Windley School - 05/06/2015

Findings

School values provide a useful framework of expectations and aspirations for learners. Strategic goals document a clear focus on the urgent necessity to improve student achievement. Senior leaders are developing a shared approach to supporting staff. Increasing the consistency of effective teaching is a priority.

ERO intends to carry out another review over the course of one-to-two years.

1 Context

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

Windley School is a multicultural, Years 1 to 8 primary school, located in Porirua. Most students are Māori and Pacific. A new senior leadership team has been appointed since ERO’s 2012 review, with the principal taking up his position in term 4, 2013.

The school is part of the Porirua Eastern Group Cluster of schools. Professional development in the cluster in 2013 and 2014, focused on building teacher capability in literacy and digital technology. During this review, ERO saw evidence of the impact of these areas of professional development on teachers’ practice.

Staff took part in other professional development in 2014. Senior leaders worked with an external facilitator to develop a team approach to leadership and focus on a positive staff culture. A Ministry of Education Student Achievement Function (SAF) practitioner worked with staff on raising student achievement through family engagement.

Members of the board of trustees have been participating in ongoing governance training. Policy review is the current focus. The school is involved in the Positive Behaviour for Learning (PB4L) initiative which emphasises consistency of expectations and behaviour.

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 to make positive changes for learners. However, school-wide student achievement requires improvement. End of 2014 data showed that approximately half of the students achieved at and above the reading and mathematics National Standards and approximately a third achieved at and above the writing National Standards.

Teachers have undertaken considerable work to increase the reliability of their assessment judgements about individual students’ achievement in relation to National Standards for reading and writing. In 2014, senior leaders identified that further development in making and moderating overall teacher judgements in relation to the mathematics National Standards was needed. This has led to the decision that teaching and learning in mathematics will be a school focus in 2015.

School achievement targets are based appropriately on evidence and specific groups of underachieving students identified. In 2014, one of the three school wide targets was met. A group of junior students made accelerated progress with their reading. Increasing student achievement is an urgent priority and the school’s strategic goals reflect this necessary focus.

The target setting process should be strengthened. It is likely to be improved by:

  • increasing the target group of students to include all those who are underachieving
  • more specific action plans for meeting the targets so that shared expectations are clear for all
  • increasing the regularity of school-wide analysis and reports to the board about the progress of underachieving students throughout the year
  • transferring the successful teaching practices that led to the accelerated achievement of the 2014 junior students to other areas of the school.

Written reports to parents clearly state what each student can do and what their next learning steps are. They document each student’s progress over time. Reports can be improved by ensuring that statements in relation to National Standards support and encourage progress.

3 Curriculum

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

Windley School’s values, SET for Life, provide a useful framework for teachers and students to understand the school’s expectations and aspirations for learners. The school curriculum document has been recently reviewed and it clearly states requirements for planning and teaching. Senior leaders regularly monitor teachers’ planning to ensure that targeted students are identified and that specific, deliberate teaching is planned to meet their needs.

To ensure that the curriculum is more responsive, interesting and engages all students, leaders and teachers should ensure that:

  • learning contexts are relevant for students and build on their prior knowledge and experiences
  • students’ language, culture and identity are promoted and reflected in contexts for learning
  • they have high expectations for student achievement
  • opportunities for specific, deliberate teaching are prioritised to raise student achievement and engagement
  • requirements for planning and teaching are implemented
  • classroom learning environments celebrate and support students’ learning and cultural identities.

Senior leaders and teachers should consider how they might provide students with the opportunity to learn a second language, particularly for those in Years 7 and 8.

Students provide strong leadership in school pōwhiri. Senior leaders have begun to offer increased opportunities for students to lead in other aspects of school life and this is a planned school goal for 2015. Senior leaders have also identified that student ownership and leading of their learning should be further developed. ERO’s evaluation supports the decision to make these areas priorities for future development.

Teacher aides provide assistance for the learning of individuals and small groups of students. Teachers with sound classroom practice ensure that teacher aides in their classrooms provide specific, relevant support for students.

Senior leaders should explore ways to support Māori and Pacific staff to share their culturally appropriate practices and authentic contexts for learning. This should assist all staff to deliver a relevant, appropriate curriculum for all students.

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

In 2014, teachers’ knowledge of Māori students’ culture, language and identity was extended. One area of emphasis was to include goals linked to ‘Tātaiako: Cultural competences for Teachers’ in each teacher’s appraisal process.

Next steps are to continue building teachers’ cultural competencies and increase the inclusion of te ao Māori in the curriculum.

4 Sustainable Performance

How well placed is the school to sustain and improve its performance?

Trustees and senior leaders have developed some strategies to begin improving the school’s performance.

Strategic goals document a clear focus for improving student achievement. These goals are regularly discussed in senior leadership team meetings and are linked to the appraisal process. The principal regularly reports progress towards these goals to trustees.

Windley School has developed some initiatives to promote partnership with families. These have followed on from the ‘change team’ plan developed with the SAF practitioner in 2014. The school now needs to build on this to plan a clear way forward to work in partnership with parents. This should assist relevant and culturally appropriate decisions to accelerate student engagement, presence and achievement.

The appraisal process, as documented, is sound. A process for teachers to inquire into their practice has been introduced. Teachers are beginning to use this process to build and share effective teaching practice. However, implementation of the appraisal process is variable. Developing specific teacher goals that have clear measures of success and are clearly linked to accelerating student achievement is essential.

Senior leaders have established a clear vision and purpose for working as a team. They are building their capacity to support teachers through coaching. They are focusing on developing a shared understanding and approach to improving the consistency of effective teacher practice.

The principal and senior leaders use evidence-based self review to collate and analyse school-wide student achievement information. They evaluate the impact of some school initiatives and develop recommendations for action. To strengthen the evaluation process, clear indicators of quality should be developed to measure success. Clear timelines for implementing recommendations should be specified.

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

School values provide a useful framework of expectations and aspirations for learners. Strategic goals document a clear focus on the urgent necessity to improve student achievement. Senior leaders are developing a shared approach to supporting staff. Increasing the consistency of effective teaching is a priority.

ERO intends to carry out another review over the course of one-to-two years.

Joyce Gebbie

Deputy Chief Review Officer Central

5 May 2015

About the School

Location

Porirua

Ministry of Education profile number

3074

School type

Full Primary (Years 1 to 8)

School roll

311

Gender composition

Male 53%, Female 47%

Ethnic composition

Māori
Samoan
Tokelauan
South East Asian
Cook Island Māori
Pākehā
Other ethnic groups

43%
27%
8%
7%
6%
4%
5%

Special Features

Resource Teachers: Literacy

Review team on site

March 2015

Date of this report

5 May 2015

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review
Education Review
Education Review

June 2012
February 2009
March 2006