Stratford School - 13/08/2014

Findings

Trustees and staff work inclusively and collaboratively to further strengthen the Stratford School curriculum. Well-considered changes are promoting positive student engagement in learning. Many students achieve in relation to National Standards in reading, writing and mathematics. Improving culturally responsive practices to fully acknowledge Māori learners across the curriculum is a recognised priority.

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?

Stratford School in Taranaki caters for students in Years 1 to 8. At the time of this ERO review there are 408 students enrolled, including 24% identifying as Māori.

The school has had significant changes to staffing. A new principal has been appointed in 2013. Changes to membership of the board of trustees occurred at the last election and several new staff have been appointed.

2 Learning

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

Leaders and teachers continue to strengthen the use of assessment information to promote student learning, progress and achievement.

School leaders use assessment information to determine achievement levels, analyse the performance of specific groups of students and report to the board. Reported data at the end of 2013 shows many students achieve in relation to National Standards in reading, writing and mathematics.

Recent changes to the school’s electronic student management system, together with the addition of useful assessment tools and processes, support teaching and learning and improve school leaders’ ability to aggregate data.

School managers, teachers and trustees recognise that raising the achievement of Māori students and of boys are priorities. School targets focus on accelerating the progress of students working toward the National Standards. Refining the targets so that they clearly refer to Māori students and boys, then specifying relevant actions and expected outcomes, should assist staff and trustees to better monitor the progress of these learners.

Teachers use assessment information well to plan for the needs of students. They meet regularly with their team leaders to discuss, monitor and moderate assessment data. Regular discussion contributes to a shared understanding of useful strategies to promote learning. Teachers are also strengthening student involvement in learning. Increasingly, students demonstrate an understanding of their own learning goals.

Parents continue to receive relevant information to support their knowledge of their children’s learning.

3 Curriculum

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

Leaders and teachers are strengthening collective understanding of the school's curriculum and its responsiveness to support student learning. A 'road map' curriculum overview continues to usefully document the school's guidelines and priorities.

Students participate in a range of academic, sporting and creative experiences to promote their active engagement in learning.

Leaders and teachers engage in ongoing review of learning statements and related curriculum documentation to make relevant changes and align stated expectations to agreed practice.

School personnel are seeking to increase the responsiveness of the school's curriculum. A focus of promoting students' self-regulated learning is well considered. Implementation is clearly planned to strengthen teacher practice and student outcomes. Senior leadership is facilitating implementation effectively.

Student wellbeing is purposefully supported. Teachers use strategies in the classroom to positively engage students. Key competencies are included as part of the school’s curriculum. Students develop social skills to promote their inclusion and positive participation in school life.

Trustees have planned a review of the school's vision, values and beliefs with the school community. This is timely. Establishing a shared direction and clear understanding of the school’s curriculum priorities should promote a collaborative, strategic approach.

Use of information and communication technologies (ICT) has been strengthened since the previous ERO review. ICT is now increasingly used to support and motivate teaching and student learning.

Team leaders' practice is well matched to the school's expectations. Students are supported to consider their learning goals. Purposeful modelling and use of learning objectives by these teachers promotes students' engagement and understanding of concepts. Team leaders are well placed to facilitate other teachers' ongoing development and effective inclusion of students' self-directed learning across the school.

The principal's appraisal is robust and suitably linked to school improvement. Teachers' appraisal has been strengthened with links to evidence gathered from teacher inquiry. Clearly defined appraisal guidelines support reflective practice.

Staff should continue to strengthen development processes by clearly identifying the teaching strategies and practices that they use to accelerate the progress of target students. Review that closely considers evidence of student progress should assist teachers to know which strategies are most effective in improving outcomes for students.

School leaders purposefully facilitate development of teachers' practice through coaching and mentoring. Professional learning and development (PLD) is aligned to the school's strategic aims and achievement priorities. Collaborative discussions between staff seek improvement, share and consider strategies to promote students' progress. Observations of teachers' practice by senior managers, team leaders and peers are increasingly focused on providing feedback to support progress for targeted learners. Continuing to improve such evaluative feedback should further support growth in teachers’ capability to meet students' learning needs.

Students with identified special needs and abilities receive appropriate support. Individuals identified as gifted and talented participate in planned extension programmes and have their needs addressed in classroom programmes.

Inclusive practices effectively support students with special and complex needs. Planning for these students is thorough and their progress is consistently monitored. The special education needs coordinator (SENCO) and leadership team support ongoing improvement to practice through review. Strong relationships with the students' families and with external agencies promote learning partnerships. Reported assessment information assists the board to consider the impact of its resourcing decisions. Teachers engage in relevant PLD to inform their teaching practices.

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

Māori students’ language and culture are included in aspects of the school’s curriculum. Students have access to kapa haka. The school’s strategic aim identifies that further development of the curriculum is required through strengthening partnerships with Māori whānau. The board has coopted a Māori representative to support this strategy.

To strengthen its response the school should, in consultation with Māori whānau and iwi, develop and agree clear expectations for the inclusion of te aō Māori across the curriculum to reflect Māori students' identity. This should provide a basis for improved self review and benefit Māori learners.

4 Sustainable Performance

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

The school is well placed to sustain improvement and further promote curriculum outcomes for students.

The principal and senior managers provide leadership to support improvement. They have implemented well-considered changes to the school’s curriculum and recognise that some aspects of these changes need to be embedded to promote sustainable outcomes. Continued building of team leaders' capability is timely for promoting consistency of teachers' practice and embedding curriculum expectations.

Trustees are committed to governance of the school. They demonstrate relevant skills, engage in suitable training and receive useful information to support their work as the board. Developing clear roles and responsibilities is promoting sustainable practice.

Consultation with the school community contributes to changes in school operation and to self review. Revisiting the school's vision with the community should provide information for trustees to further develop a shared and collaborative strategic direction.

Self review is considered and reflective. School managers use information from a range of sources, including analysed achievement data, to reflect on the impact of the school's curriculum and make clear decisions. Continuing to develop knowledge, understanding and practice in self review and evaluation should assist leaders and teachers to clearly establish how well the school’s curriculum promotes the success of 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

Trustees and staff work inclusively and collaboratively to further strengthen the Stratford School curriculum. Well-considered changes are promoting positive student engagement in learning. Many students achieve in relation to National Standards in reading, writing and mathematics. Improving culturally responsive practices to fully acknowledge Māori learners across the curriculum is a recognised priority.

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

Joyce Gebbie

National Manager Review Services Central Region

13 August 2014

About the School

Location

Stratford

Ministry of Education profile number

2244

School type

Full Primary (Years 1 to 8)

School roll

408

Gender composition

Male 51%, Female 49%

Ethnic composition

NZ European/Pākehā

Māori

Other ethnic groups

72%

24%

4%

Review team on site

June 2014

Date of this report

13 August 2014

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

June 2011

September 2007

November 2004