Newlands School - 13/03/2014

1 Context

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

Newlands School caters for students in Years 1 to 6. The roll is ethnically diverse with around 20% of students identifying as Māori. There has been substantial roll growth over the past three years.

The school’s whakataukī, Ngā rau o te harakeke - The leaves of the flax - is central to the vision, culture and climate of the school. It reflects the notion that young learners are nurtured to grow with the support of family, the school and the community.

Since the January 2011 ERO report, the principal and deputy principal have been appointed to their new roles. Building development is planned for 2014 to provide additional learning spaces.

2 Learning

How well does this school use achievement information to make positive changes to learners’ engagement, progress and achievement?

Teachers, leaders and trustees have improved the ways they use assessment information to promote learning. Recent developments include:

  • reporting National Standards achievement information to the board
  • identification of students in each class requiring additional support to achieve at expected levels in literacy and numeracy
  • teaching as inquiry and self-review processes in mathematics
  • making student goal setting more specific in literacy and numeracy.

Teachers use achievement information very well to identify and cater for children in junior classes who require extra support in literacy. A well-tailored learning support programme assists children with a range of learning needs, including English language learners.

Leaders, trustees and ERO agree that annual targets and supporting plans could be strengthened by being more specific, particularly in relation to groups of students whose learning is a priority. More regular monitoring and analysis of progress in relation to the student achievement targets in the annual plan is needed. This is likely to contribute to more deliberate teaching and accelerated progress.

Teachers continue to develop their processes for making accurate and reliable judgements about students' achievement in relation to the National Standards. Planned moderation of assessment judgements, across the school and with the local network of schools, should assist this practice.

Professional learning for teachers in literacy is planned for 2014. In line with this, leaders should evaluate how well teachers use assessment and specific teaching strategies to address the learning needs of individuals and groups. Good practice in this area should be shared with all staff.

3 Curriculum

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

Since the 2011 ERO report there has been ongoing curriculum development and review.

Leaders have identified that the documentation of the school’s curriculum, in line with the charter redevelopment, is an important next step. This should include further work to explore what The New Zealand Curriculum (NZC) vision, values and principles mean within the context of Newlands School and its charter, vision and whakataukī.

There is a strong focus for students' learning on the key competency of relating to others. ERO observed students interacting well with one another. They are welcoming and friendly. Relationships between staff and students and amongst adults are positive features of the school. There is a culture of collaboration, trust, reflection and shared responsibility. A strong evidence-based model of inquiry for teachers to explore the effectiveness of their practice has developed.

Students engage well in their lessons and take pride in the presentation of their work. They enthusiastically engage in e-learning developments. These allow them to share their learning with their peers and families.

Teachers use a range of up-to-date teaching strategies to promote learning. Increased use of assessment information to target teaching should also enable students to have more clarity about their specific learning steps.

There is ongoing informal review and development of processes for young children's transition to school. Teachers build strong relationships with families and use a range of assessment tools to ensure that new entrants’ learning needs are well catered for.

There are many aspects of the school’s curriculum which promote biculturalism. ERO and leaders agree that planned curriculum development should include a specific focus on the relevant principles of the NZC which emphasise reflection of students’ language, culture and identity. This should involve support for teachers to extend their cultural competencies so that reflection of te ao Māori continues to grow across the breadth of the curriculum and within the learning environment.

The school’s National Standards information suggests that the English and mathematics learning areas of the curriculum effectively promote learning for the majority of students, including learners who are Māori or Pacific.

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

Several initiatives support Māori learners to explore their language and culture and develop a strong sense of belonging and pride in their identity. These include:

  • a Te Rito group, for students in Years 4 to 6 who identify as Māori, to learn about Māori language and culture from a fluent speaker in a marae-style environment
  • whole school kapa haka, performance group and leadership of a local kapa haka festival
  • a schoolwide programme which uses whakataukī to promote Māori culture and language learning for both students and staff.

4 Sustainable Performance

How well placed is the school to sustain and improve its performance?

Trustees bring a complementary mix of experience and skills to the governance role. They have sought advice to redevelop the board's policy framework. They are consulting the school community to inform review and development of the school’s charter, strategic planning and curriculum.

The principal has led the school successfully through a time of change. She models positive relationships and has built a collaborative staff team. Leaders and trustees have managed personnel and property challenges effectively over the past three years.

The school has a process for regular self review. Staff have delegated responsibilities for leading different aspects. Leaders should continue to build self-review capability across the school to evaluate the impact of initiatives, and to inform curriculum decision-making to continue to improve outcomes for students.

Leaders and trustees should explore ways to make te ao Māori and Treaty of Waitangi partnerships more explicit and formalised in consultation with whānau, strategic planning and self review.This is likely to build on and sustain current good practice for Māori learners.

The performance management system for teachers and leaders has been reviewed and developed. It is now appropriately aligned with the Registered Teacher Criteria and the school charter goals. A next step is to ensure that appropriate goals for each teacher’s development are clearly identified and teachers are well supported to achieve them.

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.

The board has not consulted with its school community about the delivery of the health curriculum.

In order to address this, the board must ensure that at least once every two years and after consultation with the school community, it adopts a statement on the delivery of the health curriculum.[S60B Education Act 1989]

When is ERO likely to review the school again?

ERO is likely to carry out the next review in three years.

Joyce Gebbie

National Manager Review Services Central Region (Acting)

13 March 2014

index-html-m2a7690f7.gifAbout the School

Location

Newlands, Wellington

Ministry of Education profile number

2925

School type

Contributing (Years 1 to 6)

School roll

327

Gender composition

Girls 53%, Boys 47%

Ethnic composition

Māori

NZ European/Pākehā

Pacific

Indian

Other ethnic groups

19%

41%

11%

10%

19%

Review team on site

November 2013

Date of this report

13 March 2014

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

January 2011

November 2007

August 2005