Victoria Avenue School - 17/08/2016

1 Context

Victoria Avenue School is located in Remuera, Auckland. The school reflects its diverse community well and is characterised by strongly positive relationships and a culture of respect and inclusion. While the school's cultural composition is changing it remains underpinned by a longstanding history and sense of tradition.

Since the last ERO review a new and experienced principal has been appointed. The school has joined a network of schools (the Auckland Central Community of Learning (CoL)) that are working together to address common achievement challenges.

The school has a history of positive ERO reporting. The 2011 ERO review noted strengths in school governance and leadership to support student achievement. These strengths have been sustained and further developed to support positive outcomes for all children.

2 Equity and excellence

The vision and valued outcomes defined by the school for all children are focussed on them becoming well-rounded individuals who can make a valuable contribution to society. The school's motto - 'Our Best Always'- reflects the high aspirations of the school community. There is an emphasis on giving children challenge in their learning and helping them to achieve within an inclusive environment where kindness, honesty and respect are valued. The school promotes positive relationships with students, teachers, families and whānau as the essential condition for achieving meaningful learning for children.

The school’s achievement information shows that children achieve very well. The vast majority achieve at or above the National Standard in mathematics, reading and writing. This high achievement has been evident and sustained over time.

Māori children also achieve very well. The school's most recent data show that they achieve better than other groups of children in the school in reading, the same as other groups of children in writing but slightly less well in mathematics. Pacific students achieve very well in reading and writing but less well in mathematics than the rest of the school.

Since the last ERO evaluation the school has;

  • undertaken comprehensive professional learning and development in mathematics and writing
  • built 'student agency' by continuing to develop children's sense of understanding, directing and owning their learning
  • expanded the schools' digital capacity
  • further developed collaborative teacher planning practices and strengthened teachers' assessment and evaluation capability
  • utilised internal professional capacity to refine and strengthen teachers' professional practice
  • undertaken further teacher inquiry to improve student learning
  • participated in ongoing assessment moderation through partnerships in the CoL.

3 Accelerating achievement

How effectively does this school respond to Māori children whose learning and achievement need acceleration?

The school is highly effective in responding to Māori children whose learning and achievement needs acceleration. School leaders prioritise the achievement of Māori learners and there are comprehensive systems and processes across the school to promote and support their success.

School leaders ensure that learning is optimised for each Māori child by closely monitoring and analysing their achievement information from the time they enter the school. As part of this process all Māori children have an individual longitudinal file which holds this analysed data and other relevant information to help progress their achievement.

The school has developed effective relationships with whānau. The school work alongside whānau to develop successful extension and learning support programmes for tamariki.

How effectively does this school respond to other children whose learning and achievement need acceleration?

The school is highly effective in responding to Pacific and other learners whose learning and achievement need acceleration. The same systems promoting Māori student achievement are also enabling Pacific and other students to be supported and achieve well.

These systems and strategies include leaders and teachers:

  • knowing students and families well
  • scrutinising student achievement data closely to develop acceleration strategies
  • collating and analysing a wide range of data to evaluate the success of acceleration initiatives and how well they are benefitting individual children
  • ·         where necessary, refocussing programmes and initiatives to ensure success for particular children or groups.

4 School conditions

How effectively do the school’s curriculum and other organisational processes and practices develop and enact the school’s vision, values, goals and targets for equity and excellence?

The school's curriculum and other organisational processes and practices very effectively support the development and enactment of the school's vision, values, goals and priorities for equity and excellence.

The key organisational processes and practices that are supporting success and promoting equity and excellence for learners in this school include;

  • leadership that is collaborative, focussed on capacity building and underpinned by an ethic of care
  • strong communication and engagement with family/whānau
  • a responsive curriculum which has Te Ao Māori increasingly well integrated across programmes
  • high quality teaching approaches centred on children's interests and needs and informed by teachers' inquiries into practice
  • sound, strategic governance.

The principal and senior leaders, have a strong focus on the child as a learner. They lead professional learning and actively support teachers in classroom practice. Classroom teaching throughout the school reflects current best practice. Positive and affirming relationships underpin the high quality learning interactions evident between all children and their teachers.

The board, senior leaders and staff display genuine care for the wellbeing of children. The school is highly inclusive in its practices and ensuring the best outcomes for children and their families is at the centre of decision-making.

A culture of evaluation and inquiry supports an evidence-informed approach to school improvement. The principal leads a high quality leadership team who foster a strategic approach to developing teachers' capability and building the school's capacity as a learning community.

Teachers value children's individuality and they know each child both as a learner and a person. The systems for supporting children with additional needs and strengths are very well managed and monitored. The board demonstrates an ongoing commitment to providing timely and appropriate resourcing to benefit children.

There are clear and comprehensive curriculum guidelines for teachers. Curriculum programmes are flexible and responsive to children's learning, strengths and interests. Local contexts and global perspectives provide purposeful learning opportunities for children. There is good evidence of high quality teaching and learning across the school. Classrooms increasingly reflect modern learning practices, including the use of digital technologies. The successful introduction of the school's new inquiry curriculum has contributed to this.

Māori language and cultural perspectives are increasingly well integrated across the learning areas of the curriculum. This is supported by a school-wide focus on building teachers' confidence and capability in te reo me ngā tikanga Māori. Māori children report that these approaches help them to feel valued as learners and members of the school community.

Teachers' inquiry into practice is promoting high level professional engagement, collaboration and ongoing school improvement. An effective and coherent performance management system contributes to teachers' professional growth.

The school is well governed. The board seeks external training to support its governance role and has sound processes and policies in place. Trustees have a strong commitment to the wellbeing of all children and staff. They actively scrutinise achievement data, and seek the very best learning outcomes for all children. The board is considering ways to continue reflecting the school's increasingly culturally diverse community.

5 Going forward

How well placed is the school to accelerate the achievement of all children who need it?

Leaders and teachers:  

  • know the children whose learning and achievement need to be accelerated
  • respond effectively to the strengths, needs and interests of each child
  • regularly evaluate how well teaching is working for these children
  • act on what they know works well for each child
  • build teacher capability effectively to achieve equitable outcomes for all children
  • are well placed to achieve and sustain equitable and excellent outcomes for all children.

Victoria Avenue School is very well placed to sustain equitable and excellent outcomes for all children. The school's culture of continuous improvement and coherent systems and processes are underpinned by thoughtful internal and well-considered external evaluation. This impacts positively on outcomes for all children.

The board, senior leadership team and ERO agree the school's ongoing areas for development include:

  • ongoing development of teacher pedagogical knowledge and practice to promote student agency
  • enhancing and further extending parent and whanāu engagement in children's learning
  • continuing to develop bicultural practices across the school through the use of resources including The New Zealand Trustees Association's Hautū- Māori Cultural Responsiveness Self-Review Tool for Boards of Trustees.

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

6 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 the following:

  • board administration
  • curriculum
  • management of health, safety and welfare
  • personnel management
  • 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
  • processes for appointing staff
  • stand down, suspensions, expulsions and exclusions
  • attendance
  • compliance with the provisions of the Vulnerable Children Act 2014.

7 Recommendation

ERO recommends that the school continues to use its systems of robust internal evaluation and evidence informed practice to sustain and enhance its success in promoting positive outcomes for all children. 

Graham Randell
Deputy Chief Review Officer Northern

17 August 2016

About the school 

Location

Remuera, Auckland

Ministry of Education profile number

1544

School type

Contributing (Years 1 to 6)

School roll

523

Gender composition

Girls       52% 
Boys      47%

Ethnic composition

Māori
Pākehā
Chinese
Pasifika
British
Australian
Middle East& African
other European
other Asian

  5%
63%
15%
  3%
  2%
  1%
  1%
  3%
  3%

Review team on site

June 2016

Date of this report

17 August 2016

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review
Education Review
Education Review

November 2011
August 2008
October 2005