Sandspit Road School - 20/06/2014

Findings

Students are generally achieving well at Sandspit Road School. Most students are achieving at and above the National Standards in reading, writing and mathematics. While the curriculum is generally effective in promoting and supporting student learning, it is timely to revisit the curriculum intent with the community. The school has identified many of its challenges ahead and ERO suggests that the board and senior managers prioritise these challenges in its planning for improvement.

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?

Sandspit Road School is a medium sized school catering for students from Years 1 to 8 from the township and rural area of Waiuku. The school roll has remained constant since the last review. Students are from a range of ethnic backgrounds, with New Zealand European and Māori the largest groupings. The senior management team has stayed constant. There have been some staff changes, and a new chairperson leads the board of trustees.

The school has prioritized school developments in mathematics, writing, blended E-learning, assessment for learning (AFOL), and Māori and Pacific achievement. Learning programmes are primarily focused on numeracy and literacy. The culture of the school promotes an emotionally and physically safe environment for children. Parents who spoke to ERO are proud of their school and generally know how well their children are progressing and achieving in their learning.

Since the 2011 ERO review the school has reduced its school structure from three to two syndicates, with juniors in Years 1 to 4 and seniors in Years 5 to 8. Senior leaders find this structure to be more effective than the previous model. The school continues to seek better ways to increase student achievement through the provision of professional development for teaching staff.

2 Learning

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

The school uses student achievement information well to make positive changes to learners’ engagement, progress and achievement. Students generally achieve well against the National Standards in reading, writing and mathematics. However, achievement in writing and mathematics has not progressed as well as in reading over the last few years. Senior leaders recognise they have to provide further support in these areas.

Classrooms are well organised to support student learning, and students are engaged with the learning programmes. Good relationships and interactions between teachers and students are evident in all classrooms. There are very good classroom management practices and high expectations for learning and behaviour throughout the school.

Teachers provide differentiated learning programmes to meet the needs of students. Good use is made of formative assessment to help students progress their learning. Students in some classes understand how well they are achieving against the National Standards.

School leaders’ support for students with high learning needs is very effective and serves students well. Good quality assessment processes ensure that these students are identified and assisted with their learning.

Analysis of student achievement data is a strength. However, student learning could be further enhanced by more in depth use of the analysed data. This could strengthen decision making about programme resourcing and improve knowledge about the achievement of students with high learning needs.

Senior leaders and teachers could also consider how to develop more robust self review, including through teaching as inquiry approaches to ensure all teachers' use of achievement data is informing learning programmes and progressing individual student achievement.

3 Curriculum

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

The curriculum is generally effective in promoting and supporting student learning. However, it is timely to review the curriculum’s intent to ensure it reflects the school community and region, and is broad enough to reflect local and global view points. The review should also consider how the Ministry of Education’s Māori education strategy, Ka Hikitia, and Pasifika Education Plan can be incorporated so that the curriculum better supports Māori and Pacific students.

Curriculum documents and policies reflect understanding about current teaching and learning practices. Guidelines, principles and values ensure the curriculum is aligned to The New Zealand Curriculum. The curriculum has a focus on information and communication technologies (ICT) throughout and this aspect is well taught across the school.

Senior leaders should consider prioritising the school’s areas for curriculum development. This should enable senior leaders and teachers to concentrate time and resources more closely on fewer areas and work more successfully with these priority areas.

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

Twenty four percent of the school roll identify as Māori. Some teachers have implemented strategies to support Māori students’ cultural identity through the recognition of hapū and iwi connections. This has fostered the development of stronger connections and relationships with parents and the community. A junior Māori learning programme is being well planned and implemented in classrooms by a specialist teacher.

4 Sustainable Performance

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

The school is developing capacity to sustain good practices and continue improving. The board gives the school a clear sense of direction, makes the best use of trustees’ strengths and is well led by the recently appointed chairperson. Trustees are knowledgeable about student achievement and committed to their governance role. They make decisions in the best interests of students and provide opportunities for professional development based on the identified needs of students and teachers.

Senior leaders are experienced, committed and knowledgeable. They give clear guidelines for management and curriculum processes. Senior leaders use student achievement well to inform their decision making and use professional learning to focus on improving student learning, engagement and achievement.

To ensure sustainability and to support ongoing school development the board and principal should:

  • improve consultation with all parents and the community
  • establish a more cohesive professional environment in the school by providing staff and students more opportunity to be involved in school decision making
  • ensure that the principal’s and staff appraisals are robust and effectively support improvements
  • further strengthen self-review practices.

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.

During the review ERO identified two areas of non-compliance. To address these areas the board must:

  • ensure that all staff are appraised annually and the principal's performance agreement and appraisal is completed annually [State Sector Act 1988, s77C ]
  • consult with Māori parents and their community to develop policies, plans, and targets for improving the achievement of Māori students [National Administration Guidelines 1e].

Conclusion

Students are generally achieving well at Sandspit Road School. Most students are achieving at and above the National Standards in reading, writing and mathematics. While the curriculum is generally effective in promoting and supporting student learning, it is timely to revisit the curriculum intent with the community. The school has identified many of its challenges ahead and ERO suggests that the board and senior managers prioritise these challenges in its planning for improvement.

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

Dale Bailey

National Manager Review Services Northern Region

20 June 2014

About the School

Location

Waiuku, Auckland

Ministry of Education profile number

1479

School type

Full Primary (Years 1 to 8)

School roll

343

Gender composition

Boys 52% Girls 48%

Ethnic composition

Māori

NZ European/Pākehā

Tongan

Other

24%

60%

2%

14%

Review team on site

May 2014

Date of this report

20 June 2014

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

May 2011

May 2008

April 2006