Porritt School - 03/03/2014

1 Context

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

Porritt School in the Napier suburb of Tamatea provides education for 253 students from Years 1 to 6 and 38% are Māori.

Its motto of PRIDE - Passionate achievers, Respect, Interdependent learners, Deep thinkers, Excellence - is recognised and understood throughout the school as the guiding framework for learning and behaviour.

The school has low staff turnover and a stable roll. Senior managers provide highly experienced leadership and have complementary strengths and skills. The principal is retiring at the end of 2013, and a new principal commencing in 2014.

Since the December 2010 ERO report, several major initiatives have supported improvement in outcomes for students. These include continued integration of information and communication technologies (ICT) into teaching and learning, enhancement of student wellbeing, a strong focus on literacy, and a review of mathematics teaching.

Leaders and trustees have responded effectively to areas for development identified in ERO’s previous report.

2 Learning

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

Leaders and teachers make good use of information about students' achievement that is gathered from a range of reliable assessments. Data is analysed in depth and used to inform target setting and planning.

Teachers have sound knowledge of students’ strengths and learning needs. They track, review and report on progress throughout the year. There is appropriate support to promote the learning of students who are achieving below expectations.

The principal collates achievement information for in-depth, schoolwide analysis of how well students achieve in relation to the National Standards. He provides detailed reports to the board of trustees twice a year, with particular focus on individuals and groups whose learning is targeted for accelerated progress.

Robust analysis of students’ achievement in writing showed that there was a need for professional development to strengthen teaching and learning in this area. Implementation of effective teaching strategies has resulted in significant improvement in writing for many students.

Data also showed that achievement in mathematics, although similar to national levels, was not improving as expected. The school’s response was to conduct a comprehensive review of mathematics teaching. It was agreed that a changed approach was needed. The next steps are being carefully considered and new strategies developed collegially for implementation in 2014.

Students are encouraged to be independent learners who take responsibility for their own progress. They have goals, and can talk about what they need to do to improve. It is timely for teachers to ensure that all students have the knowledge and skills to monitor and assess their own learning. Regular review of goals is needed, so that they are relevant, meaningful and useful to students.

A range of inclusive and well-coordinated learning support programmes is provided to students with special education needs. Experienced teacher associates work alongside teachers in classrooms. Outside agencies give additional support in specialist areas. Individualised plans for improving student outcomes are reviewed regularly in partnership with parents.

Parents and whānau receive two clear, informative reports a year on their children's achievement in relation to the National Standards. Three-way conferences enable students to share their learning and contribute to discussions about learning goals and next steps.

Data for 2012 showed that the percentage of students achieving at or above in relation to the National Standards in reading, writing and mathematics was comparable to overall national levels. Two of the school’s target groups - Māori students and boys – achieved better than national levels in writing and mathematics.

The principal’s 2013 midyear report to the board, based on teachers' analysis of student progress and achievement, showed that most target students made positive gains.

3 Curriculum

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

There is a positive, settled tone in classrooms. Students in general are highly engaged in purposeful learning.

The school's curriculum design and implementation promote and support student learning effectively. Teaching and learning programmes are well aligned with The New Zealand Curriculum.

Strong features of the school’s curriculum are the:

  • priority given to literacy and numeracy
  • emphasis on values and key competencies
  • inquiry learning component, which successfully incorporates all the key learning areas into topics and themes that are relevant for students
  • integration of ICT into teaching and learning
  • high profile of te reo me ngā tikanga Māori
  • physical education and sport programmes
  • recognition of Pacific cultures.

Good quality teaching is evident. Teachers use a range of effective strategies to promote learning. They reflect on and inquire into their practice. Improvement is well supported by professional development and appraisal processes. Teachers share ideas and encourage each other’s professional growth in weekly learning circles.

Students' transitions into the school and on to intermediate school are managed with care and thoughtful attention to individual needs.

To sustain ongoing curriculum development, school leaders recognise that:

  • teachers and students would benefit from continued support to strengthen their knowledge of and confidence in working with the bicultural curriculum
  • greater attention is needed to ensuring consistent depth and completion of teacher inquiries.

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

Senior leaders are strongly committed to ensuring that Māori students enjoy a sense of belonging in the school.

A recent initiative that illustrates this commitment is the establishment of a whānau room, Te Whare o Te Iwi. This room is open to all students. It is set up as a space which Māori students experience as a reflection of their cultural heritage. Carvings on poupou outside have a significant meaning which is widely known. Māori students talk about feeling warm and special in the room. They have created art work for the walls, including their pepeha. They teach each other skills such as poi and rākau. Their knowledge is shared and valued, both in the whare and in classrooms.

Other strategies for promoting educational success for Māori students as Māori include whānau hui, a whānau group comprising senior Māori students, pānui, and strong participation in kapa haka and pōwhiri. Staff continue to explore ways to build their own cultural responsiveness.

Māori students have many opportunities to be leaders and role models. They see their culture valued and celebrated in the school.

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.

The PRIDE motto underpins everything that happens in the school. It embraces a set of well known values and is strongly reflected in pastoral care programmes. Students can articulate what PRIDE means and the values are reinforced daily.

A positive school climate, respectful relationships and calm learning environments are clearly evident and well embedded. There is a culture of high expectations for learning and behaviour. High levels of student engagement and enthusiasm are evident throughout the school.

Pastoral care continues to be a strength. Since ERO’s previous review, the school has entered into a partnership with the local health board that is focused on students' wellbeing. This project has enhanced pastoral care provision. A recent survey of students found that they feel happy and safe at school.

Self review is well established as a tool for continuous improvement. To further develop their knowledge of the quality of teaching, learning and school operations, school leaders and trustees should evaluate the outcomes of programmes and initiatives against measures of success or effectiveness.

Professional leadership is effective. Senior leaders work well as a cohesive team. They are building capability among staff, taking a deliberate approach to distribute leadership opportunities and responsibilities.

Trustees, in partnership with senior leaders and staff, demonstrate a keen interest in improving outcomes for students. They are well informed and use this knowledge to make appropriate resourcing decisions aimed at raising students' achievement and supporting their wellbeing. Further work is needed to align annual plans with the school's longer term strategic goals.

Senior leaders, trustees and teachers demonstrate clear understanding of the importance of engaging parents, whānau and the wider community. They make positive connections, share successes and seek ideas and opinions to ensure that their decision-making is in the best interests of students.

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.

When is ERO likely to review the school again?

ERO is likely to carry out the next review in three years.index-html-m2a7690f7.gif

Joyce Gebbie

National Manager Review Services

Central Region (Acting)

3 March 2014

About the School

Location

Tamatea, Napier

Ministry of Education profile number

2647

School type

Contributing (Years 1 to 6)

School roll

253

Gender composition

Female 51%

Male 49%

Ethnic composition

Māori

NZ European/ Pākehā

Other ethnic groups

38%

58%

4%

Special Features

Attached special care unit

Review team on site

November 2013

Date of this report

3 March 2014

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

December 2010

October 2007

December 2004