Ross Intermediate - 18/11/2014

Findings

Students demonstrate pride in their school. Teachers promote their engagement in learning through a wide range of relevant, interesting experiences. Accelerating progress for students at risk in their learning and promoting success for Māori students are priorities. Continuing to develop effective assessment and self-review practices should help to improve outcomes for targeted groups of learners.

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?

Ross Intermediate, Palmerston North, caters for students in Years 7 and 8. The current roll of 517 includes 127 Māori and 15 Pacific students.

The school is well resourced for digital learning. Every student has access to a laptop. A group of classes focuses on media as a context for learning. A centralised communication system has been introduced to promote communications and sharing of practice within the school.

A new leadership structure has been introduced in response to the growing roll. Plans are in place to reduce class sizes for 2015 and further integrate technology teaching into classroom programmes.

Externally facilitated professional development includes writing and leadership. The school is participating in its first year of a Ministry of Education project, Positive Behaviour for Learning (PB4L).

Students have pride in their school and are enthusiastic about the range of age-appropriate learning opportunities offered.

2 Learning

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

The school is developing consistent assessment practices to promote student progress and achievement.

Teachers use a range of assessment information to identify students to target for improvement. They implement strategies to promote learning, and monitor and discuss students' progress. Teachers demonstrate good knowledge of individuals’ interests and needs.

School achievement information shows there are significant numbers of students not achieving in relation to the National Standards in writing and mathematics. The school recognises that boys and Māori are overrepresented in these groups. Data shows many students make good progress over two years at the school.

The progress and achievement of students with special learning needs is well monitored. Data is used to inform decision-making and next steps.

Writing has been appropriately identified as an area where learning and achievement needs improvement. An English curriculum team has been established to develop an action plan. Teachers are participating in professional development. They are focusing their inquiry processes on effective strategies for supporting students in writing.

A recent review of assessment has resulted in a schedule to promote a consistent approach to gathering information. Leaders should continue to develop schoolwide systems for monitoring and analysing the progress and achievement of targeted groups, for example, Pacific students. Development should include strengthening processes for making and moderating overall teacher judgements in relation to the National Standards. This should assist teachers, leaders and trustees to review and promote accelerated progress for learners.

Student participation in assessment is encouraged through opportunities to share examples of progress and achievement with parents. Written reports provide useful information for parents about their children's achievement and next learning steps.

3 Curriculum

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

The curriculum promotes student engagement through providing a wide range of relevant and interesting learning experiences. Success is celebrated.

School expectations for learning and behaviour are established and continue to be developed through PB4L. Relationships are positive and respectful. Classes are settled. Students work purposefully and they are clear about expectations. Information and communication technologies are used regularly as tools to support learning and students demonstrate high levels of digital literacy.

Recent changes to programme planning enable teams to be more responsive to the interests and needs of their learners. Teachers use a variety of teaching approaches. A good process has been established for reflecting on the effectiveness of practices used to support identified learners. The next step is to analyse outcomes of teachers’ inquiries and use the findings to enhance practice schoolwide.

Teachers gather and respond to feedback from students about learning programmes. Student selfmanagement, responsibility and collaboration are actively encouraged. The school recognises the need to continue to promote student ownership and leadership of learning.

Current curriculum guidelines align to The New Zealand Curriculum. Working with the PB4L programme is providing opportunity to revisit the school values. This should help support a review of the curriculum vision and expectations for teaching and learning.

Updated curriculum guidelines would provide a useful framework for cohesive curriculum implementation and evaluation of effectiveness for all and identified learners. Work to strengthen the cultural and localised aspects of curriculum should be continued. The Pasifika Education Plan 2013 - 2017 should be used to assist with evaluating and reviewing provision for Pacific learners.

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

Recent consultation with Māori students and their whānau has provided the school with information about curriculum opportunities and communications with families. A strategic plan has been drafted in response to expressed aspirations and gives useful direction for development. Planning includes developing teachers’ cultural responsiveness, increasing curriculum opportunities for learning te reo me ngā tikanga Māori and strengthening partnerships with whānau and iwi.

School leaders and trustees recognise that outcomes for Māori students need to be improved. Accelerating progress of learners and promoting their identity and culture through all aspects of learning is a priority. Establishing a clear, shared vision for success as Māori, through meaningful partnerships, is an important next step.

4 Sustainable Performance

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

The school is working to develop practices and initiatives that promote improvement. Establishing a clear self-review process, action plans and systematic monitoring of progress towards the goals should help with driving improvement and evaluating effectiveness.

Trustees receive a range of useful information about school operation and development to guide decision-making. Leaders report student achievement with recommendations for future initiatives and resourcing.

Leaders' development is appropriately supported through professional learning, regular meetings and appraisal. They should continue to work together to develop a shared understanding of the priorities, actions and evaluation required to promote positive outcomes for learners, particularly those at risk.

The performance management process has been strengthened. Teachers have a useful framework for reflecting on practice. To assist with building capability for promoting student outcomes, supporting the process with clearly defined actions and monitoring of progress towards teacher development goals, would be useful.

Recent changes to transition processes for Year 7 students strengthen information-sharing with parents. Next the school should further promote partnerships with families for supporting students' learning, particularly those considered to be risk.

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.

The New Zealand Curriculum requires boards of trustees to work towards offering Years 7 and 8 students opportunities to learn a second or subsequent language.

To improve current practice, the board should make provision for this language learning for its students.

Conclusion

Students demonstrate pride in their school. Teachers promote their engagement in learning through a wide range of relevant, interesting experiences. Accelerating progress for students at risk in their learning and promoting success for Māori students are priorities. Continuing to develop effective assessment and self-review practices should help to improve outcomes for targeted groups of learners.

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

Joyce Gebbie

National Manager Review Services Central Region

18 November 2014

About the School

Location

Palmerston North

Ministry of Education profile number

2440

School type

Intermediate (Years 7 to 8)

School roll

517

Gender composition

Male 53%, Female 47%

Ethnic composition

NZ European/Pākehā

Māori

Tongan

Other Pacific

Asian

Other ethnic groups

65%

25%

2%

1%

4%

3%

Review team on site

September 2014

Date of this report

18 November 2014

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

August 2011

August 2008

February 2005