South Wellington Intermediate - 18/05/2017

Findings

A more coherent approach to strategic planning, school operation and managing change leaves the school better placed to sustain and improve its performance. While many students achieve well, leaders and trustees acknowledge it is a priority to work to achieve equitable outcomes for all Māori and Pacific students.

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?

South Wellington Intermediate School in Newtown, Wellington provides a broad education for Years 7 and 8 students from the ethnically diverse local community. The roll of 355 students includes 17% who identify as Māori, 7% as Pacific and 5 short-stay international students.

The new principal, appointed from the beginning of 2015, and senior leaders have developed a reflective, responsive organisational culture that supports developing practice and ongoing improvement. Leaders and trustees have responded positively to areas for development identified in the April 2015 ERO report.

There have been a number of schoolwide professional development programmes over the past two years. These include a Ministry of Education initiative, Positive Behaviour for Learning (PB4L) and specific focuses on mathematics in 2016 and in 2017, and writing in 2017.

2 Review and Development

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

Priorities identified for review and development

The 2015 ERO report identified a number of key areas for ongoing development. These were for trustees and leaders to:

  • align systems and processes to ensure coherence and shared understandings
  • build staff capacity to lead and manage change and evaluate its outcomes and impact
  • explicitly state expectations and processes for the use of student achievement information by teachers to enhance teaching and learning
  • define specific student achievement targets and implement a planned and deliberate approach to accelerating the progress of targeted students
  • collate, analyse, track, monitor and report student achievement
  • review the overarching curriculum framework so as to develop and promote clear expectations for teaching and learning
  • use critical, systematic, evidence-based self-review to identify strengths and necessary development
  • explore, enhance and strengthen partnerships with families, whānau, aiga and the wider community.

Progress

Trustees and leaders have made significant progress in reviewing, refining and implementing a range of appropriate systems and processes to better support school operation and enhance student achievement. A comprehensive policy and procedure framework now guides schoolwide decision making. There is clearer alignment from strategic and annual planning, to professional learning and classroom practice. The newly introduced and refined appraisal system well supports teacher growth and development. Change is well managed with increasing shared understanding and acceptance of new approaches and direction.

A culture of regular critical reflection is being established and leaders are now introducing a more outcomes-focused, evaluative approach. Enhancing this process with the use of key indicators of expected performance at all levels of the school, to evaluate the impact of programmes and initiatives, is a priority.

Stronger links are being forged between school, families and the wider community. Regular consultation is occurring with feedback well analysed and used to inform decision making. Enhancing and growing partnerships with families and whānau is recognised as a key area for continued development.

At the end of 2016, many students achieved at or above in relation to National Standards, especially in reading.  School leaders and trustees acknowledge it is a priority to work to achieve equitable outcomes for all Māori and Pacific students.

Leaders have made significant progress in identifying, tracking and monitoring the progress of students at risk of not achieving. Appropriate tools are used to gather relevant achievement information. This data is well analysed for patterns and trends and is shared with trustees to inform decision making and review.

Clear expectations have been developed for the use of student achievement information by teachers in planning, teaching and reporting. Moderation processes have been strengthened with leaders now considering judgements to be more dependable. Students talk about their learning, their achievement in relation to National Standards, and what is needed to move ahead. Students with identified high learning needs are well supported.

Individual teacher inquiry is at a very early stage of implementation. Examples of inquiry processes have initially focused on group or team investigations. This is now evolving with smaller, more intensive investigations looking to change and grow teacher practice being appropriately introduced and promoted.

Curriculum development is ongoing. Considerable progress has been made in developing clear expectations and specific guidelines for teaching and learning. There is an appropriate focus on literacy and mathematics, with guidelines for other learning areas also prominent. Science is strongly promoted and evident in all classes. Diversity is recognised and valued. 

Developing an overarching document that draws together the many different aspects of the school’s curriculum remains an important area of development. Formalising and including explicit expectations for bicultural practice should be a key aspect of this development.

3 Sustainable performance and self review

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

As a result of recent development initiatives and programmes the school is better placed to sustain and improve its performance. A more coherent approach to strategic planning, school operation and managing change is evident.

Leaders and trustees have sound achievement information to inform and support decision making. This knowledge is beginning to be used to review the effectiveness of programmes and initiatives. They have a clear picture of students’ learning and wellbeing.

Trustees and leaders recognise the importance of embedding key developments and initiatives in the use of assessment information and teaching and learning to ensure continued improvement in student achievement.

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

A more coherent approach to strategic planning, school operation and managing change leaves the school better placed to sustain and improve its performance. While many students achieve well, leaders and trustees acknowledge it is a priority to work to achieve equitable outcomes for all Māori and Pacific students.

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

Patricia Davey
Deputy Chief Review Officer Central (Acting)

18 May 2017

About the School 

Location

Newtown, Wellington

Ministry of Education profile number

2994

School type

Intermediate (Years 7 to 8)

School roll

355

Gender composition

Male 55%, Female 45%

Ethnic composition

Māori
Pākehā
Asian
Pacific
Other ethnic groups

17%
54%
13%
  7%
  9%

Review team on site

March 2017

Date of this report

18 May 2017

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review
Education Review
Education Review

April 2015
June 2012
April 2009