Arohanui Special School

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Education institution number:
1209
School type:
Special School
School gender:
Co-Educational
Definition:
School for pupils with intellectual impairments
Total roll:
213
Telephone:
Address:

Tirimoana Road, Te Atatu, Auckland

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Findings

Arohanui Special School provides high quality special education for students with high and very high needs learning needs. Students experience a well-developed curriculum delivered by caring, skilled staff. A culture of high expectations for all students’ progress and learning underpins the school’s philosophy. Leadership is highly effective in promoting ongoing partnerships with families.

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?

Arohanui Special School is located in West Auckland and caters for students with high and very high needs from five years to twenty-one years old. Students come from a wide range of cultural backgrounds. They are warmly welcomed by dedicated leaders and staff.

Students who attend the school are funded through the Ongoing Resourcing Scheme (ORS). Their learning requirements and their social, physical and emotional wellbeing needs are supported by skilled teachers, therapists and teacher aides. The school is experiencing rapid roll growth.

The school now has 24 classrooms located on 12 sites across West Auckland. This includes primary and intermediate classes, and a new adult learning centre in Henderson. A new unit at Hobsonville Point Secondary School provides a much needed secondary choice within the school’s network.

The Base School has five senior classrooms and a large itinerant staff. This includes therapists and the school's Outreach service staff. The Outreach network has grown significantly and now caters for fifty-eight students at thirty-one schools across West Auckland.

The effective practices noted in the 2012 ERO review continue to be evident. Most notable are the quality of leadership and high expectations for students’ learning. Staff promote the school’s philosophy of ‘creating community’ through positive interactions with students and whānau.

Teaching staff, including teacher aides, reflect the cultural diversity of the school. This helps to support effective partnerships with families. There is a strong sense of whakawhanaungatanga and belonging. The school’s whakatauki and charter reflect its strong commitment to the Treaty of Waitangi and bicultural partnership.

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 very effectively to make positive changes that increase students’ engagement, progress and achievement.

School leaders have well developed systems and processes for gathering, evaluating and using student achievement information to inform decision making and programme development. Achievement information is robust and reliable. Effective moderation practices operate within the school and in conjunction with other special schools.

Annual student achievement information gathered in the Performance Indicators for Value Added Target Setting (PIVATS) assessment is well used to set school-wide targets. Over time, students have made very good progress in literacy and good progress in numeracy. The school meets the reporting requirements for National Standards.

A high priority for school leaders and teachers is to continue to increase student engagement through high quality interactions with staff. Students receive thoughtful and targeted teaching to support their learning and development. Teachers work collaboratively with each other, support staff and whānau.

Individual student learning is regularly reviewed by classroom teachers. Useful information is shared with parents in notebooks. A new online portal has been introduced and whānau are able to see their child’s learning during the day though posts from their teachers. Families value the portal and how it assists them to support their child at home. Parents report that it helps whānau to see their children as capable learners. The portal has significantly increased interactions between the school and the home.

Students each have personalised learning plans (PLP) that target their specific learning goals, developed in partnership with whānau. Each term, school leaders and teachers evaluate information from PLP plans to review the progress students are making in literacy, numeracy, communication and other holistic goals. This achievement information is also being shared regularly with whānau.

School leaders are well placed to evaluate the significant progress students make with their physical development. They note they will continue to further document the evidence of student progress to evaluate student learning outcomes. Over time, teachers could work towards achieving more consistency in the way learning goals are made distinct from learning activities.

Māori and Pacific students have culturally relevant, individual PLP plans. School leaders set specific achievement targets to accelerate their success. Students receive very good support to help them learn and progress well, according to their special learning needs. Progress is well monitored. A senior group of Pacific students are achieving very well as are Māori students.

A skilled team of therapists provide speech language support, physiotherapy and occupational therapy. They work well with each other and are a key support group who have a positive impact on student learning. As the school develops a whole-class therapy approach to align with the PLP process, therapists recognise the need for ongoing reviews of this approach to ensure the benefits of individual therapy are also sustained.

Teacher aides work alongside teachers and under their guidance. They are highly valued for their work in promoting student learning. An ongoing challenge for the school, which they manage well, is to ensure high quality teacher aide professional development and induction.

The board of trustees is well informed about student progress and achievement by high quality reporting. Trustees set relevant student achievement goals and targets from their in depth discussion using school data. It could be useful to record more key points from these conversations to inform long-term reviews of school success.

3 Curriculum

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

The school curriculum is very effective in promoting and supporting student learning. It is very well aligned to The New Zealand Curriculum vision, values and key competencies. The curriculum is also influenced by Te Whāriki, the early childhood curriculum, in particular the social and emotional competence outcomes.

The school is developing a thoughtful and relevant adult learning curriculum working in partnership with other special schools. Staff are focused on increasing the confidence and independence of older students as they reach twenty-one and transition to the adult community. The wider community networks, including Special Olympics, serve students well and enable them to make friends and learn social skills. Evaluating how well students' transition to the adult community would be worthwhile to inform the development of this curriculum.

The school curriculum is well developed and documentation provides good guidance for teachers and is regularly reviewed. There is a strong, appropriate focus on literacy, numeracy, physical activity and on the enrichment programme that includes dance, drama, music and visual art. Curriculum delivery is enhanced by a wide range of specialised communication strategies including the Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS), Experience Sharing and Intensive Interaction.

The highly responsive curriculum is appropriate for the students. Opportunities to learn are very sensitive to individual difference and learning is increasingly challenging for each learner. Staff are highly attuned to learner’s motivation and the importance of emotions.

The adaptive expertise of leaders and teachers is very evident. Teaching is continually informed by ongoing and relevant professional development delivered in flexible ways to enable staff to participate, share and develop. Staff demonstrate a high level of professionalism and collegiality.

Leaders have effectively embedded processes to promote teachers’ reflection on the impact of their teaching. Robust performance management systems are in place.

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

The school is very effective in promoting educational success for and as Māori. The kaupapa of the school, which is strongly bicultural, provides an environment for Māori students that enables them to develop their potential and remain connected to their identity and culture.

Māori students take pride in their kapa haka group. Kapa haka promotes a strong sense of Māori students’ identity, providing a ‘specialness’ here that transcends the students’ very special learning needs. Staff demonstrate ngakau Māori and are skilled at incorporating te ao Māori into learning.

The school values the perspectives and cultural strengths of Māori students and their families. Whānau are welcomed, encouraged and supported to contribute to their child’s education in many different ways. Whānau and kaumatua inform the tikanga and kawa at the school. There is an environment of mutual trust and respect promoting a feeling of wairua for families and students.

Well enacted manaakitanga and whanaungatanga are central to the success of the school’s approach. The school continues to develop and deepen its plans for Māori success through regular consultation and effective communication.

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. Internal evaluation systems are thorough and reflect a wide variety of perspectives and multiple sources of evidence.

There is a well-established friendly school culture based on high levels of relational trust and collaboration. Many staff are long serving and committed to developing positive relationships with families.

The school is very well led by highly effective and empathic leaders. Their focus on promoting learning and increasing success for their students is very evident. Leaders are influential advocates for children with special learning needs and they develop powerful educational networks to benefit their students.

School leaders strategically share leadership to grow leadership capability. Two new team leaders have been appointed for the junior and senior school respectively. Lead teachers also share their specific skills and expertise. The school is very well positioned for the future with high quality leadership across the organisation.

The school operates very effectively, managing the complexities of multiple sites well. School leaders successfully manage the pace of change to plan for the future. There are effective strategies in place to manage health and safety within the school’s special context.

The board is inclusive, skilled and representative of the school community. The school benefits from their links and networks with the wider community. Trustees have an effective policy framework that is regularly reviewed by staff. New trustees receive very good induction, ongoing support and regular access to training.

The board and school leaders are also managing a number of building projects to improve the provision of facilities for their students hosted by other schools. They are making strategic decisions to as part of their commitment to providing high quality special education.

The board has concerns about the range of secondary education options available for their students with the growth in West Auckland. The addition of the Hobsonville Point Secondary School unit has begun to address this concern and provides a valuable pathway for students at this level. A temporary secondary class has also been established at Bruce McLaren Intermediate School to manage growth. Leaders are working with the Ministry of Education (MoE) to develop another secondary satellite in response to the student numbers in the junior school.

The school continues to provide a valuable Outreach education service across the schools in north-west Auckland. This acts as a powerful network to share good practices between the special school and the mainstream. Strategic links with teacher training providers and social service providers are also well established to inform 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
  • processes for appointing staff
  • stand-downs, suspensions, expulsions and exclusions
  • attendance.

Conclusion

Arohanui Special School provides high quality special education for students with high and very high needs learning needs. Students experience a well-developed curriculum delivered by caring, skilled staff. A culture of high expectations for all students’ progress and learning underpins the school’s philosophy. Leadership is highly effective in promoting ongoing partnerships with families.

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

Graham Randell

Deputy Chief Review Officer Northern

22 June 2016

About the School

Location

Te Atatu South

Ministry of Education profile number

1209

School type

Special School

School roll

161

Gender composition

Boys 76% Girls 24%

Ethnic composition

Māori

Pākehā

Samoan

Asian

Indian

Tongan

Cook Island Māori

Fijian

other

other Pacific

other European

22%

37%

13%

7%

5%

3%

2%

2%

4%

3%

2%

Special Features

Classes at:

Base School Te Atatu South (5) Edmonton Primary (1) Flanshaw Road School (2) Freyberg Community School (2) Glendene Primary (2) Holy Cross School (1) Rutherford Primary (3) Bruce McLaren Intermediate (3) Te Atatu Intermediate (2) Hobsonville Point Secondary (3) Pakeke Adult Learning Centre Henderson Outreach Special Services

Review team on site

May 2016

Date of this report

22 June 2016

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

January 2012

November 2008

November 2005

 

1 Context

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

Arohanui Special School, in Te Atatu, West Auckland, caters for students from five to twenty-one years of age with complex and very high needs. Students are funded through the Ongoing Resourcing Scheme (ORS). Students’ learning and their physical, emotional and social needs are supported by teachers, therapists and teacher aides through programmes developed from individual education plans (IEP).

There are eight classes at the base school and 13 satellite classes in eight local primary and intermediate schools. The school also provides outreach teaching to 45 ORS funded students enrolled in 33 local schools through the Special Education Itinerating Teaching Service (SEIT).

ERO reports have consistently identified many examples of good performance at Arohanui Special School. Positive characteristics of the school include good leadership, high expectations for students and staff, a caring and supportive school climate, sound governance and management, and the provision of education and social learning programmes that reflect the needs of individual students. These good practices continue to be areas of strength.

Arohanui Special School’s motto ‘Creating Community’ reflects the school’s commitment to working with families and others to provide each of its students with high quality learning programmes and effective pastoral care.

2 Learning

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

Students learn in a variety of settings either at the base school or in satellite classes. Learning settings link to the school’s four programmes of learning, which are for students with general needs, students with complex needs, students with Autism Spectrum Disorder, and for senior students from 16 to 21 years of age who are being assisted to transition from school to the community. Learning throughout the school is characterised by high quality, respectful interactions between adults and students.

Performance Indicators for Value Added Target Setting (PIVATS) are used at the beginning of each year to gauge student progress and set individual targets. All IEP learning programmes are assessment based, with learning priorities identified by teachers, therapists, support staff and parents. IEPs are regularly reviewed and new learning goals set. Assessment information is used to inform further development of individual programmes. IEP evaluations indicate that most students either achieve their IEP goals or make significant progress towards meeting them during each IEP review period. The data gathered is collated and regularly reported to the board and community. Work is underway to develop ways to collate IEP information across the school to provide useful information on school-wide trends and patterns and to link the information to strategic planning.

SEIT teacher reports and evaluations indicate that students being assisted in local schools are achieving at expected levels and that their class teachers appreciate the support being given.

The school is researching and trialling a student engagement profile and monitoring process in association with the Specialist Schools and Academies Trust in the United Kingdom. Engaging in this process will assist teachers, therapists and other staff to monitor student engagement more consistently and to respond appropriately to individual learning and social needs.

The board and school leaders have identified, and ERO agrees, that the school should continue to develop consistent assessment practices and student engagement indicators in order to:

  • provide useful whole school information on student achievement and IEP effectiveness
  • further develop target setting for identified groups of students and report on their progress and achievement over time
  • assist teachers with programme planning, implementation and evaluation
  • contribute to reporting to parents, the board and the school community.

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

Since the last ERO review the school has made use of the Ministry of Education Māori education strategy, Ka Hikitia – Managing for Success, to formulate policy and guide consultation. The school is working to incorporate the principles of Ka Hikitia into all programmes. Emphasis has been placed on involving the school’s Māori community in school activities, which include maintaining a strong kapa haka group and developing te reo Māori and tikanga Māori across the school.

The progress and achievement of Māori students is monitored through the IEP process and PIVATS assessment and is reported to parents and whānau, the board and the community. The IEP reporting process ensures that regular consultation takes place with parents and whānau.

IEP evaluations indicate that Māori students achieve well against their IEP goals and are achieving at similar rates to those of their non- Māori peers.

The implementation of the board’s 2012 action plan should ensure that Māori perspectives continue to be developed across the school.

3 Curriculum

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

Arohanui Special School’s curriculum sets out the board’s vision, principles and focus for the school. Curriculum elements are defined and include details on key competencies, learning areas, specific assessment tools, pedagogy, and specialist programmes. The curriculum is holistic and involves teachers, therapists, aides and parents in focusing on the learning and social needs of each student. The Arohanui Special School curriculum uses a variety of appropriate programmes, such as The New Zealand Curriculum, PIVATS, SPEC, Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS) and Te Whāriki, the early childhood curriculum, to individualise learning for students who have multiple and complex needs.

The school curriculum provides the base for individualised programme planning that focuses on the next academic and social learning steps for each student. Effective therapy plans are developed in consultation with teachers, are well documented, and provide good guidance for all adults involved with each student.

A variety of education settings are used in the base school and satellites to enable students to learn in the most appropriate environment. Well developed transition programmes further assist older students to make successful transitions from school to community settings.

Senior managers have identified, and ERO agrees, that senior managers should continue to work with staff to develop useful, consistent school-wide expectations for documenting programme planning.

The board supports teachers by providing extensive learning resources and opportunities for professional development.

4 Sustainable Performance

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

Arohanui Special School is well placed to continue to provide quality education for its students and to sustain and improve its performance.

The board of trustees is experienced and has a clear understanding of its role and responsibilities. Trustees access training and have consulted widely to develop the school’s vision and charter. The board has a schedule of regular self review and has identified areas for further development. These include continuing to improve learning environments, supporting senior leaders to trial an overseas developed student engagement profile as a research project, and providing extensive staff professional development linked to appraisal and the school’s strategic plan. Trustees and senior leaders are also working on ways to further support school leavers to make the transition from school to appropriate adult settings.

Professional leadership is cohesive and strongly focused on improving student achievement and engagement with learning. The principal and senior leadership team work collaboratively to further improve staff professional practice. Processes are in place for senior leaders to assist and mentor staff. These good practices, together with a focus on teaching as inquiry and developing teacher planning processes, show the school’s commitment to enhancing learning opportunities for each of its students.

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.

Makere Smith National Manager Review Services Northern Region (Acting)

27 January 2012

About the School

Location

Te Atatu, Auckland

Ministry of Education profile number

1209

School type

Special School

Decile

5

School roll

133

Gender composition

Male 78% Female 22%

Ethnic composition

NZ European/Pākehā

Māori

Samoan

Indian

Niuean

Chinese

Cook Island Māori

Tongan

other Asian

other ethnicities

39%

25%

8%

4%

3%

2%

2%

1%

5%

11%

Special Features

Satellite classes at: Te Atatu Intermediate (1), Bruce McLaren Intermediate (2), Flanshaw Rd (2), Freyberg (2), Glendene Primary (2), Holy Cross (1), Rutherford Primary (2), and Edmonton Primary (1).

6 Special Education Itinerating Teachers (SEIT)

Review team on site

November 2011

Date of this report

27 January 2012

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

November 2008

November 2005

June 2002