Wadestown School - 31/05/2016

1 Context

Wadestown School is a Year 1 to 8 primary school, located on two sites approximately one kilometre apart. The school opened in 1881 on the site of the present Side School. The Main School opened in 1917. Challenges related to the split site are well managed. There is a cohesive school culture and attractive learning environment. Significant improvements to buildings have occurred and are ongoing.

Most students live in the immediate locality and attend early childhood education centres prior to enrolment. Parents are very supportive and interested in all aspects of school operations. They expect their children to be successful learners and to enjoy new experiences that challenge and motivate. The school's roll has increased markedly since the April 2013 ERO review.

Teachers' sustained professional learning and development in literacy, te reo me ngā tikanga Māori, and in science continues to impact positively on student achievement.

2 Equity and excellence

The vision and valued outcomes defined by the school for all children are that students will be enthusiastic, considerate and independent learners who are motivated to succeed in whatever they strive to achieve. Agreed values are excellence, respect, empathy, responsibility and perseverance.

Values are enacted across the curriculum, underpinning all aspects of school culture and given meaning through documentation and action.

The school’s achievement information shows that most students continue to achieve at or above National Standard expectations in reading, writing and mathematics. In 2015, the school focused on raising achievement in writing. The target for improvement was exceeded and raised in 2016. Although some students did not achieve the target, they made considerable progress and their learning is being consolidated.

Students who are identified as meeting or exceeding National Standard levels are working capably at highly challenging tasks designed to motivate and enrich learning. The needs of students who are new to the school are assessed. School data shows they make good gains in achievement.

Since the previous ERO evaluation the school has narrowed the scope of professional learning and development to focus on writing, science and te reo Māori. The result is a curriculum that is sustainable with embedded, high quality teaching practice.

Students' goals for improvement are succinct, manageable and measurable. The discussion among teachers and close monitoring, result in each student being very aware of how much they have learned and how that learning will improve and inform future learning. Formal reports to parents are comprehensive and detailed about how adults may help at home.

The board has made a considerable investment in digital technology. Students confidently use technology as a tool for learning and communication.

3 Accelerating achievement

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

There is a rigorous process to identify students requiring additional support to achieve the relevant National Standard in reading, writing and mathematics. School-based moderation and moderation across a cluster of schools is a useful part of valid decision-making, particularly in writing. Senior school leaders and teachers are committed to students performing well across the curriculum before being judged to be at or above national standard expectations. As a result, judgements are robust.

Challenging improvement targets are set for small groups and individual students. There is sound evidence to show that students make accelerated progress, including those with more complex needs. The deliberate in-class intervention strategies, with lead-teacher input and peer collaboration in teaching teams, are successful.

Students in the junior school make considerable progress in Years 1 and 2, setting a strong foundation for learning in Year 3 and beyond. There is an expectation that all students leave Year 8, achieving or exceeding the National Standards. The majority achieve this goal.

Students are active learners, thinkers and problem solvers. Most are articulate, have a high degree of self-belief and are willing to attempt new tasks with enthusiasm.

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 priorities for equity and excellence?

Students experience a rich curriculum that develops higher level skills, increases their knowledge and exposes them to new ideas and interests. Some sustain particular interests and continue participation at an advanced level. Initiatives are part of a strategic commitment to students' holistic development. Curriculum documentation is specific about what to teach and preferred strategies for consistency, while encouraging innovation. This in-school model of development, guided by lead teachers, has resulted in very deliberate strategies to cater for individual students. Teachers empower students to know how to learn and how to improve.

Parent consultation contributes to decisions about the curriculum and where there should be significant emphasis. Teachers' knowledge of their students and partnership with parents result in a curriculum that has depth, considerable breadth of opportunity and reflects parents' aspirations.

The sustained focus on literacy has a major influence on teaching and learning. Teachers agree on what constitutes an effective programme and implement school expectations in a consistent manner. Students are very confident about their role in progressing their own learning, setting specific goals, self-assessing their progress and deciding their next steps.

Science is a priority learning area identified as significant by parents and the school. The subject is given status through board resourcing, teacher leadership, professional learning and agreed curriculum guidelines. Students are exposed to a broad scope of learning progressions, meaningful experiences and practical studies. Considerable success is evident in students' participation in external science activities, awards and documented records in students' individual science notebooks.

Te reo and tikanga Māori are valued, integrated components of the curriculum. Students demonstrate increasing capability and confidence in knowledge, participation and leadership. Kapa haka has a strong following and status, being a core curriculum area. The parent whānau group is growing from strength to strength, contributing meaning and substance to students' learning. Board, staff and parents support Māori students to stand tall in their language, culture and identity.

Transition to school, through the school and beyond is managed with care. The effects of change in moving from the Side to Main school are minimised by good communication with parents and reassurance for students through regular interaction across the site. Useful connections with secondary schools enable teachers to follow ex-students' progress and to know that students are well prepared for Year 9.

Student leadership is an essential part of school culture and commitment to developing citizenship. Leadership growth links with the Values and emphasis on self-reliance and challenge. Senior students ably manage a variety of curriculum activities and assist in teaching leadership skills to younger students. Confident transition to Year 9 and the ability to make good decisions are indicators that the approach to developing key competencies for the future, are successful.

Trustees adopt a responsible, efficient and collaborative approach to stewardship with a strong focus on quality. Strategic priorities are very specific, followed through and enable decisions to be soundly based on evidence. Internal evaluation is a well-constructed process assisted by ongoing reflection and measures of student outcomes. As a result, the curriculum is well resourced to support best practice teaching, high levels of student achievement and to achieve the targets identified in the annual plan.

The board's plan to review the school's strategic direction is considered an opportunity to engage further with parents, staff and students. ERO agrees that this wide-ranging evaluation is likely to sustain the positive direction, evident across school functions.

The principal and senior leaders set direction while recognising that distributed leadership supports sustainability. Mentoring and coaching underpin the school-based model of quality teaching to achieve best outcomes for students. This collaborative approach to building capacity and achieving a foundation of consistency is resulting in teachers being very deliberate in their use of strategies that achieve results. Supportive relationships across staff have resulted in a solutions-focused, professional culture. Appraisal is a robust process.

Parents are fully involved in partnerships that assist their children to learn in a holistic way. Sharing information with parents is a two-way, valued and responsive process.

5 Going forward

How well placed is the school to achieve and sustain equitable and excellent outcomes for all children?

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.

Factors contributing to the high number of students attaining or exceeding the National Standard and to accelerated progress for the small number of students requiring additional support are:

  • succinct strategic planning, focused on critical outcomes for Wadestown students
  • targeted resourcing to sustain consistently high quality teaching practice across the school
  • sustained focus on tracking, monitoring and improving student progress
  • regular, rigorous internal evaluation to evaluate progress
  • learning partnerships with parents.

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 Recommendations

ERO supports the planned review of the school's strategic plan. The opportunity to engage further with community, staff and students is likely to sustain the positive direction evident across school operations. 

Joyce Gebbie

Deputy Chief Review Officer Central

31 May 2016

About the school

Location

Wellington

Ministry of Education profile number

3055

School type

Full Primary (Year 1 to 8)

School roll

350

Gender composition

Male 51%, Female 49%

Ethnic composition

Pākehā

Māori

Other ethnic groups

80%

7%

13%

Review team on site

May 2016

Date of this report

31 May 2016

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

April 2013

February 2010

November 2006