Wellington S D A School - 31/07/2015

Findings

The school has worked with ERO in a longitudinal review process over the past two years. Improved leadership and teaching are evident. Trustees are developing their governance knowledge. Key next steps are to embed new initiatives and establish a shared process of evaluation to further improve outcomes for students.

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?

Wellington SDA School is a small, integrated Seventh Day Adventist school situated just south of Porirua City. Most students are Samoan. The school’s special character is clearly evident in the daily life of the school.

The June 2013 ERO report identified that significant development was necessary to enable the school to improve its performance. Student achievement and engagement, teaching, leadership and governance all required improvement. Since then the school has participated in an ongoing ERO evaluation process to support improvement over a period of two years.

There have been many personnel changes since June 2013. From the end of 2013, an acting principal led the school until being appointed permanently in Term 2, 2015. There were changes to the teaching staff during 2013 and 2014. Staffing has been stable since Term 3, 2014. While there have been few changes to board membership since June 2013, three different trustees have been the board chairperson during that time.

Trustees, and the principal and staff have been involved in professional development. In 2013 and 2014, teachers worked with a Ministry of Education (the Ministry) Student Achievement Function Practitioner and also an external facilitator leading development in the teaching of writing and reading. Trustees worked with a professional development provider in 2013, and an adviser from the New Zealand School Trustees Association (NZSTA) is currently working with the board. Ministry senior advisers continue to provide the school with ongoing support.

2 Review and Development

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

Priorities identified for review and development

Areas for development identified in the June 2013 ERO report were to:

  • improve teaching, student achievement and engagement
  • increase emphasis on students’ cultures, languages and identities
  • improve school leadership and governance
  • establish and use self review to guide ongoing improvement.

ERO has monitored and evaluated ongoing development and improvements throughout the two year review process.

Progress

Schoolwide student achievement has improved since June 2013. At the end of 2014, most students were achieving at or above in relation to the reading and writing National Standards. The number of students achieving at the mathematics National Standards was considerably lower. Mathematics was identified as the school professional development focus in 2015. In June 2015, the overall proportion of students achieving in relation to the mathematics National Standards is approximately two thirds.

Professional development with external facilitators in 2013 and 2014 has supported teachers to make increased use of achievement information. Teachers are now using student achievement to inform their planning. They are working collaboratively to moderate their overall judgements about each student’s achievement in relation to the writing and mathematics National Standards.

Professional development has also supported teachers to develop their teaching skills and knowledge and this is evident in teachers’ practice. Teachers are promoting students’ ownership of their learning. Learning intentions are shared and discussed. Student-friendly learning progressions are displayed in classrooms. Teachers are using digital technologies to increase student engagement.

Students are keen to participate in class discussions, willingly sharing their ideas and answering questions. Many students are engaged in their learning. To promote increased engagement by all, teachers and students should develop shared, high expectations for positive learning behaviours. In addition, teachers should ensure that activities cater for diverse needs, extend students and accelerate the progress of those at risk of not achieving.

The school has increased emphasis, recognition and celebration of students’ cultures and languages. The 2015 annual plan identifies that staff will increase their knowledge and enactment ofKa Hikitia - Accelerating Success 2013 - 2017, Tātaiako: Cultural Competencies for Teachers of Māori Learners and the The Pasifika Education Plan 2013 – 2017. Teachers plan to continue to develop culturally inclusive and responsive classrooms.

Collaboration between home and school has increased. Deliberate strategies have been introduced to foster learning partnerships. The Reading Together programme is an example of this.

The principal has led the development of a positive, collegial staff climate. He is creating leadership opportunities for staff.

The principal regularly presents student achievement reports to the board. Schoolwide collation and analysis of student achievement information is now informing school target setting and planning for professional development. Reporting to parents clearly shows each student’s achievement in relation to the National Standards.

There is a robust principal appraisal process carried out by an external provider. Teacher appraisal has improved since the previous ERO report and is consistently implemented. Teachers inquire into their practice. They are reflective and discuss teaching strategies with each other. Increased focus on using student achievement information to identify the impact of their teaching strategies on student progress is a next step.

3 Sustainable performance and self review

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

Wellington SDA School is well placed to embed and build on new initiatives, and continue to improve its performance. It has:

  • benefited from external support to improve teacher capability and student achievement
  • placed increased emphasis on students’ cultures, languages and identities
  • demonstrated improved leadership by the new principal who is systematically addressing priorities related to teaching and learning.

Key next steps are:

  • to build on the progress and embed new initiatives to improve outcomes for students
  • for trustees to increase their knowledge of governance roles and responsibilities with continued external support from NZSTA and to ensure that all trustees contribute to becoming an effective governance team
  • to establish a shared process of evaluation for improvement.

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.

To improve practice, the board needs to review and improve a significant number of policies and procedures. Health and safety procedures should be given priority.

Conclusion

The school has worked with ERO in a longitudinal review process over the past two years. Improved leadership and teaching are evident. Trustees are developing their governance knowledge. Key next steps are to embed new initiatives and establish a shared process of evaluation to further improve outcomes for students.

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

Joyce Gebbie

Deputy Chief Review Officer Central

31 July 2015

About the School

Location

Porirua

Ministry of Education profile number

4150

School type

Integrated Full Primary (Years 1 to 8)

School roll

47

Gender composition

Female 29,

Male 18

Ethnic composition

Samoan

Māori

Tongan

Other ethnic groups

33

6

4

4

Review team on site

June 2015

Date of this report

31 July 2015

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

June 2013

April 2010

December 2005