North East Valley Normal School - 09/02/2015

Findings

Students at this school receive very good quality teaching. They achieve highly in writing and mathematics and very highly in reading. They value and celebrate the rich diversity of their multicultural community with their teachers. Their school hosts a wide variety of support and extension programmes. They are effectively supported in their learning and wellbeing. Their learning is meaningfully integrated across all subjects.

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?

North East Valley Normal School provides a welcoming and safe environment for learning. A strong focus is placed on creating a positive school culture where everyone’s wellbeing is cared for.

Students come from a range of countries and cultures. Teachers and senior leaders develop close relationships with the students and their parents. They make themselves readily available to parents and know the children as learners and as individuals.

The school hosts a wide variety of programmes of support and extension for students and community members. A special feature of the school is its connectedness with other schools and education providers. As a result, there is much individual attention for children in their classrooms and professional stimulation for teachers.

The school has had a steady growth in the roll. It has long-serving, experienced staff and principal. The school’s values of respect and acceptance of all students is highly evident. Students have a strong sense of belonging and appreciation for their school and teachers.

The school has successfully addressed the recommendations in the 2011 ERO report.

2 Learning

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

The school uses learning information very well to make positive changes to students’ engagement, progress and achievement. Students overall achieve highly in writing and mathematics and significantly high in reading. This is attributed to the strong focus all teachers place on each student’s achievement and the very good teaching students receive in their daily learning.

Teachers effectively use rich assessment information to inform their teaching, adapt the learning programmes and meet each student’s learning needs. They closely track and monitor the progress the students make. They make informed decisions about appropriate support for students and share useful information with other teachers to help students in their move from one year to the next.

The board receives regular reports about school-wide achievement in all subjects. Senior leaders have developed a very useful way of reporting students’ progress in reading. They need to develop similarly useful ways of reporting on writing and mathematics.

3 Curriculum

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

Students’ learning is effectively supported through a broad range of experiences during their time at school. This includes a major focus on reading, writing and mathematics through their junior years. Their learning is enhanced by visitors with particular expertise, student teachers, support from local community initiatives and members of the school community. Students spoken with by ERO were very positive about their school and the many opportunities provided for them in and out of the classroom.

All adults at the school are mindful of students’ wellbeing and ensure students work and play in a safe and supportive school environment. This is created through the close, personal relationships that the principal and teachers develop with the students and their parents. Students receive positive messages of encouragement and praise in a variety of ways that recognise their successes and help build their sense of self worth.

Students are well supported to develop as confident, capable learners, with a well-developed respect for themselves and others. Students are learning to take an active part in and manage their own learning. This includes assessing their own and each others’ work, and setting meaningful learning goals with their teachers and parents. Their work is attractively displayed in their classrooms. ERO observed high quality examples of students’ art across the school. Wider aspects of school life such as growing positive life skills are celebrated in assemblies, and letters and phone calls home. The school’s expectations for learning and teaching are very clear and consistently applied.

Students in all classrooms receive very good quality teaching. The teachers know their students well. They closely monitor each student’s progress and plan to meet individual needs. Students who need extra support to succeed receive high quality ‘wrap around’ support. Students are well informed about their next learning steps. They have fun and are highly engaged in purposeful learning activities. The class and school environment is settled, happy and well organised. The different learning areas are integrated in interesting and meaningful ways.

Students benefit from a range of effective learning support and extension programmes. The school has hosted a number of specialist learning initiatives. These include extension programmes for students with gifts and talents, English for second language learners, and social skills and parent-support programmes. The deputy principal provides effective individual support for students experiencing difficulty in their learning and helps to ensure students with high needs are well provided for.

Senior leaders and teachers have developed a more effective method of curriculum review and reporting. The reviews are informed by assessment data and completed by classroom teachers and syndicate leaders. They identify priority students and next steps for action. A next step for teachers is to clearly show the progress students have made in their achievement and how students’ opinions have helped inform judgements made about the effectiveness of the programmes of learning provided.

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

The school provides a wide range of opportunities for Māori students to engage and achieve in their learning. A strong value of Māori language and culture is shown across the school in many ways. Many students access rich experiences for learning their language, culture and identity through the bilingual and full-immersion classes.

In all classrooms the achievement and wellbeing of Māori students is closely monitored and supported. Teachers include meaningful insights and Māori world views in students’ learning. They should continue to grow their confidence and competence to use more Māori language and culture in their daily lessons.

The principal speaks Māori very well and models his valuing of Māori culture to students and the wider school community. A next step for the school is to more clearly show how well the school’s plans and programmes are lifting the achievement of Māori students.

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 board has a strong focus on student wellbeing and students succeeding in their learning. Trustees ensure that all students are given the opportunity to be successful in their learning. They seek parent opinion to ensure school and parent expectations are aligned.

Most trustees are new to the role and have skills that support strategic governance. Trustees should expect that reports to the board should more clearly identify:

  • trends and patterns of school-wide achievement, particularly in reading, writing and mathematics
  • specific groups of students needing to make a faster rate of progress
  • what has benefited or impeded students in improving their achievement.
  • The principal and senior leaders have a strong focus on:
  • maintaining the positive culture of the school
  • being accessible to students, parents and staff
  • the holistic development of students
  • supporting staff to work collaboratively and to maintain a healthy work/life balance.

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

Students at this school receive very good quality teaching. They achieve highly in writing and mathematics and very highly in reading. They value and celebrate the rich diversity of their multicultural community with their teachers. Their school hosts a wide variety of support and extension programmes. They are effectively supported in their learning and wellbeing. Their learning is meaningfully integrated across all subjects.

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

Graham Randell

Deputy Chief Review Officer Southern

9 February 2015

About the School

Location

Dunedin

Ministry of Education profile number

3783

School type

Contributing (Years 1 to 6)

School roll

163

Gender composition

Boys: 53% Girls: 47%

Ethnic composition

Pākehā

Māori

Pacific

Asian

67%

23%

3%

7%

Review team on site

September 2014

Date of this report

9 February 2015

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

October 2011

February 2008

March 2004