Viscount School - 06/08/2020

Findings

On the basis of the findings of this review, ERO ‘s overall evaluation judgement of Viscount School’s performance in achieving valued outcomes for its students is: Well placed.

1 Background and Context

What is the background and context for this school’s review?

Viscount School has catered for students in Years 1 to 8 in Mangere, Auckland for over 50 years. The large majority of learners are of Pacific heritage. Māori students comprise 12 percent of the school roll and many students speak more than one language.

ERO’s evaluations of the school in 2016 and 2018 identified a number of significant ongoing concerns regarding educational outcomes and opportunities for students. In response, the Ministry of Education (the Ministry) appointed a Commissioner in 2017 to undertake all governance responsibilities, until the election of a new board of trustees. An acting principal was retained by the commissioner until a permanent principal was appointed.

For the past two years the school has been involved in an ERO longitudinal evaluation process to support progress and development. Interim progress evaluations have involved the Commissioner/Limited Statutory Manager (LSM), the acting principal who is now the permanent principal, the senior leadership team, the Ministry, professional development providers, teachers and students.

Between 2016 and 2018 the commissioner and the acting principal led a number of significant improvements that addressed key governance challenges. This enabled the elected board to take up its governance role and responsibilities in August 2019. The Commissioner/LSM is now moving to an advisory role to support the board.

Leaders have developed closer links to local schools and early learning services through the Mangere Community of Learning|Kāhui Ako.

2 Review and Development

How effectively is the school addressing its priorities for review and development?

Priorities identified for review and development in the 2018 ERO report:

  • increasing student progress and raising achievement

  • embedding a responsive local curriculum

  • promoting effective teaching and learning practices

  • continuing to implement sound governance practices.

The school has made significant progress in relation to all of these priorities.

Progress

The school is improving its quality of teaching and student learning opportunities.

The most significant areas of progress and development include:

  • positive upward trends in student achievement in reading, writing and mathematics

  • schoolwide teaching programmes that better reflect the principles and aims of the New Zealand Curriculum (NZC)

  • providing targeted professional learning and development (PLD) which is improving teachers’ capacity to meet the needs of individual students

  • increased opportunities for student-led learning

  • improved leadership opportunities for teachers.

The leadership team has been restructured and expanded. Leaders have clarified their roles and responsibilities. Teachers use robust evidence to inform decision making about achieving specific targeted outcomes for students.

Teachers have high expectations of their students’ learning and achievement. Learning programmes relate to the school’s redesigned localised curriculum. Teachers differentiate programmes to challenge students’ thinking. These approaches help to meet the specific learning needs and interests of individual students. Students are well engaged in classrooms and experience increased agency and ownership of their learning.

Teachers have developed action plans and targeted goals to lift achievement. Appropriate assessment tools and reliable achievement information are used regularly to track student progress and achievement. Literacy and mathematics achievement data show accelerated progress for some students over time.

The leadership team has developed close monitoring systems to address the learning needs of students who have additional learning needs. Leaders identify, target and accelerate the learning progress of these students.

A positive learning culture has been further developed through regular and meaningful consultation with students and their whānau. This approach has increased parents, whānau and the local community participation in the life of the school. These positive and active relationships support students to be successful learners.

Key next steps

Leaders and teachers have identified the need to continue to improve student achievement through ongoing focused inquiries into teacher practices and learning strategies.

3 Sustainable performance and self review

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

The school is well placed to sustain and continue to improve its performance.

The school’s responsive local curriculum supports Pacific and Māori students to succeed and be well prepared to transition on to secondary school. Robust systems and policies with purposeful professional learning opportunities are now in place to assist with the school’s ongoing development and progress.

The leadership team work collaboratively and are effective in providing a clear vision and direction across the school. Strategic documents outline a coherent pathway for guiding school self review for ongoing improvement.

Internal evaluation for improvement is ongoing. Continuing to refine inquiry systems and processes will ensure decision making by leaders, trustees and other stakeholders is well informed.

Trustees have a shared understanding of the trustee role and responsibilities. They are aware that student learning, wellbeing and achievement are the board's priorities. Ongoing training with the New Zealand School Trustees Association should help them to maximise their effectiveness in improving outcomes for all students.

The Ministry has provided effective support through targeted interventions and programmes. They continue to work with trustees and school leaders to address the urgent need to improve school buildings and grounds.

4 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
  • school policies in relation to meeting the requirements of the Children’s Act 2014.

5 Recommendations

Recommendations, including any to other agencies for ongoing or additional support.

The Ministry continue to support the school to improve buildings and grounds.

Conclusion

On the basis of the findings of this review, ERO ‘s overall evaluation judgement of Viscount School’s performance in achieving valued outcomes for its students is: Well placed.

ERO’s Framework: Overall Findings and Judgement Tool derived from School Evaluation Indicators: Effective Practice for Improvement and Learner Success is available on ERO’s website.

Steve Tanner
Director Review and Improvement Services (Northern)
Northern Region - Te Tai Raki

6 August 2020

About the school

The Education Counts website provides further information about the school’s student population, student engagement and student achievement.