school’s local environment, students, families and community
  • simplify their expectations about the quality of teaching and outcomes for students
  • include more details about what is happening in some areas such as careers education and the learning of languages.

School leaders and teachers are working on a wide variety of initiatives to improve aspects of teaching and learning. It will be important that these and other planned initiatives are managed in ways which help to successfully sustain and build on current improvements.

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

School leaders and teachers have made good progress towards promoting success for Māori as Māori. They have introduced some significant initiatives around promoting biculturalism and Māori student success. These include the:

  • defining clear strategic goals, developing very good quality improvement plans and effective processes for monitoring these goals
  • increasing use of te reo and the integration of tikanga Māori at class and school levels
  • large number of teachers working towards qualifications in te reo Māori
  • closer relationships being developed with the local rūnunga.

Leaders and teachers are well aware of the achievement of individual Māori students. Some have made significant progress, particularly in reading. Where issues are identified, a suitable range of strategies are used to help support students to achieve better.

4 Sustainable Performance

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

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

Supportive relationships and a strong sense of partnership exist between school leaders, staff and trustees. They are working together towards common goals and give appropriate priority to continuing to lift student achievement. The board and senior leadership team have the mix of skills and experiences necessary to promote school improvement.

Trustees and the school’s parent support group actively support initiatives aimed at improving student progress and the quality of the school environment and resources.

The principal has continued to promote significant school improvement and now has a strong senior leadership team in place. They work well together, have high expectations and a clear understanding of school strengths and needs. This helps them to make well-informed decisions around improving teaching and learning.

Leaders and managers effectively promote collaboration and teamwork. Professional development opportunities are valued by staff and are supporting improvements to teaching and learning.

Leaders and teachers are becoming increasing reflective about their work. Effective self-review practices are most evident in the way several recent curriculum initiatives are being systematically evaluated.

The senior leadership team is giving increased emphasis to further delegating leadership responsibilities and growing leaders. This emphasis should help to further build the school’s capacity to sustain and improve school performance.

Areas for review and development

The usefulness of the board’s charter and annual plans would be enhanced by extending planning related to meeting strategic goals.

School leaders should enhance curriculum self review by:

  • providing clearer guidelines for undertaking reviews
  • conducting more regular reviews of the quality of literacy and mathematics programmes and practices.
  • placing more emphasis on analysing the factors that may be helping or hindering student achievement and progress.

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

The school has attested that it complies with all aspects of the Code.

ERO’s investigations confirmed that the school’s self-review process for international students is thorough.

The school has effective systems in place for providing pastoral care, promoting student achievement and supporting student involvement in the life of the school and the wider community.

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.

The school has identified, and ERO agrees, that the lack of sufficient ventilation in one of the technology rooms presents health and safety issues for both students and staff. Some risk management procedures in this area also need to be more consistently implemented.

Since the onsite stage of the review appropriate steps have been taken to improve ventilation to the technology room.

The school is aware that it has not been consistently meeting its obligations about reporting to parents about students’ progress and achievement towards the National Standards. Suitable plans are in place to address this situation in 2014.

Action

  1. Provide a safe physical environment for students working in the school’s “hard materials” classroom.
    [National Administration Guidelines 2011 NAG 5(a)]

When is ERO likely to review the school again?

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

Graham Randell

National Manager Review Services Southern Region

20 February 2014

About the School

Location

Lincoln, Canterbury

Ministry of Education profile number

3412

School type

Full Primary (Years 1 to 8)

School roll

425

Number of international students

1

Gender composition

Girls 52% Boys 48%

Ethnic composition

NZ European /Pākehā

Māori

Pacific

Asian

European

Other Ethnicities

68%

9%

1%

8%

7%

7%

Review team on site

December 2013

Date of this report

20 February 2014

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

November 2010

February 2008

May 2005