Good Shepherd School (Balmoral)

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1 Context

Good Shepherd School in Balmoral, Auckland, provides education for boys and girls from Years 1 to 6. Founded in 1912 by the Sisters of St Joseph, the school's Catholic character continues to influence all aspects of school life. Many staff and parents have strong intergenerational connections to the school and its community. The school is culturally diverse with over 20 different ethnicities represented. Four percent of children enrolled are Māori and around fourteen percent are Pacific.

Since ERO's 2013 review a new principal and senior leadership team have been appointed, and in 2016 several teachers are undertaking different leadership roles. The current board consists of new and experienced trustees. The school has a positive ERO reporting history.

2 Equity and excellence

The vision and valued outcomes defined by the school for all children are underpinned by the school motto - together we learn and care. The school values of care (manaaki), honesty (pono) and respect (whakaute) are evident throughout the school's curriculum and within learning programmes. The board, staff and parents have a vision that all Year 6 children leaving the school are connected to their Catholic faith and community, have positive morals and personal strengths, are capable and competent learners, and are strong in their own identity.

The school’s achievement information shows that the majority of children achieve at or above the National Standards in reading, writing and mathematics, and that most Māori children achieve above the National Standards in all areas. Pacific children's achievement is also high in relation to the National Standards. The school receives English language learning funding from the Ministry of Education for a third of its Pacific children.

The board's strategic focus is to accelerate children's learning, and it sets specific and clear strategic achievement targets. The principal and school leaders ensure that there is a clear link from strategic targets to classroom practice and individual children. In response to analysis of their data for the last two years, school leaders have targeted students to accelerate their progress from achieving at the National Standards in writing and maths to achieving above the National Standards.

Sound school-wide procedures for forming consistent overall teacher judgments (OTJs) have been developed over the past three years. Teachers have implemented these with internal and external professional development and support. As a result, teachers are more confidently making informed decisions in OTJs.

Since the last ERO evaluation, the school has focused on strengthening teachers' practice and promoting equitable opportunities and outcomes for children. The school has engaged in various professional learning contracts that include Positive Behaviour for Learning (PB4L), writing, te ao Māori and digital technologies. The school is also a member of the Central Catholic Schools Community of Learning (CoL).

3 Accelerating achievement

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

The school responds very effectively to Māori, Pacific and all other children whose learning and achievement need acceleration. As school-wide achievement levels are high, the school places an appropriate focus on raising children's achievement to above the National Standards. This focus sits alongside accelerating learning for the small number of children whose achievement is below standard. The board and staff have a clear and unrelenting focus on improving and accelerating children's progress and achievement.

School leaders and teachers have established robust systems that allow them to track children's achievement and their accelerated progress. They engage in regular professional discussion about children's achievement, especially those whose learning requires acceleration.

Teachers receive good support from school leaders and external providers to make informed and valid OTJs about children's achievement in relation to the National Standards. They moderate their OTJs with each other and there are good systems in place to monitor the consistency of these judgements. Further collaboration through the CoL will build on these opportunities to externally moderate. These very good approaches promote greater consistency in the way teachers assess children's achievement throughout the school.

School leaders, teachers and support staff know children and families well. They use achievement information and their knowledge and understanding of individual children to apply effective learning interventions and programmes. Engaging parents as partners in their children's learning is a key component of the school's success. Leaders and teachers communicate well with parents. The high levels of care, support and guidance they provide for children and families promote children's wellbeing and learning.

The school responds very well to accelerate the progress of children, including those with special educational needs and for whom English is a subsequent language. School leaders and teachers use data very well to ensure that programmes and interventions are personalised and purposeful for children.

The board and school leaders consult meaningfully with Māori whānau and are responsive to their views and ideas, especially in promoting Māori language, culture and identity. Improvements include the establishment of kapa haka, increasing use of te reo me ngā tikanga throughout the school, and increased recognition of te ao Māori in classroom programmes. In addition, fono is promoting Pacific parents' contribution.

The board and school leaders agree that useful next steps in strengthening partnerships with their Māori and Pacific parent communities could include the strategic use of the Ministry of Education's Pacific Education Plan, and the New Zealand School Trustee Association's resource, Hautū.

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 targets for equity and excellence?

The school's curriculum is very effective in developing and enacting the school's vision and values, and its goals and targets to promote equity and excellence. It is a broad curriculum, and is designed to enhance children's thinking abilities. The curriculum provides children with varied and rich experiences across all learning areas, and includes good opportunities to explore and celebrate children's cultures, identities and languages. Increasingly, teachers integrate children's reading, writing and mathematics learning into other areas of learning.

Teachers plan programmes that are highly responsive to children's interests, talents and learning needs. They promote children's confidence, support them to take risks in their learning and celebrate their successes. Teachers are increasingly adept at encouraging meaningful learning through the use of digital devices. In addition they are strengthening how they incorporate Māori concepts and language into daily programmes. As a result of these good practices and the positive relationships that exist between children and their teachers, children are well engaged in their learning.

The principal is an experienced professional leader. She works strategically in partnership with capable senior leaders to lead the school. This team values teachers as professionals and uses strengths-based approaches in supporting them to adapt their practice, based on children's changing learning needs. Senior leaders are continuing to manage the pace of change by individualising professional learning approaches for teachers.

School leaders are building a cohesive learning community model that promotes high levels of parent, child and staff input. They use this information as part of their high quality internal evaluation system and to make continual improvements for children. Teachers' professional learning and appraisals align well with the school's strategic goals and targets.

The board of trustees is very supportive of the principal and staff, and has a significant role in strategic decision making. Trustees engage meaningfully with their community. They scrutinise the useful information they receive from the principal and use it to evaluate and resource initiatives and programmes in response to the changing needs of children and staff. Trustees resource the school generously to promote equity for Māori and all other children.

5 Going forward

How well placed is the school to accelerate the achievement of all children who need it?

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. 

In response to the school's high quality leadership, clear vision and well enacted values, parents are very well engaged in the school and satisfied with their children's learning and achievement. Relational trust is high at all levels of the school. Staff work collaboratively and aim for continual improvement and positive outcomes for children.

In going forward, the board and senior leaders are continuing to enhance equity and excellence for Māori, Pacific and all other children throughout the school.

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

7 Recommendation

ERO recommends that the board and school leaders continue with current approaches to support teachers in strengthening their adaptive expertise. This should align with the board's integration of the Pacific Education Plan and Hautū into its strategic planning.

Graham Randell

Deputy Chief Review Officer Northern

12 October 2016

About the school

Location

Balmoral, Auckland

Ministry of Education profile number

1297

School type

Contributing (Years 1 to 6)

School roll

219

Gender composition

Girls 53%; Boys 47%

Ethnic composition

Pakeha

Maori

Filipino

Samoan

Indian

Tongan

other ethnicities

55%

4%

7%

6%

6%

5%

17%

Review team on site

August 2016

Date of this report

12 October 2016

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review Education Review Education Review

September 2013 June 2010 June 2007

 

1 Context

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

Good Shepherd is a state-integrated Catholic school in Balmoral, Auckland. It provides education for students from Years 1 to 6. The roll is multi-cultural with New Zealand European, Māori, Samoan, Tongan, Indian and Filipino students making up the largest groups. The special character of the school is evident in all aspects of school life. The emphasis on school values supports the positive and caring school tone.

Since the 2010 ERO review the school has had change in leadership. A new principal took up the leadership position in term 2, 2013. An acting principal managed the school during term 1, 2013, to bridge the gap between the departure of the previous principal and the arrival of the new principal. The senior leadership team has maintained stability and coherence in school management during this time of change and staff are committed to the school and the wellbeing of all students.

The school community is very supportive of the school. The board mostly consists of trustees who are new to the governance role. An active Parent Teacher Association works hard in the best interests of the school.

The 2010 ERO report found many areas of sound governance, management and teaching practice in the school. These features continue to be present. Continuing to consolidate and embed teaching practices that promote students’ ownership of and participation in learning were identified next steps for the school. Good progress has been made in these areas.

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. Students participate well in their learning. They benefit from respectful relationships with their teachers and with each other. Students talk confidently and knowledgeably about their learning and achievement.

Teachers use effective processes to make judgements about student achievement in relation to the National Standards. They provide parents with clear reports about their child’s progress and achievement. Information gathered by the school shows that most students achieve well, particularly in reading and mathematics. Students needing additional support with their learning are the focus of school target setting for improved achievement. The majority of these students make accelerated progress to reach expected levels of achievement in literacy and numeracy.

Senior leaders closely monitor the progress of individuals and groups, and track trends across time. They interpret findings and provide meaningful reports to the school community. Staff are committed to ongoing improvement and have plans to extend and enhance good practice in the use of student achievement information.

Students with special needs are well included and supported to participate in school life. Teacher aides work closely with an external specialist teacher to provide appropriate programmes for their learning needs. Teacher aides meet regularly with the school’s special needs coordinator to promote clear communication and coordinated practices.

Professional conversations between school leaders and teachers help ensure all students are benefitting from appropriate teaching and learning programmes. Teachers work in highly collegial ways to develop and promote teaching and learning. They use sound strategies to engage students in their learning and high levels of consistency in teaching practice across classrooms are apparent.

Teachers use effective strategies so that students know what they are learning. They provide opportunities for students to use self and peer assessment of their learning. Senior leaders have plans to further increase students’ ownership of their learning.

3 Curriculum

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

The school’s curriculum is considered and comprehensive. It promotes and supports student learning very well. The curriculum gives rigour and value to both the New Zealand Curriculum and the Catholic special character of the school.

Teachers and senior leaders plan curriculum programmes from a very sound teaching and learning foundation. They include students in the identification of contexts for learning. Teachers focus on developing students’ thinking strategies and fostering students’ independence in learning.

Students learn in attractive classrooms that support and visually reflect their learning. They develop their interests through extra-curricular groups that are often run by parents. Students have opportunities to take on responsibility through many different leadership roles.

The board and senior leaders are implementing a strategic plan to develop information and communication technologies (ICT) opportunities for students. A clear emphasis on integrated teaching and learning approaches, along with the provision of appropriate e-learning resources, should enhance the school’s future focused curriculum.

Pacific students report they have a sense of belonging in the school. Teachers find ways to include the culture of these students in class programmes. School leaders could now introduce school-wide initiatives that further promote and celebrate students’ cultural identity, and particularly the cultures of Pacific students.

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

School leaders report that Māori students achieve at similar levels to other students. The board and senior leaders are committed to and value consultation with school whānau. Positive relationships with Māori families are resulting in increased whānau involvement in the school. Several ideas from consultation hui have been implemented. These include:

  • formalising arrangements for the school’s kapa haka group
  • increased opportunities for student involvement in powhiri and whakatau
  • more provision of bilingual signage around the school.

The religious education curriculum integrates bicultural practice and the use of te reo Māori. Most teachers provide some te reo Māori lessons for their own class and support to improve teacher knowledge of te reo and tikanga Māori is available from lead teachers within the school. A more sequential te reo programme to further extend students’ learning is a planned next step for the school.

4 Sustainable Performance

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

The school is well placed to sustain and improve its performance.

The board is effectively led and trustees bring a diversity of backgrounds, skills and expertise to their governance role. They understand the special nature of the school and value the relationships and caring culture. Trustees also identify what is effective in, and important to, the school. They are committed to training, access external advice and support, and want to be well informed about school operations.

The senior leadership team has a shared vision for learning and leads learning developments in the school well. Senior leaders model lifelong learning for staff and students. They create opportunities for other staff to develop their leadership skills.

Effective self-review processes are used at all levels of school operations. Senior leaders and the board seek input into reviews from students, teachers and parents. External reviews complement school self review. Teachers reflect on their practice in relation to school directions, the Registered Teacher Criteria, and school and individual developmental goals.

In order to improve governance practice, ERO and the school agree that the board could now develop an effective process to rationalise and review policies and procedures.

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 three years.

Dale Bailey

National Manager Review Services Northern Region

27 September 2013

About the School

Location

Balmoral, Auckland

Ministry of Education profile number

1297

School type

Contributing (Years 1 to 6)

School roll

229

Gender composition

Boys 50% Girls 50%

Ethnic composition

NZ European/Pākehā

Māori

Samoan

Indian

Tongan

Fijian

Filipino

British

Other

48%

10%

8%

6%

6%

2%

5%

2%

13%

Review team on site

August 2013

Date of this report

27 September 2013

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

June 2010

June 2007

October 2003