Peninsula Primary School - 22/12/2014

Findings

Teachers develop strong, respectful relationships with students. This report identifies significant aspects of governance and leadership that need to be addressed. The board and principal are focussed on improving teaching and learning, but need support to strengthen strategic planning, self review, curriculum design, and assessment and teaching practices.

ERO intends to carry out another review over the course of one-to-two years.

1 Context

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

Peninsula Primary is a contributing primary school located at Te Atatu, West Auckland. The school provides education for students in Years 1 to 6 and has a current roll of 415 students. Of these students, 31% identify as Māori, and 12% are Pacific, with most of this group being of Samoan descent.

The ERO review in 2012 identified areas for development in relation to the achievement of Māori students, the management and use of assessment information, and the clarity of leadership roles and responsibilities. However, limited response to these findings by the previous board and school leaders has impeded the school’s progress since that time.

Following the resignation of the previous principal, significant changes to leadership and governance have occurred. In 2013, a new, first-time principal was appointed and took up the position in Term 3 of that year. One of the deputy principals had been acting principal for two terms. In addition, a new board was elected in May 2013, comprising mostly first-time trustees. The current chairperson, who had served as a trustee on the previous board for a short time at the end of the previous term, was simultaneously elected. The board has undertaken training to improve knowledge and understanding of effective governance practice, and a strong working relationship between the principal and trustees is developing.

The new principal has taken a proactive approach and is beginning to address areas of need in the school, including those identified in the 2012 ERO report. She has introduced a strong focus on improving teaching and learning. With support from the board, she is working with senior and middle leaders to build their capability as leaders of learning, with a view to building teacher capability across the school. This report identifies significant aspects of school operations which need development.

The school continues to be well supported by its community, and its previous reporting history with ERO is positive.

2 Learning

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

The principal has expressed concerns about the quality of the school’s achievement data reported to the board and Ministry of Education (MOE) at the end of 2013, in relation to National Standards.

Throughout 2014 the principal has worked with school leaders to improve the collection, analysis and use of achievement information. The board now receives regular reports about the achievement and progress of students in reading, writing and mathematics. School leaders are using school-wide achievement data to identify students ‘at risk’, and plan programmes to meet their needs. It is now important that teachers work more closely with parents and whānau of these students to assist them to support learning at home.

There are now ongoing opportunities for formal dialogue about assessment information amongst leaders and teachers. This process is building teachers’ understanding of best assessment practice, and how assessment information can be used to improve student learning. Mathematics has been targeted for teacher professional learning and development in response to trends identified in achievement information.

The effective management and use of student achievement information to promote learning, continues to be an area for development. To address this, priority should now be given to:

  • clarifying teachers’ understandings about learning progressions and expectations for each year level, and the alignment of these with National Standards
  • strengthening the use of achievement data to better inform decision making at all levels (teacher, middle management/leadership and board)
  • identifying priority learners and developing specific targets focussed on accelerating their progress
  • collating and analysing achievement information for groups of learners, including Māori, Pacific, boys and girls, to identify trends and patterns
  • using achievement data to inform reporting, as part of the self-review process.

3 Curriculum

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

The school is still to develop its curriculum in response to The New Zealand Curriculum (TNZC). The new principal has developed guidelines to support teachers to plan and deliver reading, writing and mathematics programmes. In keeping with MOE requirements, there is a strong focus on literacy and mathematics learning.

Students are able to experience success and pursue interests in other curriculum areas. Enviro schools and students’ vegetable gardens provide meaningful contexts for science and other learning. There is a well-managed approach to transition to school for five year olds (Right Start). This programme contributes to parent engagement in their children’s early learning, and helps to familiarise students and parents with the learning environment.

During this review, ERO observed in classrooms, alongside members of the senior leadership team. Teachers are consistently grouping students for reading and mathematics learning, and in response to recent professional development, they are increasingly using assessment information to plan and teach to meet the identified learning needs of students. However, better diagnostic use/deeper interpretation of this information by all teachers, leading to more deliberate planning and teaching is needed. This practice is likely to lift rates of progress and achievement for students, and especially learners who are working below the expected standard.

School leaders now need to give priority to leading a collaborative process of curriculum review/design that involves staff, students, parents and the board. This inclusive and well-planned process should lead to the development and ownership of a comprehensive curriculum which:

  • reflects the needs and aspirations of this school’s community, and the principles of TNZC.
  • aligns with Ka Hikitia, The Māori Education Strategy, and the Pacifica Education Plan
  • draws on current educational research, and the professional knowledge of teaching staff.

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

The board, with support from staff, is supporting Māori students to experience success in their all-round learning and development. Currently, parents can choose for their children to learn te reo Māori in weekly sessions. The school has begun to observe Māori cultural traditions, an example being the successful Marariki celebrations held recently. The kapa haka group is popular with students and performs in local events.

The board has endeavoured to consult with Māori whānau, but recognise this as an ongoing challenge. It is important that the board, in consultation with staff, seek the aspirations of this group of parents, for the education of their children. This consultation should occur as part of curriculum review and development, leading to a better understood and stronger focus on promoting the language, culture and identity of Māori students in the school.

The board and staff have considered the principles of Ka Hikitia, The Māori Education Strategy, but are yet to integrate these principles into learning and teaching. The principal acknowledges that there would be benefit in incorporating cultural competencies for teachers from the Ngā Tataiako Ministry of Education document, as the school reviews and strengthens its performance management systems and practices for all teaching staff.

4 Sustainable Performance

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

Factors currently contributing to sustainability are as follows:

Trustees bring a range of suitable skills to their respective roles, and are committed to developing knowledge and understanding of effective governance practice.

The new principal brings a learner-focused approach, and seeks ongoing professional mentoring and advice as she develops expertise to effectively lead the school.

There is a high level of parent and community support for school events and activities.

Teachers express willingness to build on and improve their teaching practice.

It is now necessary for the board and principal to adopt a well-planned and inclusive change management process as they lead the school through a period of significant development. ERO and the board have agreed on the following priority areas to improve the school’s performance:

(a) Strategic planning and self review:

A consultative strategic planning process that is informed by a more robust self-review process is necessary to:

  • provide clear and agreed direction for all members of the school community
  • better inform the board’s decision making process for resource allocation and renewal, that is linked to the school’s developing curriculum
  • develop and implement a strategic approach to the provision of professional learning and development for all teaching staff, including leaders, that is aligned with the agreed vision for learning and teaching and the school’s annual plan.

This improved approach to strategic planning and self review is likely to strengthen key school operations, enhance the educational environment, and lead to improved learning outcomes for students.

(b) Strengthening leadership capability to lead learning:

Careful consideration must now be given to identifying and developing the leadership skills of senior and middle leaders (school leaders). Professional development in leadership which is planned for 2015, should assist leaders to provide more effective leadership for learning, giving particular priority to the following areas:

  • the development of agreed practice for learning and teaching, based on current educational research and best practice, that is understood and owned by teachers
  • the development of shared and well-understood expectation for teachers to bring greater consistency to practice across the school
  • the implementation of targeted, ongoing professional development for teachers
  • strengthening performance appraisal for all teaching staff, with a view to aligning appraisal goals to professional learning and development, and improving the quality of feedback.

Strengthening leadership of learning is necessary to build capability of teachers across the school, leading to consistently high levels of teacher performance.

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.

During the review ERO identified the following aspects of performance management practice which need to be improved:

  • The board must ensure that there is a current, annual performance agreement for the principal.
    [Principals’ Collective Employment Contract; S 77c State Sector Act 1989]
  • The principal must ensure that a comprehensive programme for provisionally registered teachers is consistently implemented.
    [Teachers’ Collective Employment Contract; S 77c State Sector Act 1989]

Conclusion

Teachers develop strong, respectful relationships with students. This report identifies significant aspects of governance and leadership that need to be addressed. The board and principal are focussed on improving teaching and learning, but need support to strengthen strategic planning, self review, curriculum design, and assessment and teaching practices.

ERO intends to carry out another review over the course of one-to-two years.

Dale Bailey

National Manager Review Services Northern Region

22 December 2014

About the School

Location

Te Atatu, West Auckland

Ministry of Education profile number

1531

School type

Contributing (Years 1 to 6)

School roll

415

Gender composition

Girls 52% Boys 48%

Ethnic composition

NZ European/Pākehā

Māori

Other

Pacific

38%

31%

19%

12%

Review team on site

November 2014

Date of this report

22 December 2014

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

March 2012

December 2008

August 2005