Ridgeview School - 11/02/2015

Findings

Ridgeview School’s inclusive school culture fosters student wellbeing, positive partnerships with families and strong community links. The principal and board work collaboratively and strategically to focus on student learning. Ongoing improvement has strengthened teaching, leadership and governance. The school is well placed to consolidate these good practices and implement future-focused developments.

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

1 Background and Context

What is the background and context for this school’s review?

Ridgeview School is located in the semi-rural community of Paremoremo, Auckland. The school caters for students from Years 1 to 6.

Prior to ERO’s 2012 review the school had experienced difficulties related to community relations, and governance and management systems. During 2010 the principal and board of trustees requested support from the Ministry of Education (MoE) to address the concerns. In 2011 a commissioner had been appointed to govern the school.

At the time of ERO’s 2012 review the principal and commissioner were working together effectively to plan the school’s strategic direction, manage finances, strengthen parent partnerships with the school and improve community relationships. However, much work remained to be done. ERO recommended that the commissioner’s intervention continue until a new board of trustees was established and ready to govern the school.

In mid-2013 a new board was elected to govern the school. Since then, the principal and board have implemented a variety of strategies to address areas for review and development. The school has continued to work with external expertise to support improvements in the school. During 2013 and 2014 ERO has provided ongoing evaluation of the school’s progress in the identified areas for review and improvement.

2 Review and Development

How effectively is the school addressing its priorities for review and development?

Priorities identified for review and development

ERO’s October 2012 report identified the need to:

  • develop and train a self managing board of trustees
  • accelerate the progress of students who are not achieving at the National Standards
  • continue to develop the school’s curriculum.

Findings

The school has developed a strong foundation of productive partnerships that are focused on student learning. The board and principal have worked collaboratively to address the identified priorities.

The board has made very good use of external support to develop effective systems and frameworks that promote successful governance and leadership. The board has a commitment to representing its community and promoting positive outcomes for all students. A transparent approach to leadership and governance has strengthened school operations.

Relationships in the school are enhanced through open communication. The board makes good use of consultation to gauge the aspirations of the school’s diverse community and to inform strategic planning. Parents spoken to commend the way in which the school’s vision and direction is being implemented. Parents feel valued and empowered to contribute to their children’s education.

Students have a good sense of their achievement and progress. The board has a strong focus on student engagement, progress and achievement. Trustees actively seek achievement information that helps them make decisions to support the school vision of creating confident, connected, life-long learners.

Teachers plan collaboratively and inquire into best strategies to improve their practice. Teaching and learning practices have been strengthened through well considered professional development for teachers. Increasingly teachers are using achievement information to accelerate students’ progress. Some groups of students are showing very good progress as a result of targeted interventions. A recent focus on writing has resulted in significantly improved student achievement in this area. School leaders recognise that there is still a need to raise the achievement of boys and Māori students.

Literacy is seen as underpinning all learning areas and students are provided with meaningful opportunities to make links between their speaking, reading and writing. Digital technologies support student engagement in their own learning. Students share their writing with peers in order to receive feedback and enjoy reading on a variety of themes. The school has plans in place to further develop its literacy curriculum guidelines to support teaching and learning practices.

The development of effective teaching and learning practices has been supported by changes in building design. Transparent and flexible approaches are evident in the open, variable learning environments.

Māori students and their whānau are well engaged in the life of the school. Teachers have used MoE resources to support student engagement in learning and to foster tuakana-teina relationships. Teachers are continuing to look at ways they can use culturally responsive practices to accelerate success for Māori students by building on their culture, language and identity. To enhance existing programmes a teacher of Māori is to be appointed to begin in 2015.The school’s prevailing sense of inclusiveness and teachers’ active engagement with parents of Māori students has promoted success for and as Māori.

Key next steps

In order to further improve learning outcomes for students, the principal and board agree that they should:

  • ensure consistency and sustainability of effective teaching and learning practices that are focussed on accelerating student progress
  • provide more opportunities for students to lead the direction of their learning.

3 Sustainable performance and self review

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

The school is well placed to sustain and continue to improve and review its performance.

The board and principal have managed change well over the past two years. The principal’s strong educational leadership and promotion of coherent systems supports a school culture focused on improving student learning.

Trustees have developed a shared understanding and a strategic approach to their work. They have made very good use of training and continue to seek external advice to strengthen governance. Clear processes and useful documentation now provide good induction for new trustees. The board has co-opted trustees for particular roles at different times to ensure that the diversity of the school community is reflected on the board. The board is currently considering strategies for effective succession planning.

Self review is now part of governance and management practice. A well developed framework provides good guidance for self review. Multiple perspectives are sought to inform decision-making. The board has good processes for receiving assurance about policy implementation, and health and safety.

The board has identified that while they now have a foundation of good practices in place, self review could be further strengthened by:

  • covering all aspects of the school’s operation over time, including review of the board’s own practice
  • exploring possibilities for future development linked to the school’s vision and strategic direction
  • looking at ways to increase the board’s visibility in the school and community to promote school successes and developments.

To further improve practice, trustees agree that they should:

  • ensure that all documentation provides sufficient detail and evidence of process, in particular with regard to the recording of complaints and in-committee minutes.

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

Ridgeview School’s inclusive school culture fosters student wellbeing, positive partnerships with families and strong community links. The principal and board work collaboratively and strategically to focus on student learning. Ongoing improvement has strengthened teaching, leadership and governance. The school is well placed to consolidate these good practices and implement future-focused developments.

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

Dale Bailey

Deputy Chief Review Officer Northern Select Region

11 February 2015

About the School

Location

Paremoremo, Auckland

Ministry of Education profile number

1433

School type

Contributing (Years 1 to 6)

School roll

77

Gender composition

Boys 47, Girls 30

Ethnic composition

Māori

NZ European/Pākehā

other

19

44

14

Review team on site

November 2014

Date of this report

11 February 2015

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

October 2012

June 2009

July 2006