Woodlands Park School - 15/05/2015

Findings

Woodlands Park School has continued to use self review to ensure that the school promotes student learning and well-being. The school is capably led and governed. The school works in partnership with parents and whānau to provide students with a broad and relevant curriculum that promotes learning in all aspects of the New Zealand Curriculum.

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

1. Context

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

Woodlands Park School is located in the Waitakere Ranges in Auckland, approximately three kilometres south west of Titirangi Village. New classrooms are being built to cater for the increase in the number of students now attending the school. The board and staff are determined to maintain the culture of a small rural school as the school roll grows.

The school values which include excellence, respect, responsibility and honesty are reflected in the relationships within the school community. School leaders promote partnership with children’s families. The school is very inclusive of students with special needs and recognises the strengths they bring.

Woodlands Park School promotes ecological sustainability and has achieved Green Gold status as part of the Enviro-School programme.

The many strengths of the school identified in the 2011 ERO report continue to support positive educational outcomes for students. Priorities agreed in the previous ERO report have been strategically developed.

2. Learning

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

The school uses achievement information effectively to support learning. School leaders have a broad definition of achievement that includes all aspects of learning. Staff are developing ways of knowing how well students are learning across the curriculum including the key competencies identified in the New Zealand Curriculum.

Senior leaders have developed effective systems for analysing literacy and numeracy achievement information. Teachers use this information to plan learning programmes that reflect the knowledge and skills of individuals and groups of students. They identify students needing additional support and monitor their progress closely.

Teachers assess what students learn through the school’s inquiry learning approach. They are currently exploring how to engage children in making more explicit links between science and their everyday lives. Teachers are developing a greater understanding of the levels at which students engage in their learning. This information will enable the school to know about trends and patterns of student engagement.

Students are achieving very well in relation to the National Standards in reading, writing and mathematics. The achievement of Māori students is similar to that of other students in reading. Teachers encourage students to assess their own work and to get feedback from other students.

The school has high expectations of all students to achieve well. Achievement targets are set to improve learning across the school as well as for groups and individuals. Recent targets have not only set an expectation that more students will achieve at the National Standards but that more students will achieve above the National Standards. Trustees receive regular reports on student achievement and use this information to ensure that resources are used appropriately.

School leaders are currently reviewing how student achievement and progress is reported to parents. Reporting could include sharing information with parents about the level at which students engage in their learning.

School leaders could now strengthen the planning and reporting on groups of students that have been identified as at risk or needing additional support or a different teaching approach, to assure trustees that they are receiving appropriate support.

3. Curriculum

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

The school’s curriculum is broad and very effectively promotes and supports student learning. Students are able to participate in many learning opportunities in all areas of the New Zealand Curriculum.

Students and their families are consulted about the curriculum so that areas of study are relevant to the interests and cultural identities of the students. Specific strengths, interests and needs of students are considered when their learning programmes are developed.

The physical and cultural contexts of the school are important factors that influence the design of the curriculum. Sometimes parents’ knowledge and skills contribute to the curriculum. The environmental sustainability focus of the curriculum is well understood by students.

Since ERO’s 2011 review much has been done to strengthen bicultural aspects of the curriculum. All students and teachers take part in te reo Māori lessons each week, with the expectation that teachers will reinforce the learning. Students learn tikanga Māori and kapa haka in order to help students build their understanding of bicultural New Zealand.

Positive and supportive relationships among teachers and students are based on mutual respect, and on teachers knowing students and their families well. Learning environments are well resourced and well organised. Teachers make good use of wall displays to support and celebrate student learning.

Teachers use a wide range of effective teaching strategies including practices that encourage students to learn with and from each other. They encourage students to take responsibility for their learning by supporting them to set goals and compare their work to specific and relevant criteria.

Teachers cater well for individual students. They ensure that relevant programmes are planned for those at risk of not achieving, those that have special needs, and those identified as gifted and talented. Teachers group students in response to their specific next learning steps.

Many aspects of the programme effectively support Māori students to succeed as Māori and prepare all students to live in bicultural New Zealand. Inquiry topics and the environmental sustainability programme are linked to te ao Māori.

Prior to the ERO review school leaders had identified the following aspects of the curriculum for further development. Progress is being made to:

  • create modern learning environments and develop relevant ways of teaching and learning
  • integrate information and communication technologies into teaching and learning
  • review science teaching
  • work in partnership with Pacific families.

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

In addition to the aspects of the programme mentioned in the previous section to support Māori students to succeed, a group called Te Whānau Tiaki has been established to support Māori students to learn more about Māori language, identity and culture.

School leaders plan to continue to strengthen the inclusion of aspects of te ao Māori in the school curriculum and to build the school’s partnership with whānau. They are making good use of the Ministry of Education publication, Tātaiako: Cultural Competencies for Teachers of Māori Learners, to build teacher capacity to teach Māori students.

4. Sustainable Performance

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

The school is very well placed to sustain and improve its performance because constant self review ensures that school operations are supporting student learning. Student achievement information is used by all school personnel to monitor the effectiveness of the curriculum and its delivery.

School leaders plan strategically for improvement. The principal keeps the board well informed about progress towards school goals and targets. Trustees govern the school well and are clear about their roles and responsibilities. They are focused on student learning and take a keen interest in student achievement trends and patterns.

The school and the community have a positive relationship. Parents are kept well informed about what is happening at school and are regularly consulted to ensure they have a voice in the direction of the school.

Teachers are well supported to stay current with developments in education and to improve their teaching practice. Performance management systems encourage teachers to be reflective. Appraisal is linked to student achievement.

Professional development is linked to the school’s plans and goals and is often aimed towards meeting achievement targets. Skilled teacher aides sometimes take part in professional development that helps them to work successfully with the students they support.

ERO and school leaders agreed that it would useful to develop a self-review framework and document the processes used when conducting self reviews.

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

Woodlands Park School has continued to use self review to ensure that the school promotes student learning and well-being. The school is capably led and governed. The school works in partnership with parents and whānau to provide students with a broad and relevant curriculum that promotes learning in all aspects of the New Zealand Curriculum.

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

Dale Bailey Deputy Chief Review Officer Northern

15 May 2015

About the School

Location

Titirangi, Auckland

Ministry of Education profile number

1578

School type

Contributing (Years 1 to 6)

School roll

385

Gender composition

Girls 51%

Boys 49%

Ethnic composition

Māori

NZ European/Pākehā

British/Irish

Pacific

other ethnicities

5%

78%

3%

1%

13%

Review team on site

March 2015

Date of this report

15 May 2015

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

January 2011

December 2007

June 2004