Nelson Park School - 09/02/2017

1 Context

Nelson Park School, in central Napier, caters for Years 1 to 6 students. At the time of this review there are 435 students enrolled, with 27% identifying as Māori. A new principal and deputy principal have been appointed in the last three years.

The school is currently involved in the Ministry of Education (the Ministry) programmes, Accelerating Learning in Literacy (ALL) and Accelerating Learning in Mathematics (ALiM) aimed at raising students' achievement in literacy and mathematics. They will be participating in the Ministry's Positive Behaviour for Learning (PB4L) programme in 2017.

Nelson Park School is a member of the Napier City Community of Learning (CoL). All schools in the CoL have registered in 2017 to use the Progress and Consistency Tool (PaCT) to support making student achievement judgements in relation to National Standards.

The school has had Ministry support to address the areas for improvement identified in the February 2014 ERO report. Some areas remain priorities including:

  • the evaluation of the effectiveness of the curriculum in supporting learning
  • deepening the use and reporting of data to show the tracking and monitoring of student progress over time.

2 Equity and excellence

The vision and valued outcomes defined by the school for all children are to build the culture of the school to be a place where students, in all things, seek the highest - whaia ko te taumata. The core beliefs foster learners to: 

  • have the right to achieve their potential
  • experience a community of learners
  • learn in a child-centred environment
  • be nurtured and valued for creativity
  • find joy in learning through discovery
  • celebrate diversity and difference in an inclusive school climate
  • maintain a strong value-centred culture where virtues are practised
  • attend a happy school where fun and laughter is an everyday occurrence. 

The school’s achievement information shows that the majority of students achieve at or above in relation to the National Standards in reading, writing and mathematics. The school reports an increase in overall achievement in 2016. The school is yet to raise the achievement of Māori students to that of their peers in reading and writing.

The school has strengthened the dependability and reporting of teachers' judgements in relation to National Standards. They discuss evidence of students' learning to support their decision making. To further strengthen the usefulness and consistency of judgements, leaders and teachers should continue to document clear guidelines for assessment and expectations for achievement.

Since the last ERO evaluation the school has focused on: 

  • understanding and implementing processes for forming overall teacher judgements in relation to National Standards
  • extending the use of data and more defined target setting at leadership level
  • developing a child-centred curriculum in the senior school
  • enhancing educational success for Māori learners and building bicultural practice
  • establishing teaching as inquiry to assist teacher and leadership capacity. 

3 Accelerating achievement

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

School leaders and teachers recognise that raising achievement of Māori students is a priority. The school has begun to identify Māori learners and their needs. The school is yet to be effective in accelerating the achievement of all Māori students.

The principal and trustees recognise the need, and actively support, the building of teachers' confidence and competence in te reo me ngā tikanga Māori. There is a well-considered approach to building authentic integration of te ao Māori.

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

The school's response to other children whose learning needs acceleration is the same as for Māori students. This approach should be strengthened by: 

  • establishing expected outcomes for individuals and groups of learners below and well below in relation to National Standards
  • evaluating the strategies and deliberate acts of teaching that best support these learners
  • improving monitoring and tracking of progress overtime
  • more frequent reporting to the board about the progress of target students
  • better strategies to respond to Māori learners, and promote equity of outcomes. 

Data related to ALiM and ALL interventions indicates that most students in these groups have made accelerated progress in 2016.

Student achievement information is used to inform schoolwide targets. Teachers inquire into the effectiveness of their practice to identify strategies that are having the most impact on improving outcomes for students. More purposeful use and analysis of data including collating this information at a leadership level, should better inform the schoolwide response to groups of learners. Appropriate resourcing decisions should result from knowing about what works best in accelerating achievement. 

The school has good systems and processes to support the engagement and achievement of students with additional needs. They interact with a wide range of external agencies, provide programmes and interventions and regularly discuss, as a team, the needs and success of these learners.

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 practices support enactment of its vision.

Trustees have been proactive in addressing the areas for improvement identified in the previous ERO report. They should continue to strengthen their understanding of school governance roles and responsibilities to support schoolwide improvement. A useful framework has been developed to guide consistent stewardship procedures. Trustees have developed a work plan and are currently in the process of reviewing key policies.

School leadership has a clear vision for development through: 

  • teaching as inquiry to build teacher capacity
  • empowering staff to build a cohesive team and develop a collaborative culture of learning
  • encouraging leadership opportunities across the school
  • using data more meaningfully to support decision making. 

A wide range of opportunities for whānau to engage supports and fosters the community atmosphere in the school. Parents are well informed of student learning and achievement. The school is continuing to explore ways to strengthen the learning focused home-school partnership.

The ongoing focus on child centred learning through choice is empowering students to follow their passions and interests. Students are confident and willing to share their successes and learning choices. Teachers know their learners well. The curriculum is under review with the intent to better align it to current best practice and thinking. To support the development of consistent practice, it is timely to consider: 

  • clearly articulating the 'Nelson Park way' for learners and learning programmes
  • developing guidelines for curriculum delivery including assessment practices
  • the desired outcomes for the Nelson Park School curriculum. 

Building teacher capability through a range of professional learning and development initiatives has been targeted to teacher needs and school priorities. The appraisal process has been recently reviewed and strengthened to better support professional development. Clear links to strategic goals are evident. The procedure continues to be developed to better show the impact of teaching strategies on student achievement. A more robust schoolwide approach is needed, to use evidence to effectively demonstrate how teachers are meeting the Education Council requirements for renewing their practising certificates. 

Reflection and review has shown priorities for improvement and changes over the last two years. It is now timely to build an evaluative approach to schoolwide improvement and innovation, including: 

  • developing an understanding of outcomes and establishing indicators of success, based on current research
  • knowing about the impact interventions and initiatives have on improving equitable and excellent outcomes for all learners
  • using evidence to effectively identify the next steps for improvement. 

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
  • need approaches that effectively meet the needs of each child
  • need to ensure the school is well placed to accelerate the achievement of all children who need it. 

There has been a significant focus by the school to establish a collaborative teaching culture to better support schoolwide improvement. A strong and supportive community is highly evident. Leaders and teachers should continue to develop the curriculum to promote equitable and excellent outcomes for all learners.

Action: The board, principal and teachers should participate in an internal evaluation workshop. They should use this workshop, the Internal Evaluation: Good Practice exemplars and the School Evaluation Indicators to address the findings of this evaluation and develop more targeted planning that includes a significant focus on building teacher capability to accelerate learning and achievement.

As part of this review ERO will continue to monitor the school’s planning and the progress the school makes. ERO is likely to carry out the next full 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.

The school plans to participate in PB4L in 2017. This should assist leaders and trustees to collect student wellbeing information through analysed anonymous surveys and to develop procedures for behaviour management.

7 Recommendation

Nelson Park School is well placed to strengthen their practice and approach to accelerate the achievement of all children. Key areas to support this improvement should include: 

  • continued review of the curriculum
  • enhancing the effective use of data to inform, track and monitor student progress over time
  • building an evaluative approach to assist schoolwide improvement and innovation. 

Joyce Gebbie

Deputy Chief Review Officer Central

9 February 2017 

About the school 

Location

Napier

Ministry of Education profile number

2620

School type

Contributing (Years 1 to 6)

School roll

435

Gender composition

Male 51%, Female 49%

Ethnic composition

Māori

Pākehā

Other ethnic groups

27%

63%

10%

Review team on site

November 2016

Date of this report

9 February 2017

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

February 2014

November 2010

August 2007