Sunnyvale School - 14/05/2018

School Context

Sunnyvale School is a well-established Year 1 to 6 contributing school with a roll of 460 children. Children come from diverse cultural backgrounds. Māori children comprise 25 percent of the roll and 21 percent have Pacific heritage. A new deputy principal has been appointed to the well-established school leadership team.

The overarching vision for the school, ‘Learning for Life’, guides the board in its decision making processes. The new board chair has served on the board for over ten years. Four trustees are new to the board since the 2015 ERO review.

The board’s strategic goal for 2018 is to give children a balanced education with a focus on numeracy and literacy. The board strives for a culture of excellence in its learning community, through high expectations of behaviour and achievement. School achievement targets have been set in reading, writing and mathematics.

Teachers and children promote and actively use the school values of manaakitanga, whanaungatanga, aroha and tuakana/teina. Parents who have children with additional learning needs appreciate the inclusive school culture. Parents and whānau support the school with regular school fundraising and community events.

Year 5 and 6 children learn in modern learning environments (MLE), while younger children are situated in single room learning environments that are to be replaced. Ongoing building construction has provided challenges for staff and children as they keep their focus on learning.

Leaders and teachers regularly report to the board schoolwide information about outcomes for students in the following areas:

  • achievement in reading, writing and mathematics

  • engagement, wellbeing and attendance

  • progress and achievement in relation to school targets

  • Individualised Education Plans (IEPs) for children with additional learning needs.

The school is part of the Henderson Community of Learning (CoL).

Evaluation Findings

1 Equity and excellence – achievement of valued outcomes for students

1.1 How well is the school achieving equitable and excellent outcomes for all its students?

School data show that the majority of Year 6 children achieve at appropriate curriculum levels in reading, writing and mathematics. Disparity between boys’ and girls’ achievement across the school continues to widen, particularly in writing. The school is aware of the need to improve the achievement levels of different groups of students.

Most children with additional learning needs achieve well in relation to their IEP goals. These comprehensive plans include social and academic goals for children and include family and community input. Children contribute to their plans and monitor aspects of their personal development against agreed outcomes.

Leaders identified the teaching of writing as a focus area for 2016. This initiative was sustained for 2017 and resulted in improved schoolwide achievement for writing. This focus aligns with some aspects of the CoL achievement challenge.

School achievement information is collected for groups of students to give a schoolwide picture of progress over time. Teachers use achievement information to identify children who require additional learning support and extension in reading, writing and mathematics.

Students achieve very well in relation to other school valued outcomes. Students:

  • are inclusive and accepting of others

  • demonstrate the school values that support positive interactions with others

  • exhibit confidence in themselves as learners

  • show a strong sense of pride in and belonging to Sunnyvale School.

1.2 How well is the school accelerating learning for those Māori and other students who need this?

Teachers identify children whose learning needs support. These children benefit from teaching strategies that are planned by teachers and leadership teams to support individual children to improve their learning. The school does not yet have robust information over time to show the effectiveness of these strategies for accelerating learning.

School leaders agree that charter goals could be sharpened to focus planning more clearly on those children whose learning and achievement needs acceleration. The CoL has identified the need to plan for accelerated learning as a priority. The restructuring of senior leadership roles has enhanced schoolwide collaborative approaches that are focused on improving learner outcomes.

Leaders and teachers work collaboratively with parents and whānau, learning assistants and external agencies to cater effectively for those children who work from IEPs and behaviour plans.

2 School conditions for equity and excellence – processes and practices

2.1 What school processes and practices are effective in enabling achievement of equity and excellence, and acceleration of learning?

Trustees prioritise children’s holistic wellbeing. They gather parent and whānau voices to contribute to school decision-making processes. Trustees bring a wide range of experience to their stewardship roles and responsibilities.

Teachers foster respectful relationships with students. These relationships are caring and productive. Teachers develop empathy in children. Tuakana/teina relationships between students are evident throughout the school and are strengthened through the development of student leadership.

The school‘s positive, affirming environment places a strong focus on the importance of learning. Children actively engage in their work. They willingly participate in lessons and share their learning with peers, teachers and whānau.

School leaders and teachers recognise and value the integral role that whānau have in supporting and nurturing their children’s learning. They readily engage with the community in establishing partnerships. Parents and whānau participate in learning opportunities such as child-led conferences. Leaders and teachers are further developing strategies to support learning at home. This development will contribute to more sharing and celebration of learning.

Aspects of the school curriculum promote equity and excellence and accelerated learning. Schoolwide planning uses meaningful contexts to foster children's concept development and engagement in learning. Targeted professional learning, and a school focus on bicultural practices and perspectives in the curriculum, benefit Māori children’s learning as well as promoting bicultural practices for all.

2.2 What further developments are needed in school processes and practices for achievement of equity and excellence, and acceleration of learning?

Changes to the board’s reporting practices could help trustees to further support students’ learning. Current reports include unanalysed data about children’s achievement. More specific reports to trustees about how well strategic goals are being met would support board decision making and the momentum for improvements in student outcomes.

School leaders have identified the need to review and update the school curriculum. This process should include defining and clarifying the school’s MLE practices to enhance opportunities for children to understand and lead their own learning. The process of curriculum development will enable school leaders and teachers to implement the school’s Māori and Pasifika Education Plans that aim to reduce achievement disparities.

School leaders continue to grow teachers’ professional capability through targeted professional learning opportunities. Greater alignment of classroom teaching to the school and CoL strategic goals is a next step, as is increasing the robustness of the appraisal system for teachers.

3 Board assurance on legal requirements

Before the review, the board 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 the following:

  • board administration

  • curriculum

  • management of health, safety and welfare

  • personnel management

  • finance

  • asset management.

During the review, ERO checked the following items because they have a potentially high impact on student safety and wellbeing:

  • emotional safety of students (including prevention of bullying and sexual harassment)

  • physical safety of students

  • teacher registration and certification

  • processes for appointing staff

  • stand down, suspension, expulsion and exclusion of students

  • attendance

  • school policies in relation to meeting the requirements of the Vulnerable Children Act 2014.

Areas for improved compliance practice

To improve current practice, the board of trustees should:

  • ensure the school complies with changes in legal requirements that impact on school policies, procedures and practices.

4 Going forward

Key strengths of the school

For sustained improvement and future learner success, the school can draw on existing strengths in:

  • the highly inclusive climate that supports children’s diverse learning requirements

  • effective relationships with parents and whānau that contribute to partnerships that are focused on children’s learning and wellbeing

  • increasingly distributed leadership across all levels in the school, which is having a positive effect on schoolwide strategies that are designed to improve learning outcomes.

Next steps

For sustained improvement and future learner success, priorities for further development are in:

  • refining the school’s strategic plan to better reflect achievement goals for groups of children

  • increasing the level of scrutiny and evaluation of achievement information, particularly for those students at most risk of not achieving

  • strategically reviewing and developing the school curriculum to ensure cognitive challenge and deep learning for children in Years 1 to 6

  • strengthening internal evaluation capability to build shared understandings and consistent practices across the school.

  • internal evaluation processes and practices

ERO recommends that the school seek external support from school trustees association in order to bring about improvements in:

  • strategic planning and reporting processes

  • the management of board administration.

ERO’s next external evaluation process and timing

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

ERO will provide an internal evaluation workshop for trustees and senior leaders.

Julie Foley

Deputy Chief Review Officer Northern (Acting)

Te Tai Raki - Northern Region

14 May 2018

About the school

Location

Henderson, Auckland

Ministry of Education profile number

1519

School type

Contributing School (Year 1 to 6)

School roll

460

Gender composition

Boys 54% Girls 46%

Ethnic composition

Māori
Pākehā
Samoan
Indian
Tongan
Middle Eastern
African
other Asian
other Pacific
other European

25%
21%
15%
7%
5%
3%
2%
10%
10%
2%

Provision of Māori medium education

No

Review team on site

February 2018

Date of this report

14 May 2018

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review
Education Review
Education Review

January 2015
February 2012
December 2008