Weymouth School - 20/05/2015

Findings

Weymouth School provides children with good quality education in a supportive, learning-focused environment. Teachers support learners to be confident and engaged. Teachers have been developing their use of achievement information to improve learning. They are strengthening student-led learning and supporting students to think deeply about the world around them.

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?

Weymouth School, in South Auckland, caters for Year 1 to 8 students from ethnically diverse backgrounds. Most students are either Māori or Pacific. The school has a history of positive ERO reports. The positive learning environment and effective pastoral care referred to in the 2012 ERO report, continue to be evident.

Since the 2012 ERO review, the formation of a new leadership team has provided the school with a new direction that is focused on improving student outcomes. The school’s deputy principal was appointed principal mid-2014. She has been joined by another two new deputy principals at the start of 2015. Senior leaders have complementary skills and a shared understanding of the actions required to achieve the school’s goals.

The board of trustees and staff value the contributions of whānau and the community. The board has used parent/whānau perspectives and aspirations to help develop the school charter and strategic goals. This development builds on, and strengthens the positive relationship that the school has with its local community.

For many people in the community, Weymouth School is viewed as a hub for learning and bringing people together. In response to community aspirations the school has established two bilingual classes, Manu Tukutuku.

2 Learning

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

The school has begun to use achievement information in a more focused way to improve student engagement, progress and achievement.

Senior leaders have responded appropriately to a downward trend in student achievement in relation to National Standards, particularly for reading. Senior leaders have coordinated a school-wide review of teaching and learning practices to identify areas for development. This inquiry approach has had a transformative effect on the way achievement information is used to improve student learning.

Since mid-2014, significant changes have been made to teaching practices throughout the school. The new senior leadership team has successfully implemented systems to support teachers to raise student achievement, particularly for those students who are underachieving. ‘Doing things differently for improved student outcomes’ drives school initiatives and motivates staff to contribute to the success of the school’s achievement targets. Refinements made to assessment moderation processes, and teachers’ professional learning, position the school well for meeting school targets.

Pacific students of Tongan, Samoan, Cook Island Māori and Niue heritages represent 38 percent of the roll. Their progress is monitored and reported to the board. School leaders, trustees and teachers are aware of the need to support Pacific students and their families to sustain the positive gains in areas such as mathematics.

In recent years, senior leaders have better aligned the school’s assessment practices with the National Standards. Parents receive two written reports over the course of the year that indicate how well their children are progressing and achieving in relation to the National Standards for reading, writing and mathematics.

The board uses achievement information to make resourcing decisions for the benefit of all students. Trustees set targets and goals that are relevant to students who are at risk of underachieving. These targets and goals are focused on improvement and reflect the school’s high expectations for staff and students. They respect and value advice from school leaders.

3 Curriculum

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

The school’s broad curriculum supports student learning by making good links with students’ cultures and identities. Tuakana/teina relationships are evident throughout the school. Students’ connectedness to each other and to people in the school community promotes successful learning.

Students report that teachers are interested in them as individuals. Teachers use each other’s expertise and cultural experiences to enhance their practice and to deepen their knowledge of students. They respect and value advice from school leaders that supports the development of their culturally responsive teaching practice. Parents speak highly of the school, the ways their children are supported in their education and the values they are taught.

Teachers build on students’ interests in curriculum themes that consider the local community in the context of the wider world. The principles of The New Zealand Curriculum (NZC) are evident in the school curriculum. For example, science programmes offer students opportunities to apply their literacy and mathematical skills. Students confidently share their views and opinions. They consider future possibilities and ways that they can contribute to a sustainable world. The introduction of a school-based inquiry model helps students to think about how they learn.

Staff have focused on ways they can build on student capabilities. Professional learning in literacy teaching and promoting student wellbeing has positively influenced teaching practices. The concept of ako helps teachers appreciate themselves as learners as they continually reflect on ways to modify their practice. Teachers have a greater sense of the important role they have in supporting learners to accelerate their progress.

Professional learning and development focused on the learning requirements of Pacific students has helped teachers understand ways they can be more culturally responsive to the diverse learners in their classrooms.

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

Māori students represent 38 percent of the school roll. They experience success as Māori in a variety of meaningful ways. Biculturalism is an integral part of school life. Teachers value and build on Māori student cultural identity and language. The school has strengthened its link to a local community marae. Senior leaders are committed to supporting teachers to increase their use of te reo Māori.

Senior leaders provide opportunities for whānau knowledge to contribute to and enhance the recognition of te Āo Māori in the school. In response to community aspirations the school has established two bilingual classes, Manu Tukutuku, since the 2012 ERO review. This option is available to Year 5 to 8 Māori and non-Māori students. The school regularly monitors the progress of students in these classrooms and across the school. The board is assured that Māori students, particularly in Years 6, 7 and 8 achieve very well compared with local and national levels of Māori student achievement.

The board plans to explore with the school community ways to strengthen the school’s provision of bilingual education. An option being considered is extending Manu Tukutuku to provide opportunities for younger students to learn through te reo Māori.

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. There is strong alignment between the school’s vision, strategic direction and action plans. The board, staff, students and parents support and promote the school motto of ‘strive for the best’.

The school is well served by:

  • a well established, strategic board and a highly motivated leadership team

  • coherent systems and processes

  • a highly involved school community.

The board and principal demonstrate integrity in their governance and leadership roles. Their positive influence in the school and in the community is developing meaningful learning partnerships at all levels, including the wider educational community. Networking is viewed as essential to continuous school improvement.

Teachers are reflective, respond well to change, work collaboratively and are focused on achieving positive outcomes for students. Senior leaders respect the positive contributions staff make to school developments.

Self review is integral to the school’s successful operation and is beginning to positively impact the school’s strategic direction. The school’s self review is evidence based, informed by parents, community, staff and students, and focused on improving student outcomes.

The board and senior leaders use external review and professional expertise to determine areas for development. ERO is confident that the board, senior leaders and staff have the capability to use the school’s well-developed self-review processes to lead and sustain good quality education.

Areas identified by the school and endorsed by ERO for further review and development include:

  • progressing student-led learning across the school

  • strengthening partnerships with parents/whānau to help them support their children’s learning.

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

Weymouth School provides children with good quality education in a supportive, learning-focused environment. Teachers support learners to be confident and engaged. Teachers have been developing their use of achievement information to improve learning. They are strengthening student-led learning and supporting students to think deeply about the world around them.

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

Dale Bailey
Deputy Chief Review Officer Northern 

About the School

Location

Weymouth, Auckland

Ministry of Education profile number

1570

School type

Contributing (Years 1 to 6)

School roll

487

Gender composition

Boys      51%
Girls       49%

Ethnic composition

Māori
Pākehā
Samoan
Indian
Tongan
Cook Island Māori
Niue
other ethnicities

38%
10%
19%
  8%
  8%
  7%
  3%
  7%

Special Features

Bilingual unit for Years 5 to 8 students

Review team on site

March 2015

Date of this report

20 May 2015

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review
Education Review
Education Review

February 2012
December 2008
May 2006