Whitney Street School - 09/02/2017

1 Context

Whitney Street School caters for students in Years 1 to 6. They are experiencing significant roll growth.

The school is a member of the local Community of Learning. They have participated in a number of Ministry of Education contracts that have focused on improving children's writing and mathematics.

Since the 2013 ERO review, a new principal and board chair have been appointed.

2 Equity and excellence

The vision and valued outcomes defined by the school for all children are 'The Whitney Way - The way we learn' are strongly embedded in school practices.

The majority of children achieve at or above the National Standards in literacy and mathematics. Over the last three years there has been steady progress in mathematics and writing. The school’s achievement information shows that most Māori students' achievement is lower than their peers in literacy and mathematics.

Since the last ERO evaluation the school has retained the strengths evident at that time and made good progress towards identified areas for improvement. There is now greater consistency with assessment practices and more in-depth self-review processes and procedures to guide practice. There has also been a more deliberate and strategic approach to developing a school-wide focus on increasing bicultural perspectives and understandings of te ao Māori.

Students with additional needs, including ESOL, are well provided for within an inclusive and supportive learning environment.

3 Accelerating achievement 

How effectively does this school respond to Māori children whose learning and achievement need acceleration?

The school has effective practices to support Māori (and other) children who need extra support to succeed in literacy and mathematics.

Staff know children well and have a shared responsibility for the learning and wellbeing of every child. They regularly reflect on the progress children are making and adapt learning programmes to meet their learning needs.

There is a suitable range of assessment activities and an increasingly well-structured moderation process across the school. These processes provide teachers with a good range of meaningful assessment data. Teachers use this data to make decisions about students' achievement levels in relation to the National Standards.

Leaders have implemented deliberate strategies to empower all teachers to make a difference for at risk learners. Teachers are inquiring more deeply into the effectiveness of their actions to lift student achievement. They are using strategies and deliberate acts of teaching that will assist children with their learning.

The board provides a number of additional resources and staff to support areas of specific need.

How effectively does this school respond to other children whose learning and achievement need acceleration?

The school responds effectively to all children whose learning and achievement need acceleration. Teachers work collaboratively to discuss children who have additional learning needs and how best to support them. They have good systems in place and are well resourced to respond to children's additional needs.

4 School conditions

How effectively do the school’s curriculum and other organisational processes and practices develop and enact the school’s vision, values, goals and targets for equity and excellence?

The school’s curriculum effectively promotes equity and excellence for all children. Leaders and teachers place a priority on supporting children's well-being in order to enhance their readiness for learning. Children demonstrate a good understanding of the school's values.

Children experience a wide range of authentic learning experiences within the school and the community that extend their learning. Digital technology is increasingly being used by staff as a tool for learning. Children are becoming more responsible in managing themselves and have increasing opportunities to select their learning focus areas.

The recent review of the mathematics curriculum provides a useful template for ongoing review of other curriculum areas. The school has plans to update the rest of the curriculum documentation to align with the school's vision, values and context. 

The school is well led and managed. School leaders are developing a culture of collaborative practices, professional discussion and reflection to improve teaching and learning.

There is good communication between home and school to ensure parents are well informed about their children's learning. Reports to parents provide good quality information about achievement, progress and involvement in school activities. Three way conferencing with students, parents and teachers, is strengthening learning partnerships. The school is well supported by the local community.

Trustees bring a range of skills and expertise to the board. They seek ways to strengthen their understanding of their roles. Trustees regularly seek staff and parent input into decision making. The principal keeps them well informed about children's achievement, programmes and school events. There are positive and supportive relationships between the board, principal and staff.

The board and ERO agree that the key priorities for further improvement are to:

  • develop a more cohesive process for tracking and reporting student achievement
  • improve data analysis to better show trends, patterns, progress and impact of programmes
  • continue to review and strengthen the curriculum documentation to better reflect bicultural perspectives
  • raise the levels of achievement in reading
  • formalise student achievement and analysis reports to the board.

5 Going forward

How well placed is the school to accelerate the achievement of all children who need it?

Leaders and teachers:

  • know the children whose learning and achievement need to be accelerated
  • respond effectively to the strengths, needs and interests of each child
  • regularly evaluate how well teaching is working for these children
  • act on what they know works well for each child
  • build teacher capability effectively to achieve equitable outcomes for all children
  • are well placed to achieve and sustain equitable and excellent outcomes for all children.

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

6 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 the following:

  • board administration

  • curriculum

  • management of health, safety and welfare

  • personnel management

  • 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

  • processes for appointing staff

  • stand down, suspensions, expulsions and exclusions

  • attendance

  • compliance with the provisions of the Vulnerable Children Act 2014. 

7 Recommendations

  • Improve the analysis and reporting of the schools achievement information.
  • Continue to develop curriculum review and the integration of bicultural aspects, at all levels of the school.

Dr Lesley Patterson

Deputy Chief Review Officer Te Waipounamu/Southern

9 February 2017 

About the school 

Location

Blenheim

Ministry of Education profile number

3071

School type

Contributing (Years 1 to 6)

School roll

302

Gender composition

Girls 46%; Boys 54%

Ethnic composition

Pākehā

Māori

Pacific

Asian

Other ethnicities

64%

28%

3%

4%

1%

Review team on site

November 2016

Date of this report

9 February 2017

Most recent ERO reports

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

June 2013

November 2010

September 2007