Westburn School provides education for students in Years 1 to 8. The student roll is 511, including 9 students who identify as Māori. Children from Asian countries comprise 35% of the student roll.
Students come from diverse ethnic cultures. Many students receive extra English language support, with 17% of the roll funded by the Ministry of Education for additional English learning. The school also offers education for international fee-paying students.
Over the last two years a new principal, deputy principal and team leader have been appointed. A new board chair and several new trustees have also been elected. During this time a considerable number of new initiatives have been introduced to reflect current teaching practice. There has been minimal turnover of teaching staff.
The school’s overarching vision is, “Today’s learners, tomorrow’s leaders.” The valued outcomes for students are for them to be creative, confident, connected and actively involved life-long learners, who are encouraged to shape a positive future for themselves and their community.
The board’s strategic goals focus on outcomes for students. They are to:
The board’s annual achievement targets focus on:
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 the board’s annual achievement targets
international students’ achievement and wellbeing
The school is developing and implementing systems and processes to promote the achievement of equitable and excellent outcomes for students. There is very little disparity in achievement amongst different groups of students.
School information shows that at the end of 2017:
most students achieved at or above curriculum expectations in reading, writing and mathematics
all students of Pacific heritage achieved at expectations in writing.
Since this time leaders and teachers have been working to increase the reliability of judgements about students’ achievement. The 2018 mid-year school information shows that:
the majority of students are on track to achieving at or above curriculum expectations in reading, writing and mathematics
there is little disparity between results for different cultural groups
boys’ achievement in writing is slightly lower.
The achievement of Māori and Pacific students closely mirrors whole school achievement. While Asian students tend to feature below expectations in their early years of schooling, they are largely achieving at curriculum levels in literacy and mathematics by Years 7 and 8.
Those Māori students and others whose learning needs accelerating are very well supported. Leaders and teachers effectively identify, monitor and support students who need additional help. However, the school is not yet able to consistently report to the board on the acceleration of Māori and other students who need this. The school is at the early stages of developing and implementing effective systems to enable the reporting of students’ progress and acceleration to the board.
While individuals are well catered for, there is no school-wide achievement data reported to the board on the progress, acceleration or achievement of students receiving additional funding for English language learning.
Students are provided with extensive opportunities to learn through a wide and varied curriculum. Music and sport feature strongly. Use of digital technology is becoming increasingly integrated into learning, particularly in the senior school. Students have choice in their learning and know about their next learning steps. Students benefit from a range of teaching strategies that are tailored to meet specific needs.
The school is welcoming and inclusive of families and students with additional and diverse needs. Many high quality processes and practices are in place to support the learning and wellbeing of students who need additional support to achieve. Increased resourcing and allocation of specific leadership and teaching roles has enabled greater clarity and consistency when responding to students’ needs. Regular meetings to discuss and track the pastoral care and learning progress of students are supporting teachers’ shared understandings.
Students whose first language is not English are very well catered for. Their learning and wellbeing are thoughtfully supported. Teachers use strategies that promote readiness to learn and show sensitivity to cultural customs. Bilingual support is enabling improved communication with students and their families.
Leaders and teachers effectively build students’ leadership and self-management skills through deliberate actions. The school values and expected student competencies are highly evident in learning programmes. Students’ wellbeing is fostered through specific, targeted learning that is designed to promote a growth mindset when facing new learning or challenges. Tolerance and tuakana-teina relationships (where older or more knowledgeable students support other students) are actively encouraged. Students are well prepared for transition onto the local high school.
Leaders and teachers are focused on improving outcomes for students. Teachers are benefiting from increased opportunities to grow their professional practice. The principal and deputy principal have introduced a number of important initiatives, based on current research, to support teachers’ professional learning. These include:
greater use of external providers to extend perspectives on teaching practice
increased provision of professional learning and development
regular opportunities for observing one another’s practice
robust teacher appraisal that affirms and challenges practice
increasing teacher ownership to lead change through discussion and careful consideration of elements essential to effective teaching, such as assessment practices, appropriate use of assessment tools and data management processes.
Leaders value internal evaluation. They are effectively leading and modelling understanding and increasing use of internal evaluation for improvement. A useful framework for internal evaluation underpins the school’s curriculum review cycle. Additional tools have been developed to support the internal evaluation framework and deepen the level of reflective practice. While it is too soon to see the impacts on outcomes for students, internal evaluation feedback shows that parents are happy with the quality of education provision.
The board, leaders and teachers need to continue to develop, implement and embed effective data management. The board needs to ensure those students not achieving curriculum expectations, and whose learning needs to be accelerated, are included in annual achievement targets. Leaders and teachers need to improve the quality of analysis so it is easily understood, shows rates of progress and whether the level of acceleration is satisfactory or not. School-wide data needs to be better used to support the evaluation of the effectiveness of interventions designed to accelerate learning for specific groups of students. Assessment practices and reporting to the board should include information about student progress in other curriculum areas. Progress towards the school’s valued outcomes for students should also be reported to the board.
There is a need to continue to build leadership across the school so the shared vision for the school is clearly understood, communicated and drives the school’s forward direction. The board understands there is a need to strengthen its understanding of its stewardship roles and responsibilities. This includes asking probing questions, following identified processes and scrutinising achievement information to improve outcomes for students. The new senior leadership team needs to grow team capacity and greater cohesion as a team.
The board and senior leaders need to carefully monitor the impact and pace of necessary change so that students gain the maximum benefit and the wellbeing of the principal, leadership team, teachers and support staff is not compromised.
The board needs to continue to seek more effective ways to engage and consult with the school’s Māori community.
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:
management of health, safety and welfare
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
school policies in relation to meeting the requirements of the Vulnerable Children Act 2014.
The school is a signatory to theEducation (Pastoral Care of International Students) Code of Practice 2016(the Code) established under section 238F of the Education Act 1989. The school has attested that it complies with all aspects of the Code.
At the time of this review there were four international students attending the school, and no exchange students.
International students and their families are well supported. Students receive regular and appropriate pastoral care. Their learning and wellbeing is closely monitored by leaders and teachers. Learning programmes are adapted to meet needs. There are many opportunities for students to be involved in school and community activities. The board receives information showing the progress and achievement of international students.
The board attested to ERO through the Board Assurance Statement that it is non-compliant in the following areas:
In order to address this, the board of trustees must:
ensure it reports in its annual report on the extent of its compliance with the personnel policy on being a good employer (including the equal employment opportunities programme)
(s 77A State Sector Act 1988)
consult with the school's Māori community, develop and make known to the school's community policies, plans and targets for improving the progress and achievement of Māori students.
For sustained improvement and future learner success, the school can draw on existing strengths in:
the wide range of rich curriculum learning opportunities provided to students
the high level of learning and wellbeing support provided to students who need additional assistance to effectively access the curriculum
a school culture that values student leadership and growing students’ competencies so they are respectful self-managers.
For sustained improvement and future learner success, priorities for further development are in:
strengthening the board and senior leadership team so they are more cohesive and fully understand their roles and responsibilities
monitoring the impact and pace of change and its impact on adult relationships and outcomes for students
improving the quality of data management and the way it is used to accelerate students’ progress and achievement
ensuring the Māori community is effectively consulted and informed of the school’s policies, plans and targets for improving the progress and achievement of Māori students.
ERO recommends that the Ministry of Education and New Zealand School Trustees Association (NZSTA) consider providing support for the school in order to bring about improvement in:
NZSTA to continue to support the board to more fully understand and carry out its strategic roles and responsibilities
provision of a Student Achievement Function Practitioner to assist the school with annual student achievement targets, data management and assessment practices.
Prior to the onsite stage of this review, the board sought support from NZSTA. Following the onsite stage of this review the board has engaged additional support and provided ERO with an action plan identifying how it will address the next step identified in this report.
ERO is likely to carry out the next external evaluation in three years.
Director Review & Improvement Services
Te Waipounamu - Southern Region
26 November 2018
Ministry of Education profile number
Full primary Years 1 to 8
Boys 53% ; Girls 47%
Other ethnicities 20%
Students with Ongoing Resourcing Funding (ORS)
Provision of Māori medium education
Review team on site
Date of this report
26 November 2018
Most recent ERO reports
Education Review November 2013
Education Review July 2010
Education Review May 2007