Willowbank School (Howick) - 07/12/2010

1 The Education Review Office (ERO) Evaluation

Willowbank School provides students with high quality education. A process of continuous improvement is enhanced by well embedded self-review practices. The school’s localised curriculum reflects the aspirations of its ethnically diverse East Auckland community. Expectations for teaching and learning strongly reflect the principles of The New Zealand Curriculum.

The board of trustees’ vision for the school provides a coherent strategic direction that is understood by staff and students and provides positive guidance for teaching and learning. The senior leadership team supports staff in the delivery of well planned and carefully evaluated programmes. Whole-school professional learning initiatives have supported teachers to implement teaching strategies that meet students’ identified learning requirements. The high level of professional dialogue and reflection evident in the school is indicative of a well developed learning culture.

Students are friendly and outgoing. They engage in programmes that extend their thinking across all learning areas. Students understand how they learn and what they need to do to attain their learning goals. School achievement information continues to show that most students achieve at or above national expectations in literacy and mathematics. Student progress information is used by the board and teachers to resource programmes and to refine practice in order to improve student outcomes. Teachers use appropriate teaching strategies and targeted programmes to support students who are not yet reaching their potential.

ERO is confident that the board and senior leaders can make good use of the school’s effective self-review procedures to sustain and further develop teaching and learning to ensure ongoing improvement and growth in students’ knowledge and skills.

Future Action

ERO is likely to carry out the next review within four to five years.

2 Willowbank School (Howick)’s Curriculum

How effectively does the curriculum of Willowbank School (Howick) promote student learning - engagement, progress and achievement?

School context and self review

Since its opening in 2001, Willowbank School has had positive ERO reports. The principal, appointed in 2007, is well supported by a knowledgeable and professionally capable senior leadership team. High quality educational leadership ensures that strategic planning results in improved student learning.

Students engage with the school’s curriculum and progress well during their six years at the school. Most students achieve in mathematics and literacy at levels that are above national age-related expectations.

The school vision statement guides the board, staff and students to discovertheir potential; develop their learning; andnurture relationships by respecting others and themselves.

Areas of strength

Discover

The school’s self review is an ongoing process that enables senior leaders, teachers and the board to discover areas for school improvement and, as a result, to maximise student outcomes.

Senior leaders and teachers use effective monitoring processes to ensure the successful delivery of the school’s curriculum. These processes align well with each other and are focused on improving student achievement.

The New Zealand Curriculumhas guided the school’s strategic planning and direction. In accordance with one of the key intentions ofThe New Zealand Curriculum, teachers continually reflect on their practice. In classrooms where teachers have embedded this responsive practice, achievement information is very well used to target students’ emerging learning requirements.

The school has successfully used external evaluation to review aspects of curriculum delivery. As a result of a significant review of the school’s English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) programme, a more coordinated approach has been provided for students who require targeted teaching of English.

Develop

Professional learning and development is consistent with the school’s strategic direction and has a positive impact on improving learning opportunities for all students.

Purposeful appraisal and well conceived professional training help to develop teacher capability. Teachers have successfully implemented formative teaching and learning practices to involve students more in making decisions about their learning. Teachers use formative practices across learning areas and have applied the principles of formative teaching and assessment to the implementation of the school’s inquiry learning model.

Senior leaders guide educational change in a well considered way. Theypromote teachers’ learning by participating with them in professional development initiatives. This participatory approach supports teachers to attain personal and school goals.

Students enjoy many and varied leadership opportunities. The Enviroschool programme provides opportunities for students to make decisions about ways to manage resources for a sustainable future. Awhina captains and peer mediators fulfill pastoral care roles that include the coordination of students’ efforts to raise funds for charities.

Students readily access a variety of resources to help their self-directed learning. Teachers provide students with models of work to help them plan their next steps for development. This teacher support helps students to reflect on ways in which they can improve their learning.

Nurture

Positive interactions promote and support effective learning.

Senior leaders ensure an orderly and supportive school environment for teaching and learning. Teachers’ warm and caring relationships with students provide a good basis for student learning. Students are confident in their abilities and talk openly about ways in which they can improve their learning.

Reciprocal learning interactions are evident throughout the school. The school’s awhina concept contributes significantly to student well-being and learning. Students benefit from the availability of teachers and of students who know them well and can offer help when required.

The school maintains good communication with parents. Meetings with different ethnic groups of parents mean that the board and senior leaders are informed about parent views and aspirations. The board uses this information in developing the school’s strategic plans.

3 Agreed priorities

ERO and the board of trustees agree on the next stages of school development.

External review.Senior leaders and the board have successfully used external facilitators to evaluate aspects of the school’s operations. The use of external review could be extended to other areas of school operations, such as teachers’ implementation of inquiry teaching and learning, and the ongoing development of the school’s Kiwi Awhina programme.

Success for Māori students.As part of the school’s ongoing self-review and external review process, senior leaders could review the school’s provision for Māori students to identify ways in which this provision could be further enhanced. Consideration could be given to increasing bi-cultural perspectives in students’ studies, and developing strategies to encourage more parents/whānau of Māori students to be meaningfully involved in the school’s consultation processes.

4 Provision for International Students

Willowbank School (Howick) is providing its international students with high quality pastoral care. The school maintains regular contact with parents of international students, providing advice and guidance if needed. Positive relationships, a warm and inclusive school environment, and good use of ‘buddy’ systems help international students to settle into class, make friends and participate in school events.

International students receive balanced programmes that reflect The New Zealand Curriculum. Programmes include appropriate small group English language sessions when required. The teacher responsible for overseeing the school’s international students has used external specialist support and effective self-review procedures to identify strengths and next steps. Sound quality assurance processes help to ensure ongoing improvements in the school’s provision for international students.

Compliance with the Code of Practice for the Pastoral Care of International Students and the Provision of English Language Support

Willowbank School (Howick) is a signatory to the Code of Practice for the Pastoral Care of International Students (the Code) established under section 238F of the Education Act 1989.

The school has attested that it complies with all aspects of the Code.

ERO’s investigations confirmed that the school meets the requirements of the Code.

5 Board Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the board of trustees and principal of Willowbank School (Howick) completed an ERO Board Assurance Statement and Self-Audit Checklist. In these documents they attested that they had taken all reasonable steps to meet their legal obligations related to:

  • board administration;
  • curriculum;
  • management of health, safety and welfare;
  • personnel management;
  • financial management; and
  • asset management.

During the review, ERO looked at the school’s documentation, including policies, procedures and records. ERO sampled recent use of procedures and checked elements of the following five areas that have a potentially high impact on students’ achievement:

  • emotional safety of students (including prevention of bullying and sexual harassment);
  • physical safety of students;
  • teacher registration;
  • stand-downs, suspensions, expulsions and exclusions; and
  • attendance.

Future Action

ERO is likely to carry out the next review within four to five years. 

Richard Thornton

National Manager Review Services

Northern Region

7 December 2010

About The School

School type

Contributing (Years 1 to 6)

Decile

9

School roll

760

Number of international students

3

Gender composition

Girls 54%,

Boys 46%

Ethnic composition

NZ European/Pākehā 23%,

Māori 4%,

Chinese 19%,

Indian 19%,

Middle Eastern 6%,

Korean 3%,

Pacific 3%,

other European 10%,

other Asian 5%,

other 8%

Review team on site

September, 2010

Date of this report

7 December 2010

Previous ERO reports

Education Review, May 2007

Education Review, September 2003

 7 December 2010

To the Parents and Community of Willowbank School (Howick)

These are the findings of the Education Review Office’s latest report on Willowbank School (Howick).

Willowbank School provides students with high quality education. A process of continuous improvement is enhanced by well embedded self-review practices. The school’s localised curriculum reflects the aspirations of its ethnically diverse East Auckland community. Expectations for teaching and learning strongly reflect the principles of The New Zealand Curriculum.

The board of trustees’ vision for the school provides a coherent strategic direction that is understood by staff and students and provides positive guidance for teaching and learning. The senior leadership team supports staff in the delivery of well planned and carefully evaluated programmes. Whole-school professional learning initiatives have supported teachers to implement teaching strategies that meet students’ identified learning requirements. The high level of professional dialogue and reflection evident in the school is indicative of a well developed learning culture.

Students are friendly and outgoing. They engage in programmes that extend their thinking across all learning areas. Students understand how they learn and what they need to do to attain their learning goals. School achievement information continues to show that most students achieve at or above national expectations in literacy and mathematics. Student progress information is used by the board and teachers to resource programmes and to refine practice in order to improve student outcomes. Teachers use appropriate teaching strategies and targeted programmes to support students who are not yet reaching their potential.

ERO is confident that the board and senior leaders can make good use of the school’s effective self-review procedures to sustain and further develop teaching and learning to ensure ongoing improvement and growth in students’ knowledge and skills.

Future Action

ERO is likely to carry out the next review within four to five years.

Review Coverage

This report provides an evaluation of how effectively the school’s curriculum promotes student learning - engagement, progress and achievement. ERO’s evaluation takes account of the school’s previous reporting history and is based on:

  • what is known about student achievement information, including the achievement of Māori and Pacific students;
  • decisions made to improve student achievement using assessment and selfreview information; and
  • teaching strategies and programmes implemented to give effect to the school’s curriculum.

ERO also gathers information during the review to contribute to its national reports. The national reports are published on ERO’s website.

If you would like a copy of the full report, please contact the school or see the ERO website, www.ero.govt.nz.

Richard Thornton

National Manager Review Services

Northern Region