Sumner School - 05/05/2015

Findings

Students achieve highly in reading, writing and mathematics. The school’s curriculum is very effective in promoting and supporting student learning and wellbeing. A culture of high expectations for all and a focus on outcomes for students are strongly evident. There is increasing emphasis on including te reo and tikanga Māori in the curriculum. Parent and community support is high. The board and school leadership are knowledgeable and forward thinking.

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?

Sumner School benefits from high levels of parent and community support. Good facilities provide a range of options and learning environments to support student engagement and learning. Programmes provide students with opportunities to learn in and beyond the classroom. Very good use is made of the local beach areas. The school is well resourced.

The school is involved with a local cluster of schools which has been working together for some time. This collaboration is providing increased learning opportunities for students.

The school has a positive reporting history with ERO. Significant progress has been made in the areas identified for review and development in the 2010 ERO report. Teachers regularly reflect on their teaching practice to identify what is making the difference to student learning outcomes.

2 Learning

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

The school very effectively uses student achievement information to improve students' engagement, progress and achievement. Student achievement in reading, writing and mathematics against the National Standards is very high.

Students who are at risk of not achieving or who are not making the expected levels of progress are identified. Teachers carefully select the most appropriate programmes and practices to help these students make faster progress. Teachers use very good systems to closely monitor the effectiveness of interventions on student progress, achievement and wellbeing. Teachers are well aware of, and responsive to, those students in their classes who need extra support or extension.

The board sets relevant targets for raising student achievement. There is a strong collaborative process involved in setting these meaningful targets. Each teaching team also sets further specific and related targets. Trustees are fully supportive of the efforts of leaders and teachers to raise achievement.

The board receives regular and detailed information about the progress of all students, including those targeted for extra support.

Teachers, parents and students work together effectively to decide on students’ learning goals. Learning conferences held early in the year establish shared expectations and where needed, enable targeted support to occur promptly. Students are guided to make decisions about their next steps by reviewing the previous year’s achievement results.

Professional development has increased teachers’ understanding of assessment practices. Teachers are confident in making judgements about students’ achievement against the National Standards in reading, writing and mathematics. They check the quality of these judgements in and across teams. A next step is to consider extending these practices by working with other schools to compare how well these judgements are made.

3 Curriculum

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

The school’s curriculum is very effective in promoting and supporting student learning and well being.

Students benefit from a rich curriculum that promotes community involvement, encourages the development of shared values and attitudes and provides a wide range of learning opportunities. Staff respond positively to the high expectations set by the board and parent community. Teachers work well together.

Student learning and wellbeing are very well supported. Teachers make considerable efforts to build positive relationships with students and their families. There are a number of useful approaches for communicating with parents. This is very much a two-way process.

Teachers confidently plan and teach from the well-documented, localised curriculum.

Guidelines and expectations for student learning are clear. Teachers use a good range of strategies to extend students’ learning, particularly those identified as gifted and talented.

Leaders and teachers seek and use students’ ideas in planning for the future. Students’ learning needs and wellbeing are carefully considered. Their feedback and ideas about curriculum programmes are valued and acted upon.

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

Leaders and teachers emphasise the use of te reo and tikanga Māori. This is evident in:

  • the growing use of mihi whakatau
  • modelling the use of te reo Māori by the principal
  • integrating Māori concepts and knowledge into everyday units of work
  • celebrating Māori culture and te reo Māori in school assemblies
  • valuing the large kapa haka group, including involvement in a cultural festival
  • opportunities to visit the local marae.

The board has a strategic goal for supporting Māori success as Māori. The focus for 2015 is to develop a greater presence of tikanga Māori and other cultural practices in the school. Biannual consultation with the parents of Māori students informs a useful action plan. A teacher with strengths in this area has responsibility for supporting other staff.

Adults have high expectations for Māori students and work to ensure all students make good progress in their learning. Targets in 2014 sought to raise the achievement of Māori students with good effect. Their achievement is high and compares very well against national results for reading writing and mathematics.

ERO, senior leaders and the board agree that it is important for the school to continue to build closer relationships with the local Māori community. Ensuring early involvement in decision making and receiving regular feedback on the actions taken as a result of consultation, should assist this aim.

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.

Rigorous evaluation and review practices are resulting in high levels of performance across the school. A wide range of comprehensive information is gained through self review. It is well analysed and recommendations are developed, acted on and evaluated for the benefit of students.

The board is knowledgeable and forward thinking. Trustees use well-considered goals to drive review and support decision-making. They receive good-quality information through reports to the board. Trustees are very responsive to the learning and wellbeing needs of students and staff. There is a strong focus on positive outcomes for students.

The principal’s very effective approach to leadership is evident in the collaborative way he works with the board, senior leadership team and staff. Leaders’ strengths are used well. Roles and responsibilities are well defined. Teachers have many opportunities to further develop their leadership capabilities. High expectations and the promotion of student success are strongly evident in leadership planning and decision making.

An innovative approach to professional development provides teachers with choice about where to focus their learning. New knowledge and skills are shared with staff. Professional development is having a positive effect on classroom practice.

The staff has a high level of respect for school leaders and the board. Teachers and other staff enjoy working in a positive school culture where they feel respected, valued and well supported by the board, principal and senior leaders.

Leaders and teachers acknowledge and value the crucial role parents play in their child’s education. Parent views are sought and their involvement in the school is strong. This understanding is well embedded in the school’s culture.

Teachers benefit from a useful appraisal programme. Outcomes from appraisal are focused on developing effective teaching strategies to further raise student achievement. Teachers early in their career benefit from high-quality mentoring and induction into the teaching profession.

The board is aware of its next steps and has plans to continue to:

  • build understanding amongst staff and parents about modern learning environments and teaching practice
  • further develop appraisal
  • extend work within the local cluster of schools.

ERO and school leaders have discussed the usefulness of further developing polices and processes to better document overviews of some well-established school practices such as appraisal and self review.

Provision for international students

The school is a signatory to the Code of Practice for the Pastoral Care of International Students established under section 238F of the Education Act 1989. No international students were enrolled at the time of the ERO review.

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

Students achieve highly in reading, writing and mathematics. The school’s curriculum is very effective in promoting and supporting student learning and wellbeing. A culture of high expectations for all and a focus on outcomes for students are strongly evident. There is increasing emphasis on including te reo and tikanga Māori in the curriculum. Parent and community support is high. The board and school leadership are knowledgeable and forward thinking.

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

Graham Randell

Deputy Chief Review Officer Southern

5 May 2015

About the School

Location

Sumner, Christchurch

Ministry of Education profile number

3546

School type

Full Primary (Years 1 to 8)

School roll

438

Number of international students

0

Gender composition

Boys 52%;

Girls 48%

Ethnic composition

European

Māori

European

Other ethnicities

82%

7%

5%

6%

Review team on site

February 2015

Date of this report

5 May 2015

Most recent ERO reports

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

December 2010

November 2007

August 2004