Peachgrove Intermediate - 20/05/2015

Findings

Students at Peachgrove Intermediate School learn and achieve in a positive, inclusive and student-centred school culture. School leaders and teachers work collegially and reflectively to continue to improve their practice in order to raise student achievement. Trustees and school leaders are committed to school improvement and development.

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

1 Background and Context

What is the background and context for this school’s review?

Peachgrove Intermediate caters for students in Years 7 and 8 who come from a large number of contributing schools in the Hamilton area and surrounding districts. Many students transition to nearby secondary schools at the end of Year 8. The school roll is 468. The school is a diverse multicultural school, 32% of whom identify as Māori and 11% who identify as Pasifika. A feature of the school is the bilingual unit where students receive tuition in Māori language and culture.

This report evaluates the school’s response and progress made in relation to significant areas for review and development identified in the 2013 ERO report related to aspects of self review, leadership of learning, student achievement and curriculum design.

A new chairperson was appointed to the board of trustees in early 2015. A new trustee has been co-opted, strengthening representation and providing a voice for both Pasifika and Māori aspirations on the board. Trustees have had ongoing training about their roles as governors and demonstrate a clear understanding of their responsibilities. The senior leadership team has remained the same. A Special Education Needs Coordinator position was created in 2014 with additional responsibilities for strengthening teaching practice across the school. The Ministry of Education has provided ongoing professional development and support for leaders and teachers in the areas of literacy and assessment. The school is undergoing extensive classroom modifications to provide them with modern learning environments for teachers and students.

2 Review and Development

How effectively is the school addressing its priorities for review and development?

Priorities identified for review and development

The 2013 ERO report recommended that the school review and strengthen:

  • self review
  • leadership for learning
  • the use of student achievement information to raise achievement
  • curriculum design and delivery.

Progress

The board of trustees and school leaders provide clear strategic direction for the school through the charter and annual plan. Targets are focused on raising the achievement of all students identified at risk of not achieving national expectations. Trustees receive regular reports about student achievement data, and have a clear understanding of using this information for decision making. The board regularly reviews the school's performance in relation to charter targets and the annual plan.

The school’s leadership model has been reviewed and restructured to maximise use of strengths and knowledge within the school. Senior leaders take a collaborative approach to decision making, and share in learning conversations that build teacher capacity. Team leaders express appreciation for coaching and mentoring from senior leaders that strengthens and supports their practice. Team leaders in turn support teachers in the same manner. This positive culture is promoting professional discussion, sharing of ideas, and teachers trialling innovative ways to improve student outcomes. School leaders track and monitor student progress, and with further development, should be able to more effectively evaluate the strategies used to raise student achievement.

Student achievement data for the end of 2014 shows a marked improvement in the proportion of students achieving at or above National Standards in reading, writing and mathematics. The numbers of Māori students achieving success has improved. Increasing the proportion of Māori students achieving at or above National Standards remains a priority for the school. Though Pasifika student achievement has improved it is still an area for concern with less than half achieving National Standards in writing and mathematics. Suitable targets and specific interventions have been identified to accelerate the progress of the students achieving below expectations in 2015.

In 2014 the school consulted widely with students, staff and the community to review and clearly define the Peachgrove curriculum. The visual framework of a korowai weaves The New Zealand Curriculum strands and the key competencies into the context of Peachgrove Intermediate School. The school reports that this has led to wide agreement about school direction and values that reflect the importance placed on developing students who are positive, respectful, inclusive, determined and engaged (PRIDE). A new school logo reflects the PRIDE emblem on school uniforms and on documentation.

The korowai is prominently displayed around the school, and is well articulated by students and staff. These values have the potential to support ongoing review of the effectiveness of curriculum implementation and assessment to improve student achievement. Another positive development is the closer alignment of the school’s literacy and numeracy learning progressions with technology and arts programmes. The consistent implementation of the Ministry of Education initiative Positive Behaviour for Learning (PB4L) is contributing to a safe and inclusive school culture. There continues to be a rich range of opportunities for students to experience success in science, sporting, cultural and education outside the classroom activities as well as specialist arts and technology classes.

School leaders acknowledge the ongoing process of reflection and collaboration required to continue developing and implementing the Peachgrove Korowai Curriculum to promote success for all students. As identified in the 2013 ERO report, there continues to be a need to fully implement and integrate the intent of both Ka Hikitia and The Pasifika Education Plan through the teaching of all curriculum strands.

ERO observed examples of effective teaching practice in the school. These included:

  • relationship building focused on recognising individual student's strengths and interests, and developing appropriate programmes that enhance learning for adolescent students
  • strategies to build student capacity for managing their own learning such as meaningful learning progressions that students understand and use to set personal goals
  • flexible programmes that capitalise on modern learning environments and are facilitated by teachers using a collaborative, strength-based teaching approach
  • the integrated use of computer technologies that engage and empower students in their learning, and promote transparent information sharing amongst students, teachers, leaders and families/whānau.

School leaders are continuing to refine the performance management system for teachers. They have developed a useful framework for teacher attestation that includes Registered Teacher Criteria and embeds the principles of Tataiako Cultural Competencies for Teachers of Māori Learners with clearly identified indicators and expectations. This framework is ready to be linked with the appraisal process and implemented during 2015.

An important next step to raise student achievement is for school leaders to continue to strengthen teacher appraisals. This should include:

  • aligning goals for leaders and teachers with school-wide strategic aims, targets and professional development
  • artefacts and evidence from teachers
  • developing shared and understood indicators of effective teaching practice derived from current theory and research and Ministry of Education guidelines
  • providing regular and rigorous feedback to teachers based on documented observations of their practice.

School leaders should now consolidate expectations for effective teaching practice in order to achieve consistency across the school and bring about the changes required to improve student achievement outcomes.

3 Sustainable performance and self review

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

Aspects that contribute to school sustainability and improvement include:

  • clear strategic direction from school leaders and good processes for using self review to continually develop and improve the school
  • leadership focused on promoting student learning and improving student achievement
  • a well-designed framework of an integrated curriculum underpinned by school values that is shared, agreed and understood by trustees, leaders, teachers, students and their families
  • clear and consistently applied expectations for student behaviour
  • appropriate systems and processes for gathering, analysing and reporting on student achievement.

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 Peachgrove Intermediate learn and achieve in a positive, inclusive and student-centred school culture. School leaders and teachers work collegially and reflectively to continue to improve their practice in order to raise student achievement. Trustees and school leaders are committed to school improvement and development.

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

Dale Bailey

Deputy Chief Review Officer Northern

20 May 2015

About the School

Location

Hamilton

Ministry of Education profile number

1892

School type

Intermediate (Years 7 to 8)

School roll

468

Gender composition

Boys 57% Girls 43%

Ethnic composition

Māori

Pākehā

Other

Indian

Chinese

Tongan

Other Asian

Fijian

Samoan

Other Pacific

South East Asia

32%

36%

11%

6%

3%

3%

3%

2%

2%

1%

1%

Special Features

2 bilingual units

Review team on site

March 2015

Date of this report

20 May 2015

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

June 2013

December 2010

June 2008