Three Kings School - 29/01/2016

Findings

The school is highly effective in engaging students in learning. Learners benefit from a broad and interesting curriculum. The school fosters very good learning partnerships with parents. The school’s outward facing approach and good self review contribute to a curriculum that is future-focused and relevant to the modern learner.

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?

Three Kings School caters for students from Years 1 to 6. Many students come from diverse cultural backgrounds. Six percent are Māori and eight percent have Pacific heritage. The school has been operating for 135 years and has a long history of serving and responding to the changing population over that time. This sense of history is valued by the school community.

Three Kings School is a caring and respectful learning community. The school motto, “E tipu e rea, Act well your part”, is clearly articulated by the board of trustees. Students are supported to meet this motto through the four school “R I C H” values of respect, involvement, curiosity and honesty. The school vision and values are highly evident in the curriculum and school practices. Strong relationships and partnerships underpin all practices.

Since the 2012 ERO report, the focus for the school has been on deepening its culture of learning. Initiatives have focused on supporting students to lead the direction of their learning, developing a planned approach to promoting success for Māori and Pacific learners, and strengthening the evaluative nature of school self-review practices.

2 Learning

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

Students, classroom teachers, curriculum team members, managers, and trustees use achievement information well and all participate in building a rich picture of student achievement.

School achievement information shows that students make expected, or greater than expected, academic progress over their time at the school. Good systems support teachers to make valid judgements in relation to the National Standards. The school is making good progress in reading and mathematics towards meeting the government’s achievement goals for 2017 of 85 percent of students achieving National Standards. At present there is a school focus on accelerating learner achievement in writing. Individual student action plans are used effectively to raise the achievement of students who are at risk of not achieving their potential in writing.

Māori students overall are achieving at similar levels to the school population. Pacific student achievement overall shows significant improvement. This is the result of the board’s successful planned approach to raising achievement. Key teachers take a lead role in helping class teachers personalise learning for Pacific learners and supporting families to engage with the school. The Pacific homework club is strengthening the learning partnerships with families.

Achievement information is used to set school priorities, closely monitor student progress, and identify students who are under achieving. Teachers use it well to plan programmes to meet students’ learning needs. Achievement information is also used effectively to identify suitable professional learning opportunities for teachers. Assessment information is shared regularly with students. They are taught strategies to use their own achievement information so they can be actively involved in decisions about how to make progress in their learning. The impact of these school practices is that students are open to learning.

The school has inclusive and responsive practices to support students with special learning needs. A shared approach between teachers, families and external experts ensure students participate fully in appropriate learning programmes and classroom activities.

There is a high level of student engagement in learning across the school. Classrooms are settled and attractive places where student learning is celebrated. The learning focus is clear and purposeful learning relationships between students and teachers are evident. There is a growing use of information communication technologies (ICT) to support engagement in learning.

Strong community collaboration and partnerships are now focused on supporting students’ learning. This shift is promoting a collective responsibility for the raising of student achievement.

School leaders continue to refine their practices to better use achievement information. ERO and school leaders agree a future priority for teachers is to deepen their inquiry into the effectiveness of teaching practices.

3 Curriculum

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

The school’s curriculum is highly effective in engaging students in learning.

The Three Kings values are a cornerstone of the school curriculum. They set a meaningful vision for students as learners and they guide curriculum development. As a result students confidently participate in the learning process. The Three Kings “learning crown”, “questioning waka”, and “wondering wall” place the learner at the heart of the learning process. These qualities, such as the ability to use relevant questions to guide thinking and gain information, are fostered by teachers and understood by students.

Learners benefit from a broad and interesting curriculum, with an appropriate emphasis on literacy and mathematics. Students have good opportunities in other learning areas, including sport, education outside the classroom, and environmental sustainability. Students experience good learning opportunities with specialist teachers in the visual and performing Arts.

The bicultural heritage of Aotearoa New Zealand is reflected well in the curriculum. Ensuring that students experience a progressive te reo Māori and tikanga curriculum across the year levels is a next step for school leaders.

Teachers are well supported to deliver the school’s curriculum successfully. Programmes are well planned and teaching consistently demonstrates good quality practices. Clear documented guidelines, effective curriculum teams, and external support continue to grow teacher practice. Comprehensive performance management systems are implemented. These systems are well aligned to school priorities, reinforce expectations of a professional culture, and support teachers’ professional practice and growth.

Good practices support successful transitions for students into, within and out of the school. These practices include building positive relationships and partnerships with families and with other learning institutions.

The school fosters very good partnerships with parents that centre on learning opportunities for children. They also provide parents with the knowledge and skills to support their children’s successful learning at home.

ERO recommends that school leaders continue to build on practices that promote a negotiated learning approach with students. This could include building on opportunities for students to select meaningful contexts for learning and sharing their knowledge as teachers of other students.

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

Three Kings School implements increasingly effective initiatives that support Māori learners. The school has 44 students who are Māori.

Since the 2012 ERO report the board has taken a strategic approach to supporting Māori students to be confident in their cultural identities. The board has a useful plan that helps the school build on initiatives and review the effectiveness of school practices focused on developing Māori students’ potential. The recent inclusion of cultural competencies for teachers of Māori learners in teacher appraisals reflects the school’s increased expectations for culturally responsive teaching practice.

The school promotes Māori student leadership and tuakana/teina relationships. Students are encouraged to participate in the school’s strong kapa haka group. Kapa haka is a source of pride for students, the school and its community. It promotes a deeper understanding of tikanga Māori. These practices are integrated authentically in the daily life of the school.

The school is making very good use of external expertise to build staff confidence and knowledge to deliver the school’s te reo Māori and tikanga curriculum and make meaningful connections with whānau. Increasing the number of people to take leadership roles in promoting Māori success should help build on and sustain initiatives that promote positive outcomes for Māori students.

4 Sustainable Performance

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

Very effective governance and leadership provides a strong foundation for ongoing development and sustainability.

Trustees are well informed about curriculum developments and student achievement. Board decision making is strategic and has a focus on improving outcomes for all students. Positive working relationships ensure the work of the board and school management is well coordinated through the school’s long-term and annual planning. The board has good systems to ensure school accountabilities are met. Trustees contribute to and support school activities.

The principal successfully fosters a distributed leadership model that is highly effective. There is a focus on recognising people’s capabilities that complements and enhances school development. Curriculum teams skilfully lead the improvement of classroom programmes. Student leadership is also nurtured through meaningful opportunities. Students of all ages see themselves as leaders.

The board has recently commissioned an external review of school leadership roles. The board is seeking ways that the leadership structure can better support the positive impact of the school’s distributed leadership approach. ERO affirms the review recommendation to extend the senior leadership team in order to support collaborative practices and allow individual strengths to be used to target school improvement.

Self review is used very well. Ongoing critical reflection and the outcomes of school-wide self review provide clear rationale for positive change. Students, staff and the school community are consulted widely as part of review processes, and develop a shared ownership of outcomes to support the school’s overall improvement focus.

A strength of the school is the way it contributes to and works with the wider educational community. The board and school leaders build networks with other schools. They make good use of sound education research to support improved outcomes for students. Three Kings School is a committed member of the Ministry of Education “Learning Change Network” project that has a focus on raising student achievement in writing. Recently the school has joined the Mt Roskill Community of Learning schools group.

The school’s outward facing approach and very good self review contribute to the ongoing improvement of the curriculum that is future-focused and relevant to the modern learner.

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. At the time of this review there were three international students attending the school. The school has attested that it complies with all aspects of the Code.

The school provides its international students with a very good standard of education. International students and their families are warmly welcomed and enjoy many opportunities to participate in school activities. Regular reporting to the board and self-review practices about international student provision could be strengthened by using the Ministry of Education indicators for good practice.

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

The school is highly effective in engaging students in learning. Learners benefit from a broad and interesting curriculum. The school fosters very good learning partnerships with parents. The school’s outward facing approach and good self review contribute to a curriculum that is future-focused and relevant to the modern learner.

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

Graham Randell

Deputy Chief Review Officer Northern

29 January 2016

School Statistics

Location

Mount Roskill

Ministry of Education profile number

1535

School type

Contributing (Years 1 to 6)

School roll

585

Number of international students

3

Gender composition

Boys 51%, Girls 49%

Ethnic composition

Māori

Pākehā

Chinese

Pacific Nations

Indian

other ethnicities

6%

55%

10%

8%

6%

15%

Review team on site

November 2015

Date of this report

29 January 2016

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

September 2012

May 2009

January 2006