Fairburn School

Fairburn School - 31/05/2018

School Context

Fairburn School is a large contributing primary school in Otahuhu that caters for children from Years 1 to 6. Māori children make up 12 percent of the current roll of 609. Pacific children make up 58 percent, with the largest groups being Tongan and Samoan.

The school’s overarching vision is to create a friendly and challenging environment that encourages all children to take increased responsibility for their own learning and behaviour, and to achieve this in partnership with their families. The school’s values underpin the culture of respect, consideration, kindness, honesty and responsibility.

Outcomes for children that are valued by the school and its community include a passion for ongoing learning, confidence, achievement success, and the holistic development of the whole child.

The school’s current achievement targets are aimed at:

  • lifting the achievement of Year 3 children in mathematics

  • specific targeting of Year 4 boys in writing

  • improving achievement of all children in reading, writing, and mathematics.

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

  • reading, writing, mathematics and other curriculum areas

  • learning support and special programmes

  • teachers’ moderation and assessment against curriculum levels

  • overall progress towards targets

  • cultural and other characteristics of the school and its community.

Since the 2015 ERO evaluation the school has a new principal, mostly new trustees, and a new enrolment scheme. The school has provided internal professional development in relation to teaching mathematics and writing.

Evaluation Findings

1 Equity and excellence – valued outcomes for students

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

The school continues to work towards achieving equitable and excellent outcomes for all its students. The majority of children achieve well in reading, with a smaller majority achieving well in writing and mathematics.

A disparity in boy’s achievement in reading and writing has persisted over time. Deeper analysis of achievement information would help to more clearly identify children who need targeted support for accelerating learning.

1.2 How effectively does this school respond to those Māori and other students whose learning and achievement need acceleration?

The school has taken some steps to respond to Māori and other students whose learning and achievement need acceleration and continues to be a focus.

The school provides support to specifically engage children and their families and help them to focus on learning strategies. Learning support programmes are designed to accelerate reading, writing, and mathematics for children who are identified needing extra support. A Social Worker in Schools and health and pastoral teams also work closely with a number of children and their whānau who require intensive assistance so that basic social skills are met to better enable access to learning.

2 School conditions for equity and excellence

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

Effective school processes include:

  • a broad and well resourced curriculum with high levels of teacher expertise, and good systems for delivery, including digital technologies

  • aspects of collaborative inquiry processes and professional learning opportunities that align with the school’s vision, values, goals and targets

Strong connections and relationships enable the school and its communities to engage in valued partnerships to support children’s learning. Whānau and community involvement in school activities is welcomed and encouraged. Student-led conferences, and specific strategies to accelerate learning using digital platforms and other modes of communication, are engaging parents and children in learning.

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

To improve Māori achievement school leaders should develop an achievement plan, aligning it with the Ministry of Education’s Ka Hikitia: Accelerating Success 2013 – 2017 strategy. School leaders and teachers need to more closely analyse information about Māori students’ progress and achievement to show how well they are supported to accelerate their learning.

Pacific children make up the majority of the school’s roll. It is now timely to disaggregate and further analyse data to provide more clarity about how well each Pacific group is achieving and set specific achievement targets.

Leaders agree that schoolwide internal evaluation needs to be strengthened and more clearly documented. Improvements should include:

  • monitoring progress against achievement targets

  • evaluating the effectiveness of schoolwide and class programmes, to inform the board’s decision making

  • continuing to evaluate learning support programmes to highlight children’s accelerated learning progress

  • further developing ‘teaching as inquiry’ processes that support a more streamlined and systematic appraisal process.

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.

Areas for improved compliance practice

To improve current practice, the board of trustees should:

  • ensure policies align with the Vulnerable Children Act 2014
  • review health and safety policies to align with new legal requirements.

4 Going forward

Key strengths of the school

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

  • building professional capability and capacity that supports teaching and learning

  • educationally powerful connections and relationships that are effectively engaging parents in children’s learning

Next steps

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

  • establishing internal evaluation processes and practices that use data from a range of sources, to better identify what is working well for students’ learning and where improvements are needed

  • specific targeted planning for those children whose learning progress needs accelerating

  • developing a Māori achievement plan to accelerate learning and improve outcomes for Māori learners.

ERO’s next external evaluation process and timing

ERO is likely to carry out the next external evaluation in three years. ERO will provide an internal evaluation workshop for trustees and senior leaders.

Julie Foley

Deputy Chief Review Officer Northern (Acting)

Te Tai Raki - Northern Region

31 May 2018

About the school

Location

Otahuhu, Auckland

Ministry of Education profile number

1271

School type

Contributing Primary School (Years 1 to 6)

School roll

609

Gender composition

Boys 51% Girls 49%

Ethnic composition

Māori
Pākehā
Tongan
Samoan
Cook Islands Māori
Niuean
Indian
other

12%
3%
31%
15%
8%
3%
22%
6%

Provision of Māori medium education

No

Review team on site

March 2018

Date of this report

31 May 2018

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review
Education Review
Education Review

April 2015
October 2011
August 2008

Fairburn School - 13/04/2015

Findings

Fairburn School serves an established multicultural community. The school has good systems to provide pastoral care for students and families. Teachers promote positive relationships with students and this is helping them engage better with their learning. The school curriculum gives priority to literacy and mathematics. Student attendance is high.

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

1 Context

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

Fairburn School in Otahuhu serves students from the local, multicultural community. The largest groups of students on the Years 1 to 6 roll, are of Māori, Tongan, Indian and Samoan descent. Students and whānau are encouraged to speak in their home languages at school. A significant number of students are learning English as an additional language.

In the last three years there has been a deliberate focus on promoting positive relationships between teachers and students and to engage students better with their learning. As a result student attendance is high. During the year, the school manages unexpected changes in student numbers well.

The school has established strong systems to provide pastoral care for students and their families. Health professionals based at the school provide further specialised support. Students and their families make good use of these services.

Many staff members are long serving and know families and the community well. Teachers who speak families’ home languages meet with them to develop shared understandings of school programmes and initiatives. This helps families to participate more fully in their children’s education.

Many of the positive features identified in the 2011 ERO report for Fairburn School continue to be evident. Good progress has been made in implementing the National Standards.

2 Learning

How well does this school use achievement information to make positive changes to learners’ engagement, progress and achievement?

Senior leaders and teachers make good use of student achievement information to make decisions about teaching and learning programmes.

School leaders and teachers have developed good processes to implement the National Standards. They report levels of achievement to children’s parents and to the board. Teachers use standardised assessment tools to help them make overall teacher judgements (OTJs) about students’ progress and achievement. Senior leaders plan to trial the use of other assessment tools with groups of students to test how effectively judgements about their progress and achievement are being made.

The board sets targets for improved outcomes in reading, writing and mathematics for whole year groups of students. Setting targets for more specific groups of students who need to make better progress could help accelerate the progress of these students.

Teachers identify oral language as an important factor in students’ success. As a result, oral language is a focus for staff professional development. Teachers encourage students and their families to develop good vocabulary and language patterns in their home languages. This approach is supporting the students to become proficient in English.

Teachers work collegially to promote positive outcomes for students. They meet regularly to discuss ideas for teaching individual students. Specialist teachers identify students who need special support to make better progress in reading, writing and mathematics. They provide additional programmes for these students to address gaps in their knowledge. Teachers share information with each other to maximise the impact of these withdrawal programmes and to monitor the progress of individual students.

Students have increasing opportunities to discuss their learning and to know about their own progress and achievement. Student-led conferences have provided an opportunity for students to take a lead role in sharing and reporting their learning to their parents.

Senior leaders agree that the next steps for teaching and learning could include:

  • continuing to refine the use of the National Standards by making OTJs for reading, writing and mathematics across the curriculum and reporting after 1, 2 and 3 years at school
  • setting targets to support accelerated progress for groups of students at risk of not achieving expectations
  • continuing to develop students’ understanding of their learning progress so they can set goals and plan for their next learning steps.

3 Curriculum

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

The school’s curriculum provides good opportunities for students to engage in learning. The ‘Fairburn way’ prioritises literacy and numeracy and provides clear guidance for teachers to plan programmes.

Positive relationships between teachers and students, and student engagement, are highly valued. Teachers promote leadership for students. These leadership opportunities are appreciated by students and sought after by those in the senior classes.

Students explore science, social studies and technology using an inquiry process. They have the opportunity to make connections between learning areas when their reading, writing and mathematics lessons are included in inquiry topics.

Students’ heritage is celebrated during cultural events. The arts provide further opportunities for students to learn about culture in different contexts and communities. They also enjoy opportunities to perform for their peers and families.

Students participate in useful learning experiences outside of the school. Teachers plan these learning opportunities to support children’s learning of English as an additional language and to assist their inquiry learning.

Students have good access to learning opportunities involving information and communication technologies (ICT). Significant board resourcing of ICT promotes equitable access for students to a variety of digital devices.

Teachers mentor and coach each other to reflect on and improve aspects of their teaching. This good practice also provides opportunities for teacher leadership.

Senior leaders agree that next steps for curriculum development include continuing to:

  • develop the application of the inquiry approach, to support student learning across the curriculum
  • build effective partnerships with whānau so they are increasingly able to support their children’s learning.

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

The school supports Māori students well. The hauora (wellbeing) of Māori students and their whānau is well supported by key people within the school.

Concepts such as manaakitanga, whanaungatanga, ako, tuakana/teina relationships and whānau groupings underpin the school’s culture. Māori students spoken to by ERO, report they feel affirmed in their identity as Māori.

Māori students achieve well. They have a positive view of themselves as learners and as leaders within the school. School data show that Māori students achieve at higher levels in reading, writing and mathematics than Māori students in the local area and across New Zealand.

There is an expectation that all students have opportunities to learn te reo me ōna tikanga Māori within their classroom programme. Older students who are already speakers of te reo are supported through additional programmes to extend their knowledge.

The principal agrees that aligning school documentation will better reflect how success as Māori is influencing educational success. This alignment could also provide further direction for teachers to support Māori students.

4 Sustainable Performance

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

Relationships between the board and principal are founded on high levels of trust. Trustees, some of whom are leaders within their communities, are representative of the community and its diversity. They are very supportive of the principal and staff.

The experienced and knowledgeable principal leads the senior leadership team well. These school leaders are actively involved in the school and are well known to the community. They work well together to develop and improve programmes and school initiatives.

School leaders report that self review processes are gaining momentum and contributing to ongoing improvement. Self review processes include parent and teacher input and consider aspects of school operations that are likely to have an impact on students’ achievement.

Robust appraisal processes promote professionalism and support teachers to improve and adapt their practice. Teachers use Tātaiako: Cultural Competencies for Teachers of Māori Learners and the Registered Teachers’ Criteria to reflect on ways to work better with students.

In order to strengthen current practice the trustees should consider how they can:

  • explore training opportunities that will support them in their governance roles
  • receive regular information and reports about school progress in relation to strategic goals and student achievement
  • better record the board's important discussions and decisions about actions to be taken.

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.

In order to meet the school’s legal obligations, the board must:

  • in consultation with the school’s Māori community, develop and make known to the school’s communities, policies, plans and targets for improving the achievement of Māori students 
    [National Education Guidelines 1993; National Administration Guideline, 1(e)]
  • adopt a statement on the delivery of the health curriculum, at least once in every two years, after consultation with the school community
    [Education Act 1989, Section 60B].

Conclusion

Fairburn School serves an established multicultural community. The school has good systems to provide pastoral care for students and families. Teachers promote positive relationships with students and this is helping them engage better with their learning. The school curriculum gives priority to literacy and mathematics. Student attendance is high.

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

Dale Bailey

Deputy Chief Review Officer Northern

13 April 2015

About the School

Location

Otahuhu, Auckland

Ministry of Education profile number

1271

School type

Contributing (Years 1 to 6)

School roll

641

Gender composition

Girls 51% Boys 49%

Ethnic composition

Māori

Pākehā

Tongan

Indian

Samoan

Cook Island

Middle Eastern

other

17%

3%

27%

19%

16%

7%

1%

10%

Review team on site

February 2015

Date of this report

13 April 2015

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

October 2011

August 2008

September 2005