Milford School (Auckland) - 10/10/2016

1 Context

Milford School on Auckland, North Shore caters for children in Years 1 to 6. The school has a positive ERO reporting history. Since ERO's 2011 review, the school has appointed a new principal and several new teachers. New trustees have recently been elected, and there is a new board chair.

2 Equity and excellence

The vision and valued outcomes defined by the school for all children are to be "inspired to learn and achieve". The school aims to "provide education and life skills… and reflect the changing needs of the local community".

The school's educational goals are based on a philosophy where "every child is given the opportunity to reach their full potential." The school values are "respect, responsibility, honesty, integrity, tolerance, self-control, independence and a strong work ethic".

School trustees, leaders and teachers are committed to all children achieving equitable outcomes. The school’s achievement information shows that in 2013 to 2015, 85% of children achieved at or above the National Standard in reading and 83% achieved at or above in writing. In mathematics, children achieve very well with 88% of the children at or above the National Standard.

In response to the school's analysis of achievement information against the National Standards, the board set more specific charter targets to accelerate Pacific students' progress in 2015 and Māori students' progress in 2016. Māori and Pacific children are not yet consistently achieving at the same high levels as other groups of students in the school. While some individual Māori and Pacific children achieve well, others continue to require more targeted support to accelerate their learning.

The school has useful tools and processes in place to evaluate children's progress and achievement. Continuing to find ways to document teachers' observations would provide rich opportunities for teams to reflect on teaching strategies that result in accelerated progress.

Since the 2011 ERO external evaluation, teachers have continued to participate in a wide range of professional learning including writing, mathematics, science and curriculum planning. External support for teachers is in place for the teaching of te reo Māori, at some year levels. External professional development is also supporting team and school leaders to further develop their leadership expertise.

3 Accelerating achievement

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

Teachers are enhancing their effectiveness in responding to Māori children whose learning and achievement require acceleration. In 2016, school leaders began to promote a greater sense of urgency in accelerating Māori achievement.

The school now has a well-structured approach to accelerating the progress and achievement of all Māori children through the use of:

  • a specific and measurable charter target to accelerate Māori student learning
  • collated school data on Māori children's' progress against targets
  • team monitoring plans for all children at risk, with Māori and Pacific children in clear focus
  • classroom teacher data monitoring plans for all target children including Māori and Pacific
  • individual raising achievement plans for all Māori children.

School systems that focus on Māori children and other children who require accelerated learning are well aligned and well led. Mid-year data is showing some Māori students are beginning to make accelerated progress. It would be helpful if teachers evaluated the key reasons for the improvement.

Current teaching plans could be enhanced if teachers more consistently documented the deliberate acts of teaching they are using to achieve accelerated outcomes. Trustees could make use of students' mid-year progress data against the National Standards to review the school's progress and the resourcing needs.

Pacific children benefitted from the school's 2015 charter target focus on their learning and achievement. Accelerated progress was evident for half of these children. The school could also consider setting targets over several years to ensure Pacific children are well placed to transition to their next school.

The board has also prioritised accelerating the progress and achievement of some groups of Year 6 children. Leaders are considering sub-targets to continue to increase equitable outcomes for boys in writing and this has been an ongoing, school-wide focus of professional development.

Staff work collaboratively with the senior leadership team and team leaders to ensure children who require additional support are targeted and monitored. Teachers and leaders meet regularly to discuss student learning. Teaching teams share ideas and teaching strategies. They use a variety of interventions to help accelerate children's progress.

Teacher aides, now called learning assistants, are used more strategically to work with target children in class or through intervention programmes. To continue improving student outcomes, leaders could review the current mathematics approach to target children's progress and efficacy.

Specialised training in English language literacy progressions is supporting teachers to accelerate children's literacy progress and achievement. The school has a number of key staff who are skilled in teaching English for speakers of other languages (ESOL) and who support children, families and other staff well. Ministry of Education audits for the use of ESOL funding highlight the very good practices school-wide that support ESOL learners.

The school continues to respond well to children with additional learning requirements. Children benefit from observant teachers who work collaboratively to identity special learning needs and work alongside families and each other to ensure the right support is in place. Families ERO spoke with expressed their confidence in the school's approach.

The school has a strong focus on supporting effective transitions to school that benefit both children and their families. Children form positive relationships with their teachers. Further consideration of ensuring that transitions within the school are more effective may help to improve student outcomes.

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 organisational processes are effective in promoting excellence. The school is increasing its focus and evaluation to promote equitable outcomes for all children.

A positive, optimistic school culture helps children to settle quickly. Children show empathy for others and enjoy a broad range of leadership opportunities. They develop a strong sense of belonging and identity as a Milford learner. They are proud of their school and benefit from increased access to digital learning approaches. Additions to school facilities are modernising learning environments.

School leaders welcome families warmly and value their input. Parents have good opportunities to participate in their child's education and in the wider life of the school. Reporting to families in relation to the National Standards has been strengthened for children in Years 1 to 3. Leaders have identified that extending learning partnerships with Māori whānau is a key strategic priority.

The school is governed effectively and well led. It is well placed to continue to accelerate children's learning. There is a positive working environment and relational trust for school leaders to make ongoing improvements to benefit children. Leaders value external evaluation and are strengthening internal evaluation systems. Data driven decision making is evident.

Children experience a broad, relevant curriculum. A new school-wide curriculum planning approach is underway to extend children's thinking. Leaders and teachers are continuing to extend opportunities for children to make greater decisions and choices about their learning.

Specialist teachers in music and physical education help promote children's talents, wellbeing and learning experiences. The school makes very good use of the environment to promote children's confidence and teamwork.

Mandarin instruction is provided to extend children's language learning experiences. Cultural groups such as kapa haka and school productions offer children meaningful opportunities to learn about other students' cultures.

Increasing teachers' confidence and expertise to deliver a progressive te reo and tikanga Māori programme is necessary to strengthen the school's bicultural provision. A planned strategic approach is required to extend teachers' capability and also inform school tikanga and kawa. This could help to further affirm the language, culture and identity of Māori children. Over time, this should also help all teachers confidently meet the requirements for teacher registration.

The performance management system is well aligned to the new Education Council requirements. Teachers are developing the ways they document their evaluation about the success of their teaching practices. There are good systems in place to support teachers to develop their evaluation skills.

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 school is well placed to make ongoing improvements. The board and principal have successfully managed a number of significant personnel changes and implemented new initiatives that require time to consolidate and embed. The principal is making good use of external appraisal for the senior leadership team to support effective change management.

The school benefits from a supportive school community that is culturally diverse and multilingual. The board and school leaders have identified it is timely to review the school's vision and valued outcomes. Ensuring the new vision and values incorporate a stronger focus on New Zealand's bicultural heritage, offers the school a meaningful opportunity to consult with Māori whānau.

The principal, board, school leaders and ERO agree that key developments for the school include:

  • increasing equitable outcomes for all Māori children and engagement with whānau
  • strengthening the strategic approach to the school's commitment to te Tiriti o Waitangi
  • further developing and implementing the new school curriculum planning approach
  • increasing children's decision making and ownership of their learning.

ERO is likely to carry out the next review in three 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

  • provision for international students.

7 Recommendation

ERO recommends that the school continues to develop its evaluative capacity for promoting accelerated learning outcomes that result in equitable outcomes for all learners. 

Graham Randell

Deputy Chief Review Officer Northern

10 October 2016 

About the school

Location

Milford, Auckland

Ministry of Education profile number

1375

School type

Contributing (Years 1 to 6)

School roll

526

Number of international students

40

Gender composition

Girls 51% Boys 49%

Ethnic composition

Māori

Pākehā

Chinese

Korean

Indian

Filipino

other Asian

other Pacific

other

4%

53%

15%

9%

5%

1%

7%

3%

3%

Review team on site

August 2016

Date of this report

10 October 2016

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

November 2011

August 2008

December 2005