Windy Ridge School - 08/10/2014

Findings

Windy Ridge School is increasingly multicultural. Students are settled and friendly. School leaders and teachers value partnerships with parents. There is a strong focus on lifting student achievement and progress of priority learners. The school should increase the pace of change to further promote high quality curriculum and teaching consistently across the school.

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?

Windy Ridge School in Glenfield, Auckland provides education for students in Years 1 to 6. Year 1 children make up 30 percent of the school roll. Most students live in nearby suburbs.

There are a lot of students for whom English is an additional language (ESOL) attending the school. The school hosts two satellite classes from Wilson School. The students and teachers from the satellite classes are well integrated into the school.

Students have a sense of ownership of the school. They warmly welcome visitors and confidently start conversations with adults. Students who are new to the school say that they settle in and make new friends easily.

Parents and whānau have many opportunities to be involved in school life. They can join support groups for families new to the country. There are also forums where they can talk about their understanding of present day education and share their ideas.

The school is well supported by the board of trustees and a parent teacher association. The library was recently refurbished and is now an attractive and comfortable learning space.

The leadership team has been extended to include three team leaders. The team leaders have responsibility for teaching and learning within their area of the school. The two deputy principals’ roles now include responsibilities across the school. This gives them the opportunity to promote school-wide initiatives and directions, and to monitor the consistency of implementation.

The 2011 ERO report found the school had a positive tone and that students were well engaged in their learning. ERO also identified the need to prioritise strategic actions and noted that leadership roles and responsibilities required development. The school has made progress in these areas.

2 Learning

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

Senior leaders and the board of trustees make good use of student achievement information. Trustees are knowledgeable about student achievement and committed to promoting better outcomes for students. Their strategic decisions aim to support students to make increased progress.

Students engage well with their learning in calm and settled classrooms. They set goals that help them to behave in ways that benefit their learning. Students share their learning and progress with their parents and whānau. They are proud to share their successes with their family.

Overall, students achieve at similar levels to other students locally, regionally and nationally. Māori students achieve well in reading. Senior leaders report that Pacific students achieve at similar levels to other students. However, they now aim to ensure that more Pacific students excel in relation to National Standards. The school’s annual Action Plan for Pasifika Success focuses on the actions needed to achieve this goal.

Senior leaders provide a structure and framework to help teachers use student achievement information well. They support teachers to use this data when planning for teaching. Teachers have regular opportunities to discuss the achievement of their students. They plan learning activities that will match their students' varied learning levels in reading and mathematics. They work closely with small groups of students during focussed teaching times.

Priority learners are clearly identified and their progress and achievement is well monitored. They are supported in their learning within class programmes and through an additional teaching programme. This programme helps teachers to identify the strategies that will assist each student to make better progress in reading and writing. Students are showing good progress and improved attitudes in the early stages of the project.

ESOL students are making good progress learning English. English language learning programmes are well monitored to ensure that teacher aides are supported to meet students’ learning needs. A parent support group, specifically for parents who are new to this country, provides information about education in New Zealand in general, and this school in particular.

Senior leaders have identified some important next steps. These steps could positively affect outcomes for students and include:

  • teachers becoming more involved in the analysis of their students’ achievement information to help them reflect on and improve the effectiveness of their teaching practice
  • building on formative teaching practices to enhance student ownership of learning so that students increasingly become self directed, lifelong learners
  • continuing to develop processes for reporting to parents in relation to National Standards
  • focusing on extending academic and mentoring partnerships with parents and whānau to support students’ learning.

3 Curriculum

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

The school’s current curriculum review is an opportunity for teachers to build on current practices and develop a school curriculum that consistently promotes and supports high quality teaching.

Already during this review senior leaders and teachers have identified what is important in the teaching and learning of mathematics, English and science. They plan to extend this review to other learning areas. Teachers will increasingly taking a leadership role in the review process. Senior leaders are developing documentation that will guide teachers’ implementation of the curriculum.

The curriculum continues to have an appropriate focus on developing students’ knowledge and skills in literacy and numeracy. Teachers use an inquiry approach that helps students to make links across the learning areas of the curriculum. Teachers know that when making these links they need to respect the integrity of each learning area including science, social studies, technology and the arts.

The board supports professional learning and development for all staff. Senior leaders and teachers are part of a local cluster that shares some professional development. Teachers also have opportunities to lead professional learning and development for their colleagues.

Teachers participate in forums within the school where they discuss teaching and inquire into the impact of their own practice. They are beginning to use student feedback and preferences for learning to help them plan their teaching. These good practices could also help support students to plan for their own learning.

Senior leaders and ERO agree that to enhance the school’s curriculum it will be important to:

  • develop clear expectations for teachers to build greater consistency and quality in their teaching practices
  • ensure teachers implement new learning gained from professional development within their own classes.

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

School leaders are building their understanding of what it means to promote educational success for Māori, as Māori.

Māori students express a strong sense of identity and report that they feel supported and acknowledged as Māori within the school. Many have opportunities to participate in te ao Māori with their whānau. These experiences support students’ knowledge and awareness of their language, culture and identity.

Māori students value the leadership opportunities they have. Māori student achievement is similar to the achievement of other students in the school. The school’s Māori students as a group, achieve better in National Standards than Māori students in other schools locally, regionally and nationally. The school participates in Te Reo Tuatahi, a project that uses language assistants to teach te reo Māori language to students. This programme could now be extended so that students learn te reo Māori at progressively more advanced levels as they move through the school.

The school is focusing on building the confidence and capability of teachers to use Ministry of Education resource materials to teach and use te reo Māori. This could be helpful in further supporting Māori students and promote bicultural practice for all students. Students ERO spoke to during the review, said that the school could further reflect the place of Māori within its environment.

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 board has a strategic approach to governance. Trustees are experienced and knowledgeable about education. They are highly collaborative. They are committed to undertaking training about their roles and responsibilities. Succession planning has helped the board to ensure newly elected trustees transition smoothly onto the board. This is helping them to sustain good governance practices.

The senior leadership team is experienced and works cohesively. Leaders bring complementary skills, knowledge and styles to their roles. Senior leaders are keen to build leadership capacity in teachers and support their career pathways.

Self-review processes help senior leaders make decisions. A more structured, evaluative approach to self review could promote more robust analysis of school programmes and operations.

In order to further improve school performance, it is timely for the board and school leaders to continue to:

  • build the confidence, knowledge and skills of team leaders
  • develop a more structured, formalised approach to self review
  • find ways to monitor progress in relation to strategic goals
  • increase the pace of change to promote school improvement.

Provision for international students

The school 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.

At the time of this review there were two international students from China and Saudi Arabia attending the school. These students are enrolled for one year. They benefit from the good practices the school has developed to support students for whom English is an additional language. International students experience high quality inclusion, relationships and teaching practices.

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.

In order to improve practice, the board should comprehensively review the match between school policies, procedures and practices. Senior leaders should ensure all staff are familiar with updated policies and procedures so that these clearly guide school operations.

Conclusion

Windy Ridge School is increasingly multicultural. Students are settled and friendly. School leaders and teachers value partnerships with parents. There is a strong focus on lifting student achievement and progress of priority learners. The school should increase the pace of change to further promote high quality curriculum and teaching consistently across the school.

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

Dale Bailey

National Manager Review Services Northern Region

8 October 2014

About the School

Location

Glenfield, Auckland

Ministry of Education profile number

1575

School type

Contributing (Years 1 to 6)

School roll

222

Number of international students

2

Gender composition

Girls 52% Boys 48%

Ethnic composition

Māori

NZ European/Pākehā

Chinese

African

British

Filipino

Japanese

Indian

Latin American

South East Asian

Tongan

other

12%

55%

6%

4%

4%

4%

4%

2%

2%

2%

2%

3%

Special Features

Two Wilson School satellite classes

Review team on site

August 2014

Date of this report

8 October 2014

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Supplementary Review

Education Review

December 2011

October 2008

July 2007