Whitney Street School - 06/06/2013

1 Context

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

Whitney Street School is located in Blenheim and caters for students in Years 1 to 6. A shared understanding of ‘The Whitney Way’ is clearly evident in the daily life of the school. This vision focuses on students being responsible and making a difference through their learning and behaviour. The values of respect, honesty and caring are prioritised. Trustees, senior leaders and teachers work collaboratively with an emphasis on fostering student learning and success. Classroom environments are calm and settled and students are purposefully engaged in their learning.

Since the November 2010 ERO report major developments have taken place. These include the reorganisation of school leadership structures and roles and a two year programme of professional development about use of student achievement data led by an external facilitator. There has been significant development of information and communication technologies (ICT) as a tool for student learning.

2 Learning

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

Teachers use achievement information well to identify students’ learning needs, including those students who are at risk of not meeting the National Standards in reading, writing and mathematics. Teachers use achievement data to plan programmes in response to those needs.

Senior leaders and teachers use data strategically to develop teaching practice and raise the achievement of specific groups of students. Data is also used to set schoolwide targets and monitor overall school performance and progress over time.

The impact of the two years of professional learning and development (PLD) about making effective use of achievement data is very evident. Teachers have a consistent understanding of the purpose of using data to plan for students’ needs.

The next steps for continued development of assessment practice are to:

  • agree on specific measures for accelerated progress
  • explore patterns of achievement more deeply.

This should enable teachers and leaders to know how effectively progress of targeted students has been accelerated by the strategies and interventions they have used.

Reports to parents are being changed in 2013 to more clearly report each student’s progress in relation to the National Standards.

3 Curriculum

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

The curriculum appropriately promotes and supports student learning.

There has been significant development of the Whitney Street School curriculum. It is well aligned to The New Zealand Curriculum and the school’s strategic goals. Students have a clear understanding of school expectations and these are reinforced positively. Success is celebrated.

Curriculum documents provide clear guidance for teaching and learning. They promote an approach that fosters guided discovery. Topic studies integrate learning across the curriculum areas within meaningful contexts.

Students are encouraged to use thinking tools and ICT to conduct their inquiries. The school is well resourced to deliver stimulating learning programmes.

Teaching strategies empower students to be confident, curious learners. There is emphasis on:

  • Students being clear about what they are learning and what criteria are important for success
  • classroom environments that model, prompt and celebrate students as ‘Whitney Way Learners’
  • positive classroom interactions.

Students talk confidently about their learning.

Teachers make effective use of 'monitoring meetings' to share strategies and reflect on ways to meet the specific learning needs of students. There is shared ownership of all students’ progress and achievement.

Students with special learning needs are identified and appropriate interventions provided. This process is intertwined with classroom teaching and learning practices.

A next step is to better plan for Pacific students’ educational success, as Pacific. Trustees and teachers should continue to enhance their knowledge and understanding of Pacific students’ identity, language and culture and continue to develop productive partnerships with their families.

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

A clear commitment to meeting Treaty of Waitangi obligations and community responsibilities is evident in the school’s strategic goals.

The principal and staff value each student’s identity and promote and celebrate their success. Kapa haka is well established and taught by whānau. Their contribution is welcomed and valued. There is evidence of te ao Māori in the curriculum.

An action plan for the implementation of the strategic goals is under development and identifies future priorities as:

  • strengthening relationships with whānau to engage meaningfully and hear their aspirations
  • continued provision of opportunities for student leadership
  • continued development of teachers’ competence and confidence in the use of te reo me ngā tikanga Māori through PLD.

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.

The charter, annual plan, targets and appraisal are well aligned and reflect the school’s strategic aims.

Work begun in response to the findings of the 2010 ERO report has been deliberate, planned and well supported professionally. PLD is adding depth to this process.

The leadership team is effectively guiding school development and establishing shared understandings of high quality teaching and learning. Keeping up the momentum and managing change positively is important for future development.

The principal’s and teachers’ appraisal processes appropriately link to the school’s strategic aims. Appraisers ask useful questions and provide feedback about teachers’ next areas of development.

Trustees work collaboratively to develop shared decisions about school priorities. Meetings are focused on strategy and monitoring progress.

While trustees and teachers reflect on their practice, a shared understanding of a process to guide in-depth, evidence-based self review should be developed.

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 three years.

Joyce Gebbie

National Manager Review Services Central Region (Acting)

6 June 2013

About the School

Location

Blenheim

Ministry of Education profile number

3071

School type

Contributing (Year 1 to 6)

School roll

179

Gender composition

Male 53%, Female 47%

Ethnic composition

NZ European/Pākehā

Māori

Asian

Pacific

Other ethnic groups

70%

21%

4%

3%

2%

Review team on site

April 2013

Date of this report

6 June 2013

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

November 2010

September 2007

November 2004