Meadowbank School

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School Context

Meadowbank School caters for children in Years 1 to 6. There are currently 746 children enrolled at the school. The roll includes three percent Māori, 20 percent Asian descent, and four percent of Pacific heritage. Close adherence to the enrolment zone helps the school manage the growing roll. Since ERO’S 2015 review, the number of children for whom English is an additional language continues to increase.

The school identifies academic success and personal excellence for all students as valued outcomes. To support these goals, the school aims to provide rich learning opportunities in a safe, respectful and nurturing environment.

Current school targets focus on high achievement in reading and writing. There are specific targets in reading for Māori and Pacific students, and in writing for boys and Māori and Pacific students. Achievement of these targets is supported by teachers’ inquiries into the impact of their practice on learning outcomes for children.

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

  • achievement patterns and trends in reading, writing and mathematics
  • students with additional learning needs
  • wellbeing for student success
  • learning opportunities across the breadth of the curriculum.

The school is part of the Auckland Central Community of Learning (CoL).

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 is achieving equitable and excellent outcomes for most of its students.

The school’s data indicates that consistently most students, including Māori and Pacific, achieve very well in reading, writing and mathematics. Overall achievement is slightly higher for reading and mathematics than for writing.

Over time, small disparities in achievement for different groups of students have been identified and addressed. In reading and mathematics, boys and girls achieved at comparable levels. The school is taking appropriate steps to respond to the existing disparity between boys and girls in writing.

Leaders gather considerable student responses during the course of their internal evaluations. This information tells them that most children:

  • feel safe and happy at the school
  • understand the school values
  • are well engaged in their learning
  • feel empowered to make decisions about their learning.

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

The school has good evidence to show that they are effective in accelerating the learning of the small number of children who need to make accelerated progress.

The school sets appropriate achievement targets. These targets aim to ensure all students make good progress towards achieving excellence in reading, writing and mathematics and to extend those children who already achieve well. Targets are in line with the aspirations and expectations that leaders and the community have for children’s learning.

Teachers use assessment tools to identify gaps in students’ learning and to measure their progress. They identify learners within their class who need to make accelerated progress in reading, writing and mathematics. Some students receive additional literacy and mathematics support through well designed learning programmes. School data show that most students, including Pacific students, who participate in these programmes make accelerated progress.

Teachers engage in forums to discuss, clarify and evaluate their practice related to their individual professional inquiry to improve outcomes for students. In senior classes, leaders and teachers consider the strengths and interests students bring to their learning. They make strategic decisions based on this information to support the overall success of the student. As a result of these good practices, teaching teams assume collective responsibility for student success and personalise their teaching approaches to meet students’ learning needs.

Leaders actively seek out ways to accelerate progress for students who need to achieve better, and to monitor their progress.

2 School conditions for equity and excellence

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

The school has established a clear direction for teaching and learning. Guiding documents, including the charter and local curriculum, are well aligned to support this direction. The school’s vision is underpinned by values, attitudes and behaviours for learning that are well understood by students and teachers. Consultation with the community and local iwi has supported this development. This focus on learners helps to promote equity and excellence for students.

Leadership is effective and well distributed across all levels of the school. Leaders have high expectations of teachers and students. They are committed to teacher development and contribution to the wider education community. Leaders have established comprehensive systems and frameworks to guide school processes. This good practice helps to ensure consistency of good practices across the school.

The school’s curriculum is highly responsive to the local context and environment. Students experience a broad curriculum with many opportunities to learn aligned to the school vision and values. Specialist teachers, te reo Māori and Mandarin language learning, Enviro school, Garden to Table, and education outside the classroom promote the excellence for students. The CoL focus on student agency is well suited to the school’s focus on students’ self-managing their own learning.

A highly professional learning culture for teachers is evident. Teachers value working in this inclusive and productive learning community where they share high expectations for student learning and wellbeing. Teachers have high expectations of themselves and are encouraged to individually and collectively take responsibility for their own professional development and improvement. Professional development is well aligned with school goals and future directions.

The school community benefits from the commitment to ongoing improvement. The board of trustees is improvement focused and ensures that the school is responsive to external evaluation. Parents, teachers and students have opportunities to contribute their ideas and suggestions. There has been a concerted effort to improve communication at all levels. As a result, groups spoken to by ERO feel well informed and involved in decision making.

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

To deepen students’ learning, teachers could consider how they can incorporate further challenge and complexity into programmes.

Leaders could now refine annual targets to focus more on students who need to make accelerated progress, and further evaluate the effectiveness of initiatives to improve outcomes for students.

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 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 five international students attending the school. The school reports that often families enrol their children for just one term to acquire some English language. There is good provision for these students. The principal could now include the progress and achievement of international students in reports 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:

  • a clear school direction that is learner focused for student success

  • distributed leadership that supports coherence across the school

  • a curriculum that provides rich and varied opportunities for students

  • a professional culture that supports high expectations of teachers

  • a commitment to ongoing development that has improved communication at all levels.

Next steps

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

  • continuing to deepen the challenge and complexity in students’ learning

  • refining annual achievement targets

  • further evaluating the effectiveness of initiatives and the impact on student outcomes.

ERO’s next external evaluation process and timing

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

Julie Foley

Deputy Chief Review Officer Northern (Acting)

Te Tai Raki - Northern Region

20 June 2018

About the school

Location

Auckland

Ministry of Education profile number

1370

School type

Contributing (Years 1 to 6)

School roll

746

Gender composition

Boys 52% Girls 48%

Ethnic composition

Pākehā 73%

Māori 3%

Chinese 14%

Samoan 2%

Indian 2%

other Asian 4%

other Pacific peoples 2%

Provision of Māori medium education

No

Review team on site

April 2018

Date of this report

20 June 2018

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review May 2015

Education ReviewNovember 2010

Education Review May 2007

Findings

Meadowbank School is proud of its educational history and tradition of providing good quality education for students in Years 1 to 6. Students achieve at high levels and experience a curriculum with a strong environmental focus. An inclusive school environment is reflected in the positive relationships between students and teachers.

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?

Meadowbank School has a long history of providing good quality education for students from Years 1 to 6. The school celebrates its centennial in 2015. It is currently experiencing a period of roll growth and further growth is also anticipated. The community remains highly engaged in the life of the school having high expectations for the quality of education and of school leaders.

The school occupies two sites on either side of a gully and it serves the residential areas of Meadowbank and Remuera. The school operates as one school, across the two sites with many opportunities for students to mix for curriculum and pastoral programmes. Years 1 and 2 occupy one site and are called the junior school. Year 3 to 6 students are located on the other side of the gully and are known as the senior school.

The gully, that includes a local stream, has been thoughtfully restored through a long period of environmental action and commitment by students, teachers, staff and the wider school community. Students are proud of the school’s environmental legacy and show a strong sense of belonging and ownership to the school.

Since the 2010 ERO review, there has been significant staff change. There are new teachers and team leaders. Leadership positions are generally held by long serving staff.

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 well to make positive changes to students’ learning. Many students achieve high levels of success, in relation to the National Standards.

Teachers are increasing opportunities for students to evaluate their achievement and identify next learning steps. They use a wide range of useful assessment tools and follow robust processes to determine students’ levels of achievement. In Year 1 to 3, teachers have improved their achievement judgements to better align with National Standard requirements.

School leaders have identified that while some student year groups made expected gains, their progress was not accelerated. ERO recommends that leaders and the board evaluate the impact of the number of teacher changes on rates of student progress and achievement.

Māori students achieve well and some achieve very well. The board could refine its targets for Māori student achievement with expectations comparable to targets set for other students. Some Pacific students achieve well and Pacific families have high expectations and aspirations for their children. School leaders have identified that raising Pacific student achievement is a key focus for teachers’ professional learning. The board could now set targets for Pacific achievement that match targets set for other groups of learners.

Teachers are working with a large group of target students to provide further support to help them reach their academic potential. Partnerships with families have been developed to support their children’s learning. External professional learning is supporting staff development and accelerating the progress of these students.

The coordinator of learning support programmes works closely with classroom teachers and teacher aides. It would be useful to evaluate the effectiveness of learning support programmes and report the findings more regularly to the board to help guide resourcing decisions.

Improving communication and developing reciprocal partnerships with families is a key part of the school’s strategic plan to improve student outcomes. Parents receive helpful reports and these have been improved over time. A group of Pacific parents are increasingly involved in school initiatives to support their children’s success. School leaders welcome their input and contributions. Recent fono and other occasions to gather together are strengthening relationships and increasing the connection between the school and families.

3 Curriculum

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

The school’s curriculum is effective in promoting and supporting student learning.

An inclusive and learning-focused culture supports students to work collaboratively and co-operatively. Students are confident and capable learners. They are enthusiastic about their learning. Student leadership opportunities are broad and these have increased over time. Younger students benefit from tuakana-teina relationships with older students. Students have opportunities to learn the Mandarin language.

Good quality teaching is evident and there are many examples of high quality practices in the school. Well-resourced classrooms and learning prompts help students develop their self management skills. School leaders provide teachers with professional learning that is relevant and positively impacts student learning.

The curriculum aligns well to The New Zealand Curriculum and offers students a broad range of learning opportunities. The focus on effective literacy and mathematics learning over the past four years now places the school in a very good position to develop a school curriculum design that:

  • is more personalised, flexible and future focussed
  • helps students make meaningful learning links between curriculum areas
  • encourages students to make more choices and decisions about their learning
  • enhances student wellbeing and reflects parent aspirations.

Teachers’ appraisal has changed to promote a more reflective and collaborative teaching culture. Well chosen professional development has helped leaders manage this change process. The Registered Teachers’ Criteria are used to evaluate teachers’ performance. Leaders now plan to more formally use the professional standards to attest teachers’ performance.

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

Since the 2010 ERO review, the school has made good progress in promoting educational success for Māori students. There has been a positive shift in bicultural learning and inclusion in the school. Māori students are proud of their identity and Māori heritage. They reported to ERO that ‘they know a lot more Māori than they used to’. Other students said that knowing about te reo Māori and Māori culture was ‘important because it’s our culture, like a part of us when we travel away’.

School leaders have increased opportunities for Māori students to lead in whaikorero and succeed as Māori. Kapa haka has grown significantly with high levels of student interest. The kaupapa of the Enviroschool’s programme enhances the school’s wider curriculum. New curriculum themes, like whanaungatanga, further support students to consider Māori perspectives.

Working in partnership with whānau, the school is making better use of parent expertise to build teacher’s knowledge and to develop a progressive te reo Māori programme. School leaders could revisit relationships with local iwi and whānau to support further curriculum development.

Teachers are using indicators of cultural responsiveness to help them evaluate how well teaching practices are promoting educational success for Māori students. The board and school leaders could use Ka Hikitia-Accelerating Success 2013 – 2017 and the Measurable Gains framework to inform the school’s strategic planning.

4 Sustainable Performance

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

The school is well placed to improve and sustain its performance. Effective self review is resulting in positive educational outcomes for students.

The principal continues to promote a distributed senior leadership model. He is also promoting school development through close involvement in wider educational networks. School leaders offer and support leadership opportunities for teachers.

Trustees have a variety of useful skills and experience. The board has made successful strategic decisions to manage property improvements and finances. The board works positively with the principal and other school leaders to manage governance changes. Trustees are planning to build board membership to be more reflective of the school’s diverse community. The board would benefit from:

  • further training to help trustees in their governance roles and managing the board’s obligations
  • evaluative reports that show progress in relation to the school’s strategic goals
  • broader, regular community input to inform the school’s vision and strategic planning.

ERO recommends that the school develops approaches with families and students that minimise the impact of staff change. ERO also recommends that trustees use staff and student wellbeing surveys to provide valuable perspectives about the school’s working and learning environment as part of the board's self review and its role as a good employer. It may help the board to engage external expertise. Finding additional ways to surface and manage parent concerns could further improve relationships with the community.

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 4 international students attending the school.

The school provides good quality pastoral care and offers a wide variety of learning opportunities for international students. School leaders ensure students are well integrated in the life of the school, and students receive additional language learning as required.

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 improve practice, the board should:

  • increase board reports on patterns and trends of attendance, accidents, illness and hazards
  • improve the storage of in-committee minutes
  • ensure overnight trips are approved by the board
  • strengthen self review information on student and staff wellbeing
  • review the student safety/anti-bullying policy using the updated Ministry of Education guidelines
  • include the requirements for photographic identification in appointments’ procedures.

Conclusion

Meadowbank School is proud of its educational history and tradition of providing good quality education for students in Years 1 to 6. Students achieve at high levels and experience a curriculum with a strong environmental focus. An inclusive school environment is reflected in the positive relationships between students and teachers.

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

Dale Bailey

Deputy Chief Review Officer Northern

15 May 2015

About the School

Location

Remuera, Auckland

Ministry of Education profile number

1370

School type

Contributing (Years 1 to 6)

School roll

726

Number of international students

4

Gender composition

Boys 53%

Girls 47%

Ethnic composition

Māori

Pākehā

Chinese

Indian

Samoan

Tongan

other Asian

other

5%

60%

7%

3%

2%

2%

6%

15%

Review team on site

March 2015

Date of this report

15 May 2015

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

November 2010

May 2007

February 2004