Queenspark School - 29/10/2013

1 Context

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

The school has a positive reporting history with ERO. It continues to be well led by a stable senior leadership team and an experienced board. Staff and school leaders work well together for the benefit of students.

The school was affected by the Canterbury earthquakes and has responded well to the challenges these created. A strong focus on student achievement has been maintained and student welfare is actively supported. Students learn in a positive, supportive learning environment.

2 Learning

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

Senior leaders, team leaders and classroom teachers make very good use of achievement information to promote student learning.

Senior leaders have established good processes for the collection and analysis of student achievement information. They make good use of this information to set appropriate school-wide targets to lift achievement and report to the board.

A strength of the school is the way teaching teams also use achievement data to set specific improvement targets and monitor students’ progress and achievement. They regularly analyse information, discuss ideas and then adjust planned programmes to support student progress.

Classroom teachers gather achievement information from a wide range of sources to get a good picture of student learning. They use this information well to guide student understanding of their next learning steps and to set useful goals in partnership with their parents.

Students talk confidently about their learning, how teachers help them and what they have achieved.

Well-targeted professional development is increasing teachers’ understanding of assessment practices and school expectations. This is helping teachers to make more consistent judgements about student learning at all year levels.

The special needs coordinator and teachers effectively identify students needing extra help with their learning. These students receive focused support through a wide range of interventions and ongoing adaptations to classroom programmes designed to meet their needs. This support is regularly monitored and changed where necessary, to improve outcomes for students.

Area for review and development

School leaders should now explore further ways of evaluating and reporting on the effectiveness of special needs programmes in accelerating student progress and promoting effective teaching strategies.

3 Curriculum

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

The school’s curriculum actively promotes and supports student learning.

A significant feature of the school is the way its vision and values are successfully integrated throughout the curriculum. These are regularly emphasised and are very evident in the life of the school. There are high and well understood expectations for student learning and behaviour.

The school’s well-designed curriculum:

  • effectively promotes key skills and attitudes students need to become self-managing learners
  • provides clear direction for programme planning and teaching practices
  • encourages teachers to relate learning to students’ interests and needs
  • presents students with a wide range of engaging learning opportunities both in and beyond the classroom that show high levels of participation.

Teachers use a variety of approaches known to promote student progress and achievement. Key factors identified by the school leaders and observed by ERO include:

  • extending students' thinking through skilled questioning
  • purposeful, focused teaching that successfully builds on students’ prior knowledge and learning
  • guiding students to reflect and take increasing responsibility for their learning.

A strength of the school is the considerable efforts made to promote students' wellbeing and sense of belonging within the school setting.

The success of these efforts can be seen in the way:

  • teachers and students interact
  • good routines result in calm, settled, learning-focused classroom environments
  • students work independently and cooperatively in support of one another
  • new initiatives, that build students’ resilience, are trialled and reviewed
  • students are challenged to take part in regular physical activity as a way of promoting healthy living.

Senior students have many opportunities to develop their leadership skills. Older students look out for younger students. The responsibility of being a good role model is taken seriously by students and appreciated by staff. Student service to the school is valued and acknowledged.

Area for review and development

The use of information and communication technologies (ICT) to support learning and teaching is in its early stages. The board and school leaders have identified, and ERO agrees, that further developing teachers’ understanding and use of ICT to foster student learning is a priority.

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

The school is continuing to strengthen how it promotes educational success for Māori as Māori.

Māori students achieve at similar levels to their school peers in reading, writing and mathematics.

School leaders are committed to fostering opportunities to celebrate Māori culture. They are providing professional development and undertaking consultation to better understand cultural diversity. They are also identifying teaching strategies that successfully promote student achievement.

The success of the school’s efforts to raise awareness and appreciation of the Māori culture amongst students and the wider community can be seen in the strength of its kapa haka groups. Over 120 students regularly choose to be part of these groups. These groups perform with skill and pride.

Area for review and development

The degree to which teachers successfully integrate aspects of te reo and tikanga Māori into classroom programmes varies. A next step is to build teachers’ confidence and ability to foster and use te reo and tikanga Māori as a more natural part of everyday teaching.

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 board and senior leaders work well together. Trustees and leaders articulate the school vision and purpose with confidence. Their shared understanding of the vision strongly influences how they make decisions and set priorities.

The principal and deputy principals provide strong professional leadership. They are strategic in their management of the school and are open to new ideas. As a team, they have created a positive and reflective school culture that leads to ongoing improvement to teaching and learning.

Leadership structures and good management practices are helping to build the school’s capacity to sustain and improve its performance. For example:

  • there is a deliberate approach to developing teachers’ leadership skills
  • good use is made of research, professional readings and staff strengths to shape professional development for teachers
  • teachers work well together to improve processes and practices likely to improve student learning.

There is a good balance between professional trust and accountability across the school and within teaching teams. Teachers appreciate and respond positively to this approach.

Areas for review and development

It is timely for the board to review and improve the strategic plan to help provide clearer direction about long-term and immediate priorities and how these will be achieved.

Senior leaders now need to further improve self review to increase the quality and usefulness of information gained through this process.

ERO and senior leaders recognise that there is potential to further strengthen the role of key curriculum leaders.

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. No international students were enrolled at the time of the ERO review. The board has attested that it meets the requirements of the Code of Practice.

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.

Graham Randell

National Manager Review Services Southern Region

29 October 2013

About the School

Location

Parklands, Christchurch

Ministry of Education profile number

3479

School type

Full Primary (Years 1 to 8)

School roll

551

Gender composition

Boys 52%; Girls 48%

Ethnic composition

NZ European/Pākehā

Māori

Samoan

Asian

Other ethnicities

78%

11%

2%

2%

7%

Review team on site

August 2013

Date of this report

29 October 2013

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

March 2010

December 2006

September 2003