Anchorage Park School

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1 Context

Anchorage Park School in Pakuranga, has a positive history of ERO reports and is highly regarded by its community. Families appreciate the school's small, family-oriented atmosphere. Long-serving and new staff and trustees provide stability and balance. In 2015 the school and Anchorage Park Kindergarten were runners up in the Prime Minister's Education Excellence Awards for their transition to school programme.

2 Equity and excellence

The vision and valued outcomes defined by the school for all children are expressed in the motto, 'Achieving success through perseverance and striving for excellence'. Treat others with kindness and respect, work hard, never give up, be honest and make wise choices, are values that are easily articulated by children and regularly reinforced through classroom programmes.

The school’s achievement information shows that about 75 percent of children achieve well in relation to the National Standards in reading, writing and maths. There has been a decline in writing and maths achievement over the last two years for some groups. About two-thirds of Māori children achieve at or above the National Standards. Overall, Pacific children achieve well, especially in literacy. By Year 6, most of the children who have attended Anchorage Park for all of their primary schooling achieve very well in National Standards. The principal is confident that in-school moderation helps to ensure that teacher judgements about student achievement are reliable.

Since the 2011 ERO evaluation the school has strengthened its target setting for groups of children who are underachieving in relation to the National Standards, and for those who achieve well and whose learning needs extending. Senior leaders have improved their analysis of achievement information and have continued to refine tracking systems to monitor progress and identify which children might benefit from additional support. Teachers have had access to a variety of relevant professional development programmes to develop their reflective practice and shared understandings of effective teaching, particularly for target learners.

3 Accelerating achievement

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

School leaders and teachers have good processes for identifying Māori children who are at risk of not achieving equitable outcomes and are becoming increasingly responsive to their learning needs. School leaders have identified accelerating Māori children's progress as a priority. They have developed specific targets and action plans to lift achievement. School-wide practices for sharing successful strategies for raising achievement are proving helpful in implementing these plans.

School leaders and teachers are building their cultural knowledge to help them make stronger connections with children and whānau. Teachers are developing their ability to identify children who demonstrate giftedness from a Māori cultural perspective. The board has recently employed a Kaiārahi i te reo Māori. She is continuing the kapa haka programme and has started to teach te reo Māori in the senior school.

The school's te reo Māori implementation plan was last reviewed in 2012 and is appropriately identified for review again in the current year's annual plan. Ensuring that children's learning in te reo Māori is sufficiently challenging as they move through the school, and broadening it to include links to local iwi, tikanga and Te Ao Māori should further support Māori to succeed as Māori.

Strengthening partnerships with Māori whānau is important to school leaders and teachers. A wide range of strategies are used to provide whānau with information about their child's learning and to maximise the educational benefits of these partnerships for children.

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

In addition to their good processes for identifying children whose learning needs to be accelerated, teachers are also developing their ability to respond to children who demonstrate giftedness from Pacific cultural perspectives.

Teachers meet weekly to share approaches that they have found successful in improving the learning for individuals or groups of children. This professional development is contributing to staff taking shared responsibility for the progress and achievement of learners across the whole school.

Teachers could now identify and link the goals each child will achieve, to the strategies they use to accelerate learning. Specific next learning steps and potential whānau support for this progress could also be refined and documented for each child.

Additional learning support for children whose learning needs to be accelerated, includes teacher aides and withdrawal literacy and numeracy programmes. The principal closely tracks and monitors the progress these children make. Information about the outcomes and effectiveness of intervention and support programmes, should be reported, with evaluative commentary, to the board to assist its decision making.

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 priorities for equity and excellence?

The school has a variety of effective processes and practices that promote equity and excellence.

The principal's leadership has continued to contribute to the positive, inclusive and nurturing school culture. Staff work proactively with children and whānau to ensure that they have access to the resources or support they need so that children feel safe and can be successful at school.

The school is exploring ways to further develop the learning partnership they have with whānau to improve learning outcomes for children. This could include consulting them about developing the bicultural and multicultural curriculum, reinforcing the value that the school places on their cultural backgrounds.

School leaders and the new entrant teacher have continued to develop effective links with the adjacent kindergarten and other early childhood centres. Most children and their parents are involved in the transition programme and as a result children settle quickly and are ready to learn. School leaders and teachers have continued to strengthen their networks, which include other local schools. These practices support children as they transition out of primary school and also contribute to teachers' ongoing professional learning.

Teachers have been provided with opportunities to extend their leadership capability. This has had a positive impact on the quality of children's learning experiences, particularly in mathematics and science. Senior leaders have recently taken responsibility for strengthening the appraisal and peer mentoring programme for teachers. This has included using Tātaiako: Cultural Competencies for Teachers of Māori Learners to help teachers support Māori to succeed as Māori.

Teachers use an increasing variety of strategies to know children's strengths, needs and interests at school and beyond the classroom. Children know that perseverance is valued and that they can take risks in their learning. Science is used effectively to motivate and engage children across the curriculum and provides authentic contexts for literacy learning. School leaders and teachers could now evaluate how well the curriculum and inquiry approach support children to become life-long learners.

Teachers share achievement information with children and support them to develop learning goals. Most children can talk confidently about their learning, but are not always clear about what the current focus of their learning is in reading, writing and maths. A review of the systems used to support children to take ownership of their learning is the next step in further developing personalised learning for all children. Greater coherence should particularly support children whose learning requires acceleration, as they move through the school.

The school regularly surveys parents and children and trustees have recently consulted with the community to review the strategic plan.

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 has very good processes to support children as they transition into the school. Processes for identifying and responding to children whose learning needs acceleration are well established. Teachers regularly reflect on their practice and share successful strategies. Teachers' professional learning and development is ongoing. The board continues to strengthen partnerships with whānau. Collaborative governance and leadership position the school well to sustain and build on current good practices.

To more clearly assure the board that interventions for accelerating learning are having the desired effect school leaders and teachers should:

  • evaluate the extent to which shared expectations of teaching and learning are being implemented, particularly for children who require additional learning support
  • consider further ways to assist teachers in their moderation of overall judgements in relation to National Standards
  • review the programme for internal evaluation to ensure it includes all key areas relating to accelerated learning
  • include evaluative commentary in their internal evaluation and achievement reports.

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

  • compliance with the provisions of the Vulnerable Children Act 2014.

7 Recommendations

ERO recommends that to further develop teacher practice and improve learning outcomes senior leaders and teachers should continue to refine their internal evaluation practices. 

Graham Randell

Deputy Chief Review Officer Northern

9 June 2016

About the school

Location

Pakuranga, Auckland

Ministry of Education profile number

1204

School type

Contributing (Years 1 to 6)

School roll

159

Gender composition

Boys 90, Girls 69

Ethnic composition

Māori

Pākehā

Samoan

Tongan

Indian

Middle Eastern

Chinese

other Pacific

other Asian

other

24%

28%

9%

9%

4%

4%

3%

7%

4%

8%

Review team on site

April 2016

Date of this report

9 June 2016

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

October 2011

September 2008

November 2005

1 Context

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

Anchorage Park School is a Year 1 to 6 primary school in East Auckland. Students enjoy the benefits of the small, family-focused, community-oriented school. The school’s good relationships with the neighbouring kindergarten and intermediate school help students to make smooth transitions into and between schools in the local area.

The school’s long-serving principal brings stability and experience to school management. Together with the dedicated board of trustees, the principal provides capable leadership and guides ongoing school improvement. Parents are supportive of the school. The good information they receive about student achievement enables them to work in partnership with teachers to support their children’s progress in learning.

The school has an inclusive tone and a clear focus on improving outcomes for students. Students’ cultural backgrounds are valued and those with additional learning needs are well catered for. In 2010 the Sommerville Special School established a satellite unit within the school. The setting up of the satellite class was consultative and well managed. Children in the unit and in the mainstream enjoy mutual benefits from opportunities to play and learn together.

The school has a history of positive ERO reports. Senior managers welcome external feedback and use it to strengthen their own self review. Staff work collegially and are encouraged to share good teaching practices. They use student achievement information to meet the identified learning needs of students.

The school operates effectively and is well placed to make ongoing improvements that have a positive impact on students’ learning.

2 Learning

How well are students learning – engaging, progressing and achieving?

Students make good progress and, overall, achieve well. Teachers collect reliable information about levels of student achievement in reading, writing and numeracy. Data reported to the board shows that students make very good progress in the junior years and by Years 4, 5 and 6 the majority are achieving above national expectations in reading, spelling and numeracy. The data enables the principal to identify targets for improving the achievement of individual children and of specific groups.

Teachers have identified writing as an area that needs further attention. Literacy data for 2011 shows that most students are achieving at levels that are either at or below expected levels in writing. Teachers are undertaking professional learning in teaching and assessing written language and, consequently, are seeing an improvement in student achievement. Teachers are further developing their assessment practices so that they cover all strands of the mathematics curriculum.

Teachers are well supported to work with National Standards. They use a variety of assessment and observation strategies to form judgements about student achievement in relation to the National Standards in reading, writing and numeracy. Teachers’ overall judgements about student achievement levels in relation to the National Standards are moderated within the school and are reported clearly to parents.

Achievement information is used purposefully. Teachers group children for learning and monitor their progress carefully. The achievement of specific groups of students, including Māori and Pacific students and those with English as a second language, is collated and reported separately. Achievement data shows student progress across the year and is used to identify students whose progress could be further accelerated.

Respectful and trusting relationships between students and teachers provide a positive environment for learning. Students work cooperatively and develop confidence as learners. The board resources programmes for students who are achieving below expectations. Identified students have opportunities to work in classrooms with specialist reading teachers and learning support staff. School leaders coordinate and evaluate these interventions to ensure that students’ learning needs are being met effectively.

The board is making good progress in implementing the National Standards. School leaders agree they could strengthen reporting by:

  • identifying specific targets in relation to the National Standards for groups of students who are underachieving
  • extending the analysis of student achievement to report on the progress of students overall and on the progress of groups of students during their time in the school.

How well does the school promote Māori student success and success as Māori?

Māori students, who comprise 25% of the school roll, achieve well overall. School data shows that Māori students make good progress and reach achievement levels similar to those of their peers. Teachers and trustees engage effectively with Māori parents and whānau. Māori parents and whānau support student learning through their involvement in the school’s reporting and conferencing systems. Māori whānau also support student engagement through their involvement in kapa haka and other school-wide cultural and sporting events.

The board has recently included the goals of Ka Hikitia, Managing for Success, the Ministry of Education’s Māori education strategy, in the school charter. School managers are beginning to review the progress the school is making towards implementing the Ka Hikitia strategy. Ongoing evaluation will help to improve the coordination of school initiatives that promote the goal of ‘Māori enjoying success as Māori’.

3 Curriculum

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

Students benefit from a curriculum that has a strong focus on literacy and numeracy. Children learn to read and write from their early years at school and enjoy frequent opportunities to extend their oral language skills. Senior students are confident communicators and active participants in learning. Numeracy leadership is strong across the school and students show interest in and enthusiasm for learning mathematics.

The curriculum is broad and interesting. Students enjoy the school’s strong emphasis on sport and physical activity as well as on visual art, cultural performance and environmental sustainability programmes. Student representatives from each class contribute ideas about how to make the school a good place for learning. Teachers create learning environments that reflect their expectations and support students to become self-managing and responsible learners.

Senior teachers have strengthened the school’s curriculum plan. The emphasis on the values and key competencies of The New Zealand Curriculum is evident in classroom programmes. The principal has good monitoring systems that support teachers’ planning and assessment practices. Teachers are encouraged to share achievement information with students to help them set personal learning goals. Teachers are also encouraged to use student progress and achievement information to evaluate the effectiveness of their teaching practice.

Parents have input into the curriculum. The school has surveyed parents about health and physical education, new reporting procedures, and student behaviour and management. Senior managers work collaboratively with the principal to strengthen school-wide teaching and learning practices. They agree that areas for further development could include:

  • continuing to develop strategies for questioning, researching and presenting topic-based learning to strengthen school-wide approaches to inquiry-based learning
  • sharing achievement information more explicitly with students so that they can track their own learning progress and take greater ownership of their learning.

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 principal is a capable school leader and keeps teachers and trustees up to date with developments in education. The school charter is relevant to the needs of the school and is well aligned with the school’s management programme. Good planning and reporting systems ensure that the board is systematically informed about its obligations and priorities.

Teachers are well resourced to provide high quality education in the classroom. Teachers actively participate as learners and best practice is shared across the school. Teachers work in syndicates and implement consistent classroom management strategies. Some classroom environments are particularly well focused on supporting students’ progress in learning. Appraisal systems support the development of teachers’ professional skills.

Self review is an effective part of the school’s culture and frequently draws on information from parents. A schedule of self review supports trustees to reflect on their policies and National Administration Guideline (NAG) responsibilities. Reports to the board commonly contain analysed information and recommendations for improvement in school operations. This evaluative reporting supports good governance and management relationships.

The board is well led and all members have undertaken recent training in school governance. Trustees review their own operations and have considered using a more strategic approach to planning and reporting. ERO is confident that the school’s clear focus on student learning outcomes will continue to support ongoing school improvement.

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
  • 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 four-to-five years.

Richard Thornton National Manager Review Services Northern Region

12 October 2011

About the School

Location

Pakuranga, Auckland

Ministry of Education profile number

1204

School type

Contributing (Years 1 to 6)

Decile

4

School roll

134

Gender composition

Boys 50%, Girls 50%

Ethnic composition

NZ European/Pākehā

Māori

Pacific

Indian

Chinese

Middle Eastern

African

other European

34%

25%

24%

5%

4%

3%

2%

3%

Special Features

Satellite Unit of Sommerville Special School

Review team on site

August 2011

Date of this report

12 October 2011

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

September 2008

November 2005

August 2002