Horizon School

Horizon School - 30/06/2016

1 Context

Horizon School, previously known as Mahurangi Christian School, is a small, state-integrated school that caters for students in Years 1 to 8. It is situated in Snells Beach, north of Auckland. The school roll has almost doubled since ERO's 2013 review.

The new proprietors, NZ Christian Proprietors Trust in association with the KingsWay Trust, own the land and the buildings. They have purchased an adjacent 12 hectares including buildings, to expand the school to a combined primary and secondary school in the future.

The core of the board has remained stable over the past three years. Recently three new proprietor representatives have joined the school board bringing strong backgrounds in education.

The school has voluntarily sought support from a Ministry of Education Student Achievement Function Practitioner (SAFP) to build school capability in evidence-based evaluation and understanding success for Māori as Māori. Relevant literacy and mathematics professional development for teachers has increased teacher knowledge of effective strategies to accelerate student progress.

2 Equity and excellence

The vision and valued outcomes defined by the school for all children are to foster lifelong growth in learners who will demonstrate a loving life and a living faith, looking forward. Teachers focus on developing a love of learning in all students and enabling them to become confident, connected and actively involved in learning.

The PAI data (Public Achievement Information) and school achievement information shows that overall, children have made very good progress in the last three years. Results in maths, where 91 percent of the students are at and above the National Standards, are particularly good. In reading 86 percent of the students are at and above the National Standards, and 83 percent are at and above in writing.

Eighteen percent of the students are Māori. While Māori students as a group are not achieving as well as the whole school, teachers have good strategies in place to accelerate the progress of individual students. As a result, the disparity in achievement has decreased over time, although it remains evident in mathematics.

Although over 70 percent of the boys achieve at and above National Standards in reading and writing, they do not achieve as well as girls in reading and writing. Boys' achievement in mathematics is very high.

Over the past 18 months teachers have been using a more targeted approach to meet the learning needs of each students and to identify specific students whose progress needs acceleration. Collaboratively trialling and reviewing strategies for target learners has resulted in personalised learning plans to accelerate the progress of these students.

Teachers use flexible approaches to cater for students' different learning requirements. They are becoming more knowledgeable about, and responsive to, students' learning information to improve outcomes for students.

3 Accelerating achievement

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

The school responds effectively to Māori children whose learning and progress need acceleration. The school has good systems for identifying Māori children whose progress needs to be accelerated, and school data shows the accelerated progress made as a result of targeted teaching. Very good systems are in place to support those not achieving at the National Standard.

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

The school identifies and responds well to other children whose learning and achievement need acceleration, including children with mild to moderate special needs.

The school has good systems in place to track and monitor students' progress and acceleration in reading, writing and maths. Students are increasingly confident to use their achievement information to set learning goals. Reports to parents provide them with very good information about their child's learning and strategies to further support their progress and achievement.

Valid and reliable assessment tools, and sound school moderation inform target setting. School targets are focused on accelerating the progress of students who are not achieving at National Standard. There are specific targets for Māori learners and boys who need to accelerate their progress.

The school continues to trial and review strategies to enable all students to be successful in reading, writing and mathematics.

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?

Horizon School's strategic leadership, curriculum and other organisational processes and practices positively develop and enact the school's vision, values, goals and priorities for equity and excellence.

The school has consulted widely with all Māori parents to develop the school's priorities. They have undertaken in-depth reviews to develop culturally responsive pedagogy in the school. Teachers are taking active steps to build students' bicultural understanding and knowledge.

Children benefit from teachers' innovative and flexible approaches to meet their needs and promote learning. Children are offered increased opportunities to take responsibility, make choices and to express their views and preferences about what and how they want to learn.

The school's curriculum is responsive to students' interests. The current review of the learning areas of the curriculum is ensuring that students experience a breadth and depth of learning as outlined in The New Zealand Curriculum. Students experience meaningful contexts for learning and often lead and manage the content of the curriculum. The school's commitment to inclusive education is well integrated in planning and practices.

The school helps to ensure its assessment information is valid through ongoing moderation and professional learning and development. The size of the school enables teachers to moderate judgements with each other across all year levels and with local schools. They acknowledge that they could now moderate more formally in reading and mathematics within the school.

The principal has managed and led change effectively over the past three years. Self review for school improvement is comprehensive and well established. She supports teachers to inquire into the effectiveness of their own practice to improve outcomes for the children in their care. A variety of professional learning and development has been focused on strengthening teaching and learning practices. The school's performance appraisal system is improvement focused and is well aligned with the Education Council requirements.

The parent trustees and proprietors' representatives work well together on the board. This enthusiastic and committed group use their complementary skills to help provide a caring and nurturing environment. Trustees appreciate the good quality reports and student achievement data they receive to inform their decision making.

5 Going forward

How well placed is the school to achieve and sustain equitable and excellent outcomes for all children?

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.

The school is well placed to sustain progress made in teaching practice and to make ongoing improvements that impact positively on all students' learning.

The principal, board and ERO have identified relevant priorities for further development. These include:

  • addressing the disparity in Māori student achievement in reading, writing and mathematics
  • deepening students' knowledge and ownership of their learning
  • using the class profile to ensure that students' learning is differentiated and personalised
  • deepening teachers' analysis of student progress and acceleration over time
  • building the board's capability to evaluate how effectively they are carrying out evaluation of their stewardship role.

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
  • the school’s policy and procedures in relation to the application of the Vulnerable Children Act 2014.

7 Recommendations

ERO recommends that to further improve teaching and learning, leaders and teachers should:

  • continue to deepen student understanding and ownership of their own learning
  • continue to deepen the analysis of student progress and acceleration over time. 

Graham Randell
Deputy Chief Review Officer Northern

30 June 2016

About the school 

Location

Snells Beach, Auckland

Ministry of Education profile number

1156

School type

Full Primary (Years 1 to 8)

School roll

72

Gender composition

Boys      40
Girls       32

Ethnic composition

Māori
Pākehā
Tongan
African
Chinese

13
54
  3
  1
  1

Review team on site

May 2016

Date of this report

30 June 2016

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review
Education Review
Education Review

June 2013
June 2010
June 2007

Mahurangi Christian School - 26/06/2013

1 Context

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

Mahurangi Christian School is a state integrated full primary school located in Snells Beach, north of Auckland. The school’s Christian values promote and support a positive school tone that enables teachers and students to focus on learning.

The board appointed a new principal in 2011 with the aim of developing a 21st century teaching and learning curriculum that was integrated with Christian education. Initially, the principal focused on developing the board's new school vision and values, and on improving the physical and social environment of the school. She has continued developing new policies, procedures and practices and providing professional development for teachers to support their new learning. Parents and volunteers are valued for the support they provide for students in classroom programmes. The parent community continues to support the ongoing direction of the school.

The board of trustees, under the guidance of an educational consultant, promotes the school’s new vision and strategic intention. Four new trustees will join the board in 2013. The principal and trustees make informed and responsible decisions to enhance the learning of students.

The 2010 ERO report acknowledged staff as caring and supportive and noted the good community involvement in the school. The new principal has made progress in addressing the areas for development identified in the 2010 report related to ongoing improvements in teaching and increased student engagement in learning.

2 Learning

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

Students are positive about their learning and enjoy using new technologies that support their engagement. Students know their overall learning goals and are increasingly talking about their progress and achievement. Classroom environments are created to support students’ learning and to reflect their achievements.

Teachers are developing effective teaching practices focused on promoting students’ engagement in their learning. They use achievement information to guide their decisions about the teaching programme. Particular attention is given to planning to support the achievement of students who are not achieving as well as expected. The principal and teachers are working to ensure that targets and goals are relevant to all priority learners, are challenging, and are focused on improvement. The principal is working with teachers in supporting these students to accelerate their progress in learning.

Students are generally achieving and progressing well in mathematics. School end of year data in 2012 highlighted the need for teachers to significantly increase students’ progress and achievement in literacy. The school’s 2013 strategic plan includes comprehensive approaches, professional development, and targets to reflect the school’s priorities for literacy learning. As a result of these approaches, school achievement data is beginning to reflect positive outcomes in students’ progress.

The principal has developed new systems and procedures to make the collation of student achievement information more reliable and transparent. Effective systems for monitoring, tracking and using achievement information include:

  • teachers using a range of assessment processes to make judgements about student achievement and to assist students to set their learning goals
  • implementing a school-wide approach to moderation
  • analysing data to set annual targets for improved achievement in reading, writing and mathematics in relation to the National Standards.

The principal and teachers are continuing to work on:

  • identifying specific targets and plans for Māori learners who need to accelerate their learning
  • developing students’ knowledge of their progress and achievement in relation to the National Standards
  • improving reports to parents to make sure that students’ progress in relation to the National Standards in reading, writing and mathematics is reported clearly and in plain language.

3 Curriculum

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

The principal is developing a school curriculum that integrates the school’s special character and The New Zealand Curriculum (NZC). The school curriculum reflects the school’s vision and values and is designed to provide students with a strong foundation in literacy and mathematics. Teachers are supported through professional learning and development to reflect on and refine the effectiveness of their teaching.

Teachers create learning environments that enable students to become responsible, focused learners. Continuing to implement consistent and positive restorative behaviour strategies will help to maintain the good school tone.

Students’ access to a range of computing technology in their classrooms supports their engagement in learning. These technologies enable students to access a variety of reading, spelling and mathematics programmes and facilitate class research.

Curriculum development is an ongoing process for the principal, board, staff and school community. The principal acknowledges the value of:

  • developing classroom programmes that motivate and challenge students by responding to their learning strengths, needs and interests
  • supporting the abilities and cultures of Māori and Pacific students
  • reviewing curriculum guidelines and expectations for teachers and ensuring that classroom programmes reflect the school’s new direction.

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

There are seven Māori students on the school roll.

The school’s charter appropriately reflects a recognition of and respect for Māori by affirming their bicultural heritage and recognising Māori language and culture. The board’s strategic plan includes goals to develop learning programmes that engage students, particularly Māori, so that they make progress in their learning and achievement.

During the course of this review, the principal and ERO identified areas that could promote success for Māori. These include the board, principal and teachers:

  • continuing to work in partnership with Māori parents and whānau and students to promote students’ language, culture and identity
  • exploring ways to implement the Ministry of Education’s resource, Tātaiako, cultural competencies for teachers of Māori learners
  • continuing to foster ways of engaging and consulting with whānau.

4 Sustainable Performance

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

The school is developing its capacity to sustain and improve its performance.

Trustees bring a range of experience and skills to their governance roles. They value the analysed student achievement information that the principal provides and use it to guide their decision-making. The board and principal frequently consult with the community through surveys, community events and parent involvement in the school.

The principal and trustees make informed and responsible decisions based on evidence to enhance the learning of students. The board could now consider how Ministry of Education resources, including Ka Hikitia, the Pacific Education Plan, and Success for All, are reflected in school policies and practices to support the achievement of Māori and Pacific students and those with special learning needs.

The principal aims to continue to improve the school’s performance and holds high expectations for its future growth. Planned professional learning and development will continue to support and improve teaching and learning. Staff appraisal systems, linked to student achievement and school targets, are developing teachers’ professional inquiry focus on progressing student achievement. The board now plans to use an external appraiser to support the principal's development as professional leader of the school.

The board of trustees, including the principal, agree that the board should continue to review the school’s effectiveness. Reports and programme evaluations could identify more clearly the extent to which goals for student achievement have been met. Greater inclusion of student, family and teacher perspectives would help to build shared understanding of the strengths of the school.

Provision for international students

Mahurangi Christian School is a signatory to the Code of Practice for the Pastoral Care of International Students established under section 238F of the Education Act 1989. No international students were enrolled at the time of this review.

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.

When is ERO likely to review the school again?

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

Dale Bailey National Manager Review Services Northern Region

26 June 2013

About the School

Location

Snells Beach, Auckland

Ministry of Education profile number

1156

School type

Full Primary (Years 1 to 8)

School roll

37

Number of international students

0

Gender composition

Boys 19 Girls 18

Ethnic composition

NZ European/Pākehā

Māori

Samoan

African

British/Irish

26

7

2

1

1

Review team on site

May 2013

Date of this report

26 June 2013

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

June 2010

June 2007

October 2003