South Wellington Intermediate - 22/04/2015

Findings

A majority of students achieve at or above against National Standards in reading, writing and mathematics. They have many opportunities through the broad curriculum. Students observed were on task and engaged in their learning. Relationships are positive, respectful and supportive. Leaders need to improve aspects of curriculum, self review and assessment.

ERO intends to carry out another review over the course of one-to-two years.

1 Context

What are the important features of this school that have an impact on student learning?

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 302 students includes 15% who identify as Māori and 6% as Pacific.

Students learn in home rooms for some subjects and go to specialist classes for other areas of the curriculum. Currently, work is underway to progressively upgrade the classroom block and build a large multipurpose hall. Trustees and staff are focused on minimising disruptions to teaching and learning.

There has been considerable change to the school's senior management team. A new principal started in 2015. She is joined in the senior leadership team by a long-serving deputy principal, and a new acting deputy principal and senior teacher.

The school participates in a range of Ministry of Education initiatives to strengthen and enhance student engagement and learning. Some areas identified for development in the June 2012 ERO report have yet to be fully addressed.

2 Learning

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

The school is developing its processes for using student achievement information to effectively promote engagement and learning.

School leaders report that a majority of students achieved at or above in relation to National Standards in reading, writing and mathematics in 2014. Māori students are achieving at levels slightly below the rest of the school. Improving the achievement levels of Pacific students is an ongoing priority. Parents, families and whānau receive appropriate plain language reports about students' progress and achievement.

The school uses a suitable range of assessment tools to identify students' progress and levels of achievement in reading, writing and mathematics. This information is not yet consistently robust nor effectively collected, collated or analysed school-wide. Annual charter targets are developed from National Standards achievement data.

ERO and school leaders agree that significant priorities for the school include:

  • developing and implementing effective processes for collating, analysing, tracking and monitoring student achievement

  • defining specific student achievement targets and implementing a planned and deliberate approach to accelerating the progress of targeted students

  • explicitly stating expectations and processes for the use of student achievement information by teachers to enhance teaching and learning

  • regularly reporting to the board on student progress and the impact of teaching initiatives.

3 Curriculum

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

The curriculum provides many opportunities for students to participate and celebrate success in a wide range of academic, sporting, cultural and leadership activities. Specialist teaching in technology, science, the arts, languages, physical education and sport enables students to benefit from teachers’ interests and expertise.

Classes are settled with students on task and engaged in their learning. Relationships among students and teachers are positive and respectful.

It is timely for school leaders to thoroughly review and define the overarching curriculum framework, in consultation with staff, students, parents and community. This significant review should develop shared understandings of, and systems to implement and monitor:

  • schoolwide expectations for the use of assessment information in planning and teaching

  • the use of local contexts, knowledge and experiences

  • the inclusion of te ao Māori in schemes and unit plans

  • culturally-responsive teaching practices

  • teacher reflection, inquiry and appraisal.

Developing and implementing a school-wide professional learning and development programme that supports and embeds these key aspects should be an essential component of this curriculum review.

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

The school values aspects of tikanga Māori. Strategies are in place to build on Māori students’ sense of belonging and mana. These include kapa haka as part of Pasifika Fusion, leadership roles, te reo for all classes, and pōwhiri.

Senior leaders acknowledge the importance of making te ao Māori more visible in the curriculum and in classrooms. The board and leaders have affirmed their commitment to more effectively engage parents and whānau in students’ learning and in the life of the school.

4 Sustainable Performance

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

School leaders recognise that continuing to address a number of significant issues will leave them better placed to sustain and improve their performance.

Board members bring a range of skills and valuable community links to their governance role. Together with the new principal and senior leaders, they express enthusiastic commitment to improving and promoting the school. There is a clear, schoolwide sense of readiness for change.

The charter review and development, started in 2014, aims to clearly redefine and restate the school’s vision and mission. This ongoing work should provide a sound basis for further review and development. Self-review processes are still developing and should benefit from improved use of well-analysed evidence and data.

A useful framework is in place to support teacher inquiry. The appraisal process for teachers and principal was not consistently completed in 2014. A new appraisal format has been introduced for 2015.

ERO, trustees and school leaders agree that important next steps to improve effectiveness and sustainability include:

  • using critical, systematic, evidence-based self review to identify strengths and necessary development

  • building staff capacity to lead and manage change and evaluate its outcomes and impact

  • continuing to explore, enhance and strengthen partnerships with families, whānau, aiga and the wider community

  • aligning systems and processes to ensure coherence and shared understandings.

Provision for international students

The school is a signatory to the Code of Practice for the Pastoral Care of International Students (the Code) established under section 238F of the Education Act 1989. The school has attested that it complies with all aspects of the Code.

At the time of this review there was one international student attending the school.

ERO’s investigations confirmed that the school regularly reviews processes for the inclusion and education of international students.

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 majority of students achieve at or above against National Standards in reading, writing and mathematics. They have many opportunities through the broad curriculum. Students observed were on task and engaged in their learning. Relationships are positive, respectful and supportive. Leaders need to improve aspects of curriculum, self review and assessment.

ERO intends to carry out another review over the course of one-to-two years.

Joyce Gebbie
Deputy Chief Review Officer 
Central Region 

About the School

Location

Wellington

Ministry of Education profile number

2994

School type

Intermediate (Years 7 to 8)

School roll

302

Number of international students

1

Gender composition

Boys 50%, Girls 50%

Ethnic composition

NZ European/Pākehā
Māori
Pacific
Indian
Other ethnic groups

58%
15%
  6%
  4%
17%

Review team on site

February 2015

Date of this report

22 April 2015

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review
Education Review
Supplementary Review

June 2012
April 2009
March 2007