Westburn School - 26/11/2018

School Context

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:

  • provide real world learning experiences in and beyond the classroom
  • provide a wide range of activities that encourage a healthy lifestyle and support physical wellbeing
  • ensure opportunities to appreciate and be involved in music
  • incorporate information technology in the learning process.

The board’s annual achievement targets focus on:

  • increasing the number of students achieving above expectations in mathematics in Years 3 and 6
  • raising reading achievement to curriculum expectations for a small group of boys in Year 4
  • increasing students’ ability to understand and contribute to their own wellbeing in Years 5 to 8.

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

  • student wellbeing

  • international students’ achievement and wellbeing

Evaluation Findings

1 Equity and excellence – achievement of valued outcomes for students

1.1 How well is the school achieving equitable and excellent outcomes for all its students?

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.

1.2 How well is the school accelerating learning for those Māori and other students who need this?

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.

2 School conditions for equity and excellence – processes and practices

2.1 What school processes and practices are effective in enabling achievement of equity and excellence, and acceleration of 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.

2.2 What further developments are needed in school processes and practices for achievement of equity and excellence, and acceleration of learning?

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.

3 Board assurance on legal requirements

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:

  • board administration

  • curriculum

  • management of health, safety and welfare

  • personnel management

  • finance

  • asset management.

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

  • attendance

  • school policies in relation to meeting the requirements of the Vulnerable Children Act 2014.

Provision for international students

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.

Actions for compliance

The board attested to ERO through the Board Assurance Statement that it is non-compliant in the following areas:

  • reporting annually on its role as a good employer, including equal employment opportunities
  • effectively consulting and working with the school’s Māori community to develop and make plans for improving outcomes for Māori students.

In order to address this, the board of trustees must:

  1. 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)

  1. 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.
    [NAG 1(e)].

4 Going forward

Key strengths of the school

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.

Next steps

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’s next external evaluation process and timing

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

Alan Wynyard

Director Review & Improvement Services

Te Waipounamu - Southern Region

26 November 2018

About the school

Location

Christchurch

Ministry of Education profile number

3589

School type

Full primary Years 1 to 8

School roll

511

Gender composition

Boys 53% ; Girls 47%

Ethnic composition

Māori 2%

Pākehā 43%

Asian 35%

Other ethnicities 20%

Students with Ongoing Resourcing Funding (ORS)

Yes

Provision of Māori medium education

No

Review team on site

September 2018

Date of this report

26 November 2018

Most recent ERO reports

Education Review November 2013

Education Review July 2010

Education Review May 2007