West End School (New Plymouth) - 16/06/2014

Findings

Students learn and achieve well in a positive, welcoming environment. Teacher student relationships are supportive and respectful. Well established pastoral care and special needs systems effectively nurture student wellbeing. Teachers reflect and inquire into their practice. Setting more specific, measurable targets should sharpen schoolwide focus in reporting student outcomes.

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

1 Context

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

West End School, centrally located in New Plymouth, caters for students in Years 1 to 6. At the time of this review it had a roll of 323 students, of whom 87 identify as Māori.

The school’s mission statement is “to develop responsible citizens who are confident, creative, actively involved life-long learners”. This mission and the “3C’s” values, of Common Sense, Co-operation and Consideration, underpin strategic direction, school systems and classroom programmes. There are high expectations for student engagement and learning.

School leaders responded positively to areas identified in ERO's 2010 report. Teachers are involved in planned, ongoing professional learning and development with a major emphasis on quality teaching practice and a specific recent focus on writing.

2 Learning

How well does this school use achievement information to make positive changes to learners’ engagement, progress and achievement?

Well analysed achievement information is effectively and regularly used by senior leaders and teachers to improve learning outcomes for students.

Senior staff recognise and respond appropriately to trends and patterns for groups and cohorts. Students in need of additional support or acceleration are identified. Their progress, as with all students, is well monitored during the year. Clear reports to the board are used to make ongoing resourcing decisions.

Teachers use achievement data to inquire into their teaching, plan and implement well-constructed learning programmes. They use an appropriate range of tools to establish baseline data and support overall judgements on individuals' progress. Transitions into, through and from the school are well considered and carefully managed for groups and individual students.

The school reports that the majority of students achieve at or above the relevant National Standard in reading, writing and mathematics. School targets for 2014 are explicitly aimed at raising the achievement of Māori students to match schoolwide levels. Pacific students’ overall achievement is comparable to the majority. Parents receive regular reports on their children's learning, with opportunities for specific meetings with teachers to discuss wellbeing, progress and shared strategies.

Teachers are collaboratively refining systems and processes related to the making of overall teacher judgements in relation to National Standards. Effective moderation processes are regularly reviewed and refined to further improve consistency and reliability.

School leaders recognise that setting more specific, measurable targets should sharpen schoolwide focus. It should also enable more effective monitoring and reporting of progress and student outcomes.

3 Curriculum

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

Student engagement, learning and achievement are well supported by the curriculum.

A clear, overarching framework supports the shared understanding and common approach to teaching and learning. Students respond positively to the high expectation set for their engagement, learning and behaviour. Explicit guidelines for teachers inform teaching and teacher inquiry into practice.

The curriculum has a strong focus on literacy and numeracy. It incorporates good use of local and relevant contexts that give authenticity to student learning. The West End learner profile links well with The New Zealand Curriculum key competencies. The core "3C’s" values are highly evident. Extensive opportunities are made available for students to participate and succeed in academic, sporting, cultural and leadership activities.

Teaching is effective. Teachers reflect and inquire into their practice. Research and professional development underpin a strong collegial, knowledgeable learning culture. Computer technology is effectively used to support teaching and learning.

Students are encouraged to take increasing responsibility for their progress and achievement. In class they are on task and engaged in their learning. Classrooms are settled learning environments with established routines.

School leaders have identified it is timely to revisit and review the curriculum including provision for gifted and talented students. An initial series of meetings and consultation with staff has begun.

How effectively does the school promote educational success for Māori, as Māori?

Senior staff have a strategic approach to improving outcomes for Māori students, as Māori. The Māori Education Strategy: Ka Hikitia - Accelerating Success is used as a guiding document. Staff are involved in national and local Māori achievement initiatives. The principal and Māori trustee are strengthening links with whānau, hapu and iwi.

A combined staff and board rōpu is working to raise the schoolwide profile of te reo me ngā tikanga Māori. School leaders actively promote Māori student leadership and role models. There are many opportunities for parents and families to celebrate student success.

Senior leaders should consider adopting similar strategies for the families of Pacific students to support their successful engagement and achievement in learning.

4 Sustainable Performance

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

The school is well placed to sustain and improve its performance. Factors contributing to this include:

  • the board’s strategic focus on student achievement and continual improvement
  • shared understanding and expectations through clear alignment between charter, strategic plan and annual plan to professional development and appraisal
  • effective professional leadership by the principal, well supported by knowledgeable, collaborative senior leaders with complementary skills and strengths
  • collegial, consultative staff, committed to continual improvement and success for all.

Well-established pastoral care and special needs systems and processes effectively nurture student wellbeing. Students benefit from supportive, respectful relationships and the positive learning environment. There are close partnerships with whānau and parents.

There is an established culture of critical reflection, schoolwide. School leaders regularly review school operations and student outcomes. They have identified and are refining ways in which self review can be further developed and strengthened.

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.

Conclusion

Students learn and achieve well in a positive, welcoming environment. Teacher student relationships are supportive and respectful. Well established pastoral care and special needs systems effectively nurture student wellbeing. Teachers reflect and inquire into their practice. Setting more specific, measurable targets should sharpen schoolwide focus in reporting student outcomes.

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

Joyce Gebbie

National Manager Review Services Central Region

16 July 2014

About the School

Location

New Plymouth

Ministry of Education profile number

2265

School type

Contributing (Years 1 to 6)

School roll

323

Gender composition

Male 57%, Female 43%

Ethnic composition

Māori

NZ European/Pākehā

Pacific

Other European

Asian

Other ethnic groups

27%

62%

3%

3%

2%

3%

Review team on site

May 2014

Date of this report

16 July 2014

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

June 2011

May 2008

May 2005