Rosebank School (Balclutha) - 28/06/2012

Findings

1. Context

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

Rosebank School (Balclutha) provides education for Years 1 to 8 students from Balclutha and surrounding areas. The junior students’ learning area has been recently upgraded to provide a modern learning environment. Students participate in a wide range of sporting and cultural activities, including kapa haka. They visit places of local and regional interest as part of their learning. Years 7 and 8 students now attend technology classes at the local secondary school. Students enjoy many leadership and e-learning opportunities.

In most classrooms students are involved in purposeful learning. Student attendance is high and closely monitored. The school’s expectations for excellence and integrity can be seen in the positive culture of the school.

Since the 2009 ERO review, there have been some significant changes in the school-leadership team and the board of trustees. The three senior leaders are currently acting in their roles. They have led a recent focus on strengthening teachers’ professional practice.

2. Learning

How well are students learning – engaging, progressing and achieving?

Students overall are achieving well in reading and writing. In general, students are not achieving as well in mathematics.

The school’s 2011 information suggests that most students are achieving at or above the National Standards in reading. Three-quarters of the students are achieving at or above the National Standards in writing. Two-thirds of students are achieving at or above the National Standards in mathematics. This information also shows that the school’s Māori students are not achieving as well overall as their non-Māori peers. Raising Māori student achievement should continue to be prioritised.

Findings

Focus on student achievement. Student achievement information has been well used to identify areas of need and students of concern. School leaders and trustees are aware of where student achievement meets expectations and where it needs to be improved. Some students are taking part in a programme to accelerate their learning in mathematics.

Involvement. School leaders are increasing opportunities for students and parents to have input into aspects of school learning. Examples include goal setting interviews, the use of e-portfolios and some individual education plans. Students confidently express their ideas and are well motivated to learn. Students enjoy teachers’ support and take opportunities to develop their leadership skills.

Learning environment. There are many features of the learning environment that support students’ learning. School expectations for behaviour and routines are underpinned by the school’s values. There is a positive tone in the school and a focus on school pride. Students were on task and appeared interested and motivated to learn. The relationships between teachers and students were positive. All school staff promote a safe and inclusive environment.

Areas for review and development

Progress. Students’ progress should be more closely monitored. Leaders and teachers should:

  • develop, document and implement a shared understanding of expectations for student progress and accelerated progress
  • better analyse and interpret achievement information.

Teachers need to show the progress students have made when participating in intervention programmes.

Future learning. The quality of student goal setting and monitoring is highly variable. School leaders should ensure that student goal setting is more effectively used to show how well students are learning and what progress they are making. Leaders have identified, and ERO agrees, that teachers should support students to have a greater knowledge and understanding of their next learning steps.

3. Curriculum

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

The school’s curriculum is providing many opportunities for students to learn and achieve.

Findings

Curriculum development. School leaders and teachers have started to review and redevelop their curriculum. They have revised the school values and aligned these with Māori values. The key competencies (thinking, using language, symbols and text, managing self, relating to others and participating and contributing) are made meaningful to students and their families. The English curriculum was extensively revised in 2011. It has clear expectations for what teachers and students should do and achieve.

Inquiring into teaching practice. Senior leaders are building teachers’ capability to reflect on and inquire into their teaching practice. They have promoted a useful model for teachers to do this. Teachers are being supported by ongoing professional development.

Area for review and development

Further curriculum development. Aspects of the curriculum require further development. These include:

  • establishing parents’ priorities for the school curriculum and the school’s expectations for effective teaching and learning
  • integrating Māori perspectives into the curriculum and teaching programmes
  • integrating the New Zealand Curriculum principles into classroom and school planning
  • better use of student achievement information in syndicate discussions and when evaluating units of work
  • review of how well the process of inquiry supports teachers in raising student achievement.

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

Findings

Promoting success for Māori students

Trustees, leaders and teachers are in the early stages of developing strategies to support educational success for Māori, as Māori. Students’ participation in kapa haka is providing opportunities for some Māori students to explore their identity and culture. In late 2011 the school held a successful whānau hui to find out what the families wanted for their children. Leaders and advisers are developing teachers’ understanding of Tātaiako (cultural competencies for teachers) and aligning these with school values.

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.

Areas of strength

Aspects of governance. Trustees are focused on improving outcomes for students. They fund additional staffing to help meet this goal. The board provides good support for the acting principal. Trustees work collaboratively with school leaders to achieve the school’s vision and goals.

Professional leadership. A new senior-leadership team, ably led by the acting principal, has been proactive in initiating change to improve teaching, learning and student achievement. School developments reflect the acting principal’s focus on building a learning community. She has emphasised the importance of open, collaborative relationships to help bring about change. Some key developments to support ongoing school improvement include:

  • reallocating some staff roles and responsibilities to support student learning
  • providing more explicit expectations and guidelines for staff
  • building leadership capacity and partnerships for learning.

Area for review and development

Strengthening self review. Trustees and senior leaders are now in a position to deepen their understanding of self review and strengthen their review processes by:

  • developing, recording and implementing a self-review schedule and guidelines that support ongoing whole-school improvement
  • finding out and reporting on the difference school programmes and initiatives are making to teaching and learning
  • reviewing and redeveloping the strategic plan in consultation with the school community
  • better provision for gifted and talented 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
  • 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

28 June 2012

About the School

Location

Balclutha

Ministry of Education profile number

3812

School type

Full Primary (Years 1 to 8)

Decile1

6

School roll

271

Gender composition

Boys 53%

Girls 47%

Ethnic composition

NZ European/Pākehā

Māori

Other Pacific

British/Irish

81%

16%

1%

2%

Review team on site

May 2012

Date of this report

28 June 2012

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Supplementary Review

Education Review

March 2009

March 2005

November 2004

1 School deciles range from 1 to 10. Decile 1 schools draw their students from low socio-economic communities and at the other end of the range, decile 10 schools draw their students from high socio-economic communities. Deciles are used to provide funding to state and state integrated schools. The lower the school’s decile the more funding it receives. A school’s decile is in no way linked to the quality of education it provides.