Meadowbank School - 15/05/2015

Findings

Meadowbank School is proud of its educational history and tradition of providing good quality education for students in Years 1 to 6. Students achieve at high levels and experience a curriculum with a strong environmental focus. An inclusive school environment is reflected in the positive relationships between students and teachers.

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?

Meadowbank School has a long history of providing good quality education for students from Years 1 to 6. The school celebrates its centennial in 2015. It is currently experiencing a period of roll growth and further growth is also anticipated. The community remains highly engaged in the life of the school having high expectations for the quality of education and of school leaders.

The school occupies two sites on either side of a gully and it serves the residential areas of Meadowbank and Remuera. The school operates as one school, across the two sites with many opportunities for students to mix for curriculum and pastoral programmes. Years 1 and 2 occupy one site and are called the junior school. Year 3 to 6 students are located on the other side of the gully and are known as the senior school.

The gully, that includes a local stream, has been thoughtfully restored through a long period of environmental action and commitment by students, teachers, staff and the wider school community. Students are proud of the school’s environmental legacy and show a strong sense of belonging and ownership to the school.

Since the 2010 ERO review, there has been significant staff change. There are new teachers and team leaders. Leadership positions are generally held by long serving staff.

2 Learning

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

The school uses achievement information well to make positive changes to students’ learning. Many students achieve high levels of success, in relation to the National Standards.

Teachers are increasing opportunities for students to evaluate their achievement and identify next learning steps. They use a wide range of useful assessment tools and follow robust processes to determine students’ levels of achievement. In Year 1 to 3, teachers have improved their achievement judgements to better align with National Standard requirements.

School leaders have identified that while some student year groups made expected gains, their progress was not accelerated. ERO recommends that leaders and the board evaluate the impact of the number of teacher changes on rates of student progress and achievement.

Māori students achieve well and some achieve very well. The board could refine its targets for Māori student achievement with expectations comparable to targets set for other students. Some Pacific students achieve well and Pacific families have high expectations and aspirations for their children. School leaders have identified that raising Pacific student achievement is a key focus for teachers’ professional learning. The board could now set targets for Pacific achievement that match targets set for other groups of learners.

Teachers are working with a large group of target students to provide further support to help them reach their academic potential. Partnerships with families have been developed to support their children’s learning. External professional learning is supporting staff development and accelerating the progress of these students.

The coordinator of learning support programmes works closely with classroom teachers and teacher aides. It would be useful to evaluate the effectiveness of learning support programmes and report the findings more regularly to the board to help guide resourcing decisions.

Improving communication and developing reciprocal partnerships with families is a key part of the school’s strategic plan to improve student outcomes. Parents receive helpful reports and these have been improved over time. A group of Pacific parents are increasingly involved in school initiatives to support their children’s success. School leaders welcome their input and contributions. Recent fono and other occasions to gather together are strengthening relationships and increasing the connection between the school and families.

3 Curriculum

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

The school’s curriculum is effective in promoting and supporting student learning.

An inclusive and learning-focused culture supports students to work collaboratively and co-operatively. Students are confident and capable learners. They are enthusiastic about their learning. Student leadership opportunities are broad and these have increased over time. Younger students benefit from tuakana-teina relationships with older students. Students have opportunities to learn the Mandarin language.

Good quality teaching is evident and there are many examples of high quality practices in the school. Well-resourced classrooms and learning prompts help students develop their self management skills. School leaders provide teachers with professional learning that is relevant and positively impacts student learning.

The curriculum aligns well to The New Zealand Curriculum and offers students a broad range of learning opportunities. The focus on effective literacy and mathematics learning over the past four years now places the school in a very good position to develop a school curriculum design that:

  • is more personalised, flexible and future focussed
  • helps students make meaningful learning links between curriculum areas
  • encourages students to make more choices and decisions about their learning
  • enhances student wellbeing and reflects parent aspirations.

Teachers’ appraisal has changed to promote a more reflective and collaborative teaching culture. Well chosen professional development has helped leaders manage this change process. The Registered Teachers’ Criteria are used to evaluate teachers’ performance. Leaders now plan to more formally use the professional standards to attest teachers’ performance.

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

Since the 2010 ERO review, the school has made good progress in promoting educational success for Māori students. There has been a positive shift in bicultural learning and inclusion in the school. Māori students are proud of their identity and Māori heritage. They reported to ERO that ‘they know a lot more Māori than they used to’. Other students said that knowing about te reo Māori and Māori culture was ‘important because it’s our culture, like a part of us when we travel away’.

School leaders have increased opportunities for Māori students to lead in whaikorero and succeed as Māori. Kapa haka has grown significantly with high levels of student interest. The kaupapa of the Enviroschool’s programme enhances the school’s wider curriculum. New curriculum themes, like whanaungatanga, further support students to consider Māori perspectives.

Working in partnership with whānau, the school is making better use of parent expertise to build teacher’s knowledge and to develop a progressive te reo Māori programme. School leaders could revisit relationships with local iwi and whānau to support further curriculum development.

Teachers are using indicators of cultural responsiveness to help them evaluate how well teaching practices are promoting educational success for Māori students. The board and school leaders could use Ka Hikitia-Accelerating Success 2013 – 2017 and the Measurable Gains framework to inform the school’s strategic planning.

4 Sustainable Performance

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

The school is well placed to improve and sustain its performance. Effective self review is resulting in positive educational outcomes for students.

The principal continues to promote a distributed senior leadership model. He is also promoting school development through close involvement in wider educational networks. School leaders offer and support leadership opportunities for teachers.

Trustees have a variety of useful skills and experience. The board has made successful strategic decisions to manage property improvements and finances. The board works positively with the principal and other school leaders to manage governance changes. Trustees are planning to build board membership to be more reflective of the school’s diverse community. The board would benefit from:

  • further training to help trustees in their governance roles and managing the board’s obligations
  • evaluative reports that show progress in relation to the school’s strategic goals
  • broader, regular community input to inform the school’s vision and strategic planning.

ERO recommends that the school develops approaches with families and students that minimise the impact of staff change. ERO also recommends that trustees use staff and student wellbeing surveys to provide valuable perspectives about the school’s working and learning environment as part of the board's self review and its role as a good employer. It may help the board to engage external expertise. Finding additional ways to surface and manage parent concerns could further improve relationships with the community.

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 were 4 international students attending the school.

The school provides good quality pastoral care and offers a wide variety of learning opportunities for international students. School leaders ensure students are well integrated in the life of the school, and students receive additional language learning as required.

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.

In order to improve practice, the board should:

  • increase board reports on patterns and trends of attendance, accidents, illness and hazards
  • improve the storage of in-committee minutes
  • ensure overnight trips are approved by the board
  • strengthen self review information on student and staff wellbeing
  • review the student safety/anti-bullying policy using the updated Ministry of Education guidelines
  • include the requirements for photographic identification in appointments’ procedures.

Conclusion

Meadowbank School is proud of its educational history and tradition of providing good quality education for students in Years 1 to 6. Students achieve at high levels and experience a curriculum with a strong environmental focus. An inclusive school environment is reflected in the positive relationships between students and teachers.

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

Dale Bailey

Deputy Chief Review Officer Northern

15 May 2015

About the School

Location

Remuera, Auckland

Ministry of Education profile number

1370

School type

Contributing (Years 1 to 6)

School roll

726

Number of international students

4

Gender composition

Boys 53%

Girls 47%

Ethnic composition

Māori

Pākehā

Chinese

Indian

Samoan

Tongan

other Asian

other

5%

60%

7%

3%

2%

2%

6%

15%

Review team on site

March 2015

Date of this report

15 May 2015

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

November 2010

May 2007

February 2004