Westburn School - 21/11/2013

1 Context

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

The principal and board work well together. They are highly committed to the future direction of the school and providing learning environments that meet the needs of its students from Years 1 to 8.

The principal and teachers are very responsive to the many different cultures within the school. Significant consideration is given to how best to meet the varying needs and expectations of these students and their families.

The school’s survey of parents shows that they appreciate the positive, supportive and caring relationships developed between teachers and students.

Since the July 2010 ERO report, good progress has been made in all areas identified for review and development. This includes curriculum expectations for teachers, aspects of student achievement information and increasing bicultural practices.

2 Learning

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

The school makes very good use of achievement information to promote student learning.

The board receives a wide range of information about student learning from the principal, staff and students. Detailed achievement data from the principal also supports decisions made by the board. Trustees appreciate the opportunity to attend student presentations that showcase their learning.

Teachers have useful guidelines for measuring student progress and achievement using a range of assessments. Information gained from these assessments is used to make appropriate planning decisions for individuals and small groups.

Teachers frequently meet to discuss student’s learning. They value the importance of making consistent judgement about students’ work against the New Zealand Curriculum levels and the National Standards.

Teachers work well together to make a positive difference to students' progress. The newly introduced team approach to reflecting on teaching practice, and inquiring into other ways of lifting the achievement of targeted students, is effective. Teachers share new ideas with their colleagues and adapt teaching and learning programmes appropriately.

Teachers effectively support students to understand what they are learning and what their next steps are. Students are able to share their learning goals with their parents and together discuss ways they will work towards meeting these.

Areas for review and development

The principal and ERO agree it would be useful for:

  • senior leaders to further extend their analysis of achievement data in their areas of responsibility
  • assessment guidelines to include information on the school’s expectations when making teacher judgements against the National Standards.

3 Curriculum

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

Findings

The school’s curriculum is highly effective in promoting and supporting student learning.

Teachers and students have a good understanding of the key values and behaviours promoted and expected by the school. These are well emphasised in the class programmes.

Teachers ably support the learning needs of students who do not have English as their first language They provide opportunities for students from similar cultures to work together and support one another in their learning.

Older students benefit from being introduced more formally to a number of different languages including Mandarin, German and Spanish. Students who are already fluent speakers take a leading role in encouraging their peers.

Students are provided with an extensive curriculum. There is a strong focus on ensuring literacy, mathematics, science and information and communication technologies are emphasised in learning programmes across the school. There are many opportunities for students to benefit from the wide range of music options within the school.

Teachers have high expectations for learning and behaviour. They use a range of good quality strategies known to promote student progress and achievement. Students work in settled, learning-focused environments.

Area for review and development

Much work has been done on curriculum development. There is now a need to ensure that all aspects of the school’s curriculum document are regularly reviewed.

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

The school is becoming increasingly effective in promoting educational success for Māori, as Māori.

Since the previous review, the board has committed to extending its understanding of the Treaty of Waitangi. Considerable work has been done by the principal, board and teachers to increase the opportunities Māori students have to be successful as Māori. These include:

  • setting of strategic and annual targets to raise achievement and continue to increase the engagement of Māori students in their learning
  • working with Ngai Tahu to develop a Māori name for the school that had significance to the school’s location and vision
  • meeting with whānau to gain a shared understanding of what Māori success as Māori looks like. This has provided the school with some useful feedback and next steps.
  • employment of a specialist tutor so that all students can participate in kapa haka
  • first-time involvement for selected students in a recent cultural festival.

Area for review and development

Teachers acknowledge that their confidence in using te reo Māori is growing. They are keen to continue developing this aspect of their teaching. ERO agrees that this is a useful next step.

4 Sustainable Performance

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

Findings

The school is very well placed to sustain and improve its performance.

The principal and board have a well-planned approach to schooling improvement and self review. Trustees are working closely with other schools as part of the new proposals for education in the Canterbury area. They understand that this involvement is likely to have a direct impact on student learning in the future.

Trustees use a wide variety of information to contribute to decision making and setting the direction of the school. They actively seek and value views from parents, students and teachers to reflect on school practices and consider possible improvements.

The board and principal have well-developed policies and procedures to provide a safe learning environment for students. School operations are well managed.

Teachers are provided with good opportunities to develop their leadership skills. During this review, there were a number of staff acting in senior positions. They were well supported by the principal. The principal’s knowledge of how students learn through good-quality teaching and learning programmes is appreciated by staff.

Areas for review and development

The principal and board chairperson agree that it is timely to develop further ways of ensuring that teaching as inquiry, education plans, school targets and appraisals are all more closely linked to the board's strategic and annual aims.

There are many examples of reflection and review in the school. Next steps for teachers and senior leaders are to continue to strengthen self-review processes by:

  • including student achievement information in reviews where appropriate
  • highlighting and sharing effective teaching strategies that help students who are underachieving make faster progress and looking for ways to spread these successful practices across the school
  • further developing the reporting of findings of reviews and how these will be acted upon.

Provision for international students

The school is a signatory to the Code of Practice for the Pastoral Care of International Students (the Code) established under section 238F of the Education Act 1989. There were three international students attending the school, at the time of the review.

The principal has met the annual review requirements and this has been acknowledged formally by the Ministry of Education. The school has attested that it complies with all aspects of the Code. ERO’s investigations confirmed that the school’s self-review process for international students is sound.

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.

When is ERO likely to review the school again?

ERO is likely to carry out the next review in four-to-five years.

Graham Randell

National Manager Review Services

Southern Region

21 November 2013

About the School

Location

Ilam, Christchurch

Ministry of Education profile number

3589

School type

Full Primary (Years 1 to 8)

School roll

483

Number of international students

3

Gender composition

Boys 53%

Girls 47%

Ethnic composition

NZ European/Pākehā

Māori

Asian

European

Other ethnicities

49%

4%

31%

8%

8%

Special Features

Satellite class of Allenvale School

Review team on site

September 2013

Date of this report

21 November 2013

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

July 2010

May 2007

May 2004