Victory Primary School - 08/12/2009

1. The Education Review Office (ERO) Evaluation

Victory Primary School is situated in Nelson City and provides education for students in years 1 to 6. The grounds and buildings are the site for the Victory Urban Village, a campus comprising classrooms, playgrounds, facilities for before and after‑school care, a köhanga reo and a community centre for several social agencies. The parts of the campus are coordinated to provide education and care for all ages within a safe, welcoming, attractive environment. The student roll comprises children from many cultural backgrounds. At the time of this 2009 review, 38% of the total roll identified as Māori and a further 25% came from non-Pākehā families.

The school’s reporting history with ERO is positive. This ERO review finds that the Board of Trustees, principal and senior leaders have sustained the gains made in previous years and continued to develop service provision. The principal is an innovative and collegial leader. He is well supported by school and community personnel in realising the vision for student well-being and achievement within a healthy community. The Victory philosophy is that the school enrols not only the child but also the family. Therefore trusting, productive partnerships with family/whānau are central to everything the school does.

Since the previous ERO review in 2006, teacher professional development has focused on effective practice in reading and the use of information and communication technologies (ICT) in learning programmes. In addition to this, the whole school team has worked with the revised national curriculum andKa Hikitia,the national strategy for promoting success for Māori,to design Victory programmes. The board and staff in the six bilingual classrooms are developing familiarity withTe Marautanga o Aotearoa,the national Māori curriculum.This ERO review evaluated the quality of the school’s reading programmes and the effectiveness of community partnerships for supporting student learning and achievement.

ICT Students receive high quality education opportunities. Reading programmes are planned in response to what teachers know about their students. They motivate students to read and useto search for, or communicate, information. Classrooms are well organised and productive places. Aspects of practice that could be further developed relate to: planning for fluidity between reading and writing and for literacy to underpin learning across subject areas; more deliberate use of informal assessment processes with students to empower them as self‑monitoring learners; and, through this process, raising parent partnership to another level.

Overall student achievement in reading, writing and numeracy is high, as measured against the national literacy progressions and numeracy benchmarks. The needs of the small numbers of students not meeting these expectations are catered for through special programmes and targeted assistance. The learning of students new to the country is transitioned successfully through tuition in English.

Students know the school’s expectations for learning and behaviour. They are able to work cooperatively, are quick to support others and celebrate their successes. Students are proud of their school and the overall tone is purposeful, happy and wholesome.

The school continues to work with the agencies to maintain strong partnerships with the community. For students, the impact of this collaboration is evident in their high attendance rates, positive attitudes, enthusiastic engagement in activities and achievement. Parents’ level of ease in the environment and satisfaction with the school is high. Their presence in the school is regular and attendance at reporting times is virtually one hundred percent.

The board is interested in the long-term effectiveness of the school’s approach and programmes for students. To know this the board will need to develop additional measures for assessing, monitoring and evaluating how well the core values and intended outcomes have been sustained.

Future Action

ERO is very confident that the board of trustees can govern the school in the interest of the students and the Crown and bring about the improvements outlined in this report. ERO is likely to carry out the next review in four to five years.

2. The Focus of the Review

Student Achievement Overall

ERO’s education reviews focus on student achievement. What follows is a statement about what the school knows about student achievement overall.

Data are gathered to monitor student achievement in numeracy, reading and writing, using a variety of standardised assessment tools. The information is analysed against the national expectations for progression in literacy and numeracy to determine performance overall. In 2009, 90% of students were assessed as meeting or exceeding combined achievement benchmarks in reading, writing and numeracy. Further information about reading can be found in the next section of this report.

Numeracy. Ninety-one percent of all students perform at or above expectations. There is little difference between achievement results of year level cohorts. Comparison of mainstream and bilingual student data shows that 85% of mainstream students meet or exceed expectations compared with 92% of students in the bilingual classes.

Writing. Eighty-nine percent of all students meet or exceed expectations. Bilingual student performance is 4% better than for mainstream students overall. Data analysis identifies individual cohort variations but these are not significant.

Maori student achievement. Combined data for reading, writing and numeracy showan upward trend. In 2000, 55% of students performed at or above expectations. In 2006 this had been raised to 70% and in 2009, 88% met or exceeded the benchmark.

Pacific student achievement. The school treats these statistics with caution as student numbers are low. Notwithstanding this fact, overall performance is high and year‑by‑year data trend upward as for the other groups. In 2000, 65% of students achieved at or above the combined benchmarks for reading, writing and numeracy. By 2006 this had been raised to 82% and in 2009, to 93%.

School Specific Priorities

Before the review, the board of Victory Primary School was invited to consider its priorities for review using guidelines and resources provided by ERO. ERO also used documentation provided by the school to contribute to the scope of the review.

The detailed priorities for review were then determined following a discussion between the ERO review team and the board of trustees. This discussion focused on existing information held by the school (including student achievement and self‑review information) and the extent to which potential issues for review contributed to the achievement of the students at Victory Primary School.

ERO and the board have agreed on the following focus areas for the review:

  • reading; and
  • partnerships for learning.

ERO’s findings in these areas are set out below.

Reading

Background

Since the 2006 ERO review the school has continued to review curriculum delivery for improved student outcomes. Initiatives have included whole-staff development in effective literacy practice in conjunction with work for implementation ofThe New Zealand Curriculum,Te Marautanga o Aotearoa, andKa Hikitia. Teacher-aide training has included strategies to support the literacy learning of students for whom English is a new language and students with high needs. This review evaluates the school’s effectiveness in fostering positive student attitudes to reading, in developing sound literacy foundations and more advanced skills for accessing the curriculum. ERO did this by observing classroom programmes across the school, meeting with community personnel, particularly the board of trustees, staff and students, and by reading school documentation.

Student progress and achievement

Background information. Reading data have been gathered for analysis in the same way since 2000. Students verified as not speaking English or as having high levels of need are not included in the data. Although school and national benchmark expectations have been recently adjusted upwards, the school’s information has been ‘cleaned’ to allow reliable comparisons to be made from year to year. Benchmarks for achievement in reading are the national progressions. As student transience is minimal, it is possible to gauge the general progress of each year level cohort since entry at age five.

Overall achievement in reading. School-wide summary results show an upward trend. In 2000, 62% of all students performed at or above expectations. By 2006, this had increased to 70%. In 2009, 89% of students achieve at or above the benchmarks.

Performance comparisons. There is little variation between the year cohorts, boys and girls and the different ethnic groups. The percentage of bilingual students achieving at or above the benchmark is 3% greater than the mainstream.

Maori student achievement. In 2000, 62% of students met or exceeded the benchmarks for reading. This percentage has risen steadily over the years, peaking at 86% in 2009.

Pacific student achievement. Data trend upward at a steady rate. Overall numbers performing at or above expectations in reading have increased from 62% in 2000 to 94% in 2009.

Interventions. All students receiving additional support make and sustain learning gains. In many cases, progress is rapid.

Areas of good performance

Governance support. Board planning is responsive to reported information and focused on supporting student learning and achievement. Trustees take responsibility for understanding development initiatives and have worked alongside staff to be conversant with implications for curriculum implementation and student learning and achievement. Appropriate budget allocation has been made for developing literacy practice.

Self review to evaluate progress toward expected outcomes is well established throughout the school. The board plans for regular and cyclical review and development, and is responsive to other matters as they arise. Processes are guided by useful questions and evaluation tools. The proactive approach assists in sustaining and building on improvement.

The board has high expectations of itself and for staff. Trustees give full support to the principal, for his professional growth and supervision. Expectations are monitored thoroughly.

Literacy leadership and development. School improvement is being successfully driven through external facilitation and in-house guidance from a strong literacy leadership team, which includes the principal. Teachers have committed seriously to their learning and it is evident that this is empowering them as practitioners. Progress is monitored against the expected outcomes of the literacy action plan, teacher inquiry development cycles, and the dimensions of effective literacy practice and performance standards. Feedback is constructive for setting next steps for development.

Expectations. Guidance for reading planning and assessment is clear. Definition of literacy learning and expected student progress are outcomes of extensive review and development in readiness for implementation of The New Zealand Curriculum and Te Marautanga o Aotearoa.

Reading programmes. Programmes for class, group and individual student learning are well documented in team and teacher planning. Decisions are guided by the teachers’ knowledge of the students’ strengths and needs. Over time, planning provides a regular blend of shared, guided and independent reading. Students receive balanced opportunities to experience different forms of text. Some teachers are beginning to plan for fluidity between reading and writing to develop student awareness and use of the different features of good text/writing.

Provision for specific needs. All special programmes are well planned and delivered under the guidance of the special needs coordinator and support team. These cater for students with little knowledge of English, new entrants requiring additional support, students with high needs and those identified as falling below expectations. The effectiveness of these interventions is closely monitored, evaluated and reported.

Instructional strategies. Expectations for behaviour and learning are high and clearly expressed. Teachers are skilled at motivating students and engage them in exploration of texts using a variety of good practice techniques. Questioning includes eliciting the different cultural experiences and knowledge that students bring to their learning. In the early years students are introduced to the building blocks of language and reading strategies within an oral language environment. As they progress, learning builds in complexity so that students can identify ways to access information and the features of text that make it more interesting. Learning activities provide for reinforcement of the teaching points and use of ICT and are appropriately challenging.

Learning enviroments. Environments support literacy learning. Teachers organise prompts and resources appropriate to the reading levels and age groups so that they are readily accessible. All classrooms have well stocked reading corners and make regular use of the library. A teacher/librarian supports teacher implementation of the library skills and information literacy programmes.

Interactions are positive across the school. Teachers develop good relationships with their students and, in turn, they are respectful and able to work cooperatively with each other. Classrooms are safe places for taking educational risks.

Student engagement and enjoyment. Students are willing and active participants in reading programmes. They follow the routines, settle to tasks quickly and confidently, and are keen to share ideas in discussions. All students spoken with in meetings and during lesson observations expressed enthusiasm for reading and appreciation for their learning programmes and resources.

Areas for improvement

Planning and teaching. The next stage of development of programme planning and teaching is the making of conscious links between reading and writing functions and processes. This is likely to foster greater student awareness of the interconnectedness of the learning and reinforce understanding of the teaching points. Some exploration of this approach has already been done within the context of inquiry‑based, integrated learning units. The leadership team is pacing change so that it leads to school-wide ownership of a cohesive, balanced approach in which literacy underpins all other programmes.

Many students spoken with during lessons could talk confidently about the tasks they were doing, but not knowingly about the learning involved and how activities related to the guided reading lesson.

Learning conversations between teachers and students are not yet at a point where they are empowering students as self-regulating learners. While the sharing of learning intentions and success criteria are habitual teaching strategies, and students have tools for monitoring their progress, it is not evident that this framework is sufficiently used to give feedback, set and evaluate learning goals. Further development of this teaching technique is essential for promoting student self evaluation and learning-focused conversations with peers and parents/caregivers.

Partnerships for Learning

Background

The school has been fostering partnerships with the community over several years. Successive ERO reviews have noted the school’s role in working for community well‑being through liaison with site-based agencies. School processes operate in conjunction with community services to offer ‘wrap-around’ support for families and assist in promoting student success. Since 2006 the number of participating agencies and the level of use have increased. Evidence indicates positive outcomes for student engagement and achievement. The Families Commission has asked the school and the centre to participate in a research project with a view to establishing a good practice model in providing access to family-centred services. This has already begun and the report will be available in 2010.

The board requested that ERO continue to evaluate the worth of the school’s partnerships for supporting student learning and achievement. This was included as part of the whole review scope.

Areas of good performance

The charter statement “Everyone Matters at Victory” is embraced and practised daily by leaders, staff and students.

Clear vision and direction. The vision for student learning and well-being within a whole, healthy community is effectively shared and understood.Students are able to articulate the school values and expectations for growing into responsible learners and respectful, caring people.

Leadership. The school enjoys effective leadership at all levels. The principal continues to provide dynamic, collegial leadership. His work is highly respected and well supported by the board, senior managers, the Village coordinator and agency personnel. Trustees are representative of, and leaders for, the different community groups. The deputy principal and senior teachers are working with the principal to broaden and distribute leadership across the school. This model demonstrates to students and community members that leadership can be at all levels and is a shared responsibility. Students are encouraged to step up to personal challenges to assist in the running of the school.

Communication. Families and other community members are kept fully informed about school life and student successes through various communication channels, for example, newsletters, education evenings and social events. Smaller group occasions allow for different ‘voices’ to be heard. Parents can attend parent cafes or hui to ask questions, give feedback or express concerns. Trustees work with their cultural groups to offer a smaller forum for discussion.

Participation. Parent support for school events or trips is good as is attendance at formal reporting times. The Duffy books and computers‑in‑homes programmes demonstrate value for reading/literacy and encourage whānau partnership in student learning. Families living in the same streets are encouraged to keep an eye out for each other.

Services provided. A wide range of social, educational, health and recreational services is offered to cater for the needs of young, old, and new migrants. The school makes a considerable effort to manage successful transitions from preschool, into and within the school and on to the next stage of education.

Outcomes. Preliminary Families Commission research findings indicate that collaboration between school and agency personnel is more effective than one organisation acting alone. The trusting relationships built with families enhance possibilities for responsiveness to emerging needs and opportunities. The worth of the village concept for raising the child and enhancing learning for life is evident in:

  • attendance rates that are high and surpass the national average levels. The school has no need to access truancy services;
  • increased family engagement with the school and correspondingly reduced levels of family transience. Over 10 years this has gone down from 65% to 9% in 2009;
  • absence of playground and classroom behaviour issues. No student has been formally disciplined, stood down or suspended in the past nine years;
  • student survey results that affirm the value of peer mediators;
  • significant reduction in the numbers of behaviour referrals to the Resource Teachers: Learning and Behaviour, and to Group Special Education;
  • increased levels of student participation in sporting or cultural activities;
  • raised levels of student achievement; and
  • few incidences of vandalism to the property.

Stakeholders consider the environment to be welcoming, inclusive, physically, emotionally and culturally safe, and a positive place for all. They are proud of the part the school plays in the community through its powhiri, kapa haka, choir and other performances, and the profile it has in the media.

Areas for improvement

Sustainability. The board has identified that one of its challenges is to know with confidence how well the vision has been realised by the intended learning outcomes being sustained over time. Further success criteria and information gathering processes need to be considered for determining long-term effectiveness.

Enriched partnerships. Formal reporting to parents does not yet include students as leaders of the process. (This is linked to the area for improvement reported in the section on reading about improving student learning conversations and empowering them as self regulating learners).

3. Areas of National Interest

Overview

ERO provides information about the education system as a whole to Government to be used as the basis for long-term and systemic educational improvement. ERO also provides information about the education sector for schools, parents and the community through its national reports.

To do this ERO decides on topics and investigates them for a specific period in all applicable schools nationally.

During the review of Victory Primary School ERO investigated and reported on the following areas of national interest. The findings are included in this report so that information about the school is transparent and widely available.

Success for Māori and Pacific Students: Progress

In this review, ERO evaluated the extent to which the school was familiar with theMāori Education Strategy – Ka Hikitia: Managing forSuccessand progress made since the last review in promoting success at school for Māori students. It also evaluated how well the achievement of Pacific students is fostered. ERO usually reports these findings separately. As practice is holistic and consistent across the school, findings are contained within the specific focus areas of this report. At Victory Primary School, 150 students, or 38% of the roll, identify as Māori and 16, or 4%, identify as Pacific.

Areas of good performance

The school reports it has thoroughly considered Ka Hikitia. This has been done over an extended period and has involved the board as well as staff. The philosophy of ‘stepping up and stepping out’ is embraced, documented in plans and modelled by trustees and staff.

The school finds that strategies for fostering the engagement and achievement of Māori and Pacific students and partnership with whānau/fono, are effective for all students. In addition to the good practice reported in section three, the school:

  • ensures representation of Māori and Pacific families on the board of trustees;
  • holds regular Māori and Pacific student whānau group meetings;
  • includes Māori and Pacific perspectives in topic studies and day-to-day learning; and
  • provides for professional development of teachers and teacher aides to assist students in need of support with language acquisition.

Preparing to Give Effect to the New Zealand Curriculum

Schools are currently working towards implementing The New Zealand Curriculumby February 2010. During this review ERO investigated the progressVictory Primary School is making towards giving full effect to the curriculum as part of its planning, organisation and teaching practice. ERO found that school leaders and teachers at Victory Primary School have made good progress towards giving effect to The New Zealand Curriculumin their planning, organisation and teaching and are already implementing revised programmes of learning.

Including Students with High Needs

During this review ERO investigated the extent to which the board and school leaders of Victory Primary School provide an inclusive education for students with high needs. This included collecting evidence about the school’s policies, processes and practices to support the enrolment and induction of students with high needs and to support their participation and achievement at school. The information collected during this review will contribute to information that will be reported in a national education evaluation report.

Prior to a review, a board of trustees and principal attest in the Board Assurance Statement that they have taken all reasonable steps to meet their legal requirements including those detailed in Ministry of Education circulars and other documents.

The board of Victory Primary School was asked to attest to whether it had ‘ensured that teachers of students with disabilities, and other contact staff, have a sound understanding of the learning needs of students with disabilities and, where necessary, have put in place support systems centred on each individual with disabilities.’ The board was also asked to attest that ‘policies and procedures that relate to students who have special education needs are implemented without discrimination’.

ERO’s findings confirm these attestations.

4. Board Assurance on Compliance Areas

Overview

Before the review, the board of trustees and principal of Victory Primary School completed an ERO Board Assurance Statement and Self-Audit Checklist. 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; and
  • asset management.

During the review, ERO checked the following items because they have a potentially high impact on students’ achievement:

  • emotional safety of students (including prevention of bullying and sexual harassment);
  • physical safety of students;
  • teacher registration;
  • stand-downs, suspensions, expulsions and exclusions; and
  • attendance.

Compliance

ERO’s investigations did not identify any areas of concern.

5. Recommendations

ERO and the board of trustees recommend that:

The board develop success indicators for monitoring and evaluating the long‑term effectiveness of Victory Urban Village initiatives for students’ life‑long learning and success.

The teaching team continue to develop formative assessment practice to:

  • increase student understanding of the purpose of learning and activities;
  • empower students as self-monitoring learners; and
  • strengthen parent partnership in their children’s learning

6. Future Action

ERO is very confident that the board of trustees can govern the school in the interest of the students and the Crown and bring about the improvements outlined in this report. ERO is likely to carry out the next review in four to five years.

Kathleen Atkins

National Manager Review Services

Central Region

8 December 2009

About the School

Location

Nelson

Ministry of Education profile number

3231

School type

Contributing Primary (Years 1–6)

Teaching staff: Roll generated entitlement Other Number of teachers

20.73 1.20 21.00

School roll

395

Gender composition

Boys 53%

Girls 47%

Ethnic composition

Māori 38%

New Zealand European/Pākehā 37%

South East Asian 15%

Pacific 4%

Other European 6%

Special features

Bilingual units 6 Attached Maitai School Satellite Class Attached Social WorkerCommunity Centre comprising social, health, recreational and educational services

Review team on site

October 2009

Date of this report

8 December 2009

Previous ERO reports

Education Review August 2006

Education Review June 2003

Accountability Review March 2000

Assurance Audit December 1996

Assurance Audit August 1993

To the Parents and Community of Victory Primary School

These are the findings of the Education Review Office’s latest report on Victory Primary School.

Victory Primary School is situated in Nelson City and provides education for students in years 1 to 6. The grounds and buildings are the site for the Victory Urban Village, a campus comprising classrooms, playgrounds, facilities for before and after‑school care, a köhanga reo and a community centre for several social agencies. The parts of the campus are coordinated to provide education and care for all ages within a safe, welcoming, attractive environment. The student roll comprises children from many cultural backgrounds. At the time of this 2009 review, 38% of the total roll identified as Māori and a further 25% came from non-Pākehā families.

The school’s reporting history with ERO is positive. This ERO review finds that the Board of Trustees, principal and senior leaders have sustained the gains made in previous years and continued to develop service provision. The principal is an innovative and collegial leader. He is well supported by school and community personnel in realising the vision for student well-being and achievement within a healthy community. The Victory philosophy is that the school enrols not only the child but also the family. Therefore trusting, productive partnerships with family/whānau are central to everything the school does.

Since the previous ERO review in 2006, teacher professional development has focused on effective practice in reading and the use of information and communication technologies (ICT) in learning programmes. In addition to this, the whole school team has worked with the revised national curriculum andKa Hikitia,the national strategy for promoting success for Māori,to design Victory programmes. The board and staff in the six bilingual classrooms are developing familiarity withTe Marautanga o Aotearoa,the national Māori curriculum.This ERO review evaluated the quality of the school’s reading programmes and the effectiveness of community partnerships for supporting student learning and achievement.

ICT Students receive high quality education opportunities. Reading programmes are planned in response to what teachers know about their students. They motivate students to read and useto search for, or communicate, information. Classrooms are well organised and productive places. Aspects of practice that could be further developed relate to: planning for fluidity between reading and writing and for literacy to underpin learning across subject areas; more deliberate use of informal assessment processes with students to empower them as self‑monitoring learners; and, through this process, raising parent partnership to another level.

Overall student achievement in reading, writing and numeracy is high, as measured against the national literacy progressions and numeracy benchmarks. The needs of the small numbers of students not meeting these expectations are catered for through special programmes and targeted assistance. The learning of students new to the country is transitioned successfully through tuition in English.

Students know the school’s expectations for learning and behaviour. They are able to work cooperatively, are quick to support others and celebrate their successes. Students are proud of their school and the overall tone is purposeful, happy and wholesome.

The school continues to work with the agencies to maintain strong partnerships with the community. For students, the impact of this collaboration is evident in their high attendance rates, positive attitudes, enthusiastic engagement in activities and achievement. Parents’ level of ease in the environment and satisfaction with the school is high. Their presence in the school is regular and attendance at reporting times is virtually one hundred percent.

The board is interested in the long-term effectiveness of the school’s approach and programmes for students. To know this the board will need to develop additional measures for assessing, monitoring and evaluating how well the core values and intended outcomes have been sustained.

Future Action

ERO is very confident that the board of trustees can govern the school in the interest of the students and the Crown and bring about the improvements outlined in this report. ERO is likely to carry out the next review in four to five years.

Review Coverage

ERO reviews do not cover every aspect of school performance and each ERO report may cover different issues. The aim is to provide information on aspects that are central to student achievement and useful to this school.

If you would like a copy of the full report, please contact the school or see the ERO website. www.ero.govt.nz.

Kathleen Atkins

National Manager Review Services

Central Region