Torbay School - 30/05/2014

1. Context

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

Torbay School, on the North Shore of Auckland city caters for students in Years 1 to 6. The board and school leaders show commitment to high quality practices, ongoing improvement and innovation. Leaders and teachers have responded positively to the recommendations, and have extended the good practices, noted in the 2009 ERO report.

The principal and senior leaders have formed a stable and experienced leadership team. They promote current educational research and best practice. The school has many experienced and long standing staff members. Leaders and teachers have created a collaborative and critically reflective teaching and learning culture. Change is well managed and responsive to learners. Decision-making that is student-centred is evident at all levels of the school.

Teachers foster students’ sense of belonging and their engagement in learning through positive relationships and a focus on student well being. There is an holistic approach to learning that promotes students’ participation in a rich variety of learning opportunities. Leaders and teachers have high expectations for students’ learning and achievement.

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 very well to make positive changes to learners’ engagement, progress and achievement.

Students are highly engaged in their learning. They are active participants in decision-making about learning programmes. Students set and monitor their own learning goals. Teachers encourage all students to see themselves as confident and capable learners. Students benefit from focused learning environments, effective teaching strategies and opportunities to follow their interests. Teachers actively promote and support students’ wellbeing and this is impacting positively on student engagement and learning.

Senior leaders use the school’s achievement information and Public Achievement Information (PAI) very well to make strategic decisions. This includes using it to set school goals and make decisions about teachers’ professional learning. Leaders also use achievement information to:

  • identify and monitor the progress and achievement of priority groups of learners
  • accelerate the progress of students’ not achieving at the National Standards
  • support all children to reach their potential.

Teachers have worked together within the school and with local school clusters to develop processes to moderate assessment data. This has helped enhance the reliability of the school’s achievement information.

Teachers use student achievement information to plan programmes and teaching strategies that are responsive to students’ learning needs and interests. Programmes designed for students requiring additional learning support are well monitored and evaluated. Targeted programmes to raise the achievement of Māori students have proved successful. Leaders and teachers effectively track student progress and achievement. They reflect deeply on their teaching practice in order to make changes that will improve learning.

The school’s student achievement data indicates that students achieve very well in reading, writing and mathematics in relation to the National Standards. The school continues to set appropriate goals to further raise student achievement. Currently, there is an emphasis on professional development in mathematics to further enhance achievement in this learning area.

An important strength of the school is the way that teachers are forging learning-focused partnerships. This is evident in their use of a range of strategies to report progress and achievement to parents. It includes giving students a significant role in sharing information about their learning and achievement. Parents are well informed about their children’s progress and achievement in relation to the National Standards in reading, writing and mathematics. There are effective transition processes for students entering the school and going on to intermediate schools. This fosters uninterrupted student learning and helps build productive learning partnerships. Senior leaders continue to explore different ways to report National Standards information and to extend studentled ‘learning conversations’ with the aim of further enhancing learning partnerships with parents.

3. Curriculum

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

The school’s curriculum promotes and supports student learning very effectively.

Students’ interests and capabilities are well supported through a student-focused curriculum that encourages them to reach their individual potential. They have varied opportunities to participate and experience success in different learning activities, and to develop social and leadership skills.

Leaders ensure that curriculum design is informed by current educational research and best practice, and clear links to The New Zealand Curriculum (NZC). The school’s values and the NZC key competencies underpin learning programmes and interactions, support student wellbeing, and form a foundation for successful learning.

Teachers provide good quality teaching in literacy and mathematics. Teachers make overall teacher judgements about students’ achievement in literacy and numeracy from a range of contexts across the curriculum. The school’s integrated inquiry approach provides meaningful learning in contexts that reflect the local environment and community, as well as global themes.

E-learning is a key feature of the school’s approach to teaching and learning. Development in this area has been well planned and managed over a number of years, with good resourcing and strategic direction from the board. Students use information and communication technologies (ICT) well and are developing as capable and responsible digital learners. The current initiative to use mobile learning devices to improve learning is opening up further possibilities to enhance the school’s strong focus on a 21st century curriculum.

The school has a culture of professional inquiry into practice. Leaders provide very good support, guidance and systems to promote teacher dialogue and reflection. This is fostering shared understandings and consistency in practice. Curriculum documentation provides clear direction for teachers. Well considered professional learning and development, induction programmes and robust performance management processes enhance teaching practice.

Curriculum design is responsive to the needs of students. It includes plans for promoting success for Māori and Pacific students. Assessment information, student views and parent input are used for ongoing curriculum review and development. Strong relationships and connections with the community support students with their learning.

School leaders see their next step as continuing to extend e-learning in order to maximise the opportunities that it provides. This form of networking will further promote strong collaborative learning partnerships that are focused on learning.

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

The school effectively promotes educational success for Māori, as Māori.

Māori students are well engaged in learning and school activities. Effective teaching strategies and intervention programmes support their progress, achievement and wellbeing. The school’s kapa haka group, powhiri and mārae visits provide leadership opportunities for Māori students and encourage all students to understand and value New Zealand’s bicultural heritage.

School leaders and staff value relationships with parents and whānau of Māori students. The board’s Māori representative provides a Māori perspective on governance. Trustees and leaders listen and respond to parents’ views. Senior leaders and trustees are exploring ways to further promote reciprocal relationships with parents and whānau of Māori students.

Teachers use Ministry of Education (MoE) resources and collaborative approaches to support their inclusion of bicultural perspectives in teaching and learning programmes. School leaders and trustees are considering how they can build on this good foundation of culturally responsive practices to further promote the language, culture and identity of Māori students. They have identified goals which include continuing to:

  • increase the Māori perspective in classroom programmes
  • develop teacher and learner knowledge of te reo mē ōna tikanga Māori, including the implementation of a progressive programme of te reo Māori across year levels.

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.

The principal provides highly effective professional leadership. She works collaboratively with the capable senior leadership team. Together they have built leadership capacity throughout the school. Team leaders provide effective leadership and staff expertise is well used and valued. Senior leaders promote a culture of improvement and innovation, and manage change effectively.

Leaders implement clear, coherent systems and documentation that supports consistency in school operations and implementation of the teaching philosophy. Professional development and performance management processes are tailored to meet identified staff needs and clearly aligned with the school strategic goals.

Trustees bring a variety of expertise to their role. They have a good understanding of the board’s governance role and there are planned induction and succession strategies. Effective reporting practices ensure the board is well informed. The school's long-term strategic planning, annual plans and more specific action/development plans are clearly aligned. Trustees access external training and support, and review and improve their own performance. The board plan to continue to make use of MoE and other resources available to support this reflective practice and their governance capability.

The school continues to use high quality self review to support continual improvement. Trustees and school leaders value and are responsive to external review. Senior leaders actively seek opportunities to be involved in the wider education community. They are committed to challenging and developing their leadership thinking and practice.

School leaders and trustees have a strong focus on promoting meaningful partnerships with different groups within the school community. They use information from parents, whānau, staff and students very effectively to inform strategic decisions. Trustees continue to consider ways in which they can further improve communication and enhance their high quality self review. ERO affirms the board's commitment to the ongoing review and refinement of policies and procedures.

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 two international students attending the school. The school has attested that it complies with all aspects of the Code. ERO’s investigations confirmed that the school’s self-review process for ensuring compliance with the Code is thorough.

Torbay School provides its international students with a good educational programme that builds on the students’ language, culture and identity. Students are well integrated into the life of the school, with many opportunities to participate in school activities and to take on leadership roles. Information and relevant guiding documents relating to international students are well organised and up to date.

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.

When is ERO likely to review the school again?

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

Dale Bailey

National Manager Review Services Northern Region

30 May 2014

About the School

Location

Torbay, Auckland

Ministry of Education profile number

1538

School type

Contributing (Years 1 to 6)

School roll

449

Number of international students

2

Gender composition

Girls 51% Boys 49%

Ethnic composition

Maori

NZ European/Pākeha

British/Irish

Asian

South African

Pacific

other

8%

64%

10%

7%

6%

3%

2%

Special Features

Host school for Northern Bays Resource Teachers: Learning and Behaviour (RTLB)

Review team on site

April 2014

Date of this report

30 May 2014

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

August 2009

July 2006

April 2003