Pine Hill School (Dunedin) - 01/06/2018

School Context

Pine Hill School (Dunedin) provides education for children in Years 1 to 6. The school has a roll of 39 children.

The school’s vision is to be a community of learners where students, teachers, family and whānau actively participate in learning together. School documents state that the school aims to support students to achieve and progress academically and socially, and to ensure all children have a sense of belonging and wellbeing.

To support these outcomes, the school’s current strategic goals are to support student achievement and progress in the breadth of the New Zealand curriculum (NZC), provide a balanced curriculum and to support children to succeed with pride in their unique cultures and identities.

To know about the school’s performance against these goals, leaders and teachers regularly report to the board, schoolwide information about outcomes for students in the following areas:

  • achievement in reading, writing and mathematics

  • achievement in other learning areas in relation to the levels of the New Zealand curriculum

  • progress reports in relation to school achievement targets

  • whole school trends and patterns in attendance over time.

Over the last three years, the school has experienced both roll drop and roll growth. It went down to one classroom for the majority of 2017, but has since expanded again to two classes. Children attending the school come from many different ethnic backgrounds and include a number of children who are English language learners.

A new principal started at the school at the end of 2017. At the time of this education review two teachers were new to the school and there were a number of new trustees.

The school has been a participant in a Ministry of Education initiative focused on promoting positive behaviours for learning and is a member of the Dunedin North Kāhui Ako|COL.

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?

Raising achievement is a current priority for trustees, the new principal and teaching team. The school is not yet achieving equitable and excellent outcomes for all its children in all learning areas. The achievement and progress of children has not been well sustained.

School information for the last three years shows:

  • the majority of students achieved at or above expected levels in reading and mathematics

  • in two of the last three years, around half of the children achieved at expected levels in writing

  • in 2017, the proportion of children achieving at expected levels in reading, writing and mathematics decreased.

The school needs to explicitly evaluate how effectively actions to accelerate learning and raise achievement are working for specific groups of learners.

A high proportion of children are achieving at expected levels in some other learning areas, including technology, science and the arts.

The board receives reporting on interventions to support children with high and complex needs. This needs to be extended to include reporting on the progress these children make. This will help trustees to know how effective interventions have been.

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

The school has had variable success over time in accelerating the learning for those children who need to make additional progress to be at expected levels. The board currently receives reporting on the progress made by children targeted to have their learning accelerated. This needs to be extended to include all children not yet at expected levels. The board could receive clearer reporting on the progress children learning English make against language learning progressions.

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?

A strength of the school over time has been a deliberate focus on building meaningful connections with children’s families and whānau. This enables teachers to build their knowledge of children’s strengths and interests and to link learning to their lives beyond school. Parents told ERO they value the regular, useful opportunities they have to discuss their children’s learning and development with teachers and to learn about ways to support their children’s learning at home. Home school partnerships are well supported by clear plans, useful systems and effective communication.

The board of trustees has responded well to recent roll growth by funding additional teaching hours. This funding has enabled the school to reduce teacher-to-student ratios in the junior area of the school and to provide more individualised support for children in this classroom. It is also used to release the new principal to establish school-wide systems and practices.

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

Some processes and practices have not been well sustained over time. The new principal and teaching staff are in the process of working together to strengthen systems and practices to better support positive outcomes for children.

The new school leadership and teaching team need to continue to work together to:

  • establish clear, shared expectations for effective teaching practice (including for the establishment of positive behaviours for learning)

  • build rigorous practices for the analysis of learning information to know about all children’s learning needs, rates of progress and the effectiveness of teaching

  • strengthen planning for, and evaluation of, specific actions to accelerate the learning of children at risk of not achieving at expected levels.

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.

Areas for improved compliance practice

To improve current practice, the board of trustees should:

  • ensure policies and procedures for making appointments are adhered to

  • strengthen documented guidelines for staff on responding to and deescalating challenging behaviour.

4 Going forward

Key strengths of the school

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

  • effective communication and relationships with parents and whānau that are focused on supporting children’s learning, engagement and development

  • additional teaching resource to provide more individualised support for children in the junior school.

Next steps

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

  • promoting a school-wide culture of positive behaviour that provides all children with the opportunity to progress and achieve in their learning

  • strengthening planning to accelerate the learning of children needing support to achieve at expected levels

  • strengthening the quality and rigour of internal evaluation practices to know about the difference teaching is making to children’s progress and achievement.

Recommendations to other agencies

ERO recommends that the Ministry of Education consider providing additional support for the school in order to bring about improvement in:

  • establishing a positive environment and conditions for children to progress and achieve in their learning.

ERO’s next external evaluation process and timing

ERO intends to carry out a process of ongoing external evaluation to support development over the course of one-to-two years.

Dr Lesley Patterson

Deputy Chief Review Officer Southern

Te Waipounamu - Southern Region

1 June 2018

About the school

Location

Dunedin

Ministry of Education profile number

3801

School type

Contributing

School roll

39

Gender composition

Girls: 17

Boys: 22

Ethnic composition

Māori: 10
Pākeha: 11
Pacific: 8
Other: 10

Provision of Māori medium education

No

Review team on site

February 2018

Date of this report

1 June 2018

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review: March 2015

Education Review: February 2012

Education Review: September 2008