Milford School (Auckland) - 18/11/2011

1 Context

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

Milford School, situated on the shores of Lake Pupuke in Auckland, provides education for students from Years 1 to 6. The school has a positive ERO reporting history.

The 2008 ERO report recommended some curriculum developments and better use of student achievement data to inform planning. Since 2008, staffing has remained stable and the principal has been able to progress initiatives to implement these recommendations and improve learning outcomes for students. A particular focus for the school has been teacher participation in a two year Ministry of Education professional development programme called Assessment for Learning. This programme supports the development of students’ self-managing and independent learning skills.

The school roll has met its capacity and the board implements a school enrolment scheme. Close working relationships with local preschools and the intermediate school support the pastoral care of individual students and encourage smooth transitions as they move to their next places of learning.

2 Learning

How well are students learning – engaging, progressing and achieving?

Students at all year levels are highly engaged in learning and are active participants in classroom programmes. The professional development programme of Assessment for Learning has had a positive impact on changing the learning culture in the school. Students are empowered to manage their own learning goals and construct learning pathways with teachers. They talk about their learning with confidence. They are taught strategies and given opportunities to identify where they are at in their learning. They have the skills and knowledge to self and peer assess their learning and are actively involved in decisions about how to further improve their work. These good practices provide motivation for students to succeed and take ownership of their learning.

Students are achieving well in reading and mathematics, and their success levels compare favourably with schools of similar decile and type. School leaders have identified that student achievement in writing is not as high as for reading and mathematics, and have planned a professional development programme for 2012 to raise the quality of teaching and learning in writing.

The school has fifteen Pacific students. A senior teacher is responsible for the regular monitoring of Pacific students’ well being and participation in all aspects of school life. Their academic achievement is analysed separately and reported to the board.

The analysis of school-wide achievement data is detailed and findings are well used to support student learning. School leaders use data to set school priorities. Teachers use it to plan for the different learning abilities of students in classroom programmes.

Achievement information is also used well for the early identification of students who are underachieving or have special learning needs. Intervention programmes are provided for these students and their progress is closely monitored. Evidence shows that many students make good progress on these special programmes, with the progress of some being significantly accelerated.

Students who would benefit from extension are also identified and the school offers programmes that provide students with opportunities to develop their talents.

The school is working well with the National Standards. The board is well informed about students’ progress and achievement in relation to the National Standards in reading, writing and mathematics. In conjunction with school leaders, the board sets targets against the National Standards in its annual charter. Parents receive two written, plain language reports that show how well their child is achieving against the National Standards over the year. Parents with children who are new learners of English receive a written report that shows their child’s progress against the English language learning progressions.

How well does the school promote Māori student success and success as Māori?

The school has eighteen students who identify as Māori. Māori students have positive attitudes to school and learning, and are achieving well. A senior teacher is responsible for the regular monitoring of Māori students’ well being and participation in all aspects of school life. Their academic achievement is analysed separately and reported to the board. Māori students benefit from the positive relationships that underpin the school culture and from the wide educational and leadership opportunities available to support their learning.

The school has recently developed a te reo Māori curriculum and implementation plan. These documents state the expectations for teachers. Plans give guidelines about what students can achieve at different levels of proficiency and at different year levels. A specialist te reo Māori teacher supports programmes in classrooms and provides professional development opportunities for teachers to improve their confidence in using te reo. A well established school waiata group is given priority in the school curriculum and a tutor is employed to lead this group. The group performs at many school events and in the local cultural festival. Māori students benefit from the inclusion of aspects of Māori culture and language throughout the school.

School leaders have made good use of the Ministry of Education’s Māori Education Strategy,Ka Hikitia: Managing for Success, as a tool for reviewing how well school policies and practices develop the potential of all Māori students. Outcomes of this review have led to initiatives that have seen a growing collective responsibility for the wellbeing and achievement of Māori students in the school. A next step for leaders is to share the Ka Hikitia review tools with classroom teachers. This should help teachers to reflect on how their practice engages Māori students.

The board and senior leaders understand the value of strengthening their consultation with whānau so that the Māori community is more involved in setting strategic goals and in supporting learning outcomes for Māori students.

3 Curriculum

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

The school’s curriculum effectively promotes and supports student learning. A clearly documented and shared vision of the “Milford Graduate” focuses on students having an understanding of their own progress and achievement and the learning process.

Staff recently developed a school inquiry model for learning that supports students to explore their interests and investigate their own questions within self-selected contexts for learning. This model is being used across the school in 2011.

The New Zealand Curriculum (NZC) has been well implemented. The values, principles and key competencies that are part of the NZC have enriched classroom learning programmes for all. The school’s curriculum focus on students learning how to learn, and on teachers encouraging all students to reflect on their own learning processes, is highly evident in classroom practice. The curriculum has meaning for students and connects with their wider lives.

Teachers provide high quality teaching programmes. Teachers share professional practice and display a sense of collegial responsibility for raising student achievement. School systems support teachers to be reflective practitioners. A recent appointment of a Director of Learning means teachers are well supported to implement agreed teaching practices.

Ongoing self review of the school’s curriculum results in continued refinements and further developments to its learning model. Senior leaders have appropriately identified the following areas as future priorities for developing teaching programmes:

  • embedding the school’s inquiry approach to learning
  • integrating curriculum areas in meaningful ways
  • developing the teaching and learning of writing.

ERO discussed with senior leaders the value of now including in school programmes more content that reflects Māori perspectives and the richness of New Zealand’s bicultural heritage.

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 leadership of the school is highly effective. The principal and board are focused on continuous improvement. The principal has established clear lines of communication and manages the pace of school improvement initiatives successfully. The board is well informed about curriculum matters and student achievement. Trustees show a commitment to initiatives to support the learning of all students.

The principal is well supported by an experienced senior leadership team. Competent team leaders and curriculum focus leaders take a lead in the improvement of classroom curriculum programmes. The school has strong systems that support very good professional practice and help teachers to meet the diverse needs of students.

Self review is used well to sustain and improve the school’s performance. A culture of critical reflection is led by the principal, with input from staff, students and the school community. Outcomes of self review provide a clear rationale for curriculum design, teaching practice, and future directions for the school.

The board and staff have developed good partnerships with parents and the wider community that support school initiatives and contribute to sustainability.

Provision for international students

Milford School provides its international students with a very good standard of education and support, including access to regular English language tuition where appropriate. International students enjoy many opportunities to participate in school activities. Classroom teachers, together with specialist staff, offer high quality pastoral care for international students. Information and guiding documents relating to international students are well organised and up to date. Regular reporting to the board about international students could now be strengthened by including information about students' achievement and their participation in school activities.

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 were eleven international students 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.

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
  • stand-downs, suspensions, expulsions and exclusions
  • attendance.

In order to improve current practice, the board of trustees should investigate more secure fencing of sections of the playground adjacent to the lake.

When is ERO likely to review the school again?

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

Richard Thornton

National Manager Review Services Northern Region

18 November 2011

About the School

Location

Milford, Auckland

Ministry of Education profile number

1375

School type

Contributing (Years 1 to 6)

Decile

10

School roll

537

Number of international students

11

Gender composition

Boys 53%

Girls 47%

Ethnic composition

NZ European/Pākehā

Māori

Chinese

European

Korean

Indian

Pacific Nations

Filipino

Japanese

Other ethnicities

56%

3%

11%

10%

7%

3%

3%

2%

2%

3%

Review team on site

September 2011

Date of this report

18 November 2011

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

August 2008

December 2005

August 2002