Waimauku School - 01/06/2016

1 Context

Waimauku School, in northwest Auckland, provides education for students in Years 1 to 8. Staff, students and parents value the history, traditions and community connections of the school. The principal and many teachers are long-serving members of staff.

The school’s 2011 ERO report noted a strong focus on student learning and engagement, and the positive community support for and involvement in the school. These continue to be strengths of the school. Students are confident and articulate. They learn in a caring, respectful environment. Parents and whānau are welcome in the school and have opportunities to contribute to school life in many ways.

2 Equity and excellence

The Waimauku School vision ‘Opening Doors to Life's Journey’ reflects the school's commitment to developing children as lifelong learners. The school values of Respect, Responsibility and Integrity underpin its positive learning environment and support students' wellbeing and sense of belonging.

Valued outcomes, as defined by the school, are that all students should achieve personal standards of excellence in academic, cultural, sporting and social areas of life. The school aims to provide an environment that enables students to become lifelong learners who are confident, critical thinkers, reflective, effective communicators, literate, numerate, resilient and community minded.

The school’s achievement information shows that most learners achieve at or above the National Standard in reading, writing and mathematics. Over the past two to three years there has been an increase of around 11% in the school roll. The proportion of students achieving National Standards has remained fairly constant at around 80% overall. A school-wide focus on mathematics has seen particular improvement in achievement for Māori students in this learning area. School leaders have now set a focus on further improving achievement in writing, particularly for boys and Māori, as overall progress in this area is somewhat below reading and mathematics levels of achievement.

Since the last ERO evaluation the school has focused on raising achievement in writing and mathematics, and teachers have participated in external professional development in these areas. Work on curriculum review has included a significant focus on developing bicultural aspects of curriculum and has also resulted in changes to the way science is delivered. A boys' class was established for Years 5 and 6 in 2013.

3 Accelerating achievement

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

The school identifies and responds well to Māori children whose learning and achievement needs acceleration. School leaders use student achievement information well to identify and monitor the progress and achievement of all learners. Leaders and teachers give particular focus to groups and individual students, including Māori, whose learning and achievement needs acceleration. A range of interventions and targeted programmes are provided for these students, and staff regularly reflect on, and trial different strategies, to improve their learning and progress. They can identify examples of individual students making accelerated progress, and now need to more clearly identify the strategies that are bringing about these good outcomes.

A recent focus on extending bicultural practices in the school has been an intentional strategy to further support Māori student success. This includes actions taken to increase teachers' capability and confidence to promote te reo and tikanga Māori, and working with whānau to increase opportunities for kapa haka and involvement in local cultural festivals. To further extend these positive developments, leaders and trustees should continue to work with Māori families so that whānau goals and aspirations can contribute more fully to the development of goals for promoting the achievement of Māori students. Further use of Ministry of Education resources and support may be helpful to guide review and development in this area.

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

The school responds well to other children whose learning and achievement need acceleration using systems and processes that are very similar to those for Māori children whose learning and achievement need acceleration.

Processes to accelerate the learning of Māori and other children could be extended by increasing:

  • the evaluative analysis of strategies implemented to support learning outcomes for students whose learning and achievement need acceleration
  • students' ownership of their learning
  • parent partnerships in learning.

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?

The school is working well to provide curriculum and organisational processes and practices that reflect the school's vision, values and goals.

The school is governed by an experienced board of trustees who bring a range of skills and expertise to their roles. Trustees work collaboratively with the principal and senior leaders and show shared understanding of governance roles and responsibilities. Processes are in place for board induction, training and succession planning. Policies and procedures provide a useful framework for governance.

The school’s charter, strategic and annual plans are used to guide programmes and practices across the school. Trustees receive good information about student achievement and school operations through a range of reporting processes. The board uses achievement and other related self-review information well to make resourcing decisions. Trustees and leaders should continue to build the school’s capacity to evaluate the impacts of programmes designed to bring about positive changes for learners.

The principal and other leaders work collaboratively to support the learning of both students and teachers. They promote a collegial school culture of reflection and ongoing review. Clear systems guide school operations and teaching and learning practices. Well considered professional development has contributed to improved processes for using student achievement information. School leaders have established systems that promote teacher collaboration, dialogue and reflection. Recent changes in appraisal processes are helping teachers to inquire more robustly into the effectiveness of their teaching practices on outcomes for learners, and to make changes as a result of these inquiries.

Positive relationships with families, whānau and the wider school community are a strength in the school. Students are well supported by strong pastoral care provisions and the emphasis placed on student wellbeing and engagement. School leaders and teachers have developed effective processes for helping to ensure smooth transitions for students into the school, within the school and on to secondary schooling.

Parents receive clear information about their child's progress and achievement, and have opportunities to contribute to their child’s learning goals. School leaders should continue to build on the foundation of strong relationships to maximise and extend parent partnerships in learning. This could include exploring different ways in which parents might be involved in their children’s learning, particularly as the school moves towards more student-led learning approaches.

A focus on developing a bicultural curriculum and practices in recent years is increasingly promoting culturally responsive practices. Continuing to build teachers’ confidence and capability in te reo me nga tikanga Māori would further affirm the culture, language and identity of Māori students, as well as enriching the knowledge and understanding of Aotearoa New Zealand's bicultural heritage of all students.

Curriculum programmes are delivered through a concept-based approach that incorporates all learning areas and the key competencies of The New Zealand Curriculum (NZC), with an emphasis on literacy and mathematics. Curriculum review has informed changes to programmes and approaches. The school's model for inquiry learning has recently been updated to provide a more useful framework for guiding students’ thinking and questioning skills.

ERO and school leaders agree that they should continue to work with teachers to explore ways in which they can further develop student ownership of their learning. Goal setting processes are being developed in different ways across the school, with teachers working to help students set their learning goals and to discuss their learning, progress and achievement. Students are increasing their understanding of what they need to do to make progress and how to evaluate their own success.

ERO affirms school plans to continue developing classrooms that reflect modern, innovative learning environments and practices. Leaders are currently initiating and implementing a range of strategies to support this future direction for the school. They should now ensure shared understandings and consistency in practice to embed and sustain the desired changes.

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 to the strengths, needs and interests of each child
  • regularly evaluate how teaching is working for these children
  • do not always or systematically act on what they know works for each child
  • have a plan in place but have not yet built teacher capability effectively to achieve equitable outcomes for all children.

While the school does have strategies in place to build teacher capability for achieving equitable outcomes for students, this is an area for continuing review and development.

School trustees, leaders and staff work collaboratively to provide positive outcomes for students. There is a focus on student achievement and wellbeing at all levels of the school. Strong relationships with families, whānau and the wider community are evident. Good systems support school operations, and teaching and learning programmes.

School leaders are initiating and implementing strategies to support the school's future strategic direction. To further reduce disparity and achieve and sustain equitable and excellent outcomes for all children, the school should continue to:

  • deepen evaluative analysis of strategies to accelerate achievement and achieve equity and excellence for all students
  • build teacher capability, particularly in relation to increasing student ownership of their learning
  • extend learning-centred partnerships with families and whānau.

Action: The board, principal and teachers should use the findings of this evaluation, the Effective School Evaluation resource, the Internal Evaluation: Good Practice exemplars and the School Evaluation Indicators to develop a Raising Achievement Plan to further develop processes and practices that respond effectively to the strengths and needs of children whose learning and achievement need to be accelerated.

As part of this review ERO will continue to monitor the school’s Raising Achievement Plan and the progress the school makes. ERO is likely to carry out the next full review in three 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 recommends that the school continue to build its capacity to evaluate the impacts of programmes and interventions designed to bring about improvements in educational outcomes for students whose learning and achievement needs acceleration.

Graham Randell

Deputy Chief Review Officer Northern

1 June 2016

About the school

Location

Waimauku

Ministry of Education profile number

1550

School type

Full Primary (Years 1 to 8)

School roll

664

Gender composition

Boys 50% Girls 50%

Ethnic composition

Māori

Pākehā

Pacific

other

17%

78%

2%

3%

Review team on site

February 2016

Date of this report

1 June 2016

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

August 2011

June 2008

June 2005