Elm Park School

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Education institution number:
1269
School type:
Contributing
School gender:
Co-Educational
Definition:
Not Applicable
Total roll:
625
Telephone:
Address:

46 Gossamer Drive, Pakuranga Heights, Auckland

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School Context

Elm Park School is a large, contributing (Year 1 to 6) primary school catering for approximately 620 students. A wide variety of ethnic groups is represented in the school. The bigger groups comprise 11 percent who are Māori, 25 percent Pākehā, 25 percent Chinese, and 12 percent who have Pacific heritages.

The board’s vision is to work together with the school’s community to provide a balanced curriculum to assist all students to maximise their potential. It provides clear expectations for learning, and emphasises promoting a stimulating and caring environment that rewards students’ efforts.

The outcome the school wants for its students is to have each learner progress and reach their personal best. This encompasses improving outcomes for all students, particularly Māori, Pacific, and children with special needs, and accelerating the progress of students performing below expectations.

Leaders and teachers regularly report to the board schoolwide information about outcomes for students in the following areas:

  • achievement in reading, writing and numeracy

  • progress as a result of implementing “Accelerating Literacy Learning” methods

  • progress with improving students’ attitudes to learning through a focus on Positive Behaviour for Learning (PB4L)

  • outcomes related to student wellbeing and success.

The school is a green gold recipient of Enviro Schools and the grounds reflect an emphasis on environmental sustainability. The school’s kapa haka group is very successful and there is a variety of other multi-cultural dance groups reflecting many of the 40 ethnicities at the school. The community supports the school through its Travelwise programme. All students have access to digital technologies and Year 4 to 6 students bring their own digital devices.

Since ERO’s 2013 report the majority of the school’s trustees are new to the board. Approximately half of the staff are also new to the school. The board is in the process of establishing modern learning environments for students, and has completed the refurbishment of the school’s administration block.

The school is a member of the Farm Cove Kahui Ako|Community of Learning (CoL) with the Elm Park principal leading the CoL.

Evaluation Findings

1 Equity and excellence – achievement of valued outcomes for students

1.1 How well is the school achieving equitable and excellent outcomes for all its students?

Elm Park School is steadily working towards achieving equitable and excellent outcomes for all its students. Achievement information from 2017 shows that most students achieve at or above expectations in reading, writing and numeracy. However, trends and patterns in achievement over time show that since 2014 the numbers of students achieving at or above expectation in reading and numeracy is reducing, and has remained constant for writing. The2017 data also show that disparity exists for Māori and Pacific students in reading and numeracy, and for Pacific students in writing. The school is yet to report to the board information that shows how well Māori and Pacific students, and boys and girls are achieving as groups over time.

Overall achievement outcomes for students in their last year at school are better in reading than they are in writing and numeracy. Senior leaders note that some students transition into the school at the Year 5 level and they link this to the lower than expected Year 6 outcomes. It would be beneficial if senior leaders completed an evidence-based evaluation of the end of year outcomes for Year 6 students to determine the effectiveness of initiatives to lift achievement.

A variety of national and school-based assessment tools is used to ensure the school’s achievement information is robust and reliable. Teachers moderate their assessment of students’ writing across the school and with teachers in other schools to help them produce dependable assessment information.

The school’s targets are to increase the number of students reaching expected curriculum levels. Senior leaders agree that it would be useful to make these targets more specific, measurable and more focused on priority students.

Information reported to the board on the school’s PB4L initiative suggests that there has been significant improvement in students’ attitudes and behaviours for learning.

1.2 How well is the school accelerating learning for those Māori and other students who need this?

The school’s 2017 and 2018 achievement information shows some students at risk of not meeting expectations have experienced accelerated achievement in reading and numeracy.

Senior leaders are aware of how many and which students (including Māori and Pacific students) require greater than expected progress to achieve at their expected level. Leaders gather anecdotal evidence about the impact that specific teaching approaches are having on accelerating students’ progress. Senior leaders should regularly report to the board evidence-based information about the accelerated progress of the school’s priority students.

Teachers closely monitor the progress of individual students who are identified as needing to make accelerated progress. Some students are making accelerated progress. It would be useful for senior leaders to collate and analyse overall data to show what accelerated progress different groups of students make over time.

2 School conditions for equity and excellence – processes and practices

2.1 What school processes and practices are effective in enabling achievement of equity and excellence, and acceleration of learning?

Elm Park School uses many different processes and practices to help it achieve equity and excellence, and accelerate students’ learning. However, there is very little evidence-based information to demonstrate how effective these have been in improving outcomes for students.

The principal has established an organisational structure that encourages supportive stewardship and distributed leadership. Teachers are empowered to lead using their strengths and interests. The cohesive leadership team encourages teaching practices that have the potential to improve outcomes for students. Teachers are reflective and are developing skills necessary to inquire deeply into the impact that their teaching strategies have on improving outcomes for students.

Students are highly engaged with their learning. They are confident and proud of their school and appreciate the wide variety of activities available to them. They set personal goals that they closely monitor along with their parents and teachers. The individual progress of each student is valued and celebrated.

Senior leaders and teachers focus on maintaining positive relationships with and between students. The school’s ethnically diverse teaching staff is able to form strong bonds with students. Senior leaders ensure that transition approaches into, through and out of the school are smooth and help to settle students.

The school’s curriculum is responsive, values-driven and relevant. There is a consistent focus on literacy and numeracy, science, art and PB4L through teaching programmes. Teachers are developing and implementing a useful schoolwide approach to inquiry learning for students. The board allocates resources appropriately so that students learn in classrooms with low teacher-student ratios, and have access to English language learning and additional support programmes where needed. To improve practice, school leaders should ensure that students are learning and being assessed in all the learning areas of the mathematics curriculum.

Teachers are working together and with students to build the school’s bicultural practices. The successful kapa haka group is very multi-cultural and competes successfully with other schools. Students lead powhiri confidently and teachers are growing their capability to incorporate te reo and tikanga Māori through their class programmes. Ensuring the school curriculum includes the history of Māori in the local area would help to further build bicultural understanding.

Teachers are responsive to the community’s aspirations for children’s learning. Parent and whānau views are gathered through formal surveys and anecdotally at school events. The community has opportunities to have input into the school curriculum particularly to do with local events.

Senior leaders highlight the many positive opportunities that the school’s participation in the CoL offers. They note that the CoL is helping them to develop clear and consistent educational pathways for students through common professional development, shared practices and strong networks.

2.2 What further developments are needed in school processes and practices for achievement of equity and excellence, and acceleration of learning?

Strengthening evidence-based evaluation will help school leaders to determine the effectiveness of targeted teaching to accelerate students’ progress. Leaders acknowledge that this would be particularly beneficial for adapting programmes and strategies to accelerate the progress of those Māori and Pacific students who are at risk of not achieving.

Senior leaders recognise the value in refining the school’s strategic and annual targets, and ensuring a line of sight between these targets and the achievement of individual students. Continuing to build teachers’ data literacy skills would support teachers to more deeply analyse student progress and achievement. This would enhance the monitoring of progress with the targets over the year, and over time.

Senior leaders should consider the benefits of further developing curriculum guidelines, and evaluating the curriculum to assure the board that it is relevant, localised and innovative. The evaluation process should include parent and student input to help gauge how responsive the curriculum is to students’ learning needs and interests.

3 Board assurance on legal requirements

Before the review, the board 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

  • finance

  • 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 and certification

  • processes for appointing staff

  • stand down, suspension, expulsion and exclusion of students

  • attendance

  • school policies in relation to meeting the requirements of the Vulnerable Children Act 2014.

Provision for international students

The school is a signatory to the Education (Pastoral Care of International Students) Code of Practice 2016 (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 three international students attending the school.

The principal and international student coordinator provide many high quality strategies to ensure international students’ pastoral care and welfare are well met. Students receive suitable levels of support with English language acquisition. International students participate in the same opportunities and experiences as all students at Elm Park School and integrate well into the school.

The principal acknowledges that it could be useful if further in-depth internal evaluation of the progress and wellbeing of international students was regularly reported to the board.

4 Going forward

Key strengths of the school

For sustained improvement and future learner success, the school can draw on existing strengths in:

  • pastoral care systems and practice that respond to students’ needs, promote their wellbeing and support their learning success

  • inclusive and restorative practices that assist students to successfully access the school curriculum

  • the organisational structure that empowers teachers to use each other’s strengths and contribute to the broad curriculum.

Next steps

For sustained improvement and future learner success, priorities for further development are in:

  • the analysis and reporting of achievement information to show progress over time for different groups of students

  • developing specific strategic targets and regularly reporting target progress to the board

  • strengthening and expanding internal evaluation processes and practices

[ERO will provide an internal evaluation workshop for trustees and senior leaders.]

ERO’s next external evaluation process and timing

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

Julie Foley

Deputy Chief Review Officer Northern (Acting)

Te Tai Raki - Northern Region

28 June 2018

About the school

Location

Pakuranga, Auckland

Ministry of Education profile number

1269

School type

Contributing (Year 1-6)

School roll

621

Gender composition

Boys 51%, Girls 49%

Ethnic composition

Māori 11%
Pākehā 25%
Chinese 20%
Indian 9%
Samoan 7%
other Asian 5%
Cook Island Māori 3%
other Pacific 2%
other 18%

Students with Ongoing Resourcing Funding (ORS)

Yes

Provision of Māori medium education

No

Review team on site

May 2018

Date of this report

28 June 2018

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review December 2013
Education Review December 2010
Education Review December 2007

1 Context

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

Elm Park School in Pakuranga caters for students from Years 1 to 6 and has a growing roll. The school serves a highly diverse community and the roll includes significant numbers of Māori, Pacific and Asian students. A positive and inclusive atmosphere is evident. Some families travel long distances so their children can attend the school.

The school’s leadership team comprises the principal and three deputy principals who have responsibility for the school’s junior, middle and senior syndicates. They have high expectations for students, and for teachers as professionals. These school leaders and some board members have had a long association with the school and its community.

International students and those with special learning needs are well catered for. New students’ transitions into the school are smooth and effectively managed. The school has been recognised for its commitment to promoting environmental sustainability as a Silver Enviro school. It has a growing influence in the use of information and communication technologies (ICT) and e-learning. The school provides a boys-only class at Year 6.

ERO’s 2010 report identified a high number of positive features in the school and these have been sustained. The school continues to provide strong pastoral care for all students. The senior leadership team foster genuine and reciprocal relationships with families, to enhance outcomes for students. The school promotes bicultural practices to support teaching and learning and a culture of respect for students’ diverse backgrounds.

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 well to make positive changes to learners’ engagement, progress and achievement. Student achievement information indicates that the majority of students achieve well in reading, writing and mathematics. Some students achieve very well. Most Māori and Pacific students achieve well, especially in literacy.

Teachers use a range of assessment tools to gather specific information and match students’ needs with appropriate support and enrichment programmes. Teachers actively participate in targeted professional learning and make decisions based on evidence about student progress and achievement.

The senior leadership team uses achievement data to set appropriate targets and inform the strategic direction of the school. A culture of trust and collaboration empowers teachers and leaders to focus on how they can make a difference for individual students. Professional action plans that are focused on lifting achievement enable teachers to track and monitor their progress towards accelerating students’ progress.

Students are engaged, confident and self managing learners. They have good opportunities to develop skills as leaders. Many students can articulate their learning and share their progress with parents.

Parents are invited to discuss their students’ progress and achievement through student led conferences and the effective use of e-portfolios. Some parents take advantage of opportunities to comment on their children’s learning through the school’s online forum. Parents are well informed of their children’s achievement in relation to the National Standards. The senior leaders agree with ERO, that they could continue to refine school reports to parents and strengthen the progress of students in all curriculum learning areas.

3 Curriculum

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

The Elm Park school curriculum is underpinned by the principles of The New Zealand Curriculum. It is responsive to the school’s diverse group of learners and it aligns with the school’s vision of empowering all learners to achieve their personal best. The curriculum incorporates an inquiry approach to engage all students in meaningful learning. While the school’s emphasis is on literacy and numeracy, it also promotes a broad holistic curriculum incorporating the arts, sports, music and enviro learning.

An individualised approach to responding to students’ strengths and needs provides them with a wide range of learning experiences. Effective planning processes support students to be motivated learners.

High quality teaching from committed and professional teachers is underpinned by well embedded formative teaching practices. Teachers build respectful learning relationships with all students, who reciprocate by showing respect for teachers and other students. This visible culture of respect for people, the environment and resources is evident in all classrooms.

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

The school promotes educational success for Māori students effectively. Māori students are proud to be involved in leadership opportunities especially in the well respected kapa haka group. A sequential te reo Māori plan supports teachers to use te reo in classroom and at different year levels. Teachers also have access to support materials on the school’s website to increase their confidence in te reo and tikanga Māori.

The school has a number of initiatives that help teachers to foster success for Māori students as Māori. These include:

  • a developed school kawa including powhiri, karakia, a school waiata, haka, blessings of new areas in the school, and celebration of events such as Matariki and te wiki o te reo Māori
  • use of Ka Hikitia and Tātaiako to increase teachers’ understanding and support their performance appraisal
  • use of support resources and teacher expertise to support staff
  • ongoing consultation hui with whānau.
  • The school has identified that they could refine their Māori Education plan to consolidate and formalise the various initiatives for Māori success.

4 Sustainable Performance

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

Elm Park School is very well placed to sustain and improve its performance.

Trustees have a commitment to the school’s vision and values and have a good understanding of the school’s community.

The board of trustees is experienced and committed to providing the best outcomes for all students. Trustees are clear about their governance roles, and work effectively with the principal. They ensure that there is clear alignment from the strategic plan, through the annual plan, to curriculum delivery and programme implementation.

The principal knows the community well, is focused on ongoing school improvements and leads the school effectively. She works closely with the senior leadership team and board to ensure policies and procedures are reviewed and systems are managed well. A rigorous appraisal system and the efficient use of information and communication technologies provide an environment where staff share and reflect on their practice with a view to continual improvement.

The board and senior leadership team are committed to building leadership across the school. Teachers are given opportunities to build their leadership capability and have many opportunities to participate in professional learning in the school and the school’s cluster networks.

Leaders work collaboratively to build strong partnerships for learning, and encourage open and respectful relationships with whānau. High expectations for teaching and learning influence how the curriculum is delivered to students and how achievement is reported to parents. Ongoing improvement is based on reliable information and guides changes for teachers, parents and students.

School leaders have a commitment to involving parents more in supporting student learning. ERO agrees that co-opting additional board members to further reflect the school’s diverse community will help to achieve this goal.

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 was one international student attending 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
  • processes for appointing staff
  • stand-downs, suspensions, expulsions and exclusions
  • attendance.

When is ERO likely to review the school again?

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

Dale Bailey

National Manager Review Services Northern Region

23 December 2013

About the School

Location

Pakuranga, Auckland

Ministry of Education profile number

1269

School type

Contributing (Years 1 to 6)

School roll

545

Number of international students

1

Gender composition

Boys 53% Girls 47%

Ethnic composition

Māori

NZ European/Pākehā

Chinese

Indian

Other European

Samoan

Other Pacific

Middle Eastern

Other Asian

South East Asian

Sri Lankan

Other

16%

31%

13%

9%

6%

6%

6%

3%

3%

3%

3%

1%

Review team on site

November 2013

Date of this report

23 December 2013

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

December 2010

December 2007

February 2005