Mt Eden Normal School - 26/06/2015

Findings

At Mt Eden Normal School a culture of high expectations and continual improvement is supported by high quality leadership, teaching and learning. Students are valued as individuals, achieve well and receive strong pastoral support. They experience rich opportunities within a respectful, inclusive environment. Effective governance and home-school partnerships support decision-making.

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

1. Context

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

Mt Eden Normal School, in Auckland City, provides education for students in Years 1 to 6. Staff, students and parents value the history and traditions of this long established school. The school is linked to the Faculty of Education of the University of Auckland and provides student teachers with practical components of pre-service training.

Students and their learning are at the centre of all school decisions. The board and school leaders maintain very high quality practices and ensure ongoing improvement. The experienced principal, deputy principal and senior leaders work together as a well established team. The good practices and priorities for development noted in the 2010 ERO report have remained central to the school’s improvement initiatives and have been extended.

The school provides an inclusive environment that supports students to develop learning dispositions and social competencies. Respectful relationships and high expectations foster students’ well being, sense of belonging and pride in the school. Staff recognise and value students as individuals, and support all children to reach their potential.

School leaders promote a collaborative and critically reflective learning culture that encourages thinking and challenge for adults and children alike. Indoor and outdoor environments provide students with inviting areas for learning and play, and provoke interest and inquiry.

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 very well to make positive changes to learners’ engagement, progress and achievement.

Students are highly engaged, active participants in their learning. They demonstrate high levels of self motivation and management. Students experience settled learning environments, effective teaching strategies and enjoy positive relationships with each other and their teachers. Teachers encourage all students to see themselves as confident and capable learners. They support students well to understand and articulate their current learning goals, progress and achievement.

The school is strategic and systematic in responding to student achievement information. Senior leaders use this information very well to identify and monitor the progress and achievement of all learners and to inform school decision-making. Effective school-wide systems, collaborative professional practice, and strong leadership provide excellent support for teachers in their use of achievement data.

Teachers use achievement information well to inform programme planning that is responsive to students’ learning needs and interests, and focused on individuals and groups of students. Teachers identify students requiring additional learning support and provide for them both within classroom programmes and through flexible, well considered withdrawal programmes.

Leaders and teachers work collaboratively and reflect on their practice to make ongoing changes to raise student achievement. Good work has been done within the school to develop internal moderation processes to enhance the reliability of achievement information. ERO and senior leaders agree that further development could include continuing to refine the analysis of student achievement information.

Parents receive good information about their children’s progress and achievement in relation to the National Standards in reading, writing and mathematics, through written reports and parent-teacher conferences.

School student achievement data indicates that students achieve very well in reading, writing and mathematics, in relation to the National Standards. The progress and achievement of Māori and Pacific students is well monitored, and most achieve at similar levels to other students. The board receives regular, comprehensive information about student achievement and uses this information well to make decisions about goals and resourcing. The board generously resources learning support, extension and enrichment programmes.

3. Curriculum

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

The school’s curriculum promotes and supports students learning very effectively. Curriculum design is clearly based on The New Zealand Curriculum (NZC) and informed by current educational research and best practice.

Teachers provide high quality teaching. They make overall judgements about students’ achievement in literacy and mathematics from a range of contexts across the curriculum. Students who need support or extension are well catered for, as are students with diverse interests.

The curriculum equips students well for lifelong learning by promoting the development of thinking skills such as questioning, critical thinking, problem solving and creativity. The emphasis on inquiry learning approaches throughout the day and across all learning areas further provokes students’ interest and curiosity. School leaders have a continuing focus on further development of the notion of inquiry across the day.

The school’s Touchstones identify valued learning dispositions and the key competencies of the NZC. These Touchstones are interwoven effectively throughout learning programmes and interactions, to support student wellbeing and form a foundation for successful learning.

A holistic, integrated approach to learning enables students to participate in a rich variety of learning opportunities, both within the school and utilising the wider community. These include a range of enrichment and extension activities. Students use digital learning tools in purposeful ways to improve learning. School leaders have identified programmes in the Arts as an area for continuing development. They are also seeking to extend the use of e-technologies to further enhance inquiry learning.

Teachers share professional practice and demonstrate collegial responsibility for raising student achievement. The school has strong management systems that foster shared understanding and consistency in practice. Curriculum documentation provides very clear direction for teachers. Well considered internal professional development enhances teaching practice.

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

The school is effective in promoting educational success for Māori, as Māori.

The school has 39 students who identify as Māori. These students demonstrate a sense of pride in being Māori. They are well engaged in learning and school activities, and are achieving and progressing well.

School leaders and the specialist teacher of Māori continue to build a foundation of culturally responsive practices and to promote the language, culture and identity of Māori students. The specialist teacher provides support to incorporate tikanga in school events and special occasions in ways that are well considered and suited to the school’s context. All students have opportunities to experience powhiri and marae visits, and to learn te reo Māori. New Zealand’s bicultural heritage is visible and valued in the school environment.

School leaders and staff value relationships with parents and whānau of Māori students. Homeschool partnerships are strong. Whānau report they feel well represented within the school.

School leaders have begun to explore opportunities for developing cross-cultural teaching competencies within the Mt Eden Normal school curriculum. Next steps will include extending the use of Ministry of Education (MoE) resources to support this development and to further increase bicultural perspectives in the school’s curriculum.

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 principal and senior managers provide strong professional leadership. They promote a culture of high expectations and continuous improvement. They implement effective systems and documentation to support clarity and consistency in the school’s philosophy and practices. They have built leadership capacity throughout the school. Team leaders provide effective leadership.

The board is made up of experienced and newer trustees with a range of skills to support their governance role. Trustees are knowledgeable about current education priorities and about the school and its community. They support the school’s leaders and future direction, and have a strong focus on improving student achievement and wellbeing.

Trustees have a good understanding of governance and management, and well considered induction and succession strategies. Trustees access external training and support, and review and improve their own performance.

Charter and strategic planning is clearly documented, with alignment evident between long term and annual planning. Trustees are well informed through a range of formal and informal reporting practices. Progress against the school’s goals and targets is reviewed regularly.

The school manages change very effectively. Leaders are focused on continued support and development for staff to sustain the collaborative school culture and ongoing leadership development. Induction processes have been well implemented and good practices maintained.

A strong culture of reflective practice and review is evident at all levels of the school. A useful framework guides self review processes. A comprehensive cycle of review ensures appropriate coverage. School leaders and trustees communicate and consult with the community and use information from parents, whānau, staff and students to inform strategic decisions.

Trustees agree that they could now further consolidate strategic review processes, through more documentation of some review processes, to increase board capability and ensure sustainability of current good practices.

Provision for international students

Mt Eden Normal Primary School is a signatory to the Code of Practice for the Pastoral Care of International Students (the Code) established under section 238Fof the Education Act 1989. The school requires all international students to be living with their parents.

At the time of the review there were no 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 processes 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
  • processes for appointing staff
  • stand-downs, suspensions, expulsions and exclusions
  • attendance

Conclusion

At Mt Eden Normal School a culture of high expectations and continual improvement is supported by high quality leadership, teaching and learning. Students are valued as individuals, achieve well and receive strong pastoral support. They experience rich opportunities within a respectful, inclusive environment. Effective governance and home-school partnerships support decision-making.

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

Dale Bailey

Deputy Chief Review Officer Northern

26 June 2015

About the School

Location

Mt Eden, Auckland

Ministry of Education profile number

1378

School type

Contributing (Years 1 to 6)

School roll

615

Number of international students

0

Gender composition

Boys 54%

Girls 46%

Ethnic composition

Māori

NZ European/Pākehā

Asian

Pacific

other

6%

66%

25%

2%

1%

Review team on site

May 2015

Date of this report

26 June 2015

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Supplementary Review

November 2010

August 2007

August 2004