Northcote Intermediate - 08/08/2016

Findings

Students at Northcote Intermediate are very engaged with their learning. They learn in ways that are challenging and exciting and designed to make learning fun. The school responds well to the needs of all learners. Students continue to make positive shifts in achievement.

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

1 Context

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

Northcote Intermediate School is located on Auckland’s North Shore. The school is well supported by its local community and this is reflected in significant roll growth since the last ERO review in 2013.

A new principal has recently been appointed to the school and is building on the school’s well embedded culture of trusting relationships noted in the 2013 ERO report. As a result, relationships between students, parents and the local community are very positive. The school’s (F.I.R.S.T) vision; Future-focussed, Informed, Respectful, Successful, Thinkers underpin actions within the school. In addition, a more recently developed ‘Learning Model’ provides a framework and guidance for teaching and learning.

Recommendations from the 2013 ERO report have been addressed and this has enhanced school performance and sustainability. There have been significant cultural and pedagogical changes in the school over the last three years and these have contributed to improved student achievement.

2 Learning

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

School leaders and teachers use achievement information well. Ongoing growth in teaching capability over the past three years has resulted in positive shifts in student achievement. Students talk confidently about what they are learning and why, and what their next learning steps might be. They can identify what challenges them in their learning and what excites them. Students spoken to by ERO expressed a sense of wellbeing, belonging and enjoyment in talking about school life.

Student progress in reading and writing has been accelerated and mathematics achievement has consolidated over the last three years. This is the result of deliberate and targeted teaching and learning programmes that have been successfully implemented by leaders and teachers. The school is making good progress towards the government's goal of having 85% of students achieving at or above National Standards by 2017.

School leaders are quick to identify the students who may require additional support to achieve equitable outcomes. However, the school’s achievement data for Māori and Pacific students shows a disparity that leaders and teachers are working actively to address. Their aim is to develop strategies and initiatives that positively shift outcomes for these students.

Senior leaders are also responding to data that shows that boys require support to achieve as well as girls in reading and writing. In addition, they have noted that girls require support to achieve as well as boys in mathematics. Initiatives aimed at promoting students to meaningfully engage in learning are part of the foundation that teachers are building to achieve greater equity and improved outcomes for all students.

New leadership structures are helping to build teachers’ collective capacity and capability. Teaching staff are sharing knowledge and have a shared ‘language of learning”. This is supporting teachers to evaluate and inquire into the impact of their teaching practices. It is also helping to build knowledge at the teaching team level that directly supports individual students’ learning.

The new appraisal system, aligned to Tātaiako: Cultural Competencies for Teachers of Māori Learners, and the Education Council’s Practising Teacher Criteria, provides a framework for teachers to inquire deeply into their teaching and, in particular, its impact on the learning of target students. It is likely that these capability building developments will continue to contribute to accelerating student achievement.

3 Curriculum

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

The school’s curriculum effectively supports and promotes student learning. Teachers know students and their families very well and encourage and support students to engage actively in learning. Teachers are attuned to students’ broader motivations and this is evident in the way that they often provide assistance for students at after school sports and cultural activities.

Teachers place the learner at the centre of their decision-making about the curriculum. They emphasise the collaborative nature of learning and students have good opportunities to work cooperatively with their peers. These approaches are helping students to develop a sound understanding of themselves as learners.

There is strong alignment between the school’s values, F.I.R.S.T, the school curriculum, and The New Zealand Curriculum. School leaders have also gathered multiple perspectives, to ensure that the school’s curriculum is authentic and responsive to students’ interests and needs. Planned and strategic professional learning and development will help the school to continue to review, develop and enact a meaningful curriculum.

The school’s new systems framework, ‘The school learning model’ is a further initiative designed to help build alignment and coherence across the curriculum and meet the needs of all learners. It is being used well to serve the specific needs of individuals and groups. Examples of this include extension opportunities for boys in writing, a robotics project, and the Mana group which taps into students’ cultural identity. This is successfully building on students’ interests and promoting their engagement with the curriculum.

The learning environment provides a caring and inclusive community for learners. Diversity and difference are valued. School leaders and teachers are keen to progressively shift the locus of control to students. This is evident in the classrooms where students can voice their thinking and take planned risks with their learning.

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

The school is increasingly promoting the educational success of Māori. There is a strong commitment to ensuring success for Māori as Māori. The school has undertaken a well-considered and deliberate approach towards improving outcomes for Māori students by:

  • consulting widely with Māori students and their whānau
  • consulting with the broader Māori community
  • strategically appointing staff
  • undertaking appropriate professional development
  • engaging students in relevant academic programmes such as, Mana, kapa haka and Equip

Māori students appreciate and are benefitting from learning in an environment where there are high levels of relational trust. Teachers are developing their collective capacity to integrate Māori language and culture across learning contexts. As a next step, leaders have identified that having a Māori perspective in all aspects of school evaluation will further enrich the school's capacity to meet the needs of all students.

An increased focus on bicultural perspectives is evident across all areas of school life and this is highly valued by the wider school community.

4 Sustainable Performance

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

The school is well placed to sustain and improve its performance and enter its next phase of growth.

The board of trustees represents and serves the education and school community well in its stewardship role. Trustees are very supportive of the school's vision and direction. This is demonstrated in the way the board, together with school leaders, have:

  • built on and enhanced the culture of relational trust across the school
  • effectively undertaken change management with staff
  • promoted and embedded child-centred thinking and decision making

Next steps include further evaluating student achievement data so as to better gauge progress and specifically measure the achievement of students overtime. This will help the board to evaluate the effectiveness of the learning initiatives that they are resourcing.

School leadership is effective. Through collaboration with staff the school’s values, goals and priorities for excellence are being enacted. Leaders have established a framework for authentic and meaningful learning.

The school has joined the Northcote Community of Learning (CoL) and this is evidence of its commitment to promoting well-coordinated educational pathways with the wider education sector in Northcote. This should serve students at Northcote Intermediate School very well and support them to make successful transitions in and out of the schools and early childhood services within the Community of Learning.

School leaders identify that their next steps are to continue to build coherence between organisational structures, processes and practice using the ‘School Learning Model’ as the catalyst for school improvement. They also plan to continue building evaluation capability and capacity to support this next phase of school development

Provision for international students

The school is a signatory to the Code of Practice for the Pastoral Care of International Students (the Code) established under section 238F of the Education Act 1989. The school has attested that it complies with all aspects of the Code. At the time of this review there was one international student attending the school. The school generally enrols students for three to six months. These students live with their parents and/or designated caregivers during their time at the school. Prior to 2015 the school also hosted groups of students without the specific permission required as a signatory to the Code. The school is rectifying this situation.

The school’s inclusive culture means that international students are well supported holistically and in the academic curriculum. They participate in cultural and sporting opportunities along with their peers. Their progress and achievement is well monitored using the same systems and those used to monitor other students’ achievement in the school.

The school recognises the need to improve their ways of reviewing and documenting evidence to comply with all aspects of the Code.

ERO recommends that the school seeks support to enable them to address the areas of non-compliance noted above.

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.

ERO identified one area of non-compliance. To address this the board must ensure that it meets the requirements of the Code of Practice for the Pastoral Care of International Students relating to group students provisions.

Section 238F of the Education Act 1989; 27.3 and 27.4.

Conclusion

Students at Northcote Intermediate are very engaged with their learning. They learn in ways that are challenging and exciting and designed to make learning fun. The school responds well to the needs of all learners. Students continue to make positive shifts in achievement.

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

Graham Randell
Deputy Chief Review Officer Northern

8 August 2016

About the School 

Location

Northcote, Auckland

Ministry of Education profile number

1394

School type

Intermediate (Years 7 to 8)

School roll

323

Number of international students

1

Gender composition

Girls       49%
Boys      50%

Ethnic composition

Māori
Pākehā
Pasifika
Korean
Chinese
Indian
other European
other

12%
60%
12%
  4%
  3%
  3%
  2%
  4%

Special Features

Resource Teachers of Learning and Behaviour (RTLB) based at the school

Review team on site

June 2016

Date of this report

8 August 2016

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review
Education Review
Education Review

June 2013
June 2010
June 2007