Wesley Intermediate - 22/02/2016

Findings

Wesley Intermediate has made significant progress to improve student achievement, teaching approaches and school governance. Students are experiencing a broader curriculum with increased access to more personalised, relevant learning experiences. Students come from diverse backgrounds and enjoy a settled school learning environment. They are proud and optimistic about their future.

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?

Wesley Intermediate is a small Year 7 and 8 school located in suburban Auckland between Mt Roskill and Mt Albert. The school occupies a large site with spacious facilities that include specialist technology and music rooms. The majority of students are of Māori and Pacific island heritage. The school roll is becoming more diverse, reflecting population and housing change in the local area.

The October 2013 ERO report recommended that the school receive additional assistance from the Ministry of Education (MoE) to strengthen school governance, improve the curriculum and raise student achievement. The MoE appointed an experienced Limited Statutory Manager (LSM) to support the board and school leaders in these areas.

Over the past two years, ERO has provided support for, and monitoring of, school improvement. ERO has visited the school regularly, working closely with the MoE and the LSM. During the two years, the school has received targeted external professional development to strengthen teaching and learning. Other significant changes include the:

  • board’s appointment of a new board chair
  • board’s participation in externally facilitated governance training
  • appointment of a new deputy principal and a new assistant principal
  • school’s relationship with the Ako Hiko digital learning cluster and establishment of three new digital learning classes
  • development of a more student-centred curriculum
  • use of Positive Behaviour for Learning (PB4L) approaches to support the school’s learning culture.

In December 2015, LSM provisions were withdrawn by the MoE in recognition of the school’s progress. ERO also acknowledges the school’s progress and is concluding its current work with the school. ERO is likely to review the school again in three years.

2 Review and Development

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

Agreed priorities for review and development for this review were to:

  • strengthen governance and improve outcomes for students
  • review and improve curriculum design to promote student success and engagement
  • improve the delivery of the curriculum to accelerate student achievement.

Progress

Overview

The school has effectively addressed its priorities for review and development.

School leaders, trustees and teachers have made considerable progress in improving outcomes for learners. The board, school leaders and LSM have developed strong and positive working relationships that are respectful and inclusive. The LSM has been highly effective building governance and leadership capability within the school.

A large part of the school’s improvement has come through a unity of purpose and maximising the use of the skills and talents of trustees, staff and students. High levels of trust are now balanced with more robust systems for school accountability and for reviewing student achievement.

School leaders have changed the way the school is organised. Most students now have the same teacher over the two years. Communication between the school and home has strengthened with teachers taking more responsibility for the engagement, progress, wellbeing and achievement of individual students.

Strengthen governance and improve outcomes for students

Trustees have developed their capability to govern more effectively through greater understanding of their roles and responsibilities. They have a high level of commitment to ongoing trustee training. The board has strengthened its link with the New Zealand School Trustees Association (NZSTA). With LSM guidance, it has prepared a useful governance manual to guide board induction and operation.

Trustees have more confidence and expertise in their roles. The board effectively uses professional development to inform its review of policies. The board is continuing to seek external advice to meet its legal obligations and plan for the future legislative changes in health and safety.

Trustees have supported the principal well through the provision of a new external appraiser to help inform his leadership growth and development. They are now ready to focus on others aspects of their role as a good employer. They would benefit from further work and input from NZSTA on this area of governance.

The board is more focused on raising student achievement. Trustees are now well informed about student progress in reading, writing and mathematics through clear and regular reports. They now prioritise discussions and decision making about student achievement. They are asking more questions of school leaders that focus on what is working well to improve student success.

The board is representative of the school community and trustees have developed close links with the families they serve. Leaders have also developed closer links with other schools. Trustees have regularly and purposefully consulted with whānau to develop Māori and Pacific education plans. These plans provide a useful foundation to review the effectiveness of the school’s provision for Māori and Pacific students over time.

The board has clearly identified future priorities for strategic planning. A key strategic goal is to increase the roll to help maintain the school’s viability. This would provide more flexibility in budget management. A new ten year property plan is scheduled for 2016. This presents the board with a timely opportunity for formulating a strategic modernisation plan. This plan would complement the improved learning environments in the digital classrooms. The board will require additional MoE support to effectively maintain and improve the property.

To ensure continued positive outcomes for learners ERO recommends that the board:

  • set achievement targets that focus accelerating student learning
  • monitor how well these targets are met and evaluate the reasons for the outcomes
  • evaluate the success of additional actions taken by the school aimed at maximising student learning, including the use of additional personnel.

Review and improve curriculum design to promote success and engagement in learning

School leaders have developed a curriculum that is more effective in promoting and supporting student engagement in learning. Staff meetings focus on designing and sharing of strategies that are more likely to promote student success and engagement. Self-review has improved.

The school curriculum is better aligned with The New Zealand Curriculum. It has an appropriate and strong focus on literacy and mathematics. Students continue to appreciate their access to wider curriculum learning opportunities, including sports, cultural activities, camps and music.

The school values are well understood by students and used to promote positive behaviour for learning. A thoughtful review of the school’s systems for supporting students with additional learning requirements has improved their wellbeing and engagement in education. These students are well known and better supported by staff.

Teachers have established three digital learning classes. Students have their own digital learning devices to use at home and at school. They are highly engaged in learning and are benefiting from a more student-centred programme. Students in these classes are more able to make decisions and choices about their learning. They are well supported to improve their self-management and co-operative skills.

Students in the other classes currently use shared digital devices for some parts of their learning programme. The school has good information to show their level of success does not yet reach those of students working in the digital learning classes. In consultation with families, school leaders are planning to increase the number of classes that learn in this more student-centred way.

The board is working towards ensuring a sustainable strategy is in place so that all students have fair access to digital learning classes. Leaders agree developing a school-wide shared understanding of effective teaching practice is also now required to promote equity and excellence in student outcomes.

The curriculum includes some opportunities for students to learn simple te reo Māori as a second language. To further support Māori students, leaders should continue to help teachers deepen their understanding and use of te reo Māori me ona tikanga. Through kapa haka and cultural events, Māori students have a place to lead as Māori and to celebrate their culture.

Teachers are developing more culturally responsive teaching practices. Te ao Māori and Pacific contexts are often used to make learning relevant for students. Some teachers make very good connections to students’ family backgrounds and prior knowledge. They could now strengthen their connections with children from diverse backgrounds who have recently arrived in New Zealand.

To continue to improve the school curriculum, leaders and teachers could:

  • help students make more connections in their learning across curriculum subjects
  • extend conversations and learning experiences to promote students’ higher order thinking
  • increase opportunities for students to use their home languages to maximise their learning
  • provide further opportunities for student input into what they learn and how they learn.

Improve the delivery of the curriculum to accelerate student achievement

The school has made good progress in improving the delivery of the curriculum.

The school has good evidence to show some students, including some Māori and Pacific students, are making accelerated progress over time. School leaders are looking more deeply for the reasons and conditions that result in acceleration to inform future decision making.

School leaders have purposefully increased the range of assessment tools in order to promote more reliable and robust overall teacher judgements in relation to the National Standards. Continuing to evaluate the validity of assessment information and using multiple sources of evidence to make overall teacher judgements could enhance teachers’ understanding of the National Standards.

The school now has a broader approach to identifying students’ strengths and learning requirements. Leaders have designed very effective systems to collate, monitor and review student progress. Teachers use data better to inform their teaching. Most teachers have also improved the way they share achievement information with students.

Students set more meaningful and relevant learning goals. They are more confident learners and know about their progress and next learning steps. Students have a greater sense of ownership and responsibility for their own learning. They show an optimism for their future with a good understanding of pathways to future careers based on their interests, skills and talents.

The delivery of the curriculum is well supported through relevant and appropriate professional development. Teachers are developing their teaching expertise and working more collaboratively. The school has developed an effective performance management system and that is being aligned to the goal of accelerating student learning and success.

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 much better placed to continue to improve and review its performance. Self review is helping to enhance outcomes for students. A more thoughtful and inquiry-based culture is developing.

The school participates well in educationally useful networks to improve its performance. The MoE is providing further professional development focused on continuing to strengthen leadership and assessment to accelerate student achievement.

Governance has significantly strengthened. The board is visible and involved in the school in appropriate ways. They are beginning to plan for the succession of longserving trustees. The LSM and trustees have identified that more financial management expertise on the board could help them plan for sustainability.

The new school leadership team has more distributed responsibilities. The team makes good use of external input to help raise school expectations for change and improvement. Most staff are open to working in different ways and are becoming more future focused to benefit their students. Consolidating and embedding leadership roles and new initiatives is a key strategic goal for the board.

The school has a settled and positive tone. Students experience warm relationships with each other and with their teachers. Students are very proud of their school and enjoy its close, connected, and caring atmosphere. They have increased and meaningful leadership opportunities, helping to promote a strong sense of belonging in their school.

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.

In order to improve practice, school leaders should:

  • clearly record the school’s responses to complaints
  • report regularly to the board on patterns and trends in attendance, accidents and illness
  • add photographic identification requirements to employment procedures
  • ensure all adults working with students in unsupervised locations hold a current limited authority to teach (LAT).

4 Recommendations

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

ERO recommends that the Ministry of Education provide further support to the Board to Trustees to improve and maintain the school property.

Conclusion

Wesley Intermediate has made significant progress to improve student achievement, teaching approaches and school governance. Students are experiencing a broader curriculum with increased access to more personalised, relevant learning experiences. Students come from diverse backgrounds and enjoy a settled school learning environment. They are proud and optimistic about their future.

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

Graham Randell

Deputy Chief Review Officer Northern

22 February 2016

School Statistics

Location

Mount Roskill, Auckland

Ministry of Education profile number

1564

School type

Intermediate (Years 7 to 8)

School roll

117

Gender composition

Boys 58%, Girls 42%

Ethnic composition

Māori

Pākehā

Tongan

Samoan

African

Cook Island Māori

Niuean

other

12%

5%

34%

21%

7%

5%

5%

11%

Review team on site

November 2015

Date of this report

22 February 2016

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

October 2013

March 2010

May 2007