Wairau Intermediate - 13/08/2018

Findings

Wairau Intermediate School has made good progress in addressing the priority areas for development identified in the 2016 ERO report. Effective governance and collaborative practices are continuing to build capability and improve evaluative practice. Students experience settled learning environments, variety in their classroom and specialist programmes, and increasing opportunities for choice, and ownership of their learning.

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

1 Background and Context

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

Wairau Intermediate, located in Forrest Hill, Auckland, provides education for students in Years 7 and 8. Students learn in mixed year level groups, in flexible learning spaces.

The 2016 ERO evaluation noted that students were confident and engaged in their learning, and worked independently and cooperatively. However, it also highlighted concerns about governance, leadership, teaching practices and internal evaluation. For these reasons, ERO decided to monitor the school’s progress through a longitudinal review process.

Over the past two years, the school has worked with ERO and the Ministry of Education to make improvements in identified areas of concern. As a result, the quality of governance, leadership, teaching practices and internal evaluation has improved.

2 Review and Development

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

Priorities identified for review and development

Priorities for school review and development identified in 2016 included:

  • building governance capability and improving operational processes
  • building individual and collective leadership capacity, and clarifying leadership roles and responsibilities
  • developing a more responsive curriculum and effective teaching practices, including those for promoting Māori student success
  • developing clear and useful processes for effective internal evaluation.

Progress

The school has made good progress in all priority areas.

Governance processes and practices have been significantly strengthened. The current board includes a mix of new and experienced trustees. They continue to be led well by an experienced chairperson. Trustees are participating in training and have good understanding of their roles and responsibilities. Useful governance documentation now guides board processes, and provides good records of decision-making. Policies and procedures have been reviewed and updated. The board now has processes to gain assurance that there is alignment between board policies and school practices.

Governance is guided by strategic and annual plans, with systems for regular reporting and review. Trustees and school leaders have a collaborative approach to setting goals and the school’s future direction. Trustees strongly focus on wellbeing, relationships and student success.

Internal leadership capability has been strengthened. The leadership structure has been clarified and some new appointments made. Team leaders are developing good understandings of their roles and responsibilities. Leaders work together collegially to ensure a coherent and cohesive approach to achieving improvement goals.

Leaders have developed a more strategic approach to professional learning and development (PLD), aligning it with long-term goals. A school-wide approach is promoting clear expectations and a common direction for all staff. Well considered PLD with external facilitators is tailored to build the capability of lead staff and teachers. Staff appraisal processes and teachers’ inquiry into practice have been aligned and strengthened. A useful next step is to develop more robust evaluative critique when teachers review the impact that their teaching is having on outcomes for students.

Leaders and teachers have continued to review and streamline the school curriculum. Good shifts have been made towards establishing a more student-centred curriculum and developing teaching approaches that increase students’ ownership of their learning. Expectations around teaching and learning practices are becoming more embedded across the school. Staff and students are increasingly using a shared language of learning.

Leaders and trustees have developed processes and frameworks to guide internal evaluation across the school. They undertake regular reviews to gather stakeholder perspectives and other information. Further improvements should include documenting and monitoring action plans in response to recommendations that arise from reviews.

ERO’s 2013 and 2016 reports identified the need to improve school practices for promoting Māori student success. The school has had some Ministry of Education support in this area. However, for a number of reasons progress has been limited. ERO and the board agree that this continues to be a priority area for development. Improvements in this area should include:

  • further development of the school environment, curriculum and teachers’ bicultural competencies to improve success for Māori students and support for all students to understand the bicultural heritage of Aotearoa New Zealand
  • identifying school personnel to lead bicultural development
  • accessing appropriate external support to continue the introductory work done during 2017.

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 and review its performance.

There has been a significant shift in governance capability and processes. There is evidence of greater collaboration and shared ownership of school direction and practices across all levels of the school. The board is considering strategies for succession planning.

Communication, consultation and partnership with the parent community continues to be extended. The school is a member of the Pupuke (Westlake) Community of Learning/Kahui Ako, and this is resulting in useful connections and initiatives to support improved outcomes for students.

School leaders and trustees are making good use of external support that is cohesive and aligned to the school’s strategic development and direction. Systems for recording and reporting on the impact of PLD have been improved.

Processes for internal evaluation have been established. These are supported by improved documentation in many areas. The school has developed a foundation from which to build an increasingly evaluative approach to reflection, review and reporting.

Key next steps

The school has been through a period of significant challenge and improvement. It is now moving into the next phase of its change process. The principal and trustees should review and define their roles in this ongoing process. They should be intentional in planning individual and collective strategies to embed and sustain recent improvements and current good practices.

This should include:

  • continuing to build internal leadership capacity to sustain the momentum of recent initiatives
  • consolidating and embedding recent developments in teaching and learning practices consistently across the school
  • further development to enhance success for Māori students, and support for all students to understand the bicultural heritage of Aotearoa New Zealand
  • continuing to access additional external professional development to consolidate current initiatives and address areas for further improvement.

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.

5 Recommendations

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

ERO recommends that the Ministry of Education continue to provide support for Wairau Intermediate in the areas of leadership, teaching and learning and promoting Māori student success as Māori.

Conclusion

Wairau Intermediate School has made good progress in addressing the priority areas for development identified in the 2016 ERO report. Effective governance and collaborative practices are continuing to build capability and improve evaluative practice. Students experience settled learning environments, variety in their classroom and specialist programmes, and increasing opportunities for choice, and ownership of their learning.

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

Julie Foley

Deputy Chief Review Officer Northern (Acting)

Te Tai Raki - Northern Region

13 August 2018

About the School

Location

Forrest Hill, Auckland

Ministry of Education profile number

1555

School type

Intermediate (Years 7 to 8)

School roll

238

Number of international students

7

Gender composition

Boys 59% Girls 41%

Ethnic composition

Māori
Pākehā
Asian
Pacific
Other ethnic groups

14%
23%
46%
7%
10%

Review team on site

June 2018

Date of this report

13 August 2018

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review
Education Review
Education Review

June 2016
April 2013
June 2010