Silverstream (South) Primary School - 20/08/2014

Findings

The school has a caring, inclusive and respectful culture. Students learn in settled and well-managed classrooms. They are supported in their learning and benefit from a well-designed and interesting curriculum. Most students make good progress and achieve well. Parents are very involved in the school and in their children’s learning.

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?

Students in Years 1 to 6 from a range of different cultural backgrounds attend the school. Students know about and show the school’s values of being respectful and responsible. They describe their school as a safe and friendly place.

The school’s vision is ‘learning to be the best we can be’. This is reflected in the staff's care for each child as a person and as a learner. There is a strong focus on readiness for college and life beyond school. At all levels, ERO observed positive and caring relationships.

The board and staff work hard to involve parents in the school and in their children’s learning. They support families by providing before and after-school care and a homework club. Parents support the school in a variety of ways. There are also strong links between the school and wider community, especially with neighbouring early-childhood centres.

The school’s present priorities are to promote physical activity and better use ICT as a teaching and learning tool. Senior classrooms have been upgraded to create a more modern learning environment.

Since the 2010 ERO review there have been few staff changes. The board and school leaders have made progress in addressing the key recommendations in ERO’s last report. Self review remains an ongoing focus.

2 Learning

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

The staff and board use achievement information well to support students in their learning.

Most students achieve very well against the National Standards in reading, with a large group achieving above expected levels. About two-thirds of the students achieve at or above the National Standards in writing and mathematics.

Overall, school leaders and other staff make constructive use of a range of student achievement information. In particular, ERO noted that teachers:

  • know their students very well as individuals
  • regularly reflect on what has or hasn’t worked and adapt what they do
  • are willing to try new programmes and initiatives or seek advice
  • include in the students’ reports, easy to understand next steps plus ideas about how parents can help with their child’s learning at home.

The senior leadership team ensures that:

  • the board gets regular information about school-wide student achievement
  • there are efficient systems for identifying students at risk with their learning
  • the board is well informed about how these students are supported.
  • Some examples of particularly effective practices were seen when teachers:
  • within their syndicate, carefully analysed achievement information and identified next learning steps
  • gave students specific written feedback and feed forward (next steps) about their learning
  • had supported students to have a good understanding of their progress and next steps.

Areas for review and development

The next steps are to:

  • better involve students in the assessment process
  • review future targets to lift student achievement so that they better include groups of students who are at risk with their learning.

3 Curriculum

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

The school’s curriculum strongly supports students’ interest and success in learning. Students learn in settled and well-managed classrooms. Senior students who spoke with ERO said that their learning was interesting and they got to learn about many topics.

Other positive features of the school’s curriculum include:

  • the way that the school’s vision and values underpin what happens in classrooms
  • the clear guidelines and expectations for teaching and learning.

Students benefit from a broad curriculum with a wide range of interesting learning experiences. Key features of this include:

  • a well-embedded inquiry approach to learning
  • a strong focus on progressively more challenging inquiry skills
  • well-planned visual and performing arts learning
  • a wide range of physical activity.

The school is well resourced. In particular, the library is a widely-used and attractive learning area. It has a carefully selected range of books and other material. The knowledgeable librarian provides teachers and students with hand-picked resources for class-based learning.

Students with special needs are very well supported in their learning and care. These students:

  • have individualised programmes that are responsive to their strengths and interests
  • are genuinely included in school life
  • are supported by trained and competent teacher aides.

Area for review and development

The senior leadership team and teachers presently provide descriptive curriculum reports and/or reviews. The next step is to better evaluate how well each curriculum area and other aspects of teaching and learning are implemented.

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

Most Māori students achieve at or above the National Standards in reading, writing and mathematics. Those who need extra support are well supported. Senior Māori students who talked with ERO spoke positively about their school and teachers.

The school regularly consults with families about what it is doing and what it could do better. The outcomes of these discussions are reported to the board. The school has specific plans as to how it will support Māori students and value Māori culture.

The staff’s commitment to better valuing Māori language and culture is evident.

Area for review and development

Senior leaders and teachers need to further increase how Māori language, culture, history and knowledge are included in day-to-day learning. All students need ready access to readers and resources and experiences that enable them to progress in their te reo Māori knowledge and skills over time.

4 Sustainable Performance

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

The school is well placed to sustain and improve the quality of education it provides for its students.

Evidence supporting this judgement includes:

  • the effective governance and management practices
  • the strong and knowledgeable leadership team
  • the way the principal values and makes good use of teachers’ strengths and encourages emerging leadership
  • the collaborative way that teachers, teacher aides and senior leaders work
  • that staff are very well supported by senior leaders and the board.

This review also found that:

  • trustees have relevant skills and a useful understanding of effective governance
  • new trustees have benefited from relevant professional learning and appropriate support from the principal and experienced trustees
  • the principal regularly updates the board about progress towards meeting the annual plan goals and other school priorities
  • useful systems and structures to encourage teachers to reflect on their work.

Areas for review and development

The board and ERO agree that it is time to review the school’s strategic and annual plans to ensure that these reflect present priorities. The board and senior leaders also need to:

  • ensure stronger alignment between strategic and annual plans, targets, professional learning, appraisal goals and self review
  • strengthen staff and trustee understanding of effective self review.

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

The school has a caring, inclusive and respectful culture. Students learn in settled and well-managed classrooms. They are supported in their learning and benefit from a well-designed and interesting curriculum. Most students make good progress and achieve well. Parents are very involved in the school and in their children’s learning.

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

Graham Randell

National Manager Review Services Southern Region

20 August 2014

About the School

Location

Mosgiel, Dunedin

Ministry of Education profile number

1657

School type

Contributing (Years 1 to 6)

School roll

275

Gender composition

Girls: 48% Boys: 52%

Ethnic composition

NZ European/Pākehā

Māori

Asian

Pacific

80%

15%

3%

2%

Review team on site

June 2014

Date of this report

20 August 2014

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

July 2011

March 2008

May 2005