Waimauku School - 31/08/2011

1 Context

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

Waimauku School is a well established Year 1 to 8 school located in northwest Auckland. The school is central to this semi-rural community and parents have a wide range of opportunities to be involved in school life. The school recently celebrated its 90 year jubilee. Some fourth generation students attend the school.

The 2005 and 2008 ERO reports both commented positively on the quality of education provided for students. The school continues to promote student-centred approaches to learning. It provides an inclusive environment in which students are well supported to develop positive relationships with their peers and with adults.

Since 2008, the school has undertaken significant building projects that have been well managed by the principal and board of trustees. The board works strategically and supportively with the principal to enhance the provision of education and to improve outcomes for students. A number of trustees have had a long association with the school.

Attractive, well tended grounds and creative use of space provide students with progressively challenging playground experiences. A felled totara tree from the school grounds has been used for carvings depicting local Māori connections.

2 Learning

How well are students learning – engaging, progressing and achieving?

Students are well supported to make good progress during their time at the school. They are keen to learn, attentive in class and work in settled, focused learning environments. Students enjoy opportunities for leadership and work cooperatively with their peers, developing social skills and confidence. They benefit from increasing opportunities to direct their own learning. They know the purpose of learning tasks and can discuss strategies that help them to learn and progress.

Students with identified physical, learning or behaviour needs are respected and included in the school’s supportive culture. The board funds learning support programmes generously to assist these students to achieve. Extension opportunities are provided for higher achievers.

The school has useful information about the progress and achievement of its students. School managers monitor student progress over successive years to identify patterns in achievement. Achievement data are well analysed and used by school managers and, increasingly, by teachers and students. Achievement information indicates that most students, including Māori students, achieve or exceed National Standards in mathematics, reading and writing.

The board and school managers make effective use of planning and reporting processes. They set appropriate targets to accelerate the progress of groups of students who achieve below National Standards. Additional resourcing and professional development supports the achievement of these targets. School information indicates that students make significant progress as a result of this targeted approach.

A recent initiative has been implemented to generate a more collective responsibility for student progress and achievement. Team leaders now collate, analyse and interpret achievement data for each team. As a result, teachers are engaging in more in-depth discussion about student progress. An increased focus on identifying gaps in learning enables teachers to address learning needs more promptly.

The school is making good progress in working with the National Standards. Moderation processes, ongoing assessments, and the involvement of an external adviser support teachers to make reliable judgements. The school reports to parents twice each year. These reports give a clear indication of how well students are achieving in relation to the National Standards in reading, writing and mathematics.

Managers and staff are developing teaching approaches that will enable students to become more reflective, self-directing learners. Strategies include the continued development of learning progressions in mathematics and literacy. The use of these progressions will provide consistent, school-wide achievement criteria that support:

  • students to evaluate their own learning and progress and to set more specific learning goals
  • teachers to give students more explicit advice about what they are doing well and specific next steps to develop their learning
  • teacher judgements about student progress and achievement.

How well are Māori students learning – engaging, progressing and achieving?

Eighteen percent of students at this school are identified as Māori. The school’s achievement information indicates that Māori students achieve or exceed National Standards in mathematics, reading and writing.

School managers value and promote the mana and identity of Māori students. They prioritise Māori protocol for events and special occasions and actively seek appropriate programmes and support for Māori students.

Māori whānau have forums for consultation with school managers and teachers. School managers respond positively to whānau responses. Changes made as a result of consultation include the provision of further support for Māori students as they move to secondary school, and the inclusion of kapa haka groups during curriculum time.

School managers and staff have considered the Ministry of Education’s publication, Ka Hikitia Managing for Success/Māori Education Strategy and, as a result, have developed strategies to further promote success for Māori students. Aspects of te reo Māori me ōna tikanga are integrated into class programmes. Ongoing consideration is given to the promotion of bicultural perspectives on New Zealand’s heritage. These good practices support Māori students to experience pride and success as Māori at this school.

3 Curriculum

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

The school's curriculum promotes and supports student learning. The principles and key competencies of The New Zealand Curriculum are included in the school’s well established frameworks for inquiry learning and teaching of the integrated curriculum. Appropriate priority is given to literacy and mathematics, which are also integrated into the wider curriculum.

Students in Years 7 to 8 receive a wide range of relevant and challenging learning experiences that prepare them well for secondary education. A highly effective curriculum is provided for students in their first years of school. Engaging classroom programmes, proactive learning support for students achieving below National Standards, and parent partnerships mean that these young students make good progress in their learning and achievement.

School-wide themes foster collective sharing amongst students, teachers and families. These meaningful contexts for learning help students to make links to their own experiences and real life situations. The school’s inquiry approaches to integrated curriculum programmes provide students with the flexibility to research their preferred interests. Students respond well to these strategies and are engaged in their learning programmes.

School managers have effective systems for curriculum planning and review. Curriculum evaluation is well used for future curriculum planning. Areas for ongoing review and development identified by leaders and staff include:

  • increasing the integration of digital learning and information literacy in classroom programmes
  • supporting students to think more critically about their learning
  • continuing to expand teachers’ knowledge of te reo Māori and developing their confidence to use the language into meaningful classroom contexts.

4 Sustainable Performance

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

The board, the principal and staff are well positioned to sustain and continuously enhance the quality of education they provide for students. Regular and relevant self review is evident at all levels of the school. Experienced and effective leadership, at both the governance and senior management levels of the school, supports ongoing improvement. The board’s charter for the school includes targets for student achievement in relation to the National Standards.

The board meets its governance obligations for monitoring school operations and strategic development. Trustees are well informed about the school’s programmes and students’ achievements. Regular consultation and networking processes assist trustees to gauge parent opinion and to gain insight into community perspectives.

The principal and deputy principals are capable professional leaders. They are knowledgeable about effective practice and are improvement focused. The principal provides reflective and responsive leadership. While he recognises that some teachers have needed time and support to adjust to a more facilitative approach to teaching, he is committed to increasing student involvement in knowing about and evaluating their own learning and progress.

ERO endorses school managers’ prioritised areas for further development. These include:

  • further developing the skills of middle managers in analysing and interpreting achievement information and leading teacher development
  • developing criteria for effective leadership linked to job descriptions and appraisal processes for team leaders
  • developing teacher appraisal processes that focus on inquiry into the impact of teachers’ practice on student engagement in learning.

Board assurance on legal requirements

Before the review, the board of trustees and principal of the 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
  • 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
  • attendance.

When is ERO likely to review the school again?

ERO is likely to carry out the next review in four-to-five years.

Richard Thornton

National Manager Review Services Northern Region

31 August 2011

About the School

Location

Waimauku

Ministry of Education profile number

1550

School type

Full Primary (Years 1 to 8)

Decile

10

School roll

588

Gender composition

Boys 50%, Girls 50%

Ethnic composition

NZ European/Pākehā

Māori

Pacific

Asian

80%

18%

1%

1%

Review team on site

July 2011

Date of this report

31 August 2011

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Accountability Review

June 2008

June 2005

November 2001