Sir Douglas Bader Intermediate School - 29/05/2015

Findings

Sir Douglas Bader Intermediate School has made significant progress over the past two years. Improvements in leadership, curriculum, teaching practices and school tone are impacting positively on student engagement in learning. School leaders and teachers continue to review and refine improvement initiatives as they work strategically to improve student learning outcomes.

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?

Sir Douglas Bader Intermediate School is located in Mangere, South Auckland, and caters for Year 7 and 8 students. Students are mainly of Pacific and Māori descent. The school’s 2010 ERO report identified a number of areas that required urgent attention. Concerns included those relating to the quality of teaching, school-community relationships and the leadership of school development.

Since 2011 the school has been involved in two consecutive 1-2 year ERO review cycles. The first of these commenced in December 2011 and focused on bringing about improvement in teaching and learning, student achievement, and matters relating to school leadership and governance. This review concluded in December 2013 and a second such review commenced in 2014 due to the limited progress made by the school in addressing the concerns identified.

Over the time of this second review a number of significant changes have occurred. The school’s board of trustees was replaced by a commissioner to guide and support the school to develop effective governance and management.

The school has also experienced significant staff turnover in the past two years. An acting principal managed the school during Term 2, 2014, and a new principal was appointed to lead the school from Term 3, 2014. A new senior leadership team is now in place and has been restructured to provide a more focused leadership model. The current principal and commissioner have been instrumental in promoting effective change management and in bringing about improvements on many levels to promote better outcomes for students.

2 Review and Development

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

Priorities identified for review and development

ERO’s 2013 report identified the need to improve students’ learning and achievement. Particular areas for review and development were identified to improve the quality of:

  • curriculum design and review
  • teaching practice and student achievement
  • the analysis and use of achievement data
  • management and leadership
  • financial management
  • school self-review.

Progress

The school has made good progress in relation to the priorities for review and development. Senior leaders and teachers have worked together well to develop a more responsive, engaging and challenging curriculum for students. Links between the school’s curriculum and The New Zealand Curriculum (NZC) have been strengthened, and there is greater clarity about and collaboration between staff in curriculum planning.

Curriculum review is also a collaborative process. It is well-planned and documented, and includes the views of the community, teachers and students. As a result, the curriculum is becoming increasingly more aligned to students’ interest and aspirations, and makes better use of local contexts for learning. School and Māori values are closely aligned and actively promoted within the school. Deliberate promotion of student leadership is helping to engage students in their learning. Students are also benefiting from learning te reo and tikanga Māori.

Teachers are participating in professional learning to improve the teaching of reading, writing and mathematics. They show commitment to improving teaching practices and are well supported by senior leaders and an external facilitator to achieve this. An effective performance management system has been introduced. This developmentally oriented process includes clear expectations for effective teaching. Work to improve teaching practice and performance appraisal is having a beneficial impact, and teacher use of focused and effective teaching methods continues to increase.

Professional learning is also helping teachers to develop their skills in analysing achievement data and in using this information to identify students who require additional learning support. Their confidence in making judgements about student progress and achievement continues to grow. They closely monitor student progress and use targeted teaching strategies to help raise levels of student achievement.

Senior leaders and teachers acknowledge the ongoing challenge of improving student achievement, and continue to reflect on teaching practices to address this.

Key next steps

Senior leaders and teachers should continue to progress work aimed at improving learning outcomes for students. This includes work on strengthening curriculum design and review, and on integrating the NZC values, principles and key competencies into the school’s curriculum to further enable students to experience an engaging and challenging curriculum.

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 its performance.

Findings

The principal, commissioner and staff have developed effective processes to promote ongoing school improvement. Sound systems for managing and monitoring progress against strategic priorities and for guiding financial decision making are evident and set clear direction for the school. Appropriate policies and procedures are in place to guide governance and management, and the principal is continuing to rationalise the policy framework for improved manageability and coherence.

Improved clarity in communications with parents and whānau promotes transparency and confidence, and is helping to build stronger community engagement.

The promotion of values of manaakitanga and whanaungatanga are fostering a more positive school culture. Well considered and strategic leadership has had a significant impact in achieving the settled and productive tone that now characterises the school.

Effective change management by the commissioner, principal and leadership team is leading to positive and sustainable improvements. The principal has accessed significant funding to resource school improvements and to improve learning environments for students and staff.

Self review processes continue to develop and include the use of indicators of effective practice that help leaders and staff identify priorities for school improvement. The principal closely monitors progress towards student achievement targets and strategic goals. Performance appraisal processes have been reviewed and improved, resulting in increased expectations for teachers’ practice.

The appointment of a commissioner by the Ministry of Education to manage school governance has been very effective. This intervention has served the school well, providing the principal with sound advice and guidance and positioning the school well for return to self-governance. Planning for the transition to an elected board of trustees is underway, with a group of parents now serving as a reference group and becoming involved in the school’s planning processes. Training for prospective trustees is a next planned step in the transition process to familiarise them with the school governance role. The return to an elected board is anticipated towards the end of the 2015 school year.

Key next steps

Senior leaders and teachers should continue work to improve school performance, giving priority to:

  • embedding school improvement initiatives to bring about sustainable and positive changes in student outcomes
  • further engaging the school’s community to support students’ learning
  • evaluating the effectiveness of interventions for improving student progress and achievement
  • continuing to develop effective consultation with whānau.

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.

4 Recommendations

Recommendations, including any to other agencies for ongoing or additional support.

ERO recommends that the Ministry of Education consider providing support for the school as it transitions to self-governance and to ensure teaching and learning programmes are appropriately resourced.

Conclusion

Sir Douglas Bader Intermediate School has made significant progress over the past two years. Improvements in leadership, curriculum, teaching practices and school tone are impacting positively on student engagement in learning. School leaders and teachers continue to review and refine improvement initiatives as they work strategically to improve student learning outcomes.

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

Dale Bailey

Deputy Chief Review Officer Northern

29 May 2015

About the School

Location

Mangere, Auckland

Ministry of Education profile number

1215

School type

Intermediate (Years 7 to 8)

School roll

163

Gender composition

Boys 56%

Girls 44%

Ethnic composition

Māori

Pākehā

Samoan

Tongan

Cook Island Māori

other

22%

1%

26%

20%

18%

13%

Review team on site

March 2015

Date of this report

29 May 2015

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

November 2013

October 2011

November 2008