Newfield Park School - 12/04/2018

School Context

Newfield Park School is a contributing school for students from Years 1 to 6. The school’s current roll is 225 students. Children come from a diverse range of backgrounds, some of whom receive specific tuition in learning English as a second language.

Since the last ERO review in 2014, the senior leadership team has been restructured, including a new deputy principal position. There are now three teaching and learning teams. All trustees at the time of this review began their role on the board in 2016.

The school aims for students to ‘graduate’ with the needed skills and attitudes for lifelong learning such as:

  • being skilled readers, writers and mathematicians
  • being creative, critical thinkers and confident problem solvers
  • accepting and valuing diversity
  • connecting to others and being secure in themselves
  • being curious about and finding joy in the world they live in.

Leaders and teachers regularly report to the board, schoolwide information about outcomes for students in the following areas:

  • achievement in reading, writing and mathematics and trends in this achievement for Māori and Pacific learners
  • achievement in relation to school targets for reading, mathematics and positive behaviour
  • progress against their goals, for students with additional learning needs
  • achievement and progress within some learning support programmes
  • rates of progress in reading, writing and mathematics, for students identified as gifted and talented. 

Evaluation Findings

1 Equity and excellence – achievement of valued outcomes for students

1.1 How well is the school achieving equitable and excellent outcomes for all its students?

Newfield Park School is yet to achieve equity and excellence for all its students.

Outcomes for students in reading, writing and mathematics across the school and over time (2015-2017) show that approximately 60% are achieving at the levels expected by the school, with slightly higher overall achievement in reading than in writing.

Disparity for Māori learners and boys is ongoing. Boys are not achieving as well in reading, and less well in writing, in relation to the school’s expectations. Māori children overall have not been achieving as well as their peers at the school in reading and writing. This disparity is also evident for Pacific learners in mathematics.

Overall levels of achievement for students in reading, writing and mathematics are low. School leaders and ERO agree this achievement needs to be lifted significantly. The school’s focus on raising achievement in mathematics has resulted in greater proportions of learners achieving above the school’s expectations.

Students with additional learning needs achieve well in relation to their goals.

1.2 How well is the school accelerating learning for those Māori and other students who need this?

The school identifies students, including Māori learners, whose progress needs to be accelerated. For Māori learners who were not achieving at the school’s expectations in reading, writing or mathematics during 2017, over half made accelerated progress in reading. Approximately one third of these students made accelerated progress in mathematics and writing.

The school can show accelerated progress for most students targeted in reading. It is beginning to show how effectively it is accelerating progress for these learners. However, the overall sufficiency of progress students are making is not clearly evident.

A significant proportion of Pacific learners made accelerated progress in reading and writing.

Most students identified as gifted and talented made expected or better progress in reading and mathematics.

The school can show a positive shift in some of the student behaviour information it monitors.

2 School conditions for equity and excellence – processes and practices

2.1 What school processes and practices are effective in enabling achievement of equity and excellence, and acceleration of learning?

The school is supportive of its families and whānau. Very caring relationships between adults and children are evident.

The school provides some specific support for learning, and for children who need their achievement accelerated. Some of this is provided in a range of well-coordinated programmes. Teachers’ and teacher aides’ capacity to deliver this targeted support has been strengthened by targeted professional learning and development.

Leaders are effectively building a collaborative staff culture. They are using systematic, deliberate, well communicated approaches to empower staff to achieve positive outcomes for learners. These approaches are providing good opportunities for professional growth. Staff value sharing and coaching one another in their teaching practice. The introduction of these improvements has been well-managed and is building capacity and capability across the school.

School leaders and teachers have strengthened aspects of appraisal, developed areas of curriculum, and increased the quality and use of evaluation for improvement. They have also undertaken targeted professional learning though external support and advice.

Teachers’ inquiry into the effectiveness of their teaching practice has been significantly enhanced. Useful frameworks support this.  Individual teachers and teams are using inquiries to reflect on the effectiveness of their practice and to focus team approaches. The principal fosters an environment of inquiry, and models evaluative reasoning.

The school’s performance management system, including teachers’ appraisal, is good quality.

2.2 What further developments are needed in school processes and practices for achievement of equity and excellence, and acceleration of learning?

While this review has found that the school has progressed a number of areas for review and development identified in the last ERO evaluation report, there is an urgent need to further strengthen a number of conditions to address an ongoing pattern of poor outcomes for some students’ learning, engagement and aspects of wellbeing.

The learning environment for some students needs to be significantly improved. The board must ensure the school provides a positive learning environment for all of its students. Trustees are actively responding to this. The school’s current focus on positive behaviour for learning is being extended to include a bullying prevention and response programme.

The board needs more comprehensive achievement information to inform its decision making. Trustees need to know more about progress and the impact of school learning support for all children whose progress needs to be accelerated. Teachers and leaders now need to extend their analysis, evaluation and reporting of the sufficiency of progress learners are making. Charter targets should include all children whose progress needs to be accelerated.

The board would benefit from further external support in this area, and in governance practice.

It is timely for the school to confirm and formalise its strategic goals for 2018 and beyond. This should include the key priorities for the school and learners. These goals should be supported by a coherent annual plan which is closely monitored. It will be important for this planning to be closely linked to the school’s valued outcomes for its learners. Some of the school’s current valued outcomes for its learners are not clearly reflected in the vision.

The board, leaders and staff have identified, and ERO agrees, that connections with family and whānau should continue to be strengthened. Partnerships in supporting children’s learning need to be a primary focus.

3 Board assurance on legal requirements

Before the review, the board 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
  • finance
  • 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 and certification
  • processes for appointing staff
  • stand down, suspension, expulsion and exclusion of students
  • attendance
  • school policies in relation to meeting the requirements of the Vulnerable Children Act 2014. 

Areas for improved compliance practice

To improve current practice, the board of trustees should make its policies and procedures more accessible to families and whānau.

4 Going forward

Key strengths of the school

For sustained improvement and future learner success, the school can draw on existing strengths in:

  • the school’s support for learners and families that is based on caring relationships
  • the positive way staff are working together focusing on learner outcomes and building staff capacity
  • a culture of inquiry and evaluation that is being built.

Next steps

For sustained improvement and future learner success, priorities for further development are in:

  • improving outcomes for students to enhance their engagement and wellbeing
  • continuing to build a culture of inquiry that includes well-analysed information on the sufficiency of children’s progress with improved data literacy
  • strengthening strategic and annual planning that is closely linked to the school’s valued outcomes and school priorities
  • continuing to build home and school partnerships to enhance student wellbeing, achievement, learning opportunities and progress
  • using external expertise to continue to build board capability and capacity. 

ERO recommends that the school seeks support from the Ministry of Education (MoE) in order to bring about improvements in:

  • school culture
  • the use of learning information to evaluate progress.

ERO recommends that the Ministry of Education and the New Zealand School Trustees Association continue providing support for the school in order to bring about the improvements outlined in this report. 

ERO’s next external evaluation process and timing

ERO intends to carry out a process of ongoing external evaluation to support development over the course of one-to-two years. 

Dr Lesley Paterson
Deputy Chief Review Officer Southern

Te Waipounamu - Southern Region

12 April 2018

About the school 

Location

Invercargill

Ministry of Education profile number

2118

School type

Contributing (Years 1-6)

School roll

225

Gender composition

Boys: 55%
Girls: 45%

Ethnic composition

Pākehā: 64%
Māori: 23%
Pacific: 7%
Other: 6%

Provision of Māori medium education

No

Review team on site

February 2018

Date of this report

12 April 2018

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review                  October 2014
Education Review                  August 2011