Middleton Grange School - 15/09/2015

 

Education Review Report Middleton Grange School

The purpose of ERO’s reviews is to give parents and the wider school community assurance about the quality of education that schools provide and their children receive. An ERO school report answers the question “How effectively is this school’s curriculum promoting student learning - engagement, progress and achievement?” Under that overarching question ERO reports on the quality of education and learning outcomes for children and for specific groups of children including Māori students, Pacific students and students with special needs. ERO also reports on the quality of the school’s systems for sustaining and continuing improvements. The report answers four key questions about the school.

1. Context

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

Middleton Grange School is a non-denominational Christian school that provides education for students from Years 1 to 13. The school’s principles positively underpin everything that happens within the school. The special character is clearly defined by positive relationships and high expectations for students’ achievement. Central to everything is service to others. This includes international mission work.

The school provides an inclusive and welcoming environment. Close and proactive partnerships are fostered with parents and the wider community.

The school is organised into four schools. A primary school for students in Years 1 to 6, a middle school for students in Years 7 to 10 and a senior college for students in Years 11 to 13. There is also an international college.

The board and staff have responded positively to the 2012 ERO recommendations. A new system to manage student information has been introduced, transitions into and through the school have been strengthened. School evaluation practices have been extended. There have been some changes in leadership but staff are mostly long serving.

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 positively support high quality learning and teaching. Student engagement is given a high priority across all areas of the school. This has led to continual improvements in the quality of teaching.

National Certificates of Educational Achievement (NCEA) information shows that students’ achievement has been steadily increasing over time. Students achieve well at all levels of NCEA and University Entrance (UE) and achieve higher than national and regional levels. Teachers have introduced deliberate strategies to promote the learning of individuals. These include additional tutoring, regular online learning, feedback and support. The school is now focused on increasing the number or endorsements awarded and closing the gender gap.

Students in Years 1 to 8 achieve highly in relation to National Standards in mathematics, writing and particularly well in reading. Achievement information for students in Years 9 and 10 shows that they continue to make good progress and are supported in preparation for further learning.

The school has comprehensive systems for identifying, monitoring and improving outcomes for all students. Teachers effectively use achievement information to scrutinize individual learning and progress and provide specifically targeted support for individuals. They use a wide range of differentiated approaches, programmes and resources. Students at risk of not achieving are closely monitored.

Teachers’ high expectations for all students are appropriate and realistic. They work collaboratively and regularly share best practice ideas to support student learning. Teachers and students regularly reflect on learning and progress.

3. Curriculum

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

The school’s curriculum is highly effective in promoting positive learning outcomes for all students. It is clearly underpinned by the school’s special character and the New Zealand Curriculum. There is a strong culture of service within and beyond the school.

Students are provided with a variety of meaningful and authentic learning experiences. Teachers are increasing the use of technologies within their programmes and students have growing opportunities to access online learning.

Curriculum and learning teams are well led. Leaders are highly supportive of their teaching teams and are effectively supported by senior leaders. The board is provided with detailed and useful reports about individual curriculum areas. These reports clearly identify strengths and areas for development.

Teachers have a shared responsibility for students’ learning and wellbeing. Students are well supported by the strong pastoral care systems that operate across the school. Teachers know students and their families well. They actively foster close partnerships with parents and whānau.

The school provides a comprehensive careers and guidance programme that focuses on individual students and is easily accessible for students and their parents. Students are well prepared for future pathways.

The school’s curriculum has become increasingly culturally responsive. Students have opportunities to learn about and celebrate the school’s diverse cultures.

Students learn in well-organised and attractive learning spaces. They have access to high quality facilities that support and extend their learning and engagement.

School leaders have identified that their key priority is to complete the update of the primary school curriculum. They should also consider making outcomes for students more explicit within the curriculum strategic goal.

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

Māori students are very well supported to succeed successfully as Māori.

Māori students in the senior school achieve well in national assessments in comparison to the national and regional levels of NCEA and UE. Students in Years 1 to 8 achieve well in relation to National Standards.

Māori students have many opportunities to participate in cultural activities, including national competitions.

Senior student leadership positions have been developed to enable students to have greater ownership and input into school practices.

Māori whānau are actively involved in the school and are well informed about their child’s progress. They regularly provide useful feedback and direction to the school for future developments for learning.

The senior leaders and teachers have continued to build cultural capacity within the school. They have supported the increased use of te reo and tikanga Māori across the junior and middle schools. All students confidently participate in bicultural practices such as welcoming visitors to the school.

The senior leaders have identified that continuing to build teachers’ confidence and use of bicultural practices is an area for ongoing development.

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

Pacific students are very well supported to succeed successfully as Pacific.

Pacific students in the senior school achieve well in national assessments in comparison to the national and regional levels of NCEA and UE. Students in Years 1 to 8 achieve well in relation to National Standards, although levels in writing are slightly lower than their peers.

The school has broadened the opportunities Pacific students have to achieve within their own languages and cultures. Pacific students have increasing options within the curriculum, particularly at NCEA. The school has also extended the provision for Pacific students to participate in Pacific cultural festivals and competitions.

Many students experience Pacific culture through the annual mission and service trips the school undertakes to some of the Pacific Islands.

The school provides very good internal support for Pacific students and their whānau. There are many opportunities for parents to provide feedback about the school’s practices and performance. They are also well informed about Pacific student achievement and progress.

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.

The board and senior leaders’ high expectations and ongoing focus on student achievement and engagement contributes to the sustained performance of the school. Trustee and staff practices and procedures are closely aligned to the school’s special character and modelled throughout the school.

The highly skilled board are actively involved in decision making, leading to improved outcomes for students. They scrutinize and question the information that is regularly provided to them.

The school is very well led. Senior leaders have very clear roles and responsibilities. They work closely together and model good practice. They make good use of evaluation to improve school, teacher and student performance. Senior leaders are building leadership capabilities across the school and make good use of individual teacher’s strengths.

Teachers are provided with innovative and meaningful professional learning programmes that are helping to raise consistency of teaching across the school. They have a deliberate focus on raising the engagement, participation, progress and achievement of Māori and Pacific students.

Senior leaders and teachers regularly seek the views and opinions of students and parents. They are receptive to feedback and make changes to their practice to better meet the identified needs of individual and groups of students.

The board and senior leaders are highly responsive and proactive in addressing evaluation findings and recommendations. For example during the on-site stage of the ERO review, the principal and senior leaders strengthened the senior school target to make it more specific.

The board and senior leaders have a clear focus on the school’s strategic direction. They effectively plan for and monitor progress towards meeting the identified priorities for improvement and future direction setting. School goals are very well embedded and aligned throughout all aspects of the school. The principal provides the board with detailed, quality information that shows progress towards meeting the goals.

Senior leaders have useful partnerships with other schools to support raising achievement and performance. The principal is regularly appraised by staff from similar Christian schools. This provides critical feedback on the school’s performance, with a particular focus on how well the school’s special character is embedded.

The senior leaders have identified, and ERO agrees that the school’s appraisal process needs to be strengthened. They also agree that they need to ensure that the strategic goals explicitly identify how students will become confident in their own identity, language and culture.

The board has comprehensive systems for ensuring student wellbeing and safety. This includes formally including student representation in decision making. The board should consider regularly evaluating its own effectiveness to assure themselves that they are meeting their governance roles and responsibilities.

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 106 international students attending the school.

The school has a designated International College to provide high quality, meaningful and appropriate programmes for international students. The specialist college staff are experienced and have very clear roles and responsibilities. They support teachers within the school and provide useful information about cultural diversity.

The International College has very good systems for monitoring student learning, safety and wellbeing. Staff regularly review these systems and programmes to ensure their effectiveness. The board are kept well informed about the results of these reviews.

Students experience a caring, inclusive and supportive culture. They have opportunities to share their cultures. They benefit from regular and planned opportunities to interact with the school’s student international ambassadors.

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

Middleton Grange’s non-denominational Christian special character is highly evident throughout all aspects of the school. There is a strong focus on individual engagement, learning and wellbeing. Students achieve highly in comparison to national and regional levels. The school is well led and managed. The board and leaders are highly collaborative and responsive to evaluation findings. Good systems ensure a safe and inclusive environment.

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

 

Chris Rowe

Deputy Chief Review Officer Southern (Acting)

15 September 2015

About the School

Location

Christchurch

Ministry of Education profile number

335

School type

Composite (Years 1 to 13)

School roll

1280

Number of international students

106

Gender composition

Girls 51%; Boys 49%

Ethnic composition

NZ Pākehā/European

Asian

Māori

Pacific

Other ethnicities

65%

21%

6%

3%

5%

Special Features

Integrated Christian School

Review team on site

August 2015

Date of this report

15 September 2015

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

November 2012

May 2009

August 2005