Stonefields School - 31/07/2015

Findings

Opened in 2011, Stonefields School is a highly inclusive and innovative school for students in Years 1 to 8. Students experience a well designed curriculum with exciting learning experiences that promote their independence and collaborative skills. Leadership and governance are very effective and community focused. Parent/whānau involvement in the curriculum is valued.

ERO is likely to carry out the next review in four-to-five years.

1. Context

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

Stonefields School is located in the new suburb of Stonefields, between St Johns and Mt Wellington. It caters for students in Years 1 to 8. The school opened in 2011 and this is its second ERO review. The school roll has continued to grow rapidly. New teachers have joined the staff, and the school has successfully completed the second stage of the building programme.

The school’s foundation vision remains highly evident. It centres on the four principles of building learning capacity, collaborating, making meaning and breaking through. Students know and use these concepts well to support their learning. School values encourage students to dig deep, ‘think big’ and be respectful.

A key focus for school leaders is promoting an inclusive school culture. Students come from diverse cultural backgrounds and many speak more than one language. The school hosts a satellite class for Sommerville School, which is located in the centre of the school. There is a strong sense of we and us and working together in a kind, caring and responsive environment.

Learning happens in a variety of open spaces called hubs. In each hub, up to 80 students and three teachers, depending on the age of the students, work collaboratively and flexibly. These spaces are well resourced and innovative places that are open and welcoming for learners and their families.

2. Learning

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

The school uses achievement information well to promote learners’ engagement, progress and achievement. Evidence-based practices rigorously inform decision making. Many students progress and achieve well in relation to the National Standards. Students, including Māori, who remain at Stonefields School over longer periods of time, achieve very good outcomes.

School achievement information is very robust and well analysed. Through local school cluster networks and school-wide moderation practices, teachers have continued to strengthen their overall teacher judgements in relation to the National Standards.

Students develop high levels of self efficacy and confidence to lead their learning. Using their own assessment information, they are carefully guided to make informed decisions about their learning. Teachers have regular, purposeful conversations with students to support their ongoing progress.

Learning tools and resources help students reflect on their learning and collaborate with others to extend their knowledge. Students know what to do and how to act to solve learning challenges. They are supported to be resilient and empowered as capable learners.

Senior leaders appropriately prioritise relevant learning resources for students who require additional learning support. Carefully considered programmes and interventions are used to build students’ learning capability.

Māori students are well known and supported. Some achieve very well. The school has appropriate strategies in place to accelerate their progress and achievement. Whānau are well informed about their child’s progress, and positive relationships between teachers and families are evident.

Pacific students are also well known and well supported. Students achieve well. A new Pacific parents group has been developed. This could assist teachers to connect more with students’ languages and cultures to help to accelerate their success.

Achievement information is readily available and frequently updated for families. The school has thoughtful communication strategies that are well monitored to help ensure families access information to support their child’s learning. Formal reporting on student progress and achievement is well designed and regularly reviewed.

The board uses achievement information effectively to set annual achievement targets and make resourcing decisions. High expectations for student progress underpin strategic and annual goals. Work is continuing to increase success for Māori and Pacific learners. School leaders are well placed to evaluate what is most effective in supporting diverse learners to achieve equitable outcomes.

The board is well placed to set more specific achievement targets and align reporting to focus on how well targeted students achieve accelerated outcomes. A continued focus for the board is how well groups of boys progress over time.

3. Curriculum

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

The Stonefields School curriculum promotes and supports student learning very effectively. Students experience an inspiring and exciting education, while learning to show kindness and empathy towards others.

The school’s curriculum is comprehensively based on current educational research and very clearly aligned to The New Zealand Curriculum (NZC). It is holistic, modern and broad. The curriculum aligns well to the school’s vision and values.

The curriculum is learner centred and strengths based. It is designed to be flexible and adaptive, responding to student learning interests in innovative ways. The curriculum also builds a strong literacy and mathematical foundation for students.

The school curriculum has a strong emphasis on students contributing and respecting each other. The shared decision making between students, teachers and families helps promote a strong sense of belonging and wairua. Tuakana/teina relationships support students to learn together and understand how to learn.

Students show high levels of interest and enthusiasm for their learning. They confidently collaborate and co-operate. Students’ exploration and communication skills are very well supported by teachers and through digital learning opportunities. Students achieve a high level of digital literacy and fluency to prepare them effectively for future learning.

The school works in partnership with families. There are regular opportunities for collaboration and consultation that benefit learners. The high visibility of families participating in learning programmes and leading specialised groups highlights the value placed by the school on whānau involvement in the curriculum.

Teachers are highly responsive to individual student interests and learning requirements. They make time and space for students to create new knowledge. Teachers skilfully use the well resourced and thoughtfully designed environments to encourage students to take learning risks. There is a very effective balance of deliberate teaching and experiential learning opportunities.

High quality and strategic professional development effectively connects with powerful educational networks to ensure ongoing teaching improvements. The school’s teacher effectiveness framework guides high quality teaching practice and teacher reflection. Robust and well designed performance management processes clearly link to enhance student learning outcomes.

School leaders are developing meaningful opportunities for students to explore the multiple worlds around them. Increasing te ao Māori and Pacific perspectives consistently through the curriculum and strengthening teachers’ confidence in delivering te reo Māori are areas for consideration. Teachers could also identify successful teaching strategies that help students’ further access and use their home languages and culture at school.

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

The school effectively promotes educational success for Māori students and is increasing its capacity to promote success as Māori. The school has made significant progress since the 2012 ERO review. Māori students are proud of their identity and heritage.

The school has appointed key staff fluent in te reo Māori and Māoritanga. This development is helping to increase the school’s capacity and over time should increase te reo Māori learning opportunities for students. Māori staff have valuable opportunities to share their expertise.

Marae noho and bicultural celebrations have broadened student learning contexts. They have offered meaningful opportunities for Māori students to lead as Māori through mihi and eventually whaikorero. The school is continuing to build on the success of these key events.

Leaders have carefully and respectfully developed their relationships with whānau, establishing partnerships that are supporting Māori students to succeed as Māori. The large and diverse kapa haka group is led by whānau and supported by leaders, teachers and the wider community.

Whānau have developed an annual plan to guide the partnerships between whānau and the school. This plan offers a sincere and reciprocal opportunity to inform the school’s strategic plan.

School leaders have identified strategies such as a wananga to connect key school and community contributors, including local iwi. This could contribute to the school developing the Māori perspective of the school’s vision and values that is shared and well understood.

The school is well placed to enhance outcomes for Māori students. School leaders and teachers are using recent Ministry of Education resources to enhance their self review and teaching. The focus on accelerating achievement for Māori is increasingly evident in annual school goals. The board could also make good use of Ministry of Education's Māori Success resources to inform strategic reviews and plans.

4. Sustainable Performance

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

The school is very well placed to sustain and improve its performance.

Robust, rigorous, and ongoing self review informs continual school improvement. Leaders are continuing to thoughtfully extend the school’s culture of evaluation. The well established culture of inquiry and innovation includes multiple perspectives, especially learners'.

The school is very well led by the principal and senior leadership team. They are highly reflective and skilled. School leaders model a high level of professionalism and strategically develop leadership capacity. They use current educational research and theory to inform continuous improvement. Leaders make decisions based on what is best for students.

School leaders’ respectful approach clearly models the school’s values and expectations. Staff are consulted and included in school decision making. This collaboration helps teachers to manage change and encourages their loyalty and cohesion. Teachers are highly committed to professional development and many are involved in higher levels of education.

The collaborative school culture has resulted from a determination to create new opportunities for all learners to experience success. An unrelenting focus on student progress and belief in being educationally courageous is motivating for students and staff.

Highly effective governance has managed significant changes. Trustees are skilled and well informed about school developments and student achievement. They work constructively with senior leaders. The strategic vision and significant initiatives are well embedded in school practices. The board has sought relevant external advice and guidance to further strengthen its governance role. Additional evaluative reports on student wellbeing would complement current quality assurance reports to the board.

Sustainable leadership and governance practices are maintained. The next phase for school leaders is one of consolidation and future planning. The board is looking forward to planning and consulting for the third stage of the building programme. Trustees are well connected with the community. They are exploring ways to increase input from families for whom English is not their home language. They are committed to encouraging diverse representation on the board.

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

Opened in 2011, Stonefields School is a highly inclusive and innovative school for students in Years 1 to 8. Students experience a well designed curriculum with exciting learning experiences that promote their independence and collaborative skills. Leadership and governance are very effective and community focused. Parent/whānau involvement in the curriculum is valued.

ERO is likely to carry out the next review in four-to-five years.

Graham Randell

Deputy Chief Review Officer Northern (Acting)

31 July 2015

About the School

Location

Stonefields, Auckland

Ministry of Education profile number

565

School type

Full Primary (Years 1 to 8)

School roll

449

Gender composition

Girls 51%

Boys 49%

Ethnic composition

Māori

NZ European/Pākehā

Chinese

Indian

Middle Eastern

British/Irish

Sri Lankan

Filipino

Samoan

Cook Island Māori

Korean

Latin American

other Asian

other European

other Pacific

other

5%

48%

10%

5%

4%

3%

3%

2%

2%

1%

1%

1%

5%

5%

3%

2%

Special Features

Sommerville School Satellite class

Review team on site

June 2015

Date of this report

31 July 2015

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

June 2012