Beachlands School

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1 Context

Beachlands School provides education for children in Years 1 to 8. Many staff, including the senior leaders, are long serving. The school has a history of positive ERO reports. Many of the strengths identified in the 2011 ERO report, including the school values, student goal setting and reflection, and systems for managing student achievement information continue to be evident.

The community anticipates increased housing development over the next few years. The school and Ministry of Education have recently introduced an enrolment zone to manage the expected roll growth.

2 Equity and excellence

The vision and valued outcomes defined by the school for all children are embedded at all levels of school operations. Friendship, encouragement, respect and nurture (FERN) are the agreed community values which underpin all school actions and relationships between learners, teachers and parents. These values provide very good guidance for children and teachers as they work, learn and play together.

The Beachlands School learner profile clearly defines the community's aspirations for students. The school focuses on supporting children to be lifelong learners, leaders, contributors and communicators. These positive attributes for learning are well aligned to the vision of The New Zealand Curriculum. The FERN values and the learner profile together provide a strong foundation for all school operations. They are well understood and shared by all.

The school’s achievement information shows that most children achieve at or above the National Standards in reading, writing and mathematics. Māori and Pacific children have similar levels of achievement, with around 60 percent achieving at or above National Standards in reading, writing and mathematics. Overall 80 percent of Pākehā children achieve at or above the National Standards.

School data shows the disparity between the achievement of Māori and other children has been evident over time. While the achievement of all groups of students has improved over time, Māori children have shown greater improvement than non-Māori in mathematics and writing. This has resulted from a closer focus in recent years on learners who need to achieve better.

Since the last ERO evaluation the school has:

  • embedded practices and processes influenced by professional development and learning (PLD)
  • targeted the achievement of children who need to achieve better
  • reviewed and improved the Beachlands School learner profile
  • improved support for children with additional needs
  • increased the school's responsiveness to student wellbeing.

3 Accelerating achievement

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

School leaders have good systems to identify Māori children at risk of not achieving. Teachers and senior leaders share the collective responsibility for student achievement. Senior leaders have developed very good processes to help teachers to track and monitor Māori children's progress and to respond to their learning needs. The school has good evidence that many Māori children targeted for accelerated progress are beginning to make more than two years' progress in one year as a result of this approach.

Regular, planned professional conversations among teams of teachers about Māori children who need to make better progress help teachers to plan deliberate acts of teaching that are likely to accelerate progress. These good practices mean that teachers know why children are not achieving and what they need to do about it.

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

School leaders and teachers use the same good quality processes and practices for other groups of children, as they do for Māori children.

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?

Children engage well in their learning. They learn in settled purposeful classes and benefit from positive relationships with their teachers. They are confident and articulate in talking about their learning. Children know how well they are achieving and they reflect thoughtfully on goals they have set for reading, writing and mathematics, and for their development as a learner. They have many opportunities to build on their interests and take leadership roles.

The wellbeing of all children is a priority for the school. School leaders have identified many children who have additional needs that affect their learning. Good systems and processes are in place to provide appropriate support for these children. The programmes and support for children with additional needs are well managed and monitored.

Trustees are representative of the wider community. They bring experience and expertise to their roles on the board. Board training has been undertaken to further develop their understanding of school governance. Trustees have confidence in student achievement information and other reports they receive. They examine data well and make decisions designed to promote better outcomes for Māori and all children.

The experienced senior leadership team models the good practices learned from PLD that they want to embed across the school. Senior leaders and teachers implement improvements that strengthen their teaching practices and management processes. They focus on children who have been targeted to make accelerated progress and on providing good quality opportunities for all children. This effective practice ensures that the school maximises the benefits of professional learning and development.

School leaders are improvement focused. They promote a culture of reflection that benefits learning for teachers and children. Clear planning processes guide self review and are used across the school.

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 achieve and sustain equitable and excellent outcomes for all students. The school is well governed and led. There is a strong focus on student wellbeing and achievement. The school closely monitors and supports students with additional learning needs. Teachers have good opportunities to improve their knowledge and skills through professional learning and development and leadership opportunities.

School leaders and ERO agree that the key next steps identified in the school's 2016 strategic plan are positive indicators for continued progress. They include:

the board, as representatives of the community, supporting the principal and teachers to promote greater bicultural practice across the school and within the school community. The Ministry of Education documents Ka Hikitia: Accelerating Success 2013 – 2017, Tātaiako: Cultural Competencies for Teachers of Māori Learners and Hautū: Māori Cultral Responsiveness Self Review tool for Board of Trustees, could be helpful tools to support this process further promoting future-focused learning and extending student agency across the curriculum.

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

  • Provision for international students.

7 Recommendation

ERO recommends that the board and school leaders continue to work towards equity and excellence for all children and in particular, promote and support the identity, language and culture of Māori and Pacific children.

Graham Randell

Deputy Chief Review Officer Northern

9 June 2016

About the school

Location

Beachlands, Auckland

Ministry of Education profile number

1224

School type

Full Primary (Years 1 to 8)

School roll

545

Gender composition

Boys 52%, Girls 48%

Ethnic composition

Māori

Pākehā

African

British

other

9%

78%

5%

3%

5%

Review team on site

April 2016

Date of this report

9 June 2016

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

August 2011

August 2008

August 2006

 

1 Context

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

Beachlands School, in the growing coastal settlement of Beachlands, Auckland, provides education for Years 1 to 8 students. An increasing roll has resulted in the addition of a new classroom block, library and administration facilities. Further building projects are being planned to cater for anticipated growth.

The principal was appointed in 1999, at a time when ERO was concerned about the performance of the school. The 2003 and 2006 ERO reports recognised the improvements that had been made and made further recommendations to guide on-going developments. The recommendation of the 2008 ERO report has been used to guide developments in learning and teaching. The stable staff is a mix of experienced teachers and those new to the profession. Most new teachers have been employed to meet the growth in the school roll.

Relationships within the school are shaped by the school values of ‘friendship, encouragement, respect and nurturing’ (FERN). Learning and teaching are guided by the concept of ‘The Beachlands Learner’, which promotes leadership, contribution to the school and wider community, communication with a wide range of people and the development of skills to be a lifelong learner.

Environmental education is an important part of the curriculum. Students and staff are involved in developing the school grounds and in learning about growing food and the sustainability of the environment.

2 Learning

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

The 2008 ERO report commented positively on student achievement and progress in reading, writing and mathematics. Senior managers have a clear picture of how well students are achieving in relation to the National Standards and report on this to the board. These reports enable the board to set targets based on the National Standards and inform decisions about resource allocation. The school should be well prepared to report to the Ministry of Education against National Standards in 2012. Teachers have reported to parents in clear language about the extent to which their child is achieving in relation to the National Standards. They provide parents and students with useful information to guide future learning.

ERO reported in 2008 that levels of student engagement at Beachlands School were high, with students becoming increasingly knowledgeable about, and making decisions related to, their learning. Over the last three years the leadership team and staff have successfully supported students to know how well they are achieving and to understand what they need to do to make further progress.

Each term, all students reflect on their learning with their teacher. Together, they develop a written review of their learning and set new learning goals. These conferences support teachers’ overall judgements on students’ achievement in relation to the National Standards.

The learning of individual students is closely monitored and any student at risk of not achieving is quickly identified. Appropriate interventions are put in place and progress is monitored. Similarly, groups of students who need additional assistance are identified and strategies are put into place to support their learning.

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

Māori students, as a group, are achieving well and participate in learning in all areas of the curriculum. They engage well in their learning and enjoy participating in school life. Staff have an expectation that Māori students will achieve. Teachers and senior leaders take time to know students’ families/whānau. A trustee has the specific community liaison role of supporting positive relationships between the school and parents of Māori and Pacific parents.

The school supports students to succeed as Māori. The board and staff are committed to valuing tikanga and te reo Māori and provide opportunities for students to experience and participate in pōwhiri and kapa haka and to learn te reo Māori. A more progressive te reo Māori programme could now be considered so that students’ learning is systematically advanced.

Any Māori students at risk of not making good progress and engaging are identified quickly and provided with appropriate support.

3 Curriculum

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

The school curriculum effectively promotes and supports student learning. It is well documented and, while providing clear guidelines, is flexible enough to enable teachers to respond to children’s interests as they arise.

There is a strong sense of a learning partnership between students and teachers. The Beachlands Learner profile and the FERN values provide a clear framework within which students and teachers operate and maintain positive relationships.

Consistently high expectations of learning and behaviour are shared by the school’s community. The Beachlands Learner and FERN are reference points for discussions relating to children’s learning and behaviour. Relationships at all levels are positive and affirming. Teachers invite feedback from their students and set goals to improve their teaching.

Teachers provide well planned literacy and mathematics programmes that take into account the students’ knowledge and skills and what they next need to learn. Teachers are skilled at supporting students to learn. Additional support programmes supplement class-based programmes when the need is identified.

A learning pathways programme integrates learning in curriculum areas, including social studies, health, science and technology. Teachers plan authentic learning opportunities that enable students to learn with purpose and to demonstrate their learning in meaningful ways. A specialist teacher teaches the learning pathways programme with a technology focus, to Year 7 and 8 students, in a well resourced learning space.

Environmental education continues to be an important part of the school curriculum. It provides a focus for some authentic learning opportunities, enabling students to engage in genuine problem solving.

A transition programme for parents and preschool children helps to prepare children in the district for primary school. While children are spending time in a new entrant classroom, parents have an opportunity to discuss useful ideas about how to help their child to make a successful transition to school. The school also has a programme in place to prepare Year 8 students for their move to secondary school.

4 Sustainable Performance

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

School leaders have a cohesive approach to building and maintaining an effective school. Trustees have a clear understanding of their role and a good policy base to guide school operations. Strategic planning and self review are well planned and executed and progress towards goals is constantly evaluated. Information to guide strategic planning is gathered through consultation and the principal regularly reports to the board on school operations.

With the support and guidance of an external mentor, the principal has successfully built a learning community for staff as well as students. Teachers share ideas and concerns confidently and support each other to develop strategies to improve teaching and learning.

The school’s performance management system is used to further develop teachers’ professional skills. The process is collaborative and inclusive. All teachers have undergone training in coaching and use these skills to engage their colleagues in professional discussion. Teachers have many opportunities for leadership and are supported to develop appropriate skills.

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. At the time of this review there were no international students attending the school.

The school has attested that it complies with all aspects of the Code.

Board assurance on legal requirements

Before the review, the board of trustees and principal of the school completed an ERO Board Assurance Statement and Self-Audit Checklist. 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 students' 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

22 August 2011

About the School

Location

Beachlands, Auckland

Ministry of Education profile number

1224

School type

Full Primary (Years 1 to 8)

Decile

10

School roll

517

Number of international students

0

Gender composition

Boys 55%, Girls 45%

Ethnic composition

NZ European/Pākehā

Māori

British/Irish

South African

Pacific

Asian

80%

9%

6%

3%

1%

1%

Review team on site

June 2011

Date of this report

22 August 2011

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

August 2008

August 2006

June 2003