Newton Central School - 25/01/2019

School Context

Newton Central School, Te Kura-ā-Rito o Newton is an urban school situated in central Auckland. The school has a stable roll. Thirty-four percent of learners are Māori, and 13 percent have Pacific heritage. Students learn in rūmaki Māori (Te Uru Karaka), bilingual (Whānau Awahou) or English medium (Whānau Auraki) classes.

The school’s mission is to grow their tamariki to become critical and creative lifelong learners and positive participants in their communities. The motto “celebrating difference, diversity and success” and the Newton values of “truth, excellence, respect and aroha” underpin the school’s vision.

Newton Central has a co-governance structure, reflecting the partnership model of Te Tiriti o Waitangi. Two groups, Te Whao Urutaki and the board of trustees, operate alongside each other. Two chairpersons represent the partners. The board’s strategic focus areas are:

  • supporting learning success for all

  • growing unique students

  • forming productive partnerships

  • valuing people and the environment

  • ensuring positive and effective learning environments

  • providing leadership and innovation in Māori education and Te Tiriti o Waitangi.

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

  • achievement in reading, writing and mathematics for Whānau Auraki and Whānau Awahou learners

  • achievement in te reo oral language for Whānau Awahou

  • achievement in relation to Ngā Whanaketanga Rūmaki Māori, including Kōrero, Tuhituhi, Pānui, and Pāngarau

  • outcomes for students with special/additional learning needs.

Since the 2014 ERO review, the school has experienced changes in school leadership. Between 2015 and 2016 the long-serving principal was seconded to another position and other staff moved into acting leadership roles. The board appointed a new permanent principal to begin in 2017. In 2018 the school opened a new teaching block for Māori medium learning.

Newton Central School is part of the Waitemata Community of Learning | Kāhui Ako (CoL), comprising 14 schools from the surrounding area. The CoL is focused on raising student achievement in writing and Kōrero, and growing student agency to enhance wellbeing.

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?

Students achieve very good educational outcomes.

Data over the last four years show that the school has maintained high levels of student achievement in reading and mathematics across the school’s three pathways of Māori immersion, bilingual and English medium education. Writing achievement levels also remain consistently high in Rūmaki Māori.

The school has a focus on lifting writing achievement levels. School writing data in Whānau Auraki and Whānau Awahou shows a small overall decline in the last three years, and some disparity between the achievement of boys and girls, with girls overall achieving at slightly higher levels. There is good planning in place to address this through a shared focus across the CoL.

The cohort of Pacific children remains too small to report overall achievement in reading, writing and mathematics or to identify trends over time. The school monitors the achievement of these children individually.

Children achieve very well in relation to the school’s broader valued outcomes. They are:

  • highly confident in their language, culture and identity

  • highly engaged in their learning

  • respectful and collaborative

  • display very positive attitudes and behaviours for learning that reflect wellbeing and wairuatanga.

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

The school is effective in responding to those students whose learning progress needs accelerating.

Student achievement data is used to identify students who would benefit from accelerated progress. Effective interventions for these groups of students in literacy and mathematics have accelerated progress and lifted achievement levels for many. The interventions have also increased children’s self-confidence as learners. As a result, many teachers are improving the learning support that they provide for students across the school.

Māori language learning is helping many children to experience accelerated progress. School data show that acceleration occurs for children in the Māori medium pathways early in their school life and there is no notable disparity in achievement for these children. Access to te reo me te ao Māori, me ōna tikanga, is used well to bridge new learning for students.

Leaders, teachers and teacher aides respond well to children with additional learning needs. The provision of an inclusive environment helps children to make positive shifts in their wellbeing, confidence and engagement in their learning.

A new digital management structure is improving school systems for tracking, monitoring and evaluating the impact of school initiatives on improving outcomes for children. The board continues to work with school leaders towards having a wider range of data presented to them to help trustees make evidence-based decisions for children’s wellbeing, health and learning.

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 went through an unsettled period with the changeover in school leadership during 2015 and 2016. The board and school leaders found it difficult to progress initiatives. Since 2017 with the new permanent principal in place, conditions for equity and excellence have been greatly strengthened.

The principal has led appropriate restructuring of school leadership, and is growing distributive leadership across the school to support more sustainable processes and practices. The new leadership structure places greater value and responsibility on the contribution of middle leaders. More clearly defined leadership roles, and increased expectations and accountability for leaders is allowing the school to respond to the needs of students and to pursue the school’s future direction.

The school continues to be very successful in realising Māori learners’ potential. The school has a well-resourced, Māori learning environment for Māori medium pathways. The new building, Te Aka Pūkāea, ensures designated spaces that support the elevation and protection of te reo Māori. There is increased leadership resourcing and professional learning and development for teachers in Māori medium.

Teachers use effective teaching practices. They are responsive to individual children and have a good awareness of children whose learning needs acceleration. To respond to these children, many classroom teachers have moved from a remedial teaching model to an acceleration model. Practices such as flexible groupings for instruction, deliberate acts of teaching, and front loading the learning when introducing new concepts are becoming more common practices in classrooms. Recent changes in the school’s appraisal system are having a positive impact on teachers’ professional capability and collective capacity for delivering the curriculum. Teachers are taking greater ownership of their professional learning and development and meeting the requirements of the Education Council. Professional development to support high quality appraisal is ongoing. A new focus is on growing the role of middle leaders in supporting teachers to inquire into how effectively their teaching practices improve student outcomes.

The school motto of “celebrate diversity, difference and success” is highly evident.

Staff share a strong commitment and sense of purpose in relation to ensuring equity and excellence for all learners. Children and teachers have productive learning relationships that engage the learner.

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

School leaders are appropriately planning to review the school’s curriculums for English medium and Te Marautanga. The aim is to create strong guiding documents that will support the school vision for learning and the elevation and protection of te reo Māori in the English and Māori medium pathways. The key focus areas for the school are:

  • developing graduate profiles for the different pathways that establish the common and shared understandings about valued outcomes for students

  • preparation for the New Zealand digital curriculum mandated for 2020

  • increasing the profile of the social science, arts, health and science learning areas.

School leaders are exploring further ways to include child and whānau voice in building the curriculum.

School leaders continue to refine assessment systems and processes to strengthen the rigour and regularity of monitoring, analysis and reporting of student achievement. This refinement is being strategically managed to focus on:

  • reporting to the board in ways that better inform resourcing decisions

  • greater sharing of assessment information with students and parents to increase children’s ownership of their learning

  • the use of student achievement outcomes in teacher inquiries into the effectiveness of their teaching practice on improving student outcomes.

The board continues to work with the Ministry of Education to recognise the school’s co-governance structure. The present model is dependent on the goodwill of all partners to serve the aspirations of different community groups. While this model has served the community well for many years, this can be challenging for the board when competing demands are made upon them. The board wishes to ensure sustainable governance practices that allow it to continue to represent and respond to its community.

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.

4 Going forward

Key strengths of the school

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

  • effective leadership that is building sustainable systems and strategies to support confident professional teachers and responsive and adaptive teaching practice

  • a commitment to Te Tiriti o Waitangi that realises Māori learners’ potential and provision for all children to learn and understand about the bicultural heritage of Aotearoa New Zealand

  • an inclusive school culture that celebrates diversity, difference and success for all learners.

Next steps

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

  • curriculum development to support the school vision for learning and the protection of te reo me te ao Māori, me ōna tikanga

  • expanding the use of achievement information in ways that better inform decisions about students’ learning

  • working with the Ministry of Education to ensure the board constitution structure supports sustainable governance practices.

ERO’s next external evaluation process and timing

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

Steve Tanner

Director Review and Improvement Services

Te Tai Raki - Northern Region

25 January 2019

About the school

Location

Grey Lynn, Auckland

Ministry of Education profile number

1392

School type

Contributing (Years 1 to 6)

School roll

315

Gender composition

Girls 52% Boys 48%

Ethnic composition

Māori 34%
Pākehā 40%
Pacific Nations 13%
Asian 5%
other ethnic groups 8%

Students with Ongoing Resourcing Funding (ORS)

Yes

Provision of Māori medium education

Yes

Number of Māori medium classes

6

Total number of students in Māori medium (MME)

104

Total number of students in Māori language in English medium (MLE)

211

Number of students in Level 1 MME

52

Number of students in Level 2 MME

52

Review team on site

November 2018

Date of this report

25 January 2019

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review June 2014
Education Review February 2011
Education Review May 2008