Linwood Avenue School - 23/08/2016

1 Context

Linwood Avenue School is an inclusive and increasingly diverse school with children from many different cultures attending. There are a high number of students whose first language is not English (ESOL).

The school has a high roll turnover. This reflects the mobile nature of many families in the local community. The school works constructively with many community organisations and businesses to enhance the learning opportunities for children and to better meet their wellbeing needs.

The board of trustees and senior leadership have led the school through a period of change and challenge following the Christchurch earthquakes in 2011 and 2012. Preparations towards a school rebuild, as part of the Christchurch School Renewal programme of work, are underway.

The school works collaboratively with a cluster of other local schools to identify opportunities to enhance learning for children and to build leadership and teacher capability. This cluster, along with some other schools, is in the process of forming a larger Community of Learning.

The newly elected board of trustees includes a mix of experienced and new trustees. At the time of this review, the principal of four years had resigned. Preparations for a new appointment have begun.

2 Equity and excellence

The vision and valued outcomes defined by the school for all children are to 'achieve success through learning’ and demonstrate respect, resilience, curiosity and caring. The school encourages children to aim high, persevere and succeed, while making a positive contribution to the world. Children also develop the attributes of a ‘Linwood Learner’ which include being self managers, actively involved and learning together.

Many Māori children are achieving at or above their school peers. Pacific children are doing well in literacy with slightly lower levels of achievement in mathematics.

The school’s overall achievement information shows that many children are achieving well, particularly in reading with a high number of children at or above the National Standards. The high number of ESOL children, who are receiving extra learning support, is reflected in the school's overall National Standards data.

Pākehā girls and Pacific girls have been targeted for a lift in achievement in the board's 2016 annual targets.

The teachers have strengthened in-school moderation practices in recent years and worked with other schools to externally moderate teacher judgements (particularly in writing) to support the consistency and accuracy of achievement information.

Since the 2012 ERO review, the school has lifted the levels of children's achievement, particularly in reading. There were no areas for review and development identified in the 2012 ERO report. The school has worked towards accelerating children's progress and achievement by developing shared knowledge and understandings about:

  • effective teaching of writing
  • collaborative teaching and learning practices in preparation for flexible learning environments as part of the school rebuild
  • use of digital technology to support learning.

3  Accelerating achievement

How effectively does this school respond to Māori children whose learning and achievement need acceleration?

The school effectively responds to Māori children whose learning and achievement need acceleration. Leaders and teachers have very high expectations that Māori, and all children, will achieve. School data shows three quarters of those who were below the National Standards in mathematics and writing accelerated their progress during the first half of 2016.

Leaders and teachers quickly identify children at risk of not achieving. Teachers use a range of assessment practices, as well as interactions in and outside of the class, to get to know children well as learners and individuals.

Teachers regularly discuss children's progress and achievement. They work together in teams and with other specialists to identify relevant learning support for those children that need extra help. Teachers evaluate the effectiveness of their teaching and adjust programmes or trial new approaches to better support children’s learning, health and wellbeing needs.

Teachers value the language, culture and identity of Māori children. Teachers are actively building their own understanding of culturally responsive practices and providing increased opportunities for Māori children to participate in, and learn about their culture.

School structures such as `houses’ and `buddy classes’ are designed to support students to make connections across the school. Tuakana Teina, older children helping younger ones, contributes to their sense of belonging within the school.

The school works closely with a number of community organisations and external specialists to ensure programmes and services are tailored to meet the needs of individual children.

Teachers and leaders closely monitor the progress and achievement of all children who are at risk of not achieving and make timely decisions about how best to respond.

How effectively does this school respond to other children whose learning and achievement need acceleration?

The school effectively responds to other children whose learning and achievement need acceleration. Many of the actions and practices described above also apply to these children.

Teachers are very mindful of specific strategies that enhance learning outcomes for Pacific children. They are well supported by professional learning and development to increase their understanding. A Samoan language teacher supports some children to learn their home language.

The high number of children who are supported with English language learning make good progress, particularly in Years 1 to 4.

Leaders and teachers have a strong focus on early intervention, particularly for literacy development. Teachers make effective use of the Mutukaroa programme to help parents in their child's first year of school to better understand assessment and what this means for their child's learning. The school values its partnership with parents. Ideas and resources to help learning at home are shared. Achievement information shows that by the end of Year 3 these children have made significant gains.

School leaders and ERO agree, that further clarifying school-wide understandings about what represents accelerated progress could further assist with how rates of progress are reported in curriculum reviews and achievement reports to the board.

4 School conditions

How effectively do the school’s curriculum and other organisational processes and practices develop and enact the school’s vision, values, goals and targets for equity and excellence?

The school's curriculum and other organisational processes and practices effectively develop the school's vision, values, goals and priorities for equity and excellence.

Survey information shows that children feel well cared for and have high levels of engagement with their learning. They value the way their teachers support their learning as well as opportunities to learn with, and from each other. 

The school's curriculum-in-action has a strong focus on literacy and numeracy learning. It also has an emphasis on health, wellbeing and physical education which reflects the learning styles and needs of many students. The school is implementing some innovative teaching and learning initiatives to better support children as lifelong learners.

School leaders are in the process of redeveloping the school's documented curriculum so that it better reflects current practice. ERO supports the focus on further developing practices that support children to take responsibility for their learning, including knowing about their achievement and progress, and having greater input into what and how they learn.

Teachers are well supported to build their professional skills and knowledge through:

  • high quality, well-planned professional learning
  • effective appraisal processes
  • strong collaborative practices that build shared understandings, and effective planning and evaluation of teaching and learning.

The school has a range of useful and well-established internal evaluation processes for finding out what is working and what needs to be improved. These regularly include the views of children, parents and teachers.

The school leadership team is cohesive and works together effectively to:

  • communicate the school's vision and model high expectations for outcomes for all learners
  • plan and implement a considered approach to change management
  • create responsive systems and structures which meet the needs of learners and teachers
  • develop leadership capability within the teaching staff
  • develop and contribute to a range of community relationships and partnerships for the benefit of learners.

Trustees are strongly focused on lifting achievement and accelerating the progress of learners at risk of underachievement. They are well informed about student achievement and use this information effectively to prioritise resourcing to support these learners. Trustees make effective use of training and use their skills well to improve learning for all students. The board has been mindful of monitoring the wellbeing of students, families and staff throughout a period of significant change.

As the board prepares for a change in school leadership, it is timely for the trustees to review the school's strategic plan and specifically document the long-term vision for the future direction of the school.

5 Going forward

How well placed is the school to accelerate the achievement of all children who need it?

Leaders and teachers:

  • know the children whose learning and achievement need to be accelerated
  • respond effectively to the strengths, needs and interests of each child
  • regularly evaluate how well teaching is working for these children
  • act on what they know works well for each child
  • build teacher capability effectively to achieve equitable outcomes for all children
  • are well placed to achieve and sustain equitable and excellent outcomes for all children.

The board, school leaders and teachers are very well placed and have shared high expectations that all children can and will achieve. A significant strength is the way internal evaluation supports children’s learning and ongoing school improvement. Leaders and teachers use learning information very effectively to remove barriers to learning, meet diverse needs and promote children’s wellbeing, progress and achievement.

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

6 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 the following:

  • board administration
  • curriculum
  • management of health, safety and welfare
  • personnel management
  • asset management.

During the review, ERO checked the following items because they have a potentially high impact on student safety and wellbeing:

  • emotional safety of students (including prevention of bullying and sexual harassment)
  • physical safety of students
  • teacher registration
  • processes for appointing staff
  • stand down, suspensions, expulsions and exclusions
  • attendance
  • compliance with the provisions of the Vulnerable Children Act 2014. 

7 Recommendation

The board and senior leaders are very well placed to implement the next steps identified in this report and to continue to improve outcomes for children through ongoing internal evaluation. 

Lesley Patterson
Deputy Chief Review Officer Southern

23 August 2016 

About the school 

Location

Christchurch

Ministry of Education profile number

3413

School type

Contributing (Years 1 to 6)

School roll

303

Gender composition

Boys 52%; Girls 48%

Ethnic composition

Māori
Pākehā
Pacific
Asian
Other ethnicities

27%
40%
22%
  9%
  2%

Review team on site

June 2016

Date of this report

23 August 2016

Most recent ERO reports

Education Review
Education Review
Education Review

August 2012
August 2008
September 2005