Belmont Intermediate

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Findings

Students experience high quality education and they benefit from a broad curriculum that supports their different interests and capabilities. Effective teaching practices cater for diverse students’ learning requirements. Positive, supportive interactions and school values contribute to their wellbeing. Parent partnerships in learning are promoted. School governance and leadership is future-focused.

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?

Belmont Intermediate School, on Auckland’s North Shore, caters for Year 7 and 8 students. Positive and supportive relationships between staff and students contribute to a school culture that is clearly focused on learning. Frequent communication between teachers and parents about children’s wellbeing and progress support the school’s culture.

The board of trustees uses a variety of means to gauge community aspirations. The school’s charter reflects different groups’ views well. There is a well-considered approach to development. For example, recent property development has resulted in flexible learning spaces that promote collaboration between students and easy access to resources. Spacious grounds and facilities cater for students’ various academic, cultural and sporting endeavours.

The school’s 2012 ERO report noted good quality teaching and learning, strong governance and leadership, and staff collaboration. These positive features continue to be evident. The board of trustees and school leaders have responded well to the areas for development noted in ERO’s 2012 report.

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 make positive changes to learners’ engagement, progress and achievement.

Students engage very well in their learning and confidently seek assistance from teachers and their peers when required. They reflect on their learning and how they have achieved their personal goals. Increased opportunities for students to access achievement information enables them to discuss their progress with their parents and whānau.

Most students are achieving at and above the National Standards for reading, writing and mathematics. As a result of the school’s concerted focus on raising boys’ achievement, there has been improved achievement for this group of learners during 2015. The school is well on track to meet the Government’s 2017 National Standards targets for reading, writing and mathematics.

Teachers and senior leaders modify teaching and learning programmes to suit the requirements of individual students. This good practice helps students who achieve below National Standards to make accelerated progress.

The board of trustees supports senior leaders and teachers to raise achievement for all students. Specific and relevant targets are set by the board and school leaders for groups of learners who are underachieving. Included among these groups are students who have not reached their potential even though they may be achieving well in relation to the National Standards. Well analysed school assessment information helps trustees and school leaders to identify where to allocate additional staffing and resources to support students’ learning requirements.

Six percent of the school population identifies as Māori. In 2014, most Māori students achieved at and above the National Standards and at levels similar to their non-Māori peers. Appropriate ongoing achievement information is used effectively to establish targets for Māori students who are not achieving at expected levels.

Pacific students represent two percent of the school roll. While small in number, ERO and the school share a concern that their overall achievement is lower than their non-Pacific peers. The board, senior leaders and teachers could use The Ministry of Education’s Pasifika Education Plan 2013-2017 as part of their planning to improve outcomes for Pacific learners. Initiatives to improve outcomes for Pacific leaners would build on the already successful professional learning and development that has focused on culturally responsive teaching practices.

Students with special learning needs benefit from the school’s focus on success for all learners. Their progress is well tracked through the use of individual education plans. Overall school achievement data includes students who attend the school’s Learning Support Centre. Appropriate intervention programmes are implemented with parent/whānau involvement.

3 Curriculum

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

The school provides students with a relevant and responsive curriculum that is highly effective in promoting and supporting student engagement in learning, progress and achievement. Student feedback is valued and shapes what they study. The school’s curriculum is well aligned to the principles of The New Zealand Curriculum (NZC).

The school’s community is committed to ensuring that individual students are nurtured, and positively influenced by the strong, healthy community that they are part of.

The school has a well-developed, inclusive culture. Students are encouraged to be kind and generous in spirit. They support each other well in their learning and general development. The school’s values promote trusting learning partnerships between teachers and students, and students and their peers. These values complement the school’s core competencies and support students to engage in new educational experiences.

Students from the Learning Support Centre appreciate their interactions with peer buddies from mainstream classrooms. There are many and varied opportunities for students with special learning needs to be involved in the everyday life of the school.

The school’s broad curriculum caters for the requirements of emerging adolescents. School leaders and teachers have developed a concept-based theme approach. This has increased opportunities for students to draw on their different experiences, capabilities and interests.

Student inquiry learning is an important dimension of the curriculum. Inquiry programmes intellectually challenge students to apply their new understandings to real life situations. They have varied opportunities to develop their literacy and mathematical capabilities in different areas of the curriculum.

Student engagement in learning is enhanced by skilled teachers who provide students with opportunities to:

  • set goals and plan learning pathways to reach these goals
  • seek and value peer feedback about their work and contributions
  • choose what they study.

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

The school promotes educational success for Māori, as Māori well.

The school has strong processes to support its bicultural development. The board and school leaders have successfully used the Government’s Māori Education Strategy: Ka Hikitia - Accelerating Success 2013 – 2017 to review ways Māori students and whānau can be best supported to experience educational success as Māori.

Māori are acknowledged and respected as tangata whenua. Māori kawa is observed at school assemblies and important school events. Professional links with the adjoining secondary school have helped teachers promote te Āo Māori.

Māori students hear and see their culture through waiata and mihi. A well planned te reo Māori programme for all students is part of the school’s curriculum. Senior leaders and teachers are committed to increasing their knowledge and use of te reo Māori as part of supporting the school’s ongoing bicultural development.

The school’s strengths in this area help to create a sound platform for Māori students to transition through the educational system as confident learners, grounded in their language, culture and identity.

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. Decision-making is focused on what is best for students.

Regular self review is used by the board and school leaders to identify ways to improve outcomes for students. Curriculum areas are effectively reviewed and recommendations implemented. Effective leadership and governance is promoting consistency across the school’s systems and processes. The board’s commitment to providing a safe emotional environment for staff and students is apparent in practical measures such as the funding of a part-time counsellor.

The board provides strong clear direction through its consultatively developed strategic planning. Stewardship is evident in the way trustees advocate for strong partnerships between the school and community. Since the 2012 ERO review there has been a drive to develop parent partnerships that are focused on students’ learning. The board continues to explore ways to communicate effectively with all parents, including parent groups that have historically been more reticent in expressing their views.

The principal’s capable and future-focused leadership helps guide the school’s positive direction. He is supported by a senior leadership team that works effectively to implement the school’s strategic direction. Considered and well led change management has had a significant, positive influence on student learning by promoting a learner-focused culture. Collaborative decision-making is informed by evidence and reflects current teaching and learning theory.

Teachers and students have varied leadership roles and opportunities. Staff members are valued as professionals and appreciate the school’s supportive culture. Most teachers know that their ideas and contributions to school direction are valued and acted on. They are well supported by meaningful appraisal and being involved in different professional learning groups. Teachers use a variety of sources of information, including achievement data to reflect on how they can modify their practice to cater for the diverse learners in their classrooms.

Participation in external networks provides school leaders and teachers with a way to check and refine ideas, and moderate student assessment. Trustees seek training and are receptive to new ideas about how board operations might be refined and enhanced. The board and senior leadership team value the complementary nature of internal and external evaluation. These features contribute positively to the school’s continuing improvement.

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

At the time of this review there were twelve international students attending the school. They are well cared for and experience high quality programmes that promote their learning and wellbeing. International students are integrated successfully into the school community. They participate and feature in school cultural and sporting activities.

The school’s monitoring system for international students is effectively administered. Parents are informed regularly about how well their children are achieving and progressing. The board receives regular reports on the quality of care for international students. To build on this good practice, the school has identified that collated progress and achievement information could be reported more regularly to the board.

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

Students experience high quality education and they benefit from a broad curriculum that supports their different interests and capabilities. Effective teaching practices cater for diverse students’ learning requirements. Positive, supportive interactions and school values contribute to their wellbeing. Parent partnerships in learning are promoted. School governance and leadership is future-focused.

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

Graham Randell

Deputy Chief Review Officer Northern

10 December 2015

School Statistics

Location

Belmont, Auckland

Ministry of Education profile number

1225

School type

Intermediate (Years 7 to 8)

School roll

550

Number of international students

12

Gender composition

Boys 54% Girls 46%

Ethnic composition

Māori

Pākehā

Asian

Pacific

6%

79%

13%

2%

Special Features

Learning Support Centre for students with high learning needs

Review team on site

October 2015

Date of this report

10 December 2015

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

September 2012

June 2008

May 2004

1. Context

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

Belmont Intermediate is located between Takapuna and Devonport on Auckland’s North Shore. The school continues to provide good educational programmes for students in Years 7 to 8 who come from diverse backgrounds. School leaders have responded well to the findings of the school’s 2008 ERO review.

The school tone is settled and positive. Students are articulate, confident learners. They interact with a large range of teachers through home room programmes, specialist subjects, support classes and co-curricular activities. Pastoral care systems have been reviewed and strengthened with the addition of counselling services since the previous ERO review. Students are proud of their school and appreciate the positive relationships they have with their peers. Students' successes are acknowledged and celebrated.

The school has developed a relationship with the Awataha Marae to promote bicultural understandings. School leaders have developed a Treaty of Waitangi policy which can now be used as a useful self review tool.

Professional development is used to develop a collaborative working environment and learning community. Teachers share expertise and have frequent learning conversations about their students. School leaders work closely with local schools, including the adjacent secondary school to help students make successful transitions into and from the school.

2. Learning

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

Students make good progress and achieve very well in reading. They also achieve well in mathematics. Achievement information is well analysed and shows that the majority of students achieve at or above National Standards in these learning areas. Team leaders are well placed to evaluate and accelerate student progress in mathematics.

To further improve levels of student achievement school leaders and teachers have identified writing as a key area. School data has been used to develop two relevant targets to assist students who are yet to achieve the National Standard in writing. The school is also working towards evaluating how well students are learning in other areas of the curriculum.

Māori students generally achieve well. School leaders track the progress of Māori students at each year level over time. The data they collect shows that some Māori students achieve very well and others who are not yet achieving as well as their peers. Māori students benefit from individual monitoring and are supported through a range of programmes. Their overall achievement in writing is an area for improvement, as it is for many other students. A specific target has been set to accelerate their learning in this area. The on-going review of Māori student progress and achievement should allow the school to continually improve its effectiveness.

Pacific students and students with individual and high learning needs are well supported. School leaders should now set more specific achievement targets for accelerating the progress of particular groups of learners. Reporting to the board of trustees on the success of interventions to improve student learning would also be useful for informing self review and board decision making.

Students are engaged in learning. However, school leaders recognise the need for greater student ownership of learning to further improve engagement levels. Achieving success in this area will require that teachers:

  • give students more opportunities to make decisions about their learning
  • more regularly share information about progress and achievement with each student.

3. Curriculum

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

The school offers a broad learning programme aligned to The New Zealand Curriculum (NZC). Students experience a range of specialist subjects that they enjoy alongside homeroom classes that focus on literacy, mathematics and inquiry learning. Teachers are working towards integrating skills across the curriculum.

The school is continuing to refine and review its inquiry learning model, introduced initially in 2008. The inquiry learning approach should help students to develop as independent thinkers and leaders of their own learning.

Good quality teaching enables students to successfully access the curriculum. Teachers have well resourced learning environments and have plans to further use e-learning technologies to support learning. Through internal and external review, school leaders and ERO agree that the following next steps could benefit learners:

  • offering more opportunities for students to pursue areas of particular interest within home room classes to better meet their learning needs and promote independent learning
  • expanding learning about te ao Māori and Pacific contexts in the curriculum
  • using resources such as Tātaiako, the Ministry of Education cultural competencies for teachers of Māori learners, to reflect on effective teaching practice
  • using the principles of The New Zealand Curriculum and input from students to review the effectiveness of the curriculum and the extent to which it supports the school’s vision of a Belmont learner.

Senior leaders should also continue to support teachers to share their understandings about what makes for effective teaching practice across the curriculum.

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

Six percent of students at Belmont Intermediate identify as Māori.

Māori students enjoy opportunities such as kapa haka and the recently established te reo Māori option. While they enjoy te reo, more differentiated instruction based on the prior knowledge and expertise of students is recommended. Other students may also be interested in, and benefit from, access to te reo Māori programmes. Reviewing school documentation from a Māori perspective should help ensure bicultural dimensions are evident and valued within the school.

School leaders have made significant progress in developing school kawa and tikanga. Marae visits, school powhiri and waiata are now part of school life alongside celebrations of Māori student success and cultural events. Plans to promote further success as Māori include those that aim to:

  • develop more leadership opportunities for Māori students
  • improve consultation and develop partnerships with whānau
  • use student and whānau contributions to inform future school strategic plans
  • increase teachers' knowledge and understanding of the language, culture and heritage of Māori learners.

4. Sustainable Performance

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

The school is capable of sustaining and improving its performance. Over the past four years, the school has managed a number of significant changes. These include:

  • inducting several new trustees, including a new chairperson, to the board of trustees
  • appointing new team leaders, managing staff changes and implementing a new performance management approach
  • developing a new curriculum design, a teaching as inquiry model, and refining student support programmes
  • implementing the National Standards and increasing the use of the online learning opportunities
  • reviewing student achievement, curriculum and data management systems.

School leaders have identified the need to consolidate these new initiatives and to develop processes to help ensure that changes made are effective and sustainable. Board members and school leaders could also refine self review to make it more evaluative and to extend the use of student, parent and whānau input to inform school improvement.

The senior leadership team is well led. Team members have complementary skills and work collaboratively with the board of trustees. Board members bring a range of expertise and skills to their roles. They have developed a thoughtful strategic plan, which they are planning to use to review school progress.

The board is well informed about Māori student achievement and about student achievement overall. Developing more frequent consultation processes, especially with whānau, could also assist the board in finding more trustees who represent the diverse backgrounds of learners in the school.

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 11 international students attending the school.

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

ERO’s investigations confirmed that the school’s self-review process for international students is thorough. School leaders should report to the board of trustees on how well international students achieve during their time at the school.

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.

The board, through the principal, has used a variety of ways to engage with individual Māori families to inform them about the policies, plans and targets for Māori student achievement at Belmont Intermediate. Feedback has been sought from families to inform the plans and targets. An on-going challenge for the board is to find ways to ensure that consultation with its Māori community is regular and effective for both parties.

To improve current practice, the board of trustees should receive regular reports on student attendance and on health and safety delegations.

When is ERO likely to review the school again?

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

Makere Smith

National Manager Review Services

Northern Region (Acting)

3 September 2012

About the School

Location

Belmont, Auckland

Ministry of Education profile number

1225

School type

Intermediate (Years 7 to 8)

Decile1

10

School roll

568

Number of international students

13

Gender composition

Boys 57%

Girls 43%

Ethnic composition

NZ European/Pākehā

Māori

British/Irish

Korean

African

Australian

Indian

other European

other Asian

other Pacific

other South East Asian

other

61%

6%

15%

3%

2%

2%

1%

4%

2%

2%

1%

1%

Special Features

Learning Support Centre for students with high learning needs

Review team on site

May 2012

Date of this report

3 September 2012

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

June 2008

May 2004

October 2000

1 School deciles range from 1 to 10. Decile 1 schools draw their students from low socio-economic communities and at the other end of the range, decile 10 schools draw their students from high socio-economic communities. Deciles are used to provide funding to state and state integrated schools. The lower the school’s decile the more funding it receives. A school’s decile is in no way linked to the quality of education it provides.