Northcote Intermediate

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Findings

Students at Northcote Intermediate are very engaged with their learning. They learn in ways that are challenging and exciting and designed to make learning fun. The school responds well to the needs of all learners. Students continue to make positive shifts in achievement.

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?

Northcote Intermediate School is located on Auckland’s North Shore. The school is well supported by its local community and this is reflected in significant roll growth since the last ERO review in 2013.

A new principal has recently been appointed to the school and is building on the school’s well embedded culture of trusting relationships noted in the 2013 ERO report. As a result, relationships between students, parents and the local community are very positive. The school’s (F.I.R.S.T) vision; Future-focussed, Informed, Respectful, Successful, Thinkers underpin actions within the school. In addition, a more recently developed ‘Learning Model’ provides a framework and guidance for teaching and learning.

Recommendations from the 2013 ERO report have been addressed and this has enhanced school performance and sustainability. There have been significant cultural and pedagogical changes in the school over the last three years and these have contributed to improved student achievement.

2 Learning

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

School leaders and teachers use achievement information well. Ongoing growth in teaching capability over the past three years has resulted in positive shifts in student achievement. Students talk confidently about what they are learning and why, and what their next learning steps might be. They can identify what challenges them in their learning and what excites them. Students spoken to by ERO expressed a sense of wellbeing, belonging and enjoyment in talking about school life.

Student progress in reading and writing has been accelerated and mathematics achievement has consolidated over the last three years. This is the result of deliberate and targeted teaching and learning programmes that have been successfully implemented by leaders and teachers. The school is making good progress towards the government's goal of having 85% of students achieving at or above National Standards by 2017.

School leaders are quick to identify the students who may require additional support to achieve equitable outcomes. However, the school’s achievement data for Māori and Pacific students shows a disparity that leaders and teachers are working actively to address. Their aim is to develop strategies and initiatives that positively shift outcomes for these students.

Senior leaders are also responding to data that shows that boys require support to achieve as well as girls in reading and writing. In addition, they have noted that girls require support to achieve as well as boys in mathematics. Initiatives aimed at promoting students to meaningfully engage in learning are part of the foundation that teachers are building to achieve greater equity and improved outcomes for all students.

New leadership structures are helping to build teachers’ collective capacity and capability. Teaching staff are sharing knowledge and have a shared ‘language of learning”. This is supporting teachers to evaluate and inquire into the impact of their teaching practices. It is also helping to build knowledge at the teaching team level that directly supports individual students’ learning.

The new appraisal system, aligned to Tātaiako: Cultural Competencies for Teachers of Māori Learners, and the Education Council’s Practising Teacher Criteria, provides a framework for teachers to inquire deeply into their teaching and, in particular, its impact on the learning of target students. It is likely that these capability building developments will continue to contribute to accelerating student achievement.

3 Curriculum

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

The school’s curriculum effectively supports and promotes student learning. Teachers know students and their families very well and encourage and support students to engage actively in learning. Teachers are attuned to students’ broader motivations and this is evident in the way that they often provide assistance for students at after school sports and cultural activities.

Teachers place the learner at the centre of their decision-making about the curriculum. They emphasise the collaborative nature of learning and students have good opportunities to work cooperatively with their peers. These approaches are helping students to develop a sound understanding of themselves as learners.

There is strong alignment between the school’s values, F.I.R.S.T, the school curriculum, and The New Zealand Curriculum. School leaders have also gathered multiple perspectives, to ensure that the school’s curriculum is authentic and responsive to students’ interests and needs. Planned and strategic professional learning and development will help the school to continue to review, develop and enact a meaningful curriculum.

The school’s new systems framework, ‘The school learning model’ is a further initiative designed to help build alignment and coherence across the curriculum and meet the needs of all learners. It is being used well to serve the specific needs of individuals and groups. Examples of this include extension opportunities for boys in writing, a robotics project, and the Mana group which taps into students’ cultural identity. This is successfully building on students’ interests and promoting their engagement with the curriculum.

The learning environment provides a caring and inclusive community for learners. Diversity and difference are valued. School leaders and teachers are keen to progressively shift the locus of control to students. This is evident in the classrooms where students can voice their thinking and take planned risks with their learning.

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

The school is increasingly promoting the educational success of Māori. There is a strong commitment to ensuring success for Māori as Māori. The school has undertaken a well-considered and deliberate approach towards improving outcomes for Māori students by:

  • consulting widely with Māori students and their whānau
  • consulting with the broader Māori community
  • strategically appointing staff
  • undertaking appropriate professional development
  • engaging students in relevant academic programmes such as, Mana, kapa haka and Equip

Māori students appreciate and are benefitting from learning in an environment where there are high levels of relational trust. Teachers are developing their collective capacity to integrate Māori language and culture across learning contexts. As a next step, leaders have identified that having a Māori perspective in all aspects of school evaluation will further enrich the school's capacity to meet the needs of all students.

An increased focus on bicultural perspectives is evident across all areas of school life and this is highly valued by the wider school community.

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 and enter its next phase of growth.

The board of trustees represents and serves the education and school community well in its stewardship role. Trustees are very supportive of the school's vision and direction. This is demonstrated in the way the board, together with school leaders, have:

  • built on and enhanced the culture of relational trust across the school
  • effectively undertaken change management with staff
  • promoted and embedded child-centred thinking and decision making

Next steps include further evaluating student achievement data so as to better gauge progress and specifically measure the achievement of students overtime. This will help the board to evaluate the effectiveness of the learning initiatives that they are resourcing.

School leadership is effective. Through collaboration with staff the school’s values, goals and priorities for excellence are being enacted. Leaders have established a framework for authentic and meaningful learning.

The school has joined the Northcote Community of Learning (CoL) and this is evidence of its commitment to promoting well-coordinated educational pathways with the wider education sector in Northcote. This should serve students at Northcote Intermediate School very well and support them to make successful transitions in and out of the schools and early childhood services within the Community of Learning.

School leaders identify that their next steps are to continue to build coherence between organisational structures, processes and practice using the ‘School Learning Model’ as the catalyst for school improvement. They also plan to continue building evaluation capability and capacity to support this next phase of school development

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 was one international student attending the school. The school generally enrols students for three to six months. These students live with their parents and/or designated caregivers during their time at the school. Prior to 2015 the school also hosted groups of students without the specific permission required as a signatory to the Code. The school is rectifying this situation.

The school’s inclusive culture means that international students are well supported holistically and in the academic curriculum. They participate in cultural and sporting opportunities along with their peers. Their progress and achievement is well monitored using the same systems and those used to monitor other students’ achievement in the school.

The school recognises the need to improve their ways of reviewing and documenting evidence to comply with all aspects of the Code.

ERO recommends that the school seeks support to enable them to address the areas of non-compliance noted above.

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.

ERO identified one area of non-compliance. To address this the board must ensure that it meets the requirements of the Code of Practice for the Pastoral Care of International Students relating to group students provisions.

Section 238F of the Education Act 1989; 27.3 and 27.4.

Conclusion

Students at Northcote Intermediate are very engaged with their learning. They learn in ways that are challenging and exciting and designed to make learning fun. The school responds well to the needs of all learners. Students continue to make positive shifts in achievement.

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

Graham Randell
Deputy Chief Review Officer Northern

8 August 2016

About the School 

Location

Northcote, Auckland

Ministry of Education profile number

1394

School type

Intermediate (Years 7 to 8)

School roll

323

Number of international students

1

Gender composition

Girls       49%
Boys      50%

Ethnic composition

Māori
Pākehā
Pasifika
Korean
Chinese
Indian
other European
other

12%
60%
12%
  4%
  3%
  3%
  2%
  4%

Special Features

Resource Teachers of Learning and Behaviour (RTLB) based at the school

Review team on site

June 2016

Date of this report

8 August 2016

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review
Education Review
Education Review

June 2013
June 2010
June 2007

Findings

1 Context

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

Northcote Intermediate, on Auckland’s North Shore, provides good quality education for its students. They receive a broad education that develops their academic, sporting and cultural interests and abilities.

The principal, appointed in 2011, and trustees have maintained the very good partnerships with parents and the local community noted in the previous ERO report in 2010.

School operations are founded on bi-cultural principles. Multi-cultural approaches to teaching and learning stem from shared understandings about how catering for diverse learning requirements can be guided by the Treaty of Waitangi.

Collegial staff relationships feature in the school. Students respond well to the inclusive environment that staff provide. They support each other in their learning and are respectful to teachers.

Recommendations from the 2010 ERO report have been used to further embed the school’s student centred curriculum, particularly the ‘FIRST’ model that focuses on attitudes and behaviours required for effective learning. Teacher participation in professional learning and development (PLD) initiatives has resulted in improved outcomes for students. These developments have provided a sound foundation for the board, senior leaders and teachers to embed the principles of the New Zealand Curriculum.

The board has managed property developments effectively. Upgrades to classrooms have focused on enhancing student learning. New technology and art rooms have replaced out-of-date facilities. An improved Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) infrastructure has provided students and staff with more reliable access to internet resources.

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 learners’ engagement, progress and achievement.

Students have opportunities to contribute to the success of their learning. They set their own goals, identify resources they require and review how well their learning goals are met.

Teachers use achievement information to plan programmes and modify their teaching practice. They have good knowledge of each student’s learning requirements. Consideration is given to teaching and learning practices that best support students’ different capabilities and interests. Students with learning difficulties are well catered for, with a good balance between targeted in-class programmes and small group sessions.

The senior leadership team, including two newly appointed team leaders, has the knowledge and drive to embed assessment practices that are focused on improving outcomes for students. Effective leadership has supported teachers to strengthen their reflective practice. Teachers discuss the implications student achievement information has for their delivery of the curriculum. As a result they are developing strategies to build on different students’ strengths and interests. They have a better understanding of how the acknowledgement and celebration of students’ culture, language and identity contributes to improved learning.

The board uses achievement information, including collated National Standards data for reading, writing and mathematics, to inform strategic planning and provide funding to support teaching and learning practices. Trustees ensure that parents receive clear written information about the achievement and progress of their children in relation to the National Standards.

Recent successful initiatives that have focused on improving student engagement and achievement include:

  • a new appraisal process that supports teachers to reflect on student achievement in order to plan programmes and modify teaching approaches
  • improved assessment systems to provide students, board and parents with more reliable achievement information.

Areas identified by the school as areas for further development and review include:

  • building on the very good use of achievement information by further developing processes to track and monitor the progress of groups of students over time
  • teachers further developing their capability to make overall judgements about how well students achieve in relation to the National Standards.

Senior leaders have organised professional learning and development to help teachers better support Pacific students to more consistently achieve to their potential as learners. The Pasifika Education Plan 2009 - 2012 (MoE) has been used to identify strategies to strengthen partnerships with the families of Pacific students.

3 Curriculum

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

The school’s broad curriculum, based on the principles of the New Zealand Curriculum, promotes and supports student learning well. Teachers and trustees share a commitment to support all students to develop their capabilities.

Culturally responsive teaching and learning practices are evident in classrooms and the playground. Parents, whānau and aiga are encouraged to be involved in the life of the school. Students are respected for their opinions as young people with rights and responsibilities.

The board, senior leaders and teachers have given much consideration to the successful transition of students from their contributing school to intermediate and beyond. The principal has begun to consult with local primary school representatives about how Northcote Intermediate School’s curriculum can build on and enhance students’ prior learning.

Initiatives that provide students with a sense of sequence and purpose to their education include:

  • inquiry lessons that require students to apply a variety of skills and understandings from previous studies
  • teachers providing opportunities for students to investigate areas of personal interest
  • a school culture that encourages students to discuss the significance of what they are learning with other students and their teachers.

Areas identified by the school for further development and review include:

  • provision in the school curriculum for Pacific students to have more opportunities to experience success as Tongan, Samoan, Niue or Fijian
  • further promoting student opportunities to use and reflect on their literacy and mathematics skills and knowledge in learning areas such as technology, science, and the arts
  • access for students to examples of work produced by their peers so they can gauge how well they are achieving and plan ways they can improve their learning.

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

The school’s inclusive environment helps Māori students to engage in their learning. As a result, most Māori students progress and achieve at comparable levels to their classmates.

Māori students have opportunities to experience success as Māori. Students take leadership roles in kapa haka and events that celebrate their identity, language and culture.

Senior leaders and the board use the Ministry of Education’s Māori Education Strategy,Ka Hikitia: Managing for Success, as a tool for reviewing how well school policies and practices develop the potential of Māori students. Trustees, school leaders and teachers, guided by resources such as Tātaiako: cultural competencies for teachers of Māori learners have high expectations for improved outcomes for Māori students. Māori representation on the board has also helped the school’s drive to ensure that Māori students experience success as Māori.

The school has identified that teachers should further develop their skills and confidence in delivering a te reo Māori programme that builds on student capability and promotes the use of Māori language across 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 governs the school successfully and supports the principal and teachers in their work. Trustees value parent feedback and contributions. They think strategically about ways to support teachers and parents in achieving positive outcomes for students. The school community’s diverse cultural mix is viewed by the board, senior leaders and teachers as the school’s strength.

The principal has managed the school’s development well. He has thoughtfully promoted the development of learning focused partnerships. The board, senior leaders and teachers now think more strategically about the significance and impact of what they do to improve outcomes for students. Teachers accept critique and actively explore ways to improve their teaching practices. The emerging professional learning culture has supported the development of purposeful, collaborative programme planning. Senior leaders and teachers share a common understanding about the school’s goal of promoting student-led learning.

ERO and the board agree that the school’s well developed self review processes could be further refined by:

  • the board, senior leaders and teachers developing effective ways to capture different peoples’ contributions, including student, parent, whānau and aiga perspectives.
  • the board reviewing its own effectiveness
  • ongoing review of the effectiveness of strategies used to improve outcomes for students.

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 seven international students attending the school, most of whom are Korean. The school has attested that it complies with all aspects of the Code.

International students are well included in classroom programmes. They receive support from a teacher qualified in second language teaching and learning.

ERO’s investigations confirmed that the school’s self-review process for international students is thorough. The board is provided with regular reports on the effectiveness of the school’s provision for international students including how well international students are engaged in learning, achieving and progressing.

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

18 June 2013

About the School

Location

Northcote, Auckland

Ministry of Education profile number

1394

School type

Intermediate (Years 7 to 8)

School roll

226

Number of international students

7

Gender composition

Boys 50%

Girls 50%

Ethnic composition

NZ European/Pākehā

Māori

Tongan

Other Pacific

Chinese

Indian

African

Korean

South East Asian

Other Asian

Other European

Other

53%

9%

11%

7%

3%

3%

2%

2%

1%

5%

3%

1%

Special Features

Resource teachers of behaviour and learning (RTLB) based at the school

Review team on site

April 2013

Date of this report

18 June 2013

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

June 2010

June 2007

August 2005