Northcote School (Auckland)

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School Context

Northcote School (Auckland) caters for students from Years 1 to 6 and is located on Auckland’s North Shore. At the time of this evaluation, the school has a roll of 485 students. Over half of the students are Pākehā. There is an increasing number of Asian students, who make up 15 percent of the roll. Māori students comprise 11 percent of the roll, and there is a smaller percentage of Pacific students.

Currently, the school is reviewing its vision and strategic direction to ensure they reflect all stakeholders’ aspirations and identified valued outcomes for students. The board’s achievement target is that 85 percent of students will reach expected levels in reading, writing, and mathematics.

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

  • assessment information in reading, writing, and mathematics

  • learner qualities that define a good learner

  • accelerated learning programmes in mathematics.

Some staff participate in a Ministry of Education professional learning and development (PLD) Accelerated Learning in Mathematics (ALiM) programme. Leaders and teachers have also accessed PLD to improve staff appraisal.

Since 2014 there have been significant staff changes in the teaching staff and middle leadership team. A new principal was appointed in Term 2, 2017. The majority of trustees are relatively new to their role. The construction of new permanent classrooms and an administration block has been a significant development during 2016 and 2017.

Northcote School (Auckland) is part of a Kāhui Ako, Northcote Community of Learnings.

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 needs to increase the effectiveness of its practices, in order to achieve equitable and excellent outcomes for all learners, especially for those whose learning progress needs acceleration.

Achievement information over the last four years indicates that high achievement has been maintained in reading and mathematics, with most students achieving at or above expected levels. Student achievement in mathematics shows an upward trend. Of concern, is the significant disparity over the last four years for Māori and the few Pacific students who attend the school. There is also a disparity for boys in writing, and to a lesser extent, in reading.

Students achieve well in relation to the school’s valued outcomes. They are respectful, competent, and confident about themselves as learners. Students actively engage in meaningful and enjoyable learning experiences.

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

The school needs to respond more effectively to those Māori, Pacific, and other students whose achievement needs acceleration.

The 2014 ERO report noted that more work was required to promote students’ ownership of their learning progress. More in-class support was required for students with additional learning needs, and with English language learning needs. Some progress has been made in these areas.

Currently, the school identifies Māori and Pacific students whose learning needs acceleration, as part of target groups. These students receive additional support through in-class and withdrawal programmes. Close monitoring of students’ progress and achievement is undertaken at teaching and middle leadership levels, and shared with senior leaders. Leaders collate achievement data and report information to the board.

Very good accelerated progress has been made in mathematics, through the use of ALiM. Leaders could access other similar programmes to help accelerate students’ progress in reading and writing.

To improve the effectiveness of the school’s practices, leaders need to identify and implement deliberate actions to support accelerated progress. They should refine achievement targets, monitor student progress, and evaluate the effectiveness of learning programmes in achieving positive learner outcomes. Internal evaluation can also help to identify next steps for the school’s ongoing improvement in supporting children who are at risk of not achieving. Leaders also need to report analysed achievement information to the board more frequently, to inform trustees about the effectiveness of the curriculum and where to prioritise the school’s resources.

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 some processes and practices that enable the achievement of equity and excellence. Students enjoy learning opportunities that engage them in their learning through an integrated curriculum. They have good opportunities for collaboration, negotiation, and problem solving. Digital technology enhances students’ learning, particularly for boys in writing. Students in the early year levels engage in learning that is purposeful and authentic, and responds to their interests.

Good use has been made of internal expertise to improve teaching practices and curriculum content knowledge in reading and mathematics. Team leaders have strengths in collaboration, and are developing a culture of working together. They provide coherence, model good practices, and build shared understandings that are resulting in improved teaching and learning.

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

School leaders agree that internal evaluation processes need to be developed in the school’s drive to achieve equity and excellence for all children. Trustees and school leaders need to:

  • develop specific charter targets that focus on supporting learners who are at risk of not achieving

  • identify what has made the difference in reducing disparity

  • report more frequently to the board about the progress of targeted students

  • support teachers to implement deliberate actions to accelerate student progress

  • develop leadership that supports and enhances equity and excellence for all learners

  • provide constructive feedback to teachers about ways they can improve their practice in achieving equity and excellence for all learners.

Leaders need to develop the curriculum so that it:

  • builds on students’ identities, languages and cultures

  • reflects the bicultural heritage of Aotearoa New Zealand

  • supports students to take more ownership of their learning.

Leaders need to review the procedures for, and implementation of, staff performance appraisal to ensure that Education Council requirements are met. They need to review current approaches and design more inclusive practices for children with special learning needs and abilities.

Trustees would benefit from participating in training to develop shared understandings about their roles and responsibilities. This training would help them to promote and support Māori learner success. Trustees need to ensure that they engage with whānau Māori about their aspirations for their children.

Strengthened partnerships with parents, whānau, and community, that are focused on improving learning, would contribute to the achievement of valued 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.

Appraisal audit

ERO is not assured about the quality and breadth of teacher performance appraisal processes, which have been inconsistently implemented.

Provision for international students

The school is a signatory to the Education (Pastoral Care of International Students) Code of Practice 2016 established under section 238F of the Education Act 1989. The school has attested that it complies with all aspects of the Code.

No international students were enrolled at the time of the ERO review.

Actions for compliance

ERO identified non-compliance in relation to teacher appraisal. In order to address this, the board of trustees must:

  1. implement policies and procedures to ensure that teachers are appraised annually. State Sector Act 1988, s77C.

4 Going forward

Key strengths of the school

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

  • processes and practices that enable students to enjoy learning opportunities that engage and connect them to their learning through an integrated curriculum

  • some teachers’ knowledge and expertise in the use of achievement information, and teaching practices that accelerate the progress of children at risk of not achieving.

Next steps

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

  • leaders building their evaluation capability to improve programmes that reduce disparity

  • trustees setting clear and specific targets for reducing disparity and evaluating the effectiveness of school strategies

  • providing a curriculum that responds to students’ identities, languages, and cultures.

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.

Graham Randell

Deputy Chief Review Officer Northern

Te Tai Raki - Northern Region

31 January 2018

About the school

Location

Auckland

Ministry of Education profile number

1395

School type

Contributing Primary( Years 1 to 6)

School roll

485

Gender composition

Boys 53% Girls 47%

Ethnic composition

Māori
Pākeha
Asian
Pasifika
other

11%
60%
15%
4%
10%

Provision of Māori medium education

No

Review team on site

November, 2017

Date of this report

31 January 2018

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review
Education Review
Education Review

September 2014
July 2011
April 2008

Findings

Students benefit from education that supports their learning and nurtures their wellbeing. They are responding well to a curriculum that is increasingly student centred. School leaders and trustees demonstrate a strong commitment to serving the school and its community. The school is well placed to maintain ongoing improvement.

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 School is a Year 1 to 6 multicultural school located on Auckland’s North Shore. The school welcomes and encourages parent involvement, and actively promotes community engagement. An inclusive culture is underpinned by the school values and vision.

Since the 2011 ERO report, there have been changes in board membership. The board has established an enrolment zone due to an increase in the roll over the last three years. Trustees are also about to oversee a modernisation building project that includes a new classroom block and administration area.

The school has a history of positive ERO reports. The 2011 ERO report noted the good quality learning opportunities offered to students. The report also commented on the positive profile of te reo and tikanga Māori in the school. This focus has continued and bicultural contexts for learning are honoured and embraced.

2 Learning

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

The school makes good use of student achievement information to make positive changes to student learning. As a result students, including Māori and Pacific students, are actively engaged in their learning and progress and achieve well.

Publically available data regarding National Standards achievement in reading and mathematics compares favourably with other schools locally and nationally. Teachers’ professional learning focus on written language is strengthening students’ skills and knowledge. The school’s student achievement information is reported regularly to the board. Trustees use this information to make generous and targeted resourcing decisions.

Senior leaders and teachers analyse student data effectively to identify student learning strengths and needs. Professional development is enhancing teachers’ understanding of student learning and strengthening their knowledge and skill in using achievement information. Teachers set and monitor specific targets to support students who are not achieving sufficiently.

Students are given opportunities to reflect on their learning and set learning goals. This is supporting students to understand their learning progress. Senior leaders and teachers could further investigate ways for students to have greater ownership of their learning progress.

Students with additional learning requirements and those with English language learning needs are supported well through a range of specialist interventions and programmes. Their progress and achievement is regularly monitored. Senior leaders agree that they could review the impact of current support systems on student engagement and progress, and identify ways to offer more in-class support for individual students.

3 Curriculum

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

Northcote School’s curriculum is effective in promoting and supporting student learning. The curriculum enhances student confidence and competence, and nurtures student wellbeing. School values of contribution, participation and self management are promoted in curriculum programmes.

Students are confident, engaged in their learning and display a sense of pride in their identity. They have opportunities for leadership roles and to work collaboratively with others. Students benefit from respectful teacher relationships and they respond positively to teaching that acknowledges their learning progress.

Teachers support students to develop thinking and inquiry skills. They are providing students with many opportunities to increase their literacy skills throughout the curriculum. A strategic plan is guiding the development of teaching approaches to enable students to engage in e-learning.

Māori language week offers students, staff, parents and whānau the opportunity to experience a culture that is embraced by the school. Students’ understanding of biculturalism is developed through a wide range of varied and meaningful learning experiences. School assemblies provide students with other opportunities to lead and celebrate their learning.

Teachers use effective strategies to support student learning. Professional development has raised teacher understanding and capability to deliver the school curriculum effectively. Senior leaders and teachers agree that continued professional development could focus on further encouraging students to become independent learners.

The school has a small number of Pacific students from the countries of Niue, Fiji, Samoa and Tonga. They show positive attitudes to school and learning. Senior leaders and teachers could use the Ministry of Education plan for Pacific Education to guide teaching practices that promote further success for Pacific learners.

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

Māori students spoken to during the review shared their sense of pride in being a Māori student at Northcote School. Trustees, senior leaders and teachers are committed to supporting Māori students’ to achieve success as Māori.

This shared commitment to Māori success is demonstrated through:

  • the value placed on Māori students’ language, culture and identity
  • the appointment of teachers skilled in te reo and tikanga Māori
  • a Te Whare programme where students learn te reo and tikanga Māori
  • promotion of Māori culture through powhiri, hui, kapa haka and tuakana/teina relationships
  • regular whānau hui
  • building relationships with the wider Māori community, including academic staff at tertiary institutions, schools and early childhood centres, past pupils and their whānau.

Māori whānau perspectives are valued and inform school decision-making. The board agrees that the Ministry of Education strategy Ka Hikitia Accelerating Success 2013-2017 would be useful to guide strategic and annual planning goals to further promote Māori success.

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. This is demonstrated through:

  • effective leadership of the school and the board
  • collaboration between the board and principal to extend leadership capability
  • commitment to continue improving teaching practice through professional development and effective appraisal processes.

The school’s leadership team is valued by trustees and staff. The principal promotes a culture of shared leadership throughout the school. Senior leaders and teachers work collaboratively resulting in shared expectations and clear communication.

Trustees are well informed through good quality reporting processes. They receive information about school operations and student achievement. Strategic and operational planning guides school direction and self review. Trustees acknowledge that the board’s self review could be improved by further surveys of staff and community perspectives.

The board has undertaken a review of how complaints are received and managed. Trustees have sought appropriate advice and improved processes so they are better placed to address parent and community concerns.

Provision for international students

Northcote School is a signatory to the Code of Practice for the Pastoral Care of the International Students (the Code) established under section 238F of the Education Act 1989. No international students were enrolled at the time of the ERO review.

The school has attested that it complies with all aspects of the Code.

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.

Conclusion

Students benefit from education that supports their learning and nurtures their wellbeing. They are responding well to a curriculum that is increasingly student centred. School leaders and trustees demonstrate a strong commitment to serving the school and its community. The school is well placed to maintain ongoing improvement.

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

Dale Bailey

National Manager Review Services Northern Region

22 September 2014

About the School

Location

Northcote, Auckland

Ministry of Education profile number

1395

School type

Contributing (Years 1 to 6)

School roll

467

Number of international students

0

Gender composition

Boys 51%

Girls 49%

Ethnic composition

Māori

NZ European/Pākehā

Chinese

African

Filipino

Korean

Pacific

Middle Eastern

other European

other

11%

67%

5%

3%

2%

2%

2%

1%

2%

5%

Review team on site

July 2014

Date of this report

22 September 2014

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

July 2011

April 2008

April 2005