View Road School - 23/06/2015

Findings

Students at View Road School engage well in learning and enjoy a positive, vibrant school environment. Developments in teaching are producing some good outcomes. The board is aware, however, that governance, management and student achievement need improvement. The school would benefit from external assistance to bring about these improvements.

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

1 Context

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

View Road School is situated in the township of Waiuku. It caters for 142 students from Year 1 to 8. Approximately 60 percent of the roll identify as Māori, most of who align to local hapū and iwi Waikato. Many students, staff and families have had a long association with the school.

Over the last three years staff have engaged in a range of professional development initiatives. These include a writing contract, a Student Achievement Function (SAF) intervention initiated by the board, and Accelerated Literacy Learning (ALL) and Literacy in Mathematics (LIM) contracts. Staff have also participated in Te Toi Tupu Accelerated Learning and Positive Behaviour for Learning (PB4L) programmes.

The school has recently introduced e-learning technologies for students in Years 6 to 8. This initiative will progress on to other classes in the future. The school property has been well maintained and continues to provide an attractive learning environment for students. It now features a new astro-turf sports surface.

The 2012 ERO report identified that accelerated learning was needed to improve low levels of student progress and achievement. The curriculum was in the early stages of being formalised and documented. Senior leaders acknowledge that curriculum development and raising student achievement are still priorities for the school.

2 Learning

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

Students are engaged in their learning, and are responsive to teachers’ questions and guidance. Positive relationships and behaviours are clearly evident throughout the school, and students’ confidence in learning has improved. Most students can talk about how well they are progressing, but some are unsure how well they achieve in relation to the National Standards.

The school has good systems in place to support students who have specific learning needs. Teacher aides and teachers work together to ensure these students are well catered for in the school. The next step for the school is to regularly evaluate and report to the board about the impact of systems and strategies for supporting students with additional learning needs.

Teaching is focused on student learning and includes the use of clear formative assessment practices. Students have goals that are linked to their learning. Differentiation of learning for groups and the use of specific strategies to support students at risk of poor outcomes is evident in teachers’ planning and most teaching practices. Teachers plan well for students’ learning in reading, writing, and mathematics. Class environments provide good prompts for student learning and there are attractive displays of student work.

Good teaching practices include deliberate teaching targeted to students’ learning needs and open-ended questions to promote thinking. Students are also encouraged to self assess and to work cooperatively with others to critique their own learning. Senior students have good opportunities to develop leadership skills. These opportunities could be further encouraged across all levels of the school.

Student achievement in mathematics, reading and writing has progressed slowly. Although there has been some success with some groups of students, further analysis of trends and patterns of student achievement across the school is required. Improved analysis could help teachers to identify more ways of accelerating learning, particularly for those students who continue to underachieve in relation to the National Standards.

Staff professional development has increased teachers’ involvement in professional discussion to support their work. A next step for senior leaders is to develop better quality assurance and selfreview systems for monitoring progress towards school goals. More regular tracking of student achievement by teachers, syndicate leaders, and senior leaders would help provide assurance that students are improving as the year progresses.

It would also be useful for senior leaders to refine the quality of information they provide to the board of trustees. Reports should cover the impact that professional development has on teaching practices and student learning. Senior leaders should also review and report on the impact that non-attendance, transience and other factors have on student engagement, progress and achievement.

3 Curriculum

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

The curriculum is partially effective in promoting and supporting student learning.

The school delivers a sound technology programme for students in Years 7 and 8 from this school and other local primary schools.

Senior leaders acknowledge that a review of the school’s general curriculum is overdue. Although teaching practices cover all the essential learning areas, senior leaders need to ensure that there is a curriculum plan to guide teachers’ implementation and coverage of The New Zealand Curriculum.

Senior leaders should seek external support in the development of a school-wide curriculum. They should ensure that the curriculum:

  • is supported by a plan for implementing e-learning throughout the school
  • is culturally responsive, and includes a te reo Māori programme
  • is regularly reviewed and updated.

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

Although Māori student achievement is generally progressing, it is not clear that all Māori students are achieving educational success. Senior leaders and teachers need to prioritise targeted strategies to improve Māori student achievement across the school and should closely monitor the impact of these strategies.

The involvement of Te Huarahi Trust, an external advisory group, has supported the school in developing the curriculum. The school has recently introduced te reo Māori and kapa haka. Senior leaders should now integrate te reo into other curriculum areas.

The school has consulted with Māori parents over the last three years and could now reconsider how it undertakes this consultation. The board could consider inquiring at the marae, hapū and iwi level about the Tainui/Waikato education plan. This plan may help the school develop a more culturally responsive and localised curriculum that will support it to build better partnerships with the local Māori community.

4 Sustainable Performance

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

The school is developing its capacity to sustain good practices and continue improving its performance.

The board comprises a number of newer trustees and some more experienced members who have had a long association with the school. It would be beneficial for trustees to now undertake further board training as part of building a new governance team for the school.

The principal has focused on establishing relationships, supporting whānau and providing many opportunities for them to be involved in the school. The principal has purposefully distributed leadership roles among staff but school leadership is not yet supported by strong management systems.

A next step for the principal is to ensure school operations are well documented and that school policy, procedures and practices are aligned. Staff appraisal processes could be more effective in promoting high quality teaching and learning. Senior leaders should also work to establish:

  • quality assurance processes that support systematic, focused self review for improvement across all aspects of school operations
  • deliberate school-wide approaches to management systems, teaching practices and understandings of responsibilities and accountabilities
  • a deliberate focus on raising student achievement across the school, particularly for those students who continually underachieve.

The board has agreed to complete an action plan that reflects the key areas for improvement identified in this report. The action plan should provide guidance for school and external support, and underpin the improvements necessary in school-wide operations, governance and leadership.

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.

To improve current practices, the board and school leaders should ensure that:

  • a complaints file is established
  • records are kept of board approval of overnight camps
  • police vetting processes are implemented and updated as required
  • accident records are completed and analysed
  • stand-down and suspension documentation is completed and filed appropriately
  • in-committee processes are used at board meetings to maintain confidentiality where appropriate.

During the review ERO also identified an area of non-compliance. To address this, the board of trustees needs to ensure that:

  • the teacher appraisal process occurs annually, and that it follows the prescribed requirements for assessing the performance of teachers
    [s 77c State Sector Act 1988 (NZ Gazette No 180: 1996)].

Recommendations to other agencies

The board and principal agree with ERO's recommendation that the Ministry of Education consider providing support to assist the school to bring about improvements in:

  • managing quality assurance and self-review processes
  • curriculum development and implementation
  • the analysis and use of data to inform teaching and improve student achievement.

Conclusion

Students at View Road School engage well in learning and enjoy a positive, vibrant school environment. Developments in teaching are producing some good outcomes. The board is aware, however, that governance, management and student achievement need improvement. The school would benefit from external assistance to bring about these improvements.

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

Dale Bailey

Deputy Chief Review Officer Northern

23 June 2015

About the School

Location

Waiuku

Ministry of Education profile number

1545

School type

Full Primary (Years 1 to 8)

School roll

142

Gender composition

Boys 51% Girls 49%

Ethnic composition

Māori

Pākehā

Pacific

Indian

African

59%

31%

3%

3%

4%

Special Features

Host to 1 class from Parkside Special School

Technology programme provider for 9 local schools

Review team on site

May 2015

Date of this report

23 June 2015

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

February 2012

August 2008

August 2005