Weedons School - 09/10/2019

School Context

Weedons School is a full primary school situated in the rural outskirts of Christchurch. It has a roll of 163 students. The school has relatively stable staffing and the board has a mixture of new and experienced trustees.

The school’s vision is for children to be successful learners (especially in literacy and numeracy), effective thinkers, and to be able to display the attitudes and values consistent with The Weedons Way. This is underpinned by the school’s values of whanaungatanga, respect, ambition, honesty, independence, manners and responsibility.

The school has set some specific targets in relation to literacy and mathematics.

Leaders and teachers regularly report to the board schoolwide information about outcomes for students in the following areas:

  • achievement in reading, writing and mathematics
  • progress and achievement in relation to school targets
  • outcomes for students with additional learning needs
  • progress in relation to wellbeing.

The school is a member of the Ngā Peka o Tauwharekākaho Kāhui Ako | Community of Learning.

Evaluation Findings

1 Equity and excellence – achievement of valued outcomes for students

1.1 How well is the school achieving equitable and excellent outcomes for all its students?

The school is achieving equitable and excellent outcomes for the majority of students who are achieving at or above expectations in reading, writing and mathematics in relation to the New Zealand Curriculum levels. These outcomes have shown improvement over time. There is, however, ongoing disparity for some groups of students in reading, writing and mathematics. Achievement information for mathematics over the past three years shows a trend of positive improvement for Māori students.

There is a schoolwide focus on improving wellbeing outcomes for students, but the school is yet to gather data to show progress in identified areas. The school is highly inclusive and students with additional learning needs are very well supported.

1.2 How well is the school accelerating learning for those Māori and other students who need this?

School data shows that most students who are working below their expected level make accelerated or sufficient progress in reading, writing and mathematics. The school identifies, monitors and provides programmes and support for children whose learning requires additional support.

The school now needs to ensure that the progress of identified groups of students is separately tracked and reported to the board, over time.

2 School conditions for equity and excellence – processes and practices

2.1 What school processes and practices are effective in enabling achievement of equity and excellence, and acceleration of learning?

Students learn through a broad, meaningful curriculum. They have opportunities to pursue areas of interest, and develop understanding and skills across the breadth of the New Zealand Curriculum. A well-established, student-centred environmental focus is embedded in school programmes and practices, as is strong referencing of Aotearoa/New Zealand. Teachers are beginning to include bicultural responsiveness in their practices and planning. Clear expectations of teaching and learning encourage consistency across the school, supported by a collaborative, improvement focused approach by leaders and teachers. Targeted professional development supports staff to grow their own capability and understanding.

‘The Weedons Way’ sets the culture of the school and, along with the values it reflects, is embedded in understandings and practice. There is a strong emphasis on building supportive and positive relationships across all aspects of the school. Students are confident and engaged, working and playing together respectfully in a calm, well organised and inclusive environment. Teachers understand and closely monitor the needs, interests and abilities of the students, and work collaboratively to support learning. Parents are kept well informed. The school has established a useful relationship with the Taumutu Marae. This relationship is enabling the development of staff and students’ understanding of te ao Māori.

Weedons School has a strong focus on improving student wellbeing outcomes. Leaders and teachers have identified some specific actions and there is a consistent approach to these across the school. A sense of belonging is fostered and evident in the students. A holistic approach to students’ learning and wellbeing is evident throughout the school, and parents are supported with useful speakers and information evenings. The school has also established purposeful relationships with external providers with a range of expertise to further support students.

2.2 What further developments are needed in school processes and practices for achievement of equity and excellence, and acceleration of learning?

Trustees, leaders and teachers need to develop a framework for, and a shared understanding of, internal evaluation at all levels of the school. This should help to build an understanding of the impact on student outcomes of programmes, practices and interventions and ensure sustained improvement.

Trustees, leaders and teachers need to further build their understanding and inclusion of te ao Māori. This will help to ensure that the school reflects the bicultural nature of Aotearoa/New Zealand and supports positive outcomes for Māori students.

Students access all areas of the New Zealand Curriculum, but their learning is assessed only in reading, writing and mathematics. Learning beyond these areas needs to be assessed and reported to parents and to the board.

While parents are well informed and consulted, leaders and teachers need to continue to strengthen parents’ engagement in meaningful partnerships centred on their child’s learning.

3 Board Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the board 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
  • finance
  • 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 and certification
  • processes for appointing staff
  • stand down, suspension, expulsion and exclusion of students
  • attendance
  • school policies in relation to meeting the requirements of the Children’s Act 2014.

4 ERO’s Overall Judgement

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

ERO’s Framework: Overall School Performance is available on ERO’s website.

5 Going forward

Key strengths of the school

For sustained improvement and future learner success, the school can draw on existing strengths in:

  • implementation of a broad, meaningful curriculum
  • strong relationships within and beyond the school that foster a sense of belonging
  • a focus on wellbeing that supports students’ ability to learn.

Next steps

For sustained improvement and future learner success, priorities for further development are in:

  • developing a framework and shared understanding of internal evaluation to understand what programmes, practices and strategies are working effectively
  • continuing to develop and embed bicultural understanding and practices across all aspects of the school
  • continuing to strengthen learning partnerships with parents.

Areas for improved compliance practice

To improve current practice, the board of trustees should:

  • continue to strengthen the consistency and rigour of the appraisal process and practice.

Dr Lesley Patterson

Director Review and Improvement Services Te Tai Tini

Southern Region

9 October 2019

About the school

Location

Christchurch

Ministry of Education profile number

3585

School type

Full Primary

School roll

163

Gender composition

Girls 45%, Boys 55%

Ethnic composition

Māori 9%

NZ European/ Pakeha 85%

Asian 3%

Other ethnicities 3%

Students with Ongoing Resourcing Funding (ORS)

Yes

Provision of Māori medium education

No

Review team on site

August 2019

Date of this report

9 October 2019

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review February 2016

Education Review October 2012

Education Review August 2009