Newton Central School - 24/06/2014

Findings

Newton Central School works in a partnership model with whānau and the community to provide very good quality education for its diverse groups of learners. The school’s practices and curriculum, founded on Te Ao Māori, foster success for all students, including those with special education needs.

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?

Tēnei te mihi ki a koutou te whānau o te Kura-ā-Rito o Newton e kaha ana ki te tautoko i ā koutou tamariki. E mihi tonu ana ki a koutou e mau ana ki ngā tikanga a ō koutou mātua tīpuna arā o Ngāti Whātua o Orakei. Ko te tumanako, kia kaha tonu koutou ki te whai i ēnei āhuatanga hei ārahi i a koutou i roto i ēnei kaupapa.

Whaia te iti Kahurangi-i te tuohu koe me he maunga teitei

Aspire to great heights-should you bow down, let it be to a lofty mountain

Newton Central School, Te Kura-ā-Rito o Newton, is an urban school situated in central Auckland. The school environment includes native bush and has views of the sacred mountains of Maungawhau and Maungakiekie.

The school’s vision ‘Truth without Fear’ inspires and guides students to have pride in their heritage and strive to attain the highest goals. The curriculum is developed and implemented to realise this intent. Relationships and connections are based on trust, respect and acceptance. Teachers strive to build and nurture a diverse community of bicultural and bilingual learners.

Students come from diverse cultural backgrounds. Forty three percent of students are of Māori descent and 36 percent are NZ European /Pākehā. Smaller numbers of students come from Pacific, Asian and Indian cultural backgrounds. Students learn in rumaki Māori, bilingual or English medium classes. The school’s culture of high expectations effectively supports its diverse community to be connected and active life-long learners.

ERO’s 2008 and 2011 reports for Newton Central School have recognised the leadership, commitment and vision of the board and school leaders. They have also noted consistently good levels of student achievement and effective strategies for promoting success for Māori and Pacific students. Since ERO’s 2011 report, changes in school organisation and leadership have enhanced the consistency of teaching and learning. Targeted school-wide professional learning and development has also contributed to the very good quality of teaching and learning evident across the school.

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 to make positive changes to learners’ engagement, progress and achievement. Students confidently engage with their school work and contribute to the direction of their learning. Tuakana/teina relationships support effective learning in classrooms and across the school.

Students are supported by teachers who are committed and skilled in teaching te reo Māori. The school continues to develop and strengthen the quality of resources and programme support for te reo Māori teaching and learning. The rate of participation and achievement of learners in Māori language education has increased. Students confidently use te reo Māori in both formal and informal learning situations throughout the school. They extend their good quality language by participating in pōwhiri, engaging with the school’s bicultural curriculum and tikanga Māori experiences at iwi celebrations and on marae.

While most students achieve at or above the National Standards, the school is focused on continuing to embed successful teaching and learning strategies that accelerate progress for students achieving below expectations. School achievement information for 2013 shows that the school is already meeting the government target of 85 percent of students achieving at and above the National Standards in reading and mathematics. Senior managers coordinate school-wide strategies to ensure that this target will be met and exceeded in writing and for specific groups of students.

The school has good processes for evaluating student progress and achievement in relation to the National Standards. Senior leaders have plans to extend school moderation practices. Parent views have been taken into consideration for improving reporting about students’ progress in relation to the National Standards.

Students can access resources and learning guides to support their independent learning. Senior leaders and teachers plan to continue embedding the development of student-led learning school wide. Models of very good practice in the school can support this ongoing professional learning and development.

3 Curriculum

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

The schools’ curriculum is very effective in promoting and supporting student learning.

‘Diversity as a strength’ drives the curriculum. The curriculum includes Te Ao Māori, bicultural/bilingual and environmental pathways to learning. These learning pathways provide all students and whānau with a platform for celebrating and learning through their respective cultures and identities. Students can make connections between the past, the present and the future. They appreciate the varied opportunities they have to build on their strengths, interests and capabilities. Whānau play a key role in their children’s learning and the life of the school. Home/school learning partnerships are strengthened by:

  • active whānau and community involvement and contribution to accelerated learning in Māori immersion, Māori bilingual, mainstream and Pacific education
  • Te Ara Reo Māori classes for whānau
  • the use of whānau skills, knowledge and expertise to broaden curriculum and learning experiences for all students.

In this school the concept of ako reinforces the positive reciprocal relationship between ‘learners as teachers and teachers as learners’. Teachers build on students’ interests and this encourages their engagement and depth of thinking. Students have a voice and are provided with opportunities to develop their views and opinions and a strong sense of social justice. Advocacy skills are promoted through leadership opportunities in an open and supportive environment.

The curriculum is flexible and responsive to student and whānau needs and aspirations. Teachers adopt a holistic approach to delivering the curriculum. Inclusive teaching and learning practices cater for children’s wairua and spiritual wellbeing. Students value teachers’ care and interest. They are confident to take risks, to question and make informed decisions about their lives. In this environment, students with identified special needs are well catered for. The recognition of these students’ capabilities contributes to the school’s positive and accepting culture.

The schools’ outdoor environment is an extension and key component of the curriculum. Well tended vegetable gardens provide kai for whānau gatherings and the bush area reinforces students’ understandings about environmental sustainability. Rongoa gardens and beehives provide students with experiences and understanding about the ways the natural environment supports whānau wellbeing. For children and adults, the mauri of the whenua reinforces the importance of life and living.

The school has prioritised:

  • applying the school’s good practices to supporting Pacific students and aiga and raising achievement levels, particularly in reading
  • completing the development of the marautanga, and implementing a connected and cohesive approach to guide teaching and learning in the rumaki
  • developing the mathematics handbook to complement the collaborative work that has produced the schools’ useful literacy guidelines.

ERO agrees that these are useful next steps in developing 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 partnership model of Te Tiriti o Waitangi provides an effective governance and management framework for the school’s successful operation. This framework underpins the special character of the school, promotes strong whānau participation, and equitable provision and social justice for all students and their whānau. All groups within the school share a commitment to the school whakatauki and its vision. This shared commitment contributes significantly to the school’s continuous improvement and sustainability.

The governance structure represents all whānau groups within the school. Two groups, Te Whao Urutaki and the board of trustees, successfully operate alongside each other. The two chairpersons represent the treaty partners. They facilitate open and trusting relationships that are focused on positive student outcomes.

The principal’s astute leadership positions the school at the forefront of educational thinking. She encourages innovation, embraces social changes and builds on new knowledge and thinking. Cultural values and attitudes are embedded in teaching and learning programmes. Strong relationships and partnerships are developed with teachers, whānau, iwi, community, and educational organisations. The school is well positioned and prepared to cope with challenges as they arise.

Regular reviews of the senior management roles have resulted in more targeted support and resourcing for teachers. School organisation supports teachers to work collaboratively, to use their skills and expertise and to make decisions in the best interests of their students. Teachers have ongoing opportunities to study and reflect on their practice. This learning culture helps them to meet the changing needs of students, whānau and community.

Te Āo Māori and bicultural frameworks for self review impact positively on how:

  • the quality of curriculum implementation is evaluated and modified
  • governance, management and leadership roles are reviewed to meet changing needs
  • senior management quality assurance processes are reviewed and enhanced
  • parents are consulted in order to inform school operations and direction.

These well established good practices ensure the sustainability of the school’s unique and positive features.

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

Newton Central School works in a partnership model with whānau and the community to provide very good quality education for its diverse groups of learners. The school’s practices and curriculum, founded on Te Ao Māori, foster success for all students, including those with special education needs.

When is ERO likely to review the school again?

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

Dale Bailey

National Manager Review Services Northern Region

24 June 2014

About the School

Location

Newton

Ministry of Education profile number

1392

School type

Contributing (Years 1 to 6)

School roll

270

Gender composition

Girls 51%

Boys 49%

Ethnic composition

Māori

NZ European/Pākehā

Pacific (Samoan, Niue, Tongan, Cook Island Māori, Fijian)

Indian

Asian

Other

43%

36%

4%                                   

3%

5%

9%

Special Features

Māori Medium Education: immersion and bilingual classes

Review team on site

May 2014

Date of this report

24 June 2014

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

Febuary 2011

May 2008

May 2005