Queenstown School - 15/06/2015

Findings

This is a large, welcoming and inclusive primary school. Students’ learning is promoted and supported through a rich and broad curriculum. Teachers use achievement information well to inform their teaching. The school will be better placed to enhance student outcomes when the areas for development identified in this report are addressed.

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

1 Context

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

Queenstown School is a large school providing education for students in Years 1 to 8. School leaders and teachers make extensive use of the school’s unique local environment to enrich students’ learning.

The school is welcoming and inclusive of all students. The many different cultures at the school are highly valued and celebrated. There is a small group of international fee-paying students.

Recent changes in senior leadership, principals and deputy principals, have impacted on how well the school has been able to address the recommendations identified in the 2011 ERO report.

In the past five years two new schools have opened in the area. To date this has had little impact on the school’s roll numbers.

The school’s vision is to promote quality learning, encourage perseverance and empower students to create their own pathways to success.

The 2014 achievement information shows that most students are achieving at or above National Standards in reading, writing and mathematics. Mathematics achievement is not quite as strong as literacy achievement.

2 Learning

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

Teachers use achievement information well to inform their teaching. The principal acknowledges the need for an improved and consistent approach to the analysis of data throughout the school.

Students are learning how to use achievement information to set goals to improve their learning. To find out more about their learning and progress they are assessing their own work and the work of classmates. This will be enhanced when more teachers have further conversations with individual students about the accuracy and meaning of these assessments.

Teachers make effective use of achievement information to:

  • know the students who are at risk of poor educational outcomes
  • identify learning needs of individual and groups of students
  • regroup students according to changing abilities and needs
  • monitor the progress of students
  • reflect on their teaching practices and programmes.

Trustees make appropriate budget and resourcing decisions based on the information provided to them through student achievement and curriculum reports.

Areas for development

Leaders and teachers need to continue developing a common understanding of how learning information is used to improve student outcomes at the school. This includes analysing learning information at a greater depth to:

  • identify common areas of need
  • evaluate the impact of interventions and programmes
  • identify meaningful targets
  • monitor the rate of progress and show trends for individual and groups of students.

When the above is in practice across the school, leaders and teachers will be better placed to turn data into useful information to give them direction and evidence to support their judgements.

3 Curriculum

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

The richness and breadth of the curriculum promotes and supports students’ learning. Since the last ERO review in 2011, there has been a major focus on developing teachers’ skills and knowledge to better enact the school’s vision.

Students continue to benefit from the:

  • specialist teaching for science, technology and physical education
  • extensive use of the unique local environment, including students having regular skiing and skating lessons during the winter terms
  • wide variety of education outside the classroom (EOTC) programmes in the local area and beyond.

Students have increased opportunities to develop their leadership skills. Leadership roles include head and deputy head students, student leaders, cultural ambassadors, house captains, peer mediators, physical activity leaders and enviro leaders.

Students with high learning needs and abilities are well supported and provided for. The lead teacher (SENCO) in this area carefully coordinates these programmes. There are effective systems for identifying and monitoring identified students. Students benefit from the support of skilful teacher aides.

The school has a significant number of students who have English as a second language (ESOL). These students receive comprehensive programmes to support their class learning and their overall involvement in the life of the school.

Over the past three years professional learning and development has focused on:

  • literacy and mathematics
  • using ICT to enhance teaching and learning
  • giving greater emphasis to students managing their own learning
  • students being able to access their learning beyond the classroom.

Alongside these developments leaders and teachers have successfully maintained the school’s inquiry approach to learning. The changes in senior leadership over the past three years have caused some interruption to the flow of some developments. The principal has identified the need to review the school’s curriculum guidelines and delivery plans to improve coherence and consistency across the school. This should help ensure that teaching practice in all classrooms is consistent with school expectations.

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

The school’s curriculum is responsive to promoting educational success for Māori students.

Students enjoy the opportunities they have to learn about their culture, speak and hear te reo Māori and be part of the kapa haka group. They especially enjoy performing at significant school and local events.

Māori students are achieving well in reading, writing and mathematics in relation to the National Standards. They told ERO that they appreciate the range of sporting, cultural and EOTC opportunities they take part in at the school.

The school is building stronger relationships with their whānau Māori and have consulted with them about their aspirations and expectations.

Greater analysis of Māori student achievement and progress information should enhance teaching and learning programmes and approaches for these students to improve their educational outcomes.

4 Sustainable Performance

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

The school has sustained its performance over the past three years. It will be better placed to improve its performance when the areas for review and development identified in this report are addressed.

Trustees and team leaders had a greater involvement in developing the strategic and annual plans for 2015.

The performance management process for teachers and team leaders has a sound framework with good links to the school’s focus areas, achievement targets and professional learning and development. This focus is increasing teachers’ awareness of lifting student achievement through more-targeted teaching.

Areas for review and development

The trustees and principal need to:

  • ensure that the goals in the strategic and annual plans are aligned
  • provide indicators of success for the intended outcomes in school-wide planning
  • clearly show how the strategic goals are to be implemented through a detailed annual planning.
  • More comprehensive and coherent planning should provide better clarity and direction for the school’s priority developments.

The expertise and knowledge of leaders are still being developed to create a cohesive leadership team to provide direction for all staff. The principal needs to provide more intentional guidance to ensure the expectations of leaders are clear so that they are able to better fulfil their roles.

The board needs to strengthen its role in the performance management of the principal. This should include:

  • setting the principal’s performance agreement collaboratively with the principal
  • receiving interim reports in relation to progress in achieving the principal’s goals
  • ensuring the principal is well supported by PLD relevant to the set goals.

As part of the ongoing school review process, ERO recommends that the board carries out regular anonymous surveys of staff to help it gauge the satisfaction of its employees.

Provision for international students

The school is a signatory to the Code of Practice for the Pastoral Care if International Students (the Code) established under section 238F of the Education Act 1989. The school has attested that it complies with all aspects of the Code.

At the time of this review there were six international students attending the school.

The international students are well integrated into the school community. The school has effective processes for ensuring the wellbeing of these students, including regular meetings with the students’ parents.

Students’ learning needs are well addressed in classroom programmes and through the school’s ESOL programme. Individual student’s progress and achievement is well monitored. The school recognises the need to report to the board on the progress and achievement of these students as a group.

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

This is a large, welcoming and inclusive primary school. Students’ learning is promoted and supported through a rich and broad curriculum. Teachers use achievement information well to inform their teaching. The school will be better placed to enhance student outcomes when the areas for development identified in this report are addressed.

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

Graham Randell

Deputy Chief Review Officer Southern

15 June 2015

About the School

Location

Queenstown

Ministry of Education profile number

4005

School type

Full Primary (Years 1 to 8)

School roll

598

Number of international students

6

Gender composition

Girls: 52% Boys: 48%

Ethnic composition

Pākehā

Māori

Asian

Pacific

Other European

Other

66%

7%

8%

1%

3%

15%

Review team on site

April 2015

Date of this report

15 June 2015

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

December 2011

August 2008

January 2005