Pigeon Mountain School

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School Context

Pigeon Mountain School caters for students from Years 1 to 6. It has a growing and ethnically diverse roll of approximately 600 students. Māori children make up two percent of the roll, one percent are Pacific, 47 percent are Chinese, and 24 percent are New Zealand/European.

The school’s whakatauki of Mātauranga o te ngākau, ‘Education with a heart’ sits at the centre of its mission, vision and values. The mission is based on the learning principles of providing opportunities for learners to experience and understand big ideas about their world through cooperation and collaboration. The school’s vision is ‘Living and Learning with Purpose and Passion’ and school values include resilience, responsibility, excellence and respect. These values are well understood and supported by parents, teachers and students. The school’s pastoral care programme is based on values of care and respect, and supports the school’s broader mission, vision and values.

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

  • achievement in reading, writing and mathematics

  • outcomes for students with special learning and or additional learning needs

  • overall progress and achievement in relation to school targets

  • children’s progress and accelerated progress

  • outcomes related to student wellbeing for success.

Staff have participated in Ministry of Education (MOE) professional learning contracts in the teaching of mathematics and the use of digital technologies to enhance learning. School leaders and teachers have also engaged in workshops and personalised professional learning opportunities to do with teaching writing, inquiry learning and coaching.

Since the 2013 ERO report, a new principal was appointed in 2015. The board has a range of new and experienced trustees who reflect the school’s ethnic diversity. A new whānau structure introduced in 2017, organises the school into six teaching and learning teams which are made up of mixed year levels. A number of new team leaders have been appointed to support this initiative.

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 highly effective in achieving equitable and excellent outcomes for all its students. School achievement information over the last three years shows very high levels of student achievement in reading, writing and mathematics.

Leaders and teachers have a deliberate focus, and are successfully addressing a small disparity in achievement for boys in writing. School systems, practices and personalised approaches have resulted in increasing parity for students in this learning area.

Students achieve very well in relation to other school valued outcomes. Students:

  • reflect care and respect for each other

  • demonstrate co-operation and collaboration in their active engagement in learning

  • are inclusive, and accepting of difference

  • demonstrate the school’s values.

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

The school is highly effective in responding to those students whose learning and achievement needs acceleration.

The leadership team sets clear expectations regarding responsiveness, and prioritises relevant ongoing professional learning and development. Teachers undertake a range of team inquiries and personalised practices that focus on meeting learners’ needs. Leaders’ commitment to responsiveness is also evident in increased teacher accountability for the progress of children who require acceleration.

Teachers identify children’s strengths, interests and needs accurately and quickly. This helps them to plan specific targeted instruction that is well matched to children’s needs. Learners benefit from teachers’ targeted classroom instruction and from a range of special interventions.

The school’s charter and annual targets aim appropriately to accelerate the progress of identified groups of students. Action plans are developed with teaching staff that align with the school’s achievement targets. Leaders recognise the importance of making prompt, planned responses to accelerate learning progress. Progress toward school targets is closely monitored.

School data for students who are achieving below expectations show positive shifts in achievement for almost all students and accelerated progress for most.

Leaders and teachers respond well to students with additional learning needs. Almost all students show positive shifts in terms of their wellbeing, confidence and engagement in learning. These positive shifts help students improve and sustain their learning progress over time.

The school has a growing number of children who speak languages in addition to English. These children receive highly effective learning programmes to build their English language skills and competency. Appropriate links are made between their classroom programmes and specialist English Language Learning support. The achievement of these students is carefully monitored to ensure that they have access to the full range of the curriculum.

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 high quality processes and practices that are enabling the achievement of equity and excellence.

Leaders and teachers view parents and whānau as valued partners in children’s learning. The board of trustees, leaders and teachers have established educationally powerful connections with parents, whānau and the community. Trustees, school leaders and staff recognise and affirm the diverse identities, languages and culture of parents and whānau, and deliberately broker their engagement and participation. Parents and whānau are kept well informed, and their opinions and perspectives are sought regularly. This information is used well to tailor learning, and to support the wellbeing of children and their families.

Leaders and teachers make very good use of rigorous internal evaluation to identify what is going well in the school and where further improvements can occur. There are strong links between the outcomes of internal evaluation and the school’s strategic goals, annual planning and professional development.

Highly effective leadership is resulting in a shared sense of responsibility, across all staff, for pursuing equity and excellence for learners. Leaders have a clear line of sight to accelerating the learning of students who are at risk of underachievement. Leaders successfully provide a vision, systems and practices that enable teachers to be confident in their roles and responsibilities, and to remain committed to continuous improvement.

The school’s highly collaborative professional environment reflects strong levels of relational trust and professional expertise. Coherent performance management systems support teacher development. Teachers use evidence to collectively inquire into the effectiveness of their teaching strategies and practices. They also provide and receive constructive feedback through collegial coaching and support. Teaching teams closely monitor changes in teacher practice and the impact these are having on student outcomes.

Students enjoy innovative teaching and authentic learning opportunities that engage them and contribute to their high levels of achievement. School approaches are designed to increase students’ ownership of their learning. This includes them having good opportunities to confidently articulate their ideas and opinions. The curriculum also features collaborative programmes and digital learning opportunities that help to heighten students’ critical and creative problem solving and their sense of connection to their learning.

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

Leaders agree that further developments could include extending the range of inclusive learning practices for children with special abilities and needs. Increasing options for children to learn collaboratively, and develop future focussed capabilities and competencies, would also be likely to enhance the school’s curriculum.

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 Education (Pastoral Care of International Students) Code of Practice 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 the review there were 10 international students attending the school.

The school provides international students with a very good standard of education. Students benefit from the school’s inclusive school culture and opportunities to participate in a range of school activities. The school’s monitoring systems are very effective.

4 Going forward

Key strengths of the school

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

  • establishing educationally powerful connections and relationships with parents, whānau and community that support wellbeing, and positive social and academic outcomes for students

  • school leadership that has established a shared vision and values, and a collaborative and student-centred teaching culture

  • a curriculum that provides innovative, authentic and collaborative learning opportunities that promote student ‘voice’ and high levels of achievement

  • the school’s highly reflective professional environment that promotes teaching as inquiry, and focuses on improving student outcomes

Next steps

For sustained improvement and future learner success, development priorities are in continuing to extend the range of effective inclusive practices that respond to children’s additional learning needs.

ERO’s next external evaluation process and timing

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

Graham Randell

Deputy Chief Review Officer Northern

Te Tai Raki - Northern Region

12 December 2017

About the school

Location

Bucklands Beach, Auckland

Ministry of Education profile number

1439

School type

Contributing (Years 1 to 6)

School roll

602

Gender composition

Boys 57% Girls 43%

Ethnic composition

Māori
Pākehā
Chinese
Indian
African
Pacific
other Asian
other European
other Ethnicities

3%
24%
47%
5%
4%
1%
7%
4%
5%

Provision of Māori medium education

No

Review team on site

October/November 2017

Date of this report

12 December 2017

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review
Education Review
Education Review

June 2013
April 2010
April 2007

1 Context

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

Pigeon Mountain School in Bucklands Beach, Auckland, is a Years 1 to 6 school with a strong tradition of effective teaching and positive ERO reports.

The 2010 ERO report noted that students were motivated learners and that the school had a culture of robust self review. These good practices continue to be highly evident. Good progress has been made in implementing ERO’s recommendations to further develop students’ evaluation of their learning and teachers’ evaluation of their professional practices.

The staff reflect the ethnically diverse school community. The pastoral care programme, ‘Care and Respect for Everyone’ promotes an inclusive and responsive school culture. Students gain a sense of identity and confidence that promotes high levels of engagement in learning.

The school is well resourced. Variable space classrooms offer multi-purpose teaching and learning areas. The school’s computer network has recently been upgraded, offering greater teacher and student access to digital learning and communication.

2 Learning

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

Teachers, leaders and trustees make good use of achievement information to engage students and to support them to be successful learners. This information indicates that most students achieve well in mathematics, reading and writing in relation to the National Standards.

Analysis of assessment data has continued to develop at class, team and school levels. A particular feature is the close monitoring of progress of groups of students. The school’s charter targets aim to accelerate the progress of all students who are yet to achieve National Standards. Senior leaders and teachers have good evidence of accelerated progress made by these students. The leadership team could consider tracking students’ progress in specific aspects of literacy or mathematics that assessment data indicate need further attention.

Leaders and teachers share a collective responsibility for promoting successful learning. In-school and external moderation of assessment is helping teachers to make reliable judgements about students’ achievements. Teaching teams regularly plan together to support students with special learning needs and to accelerate the progress of those students not yet achieving National Standards. These students also benefit from tailored support programmes targeted to complement classroom programmes and to address students’ specific learning needs.

Parents are well informed about their children’s achievement through written reports and conferences with their children and their teachers. Written reports clearly state to what extent students are achieving in relation to each National Standard and identify meaningful ways in which parents can support their children’s learning.

3 Curriculum

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

The school’s curriculum is closely aligned to The New Zealand Curriculum (NZC) and is effective in motivating students to engage and succeed in their learning.

Students are encouraged from their early years at school to become reflective and inquiring learners. They have many opportunities to apply their literacy and mathematics skills and knowledge in relevant contexts across the curriculum. An emphasis on values and the key competencies of the NZC is reflected in the positive ways in which students learn interactively with their peers.

The board continues to extend the school’s provision of information and communication technologies (ICT). Senior leaders have a continuing commitment to extending opportunities for students to learn through e-learning.

Students are respected as capable learners and their perspectives are valued and included in school review and curriculum programmes. They are confident communicators and active participants in learning.

A major focus on language acquisition throughout curriculum programmes supports the many students who do not have English as their first language.

Senior leaders acknowledge that the school’s curriculum statements could be reviewed and simplified so that they more clearly reflect the particular qualities of the school’s curriculum in action.

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

Māori students benefit from effective teaching and learning and, as a result, most Māori students achieve well in relation to the National Standards.

An enrichment programme for all Māori students was introduced in 2012 in response to whānau requests. This opportunity was appreciated by the students and their whānau and a similar programme is planned for 2013.

A curriculum leader, supported by other staff, assists teachers to offer opportunities for students to acquire a knowledge of te reo Māori me ōna tikanga. Each inquiry programme includes key Māori vocabulary and phrases so students can learn the language in a meaningful context. Senior leaders are committed to developing teachers’ ability to use te reo and are leading by example by learning te reo Māori out of school hours. All Year 6 students participate in the school’s kapa haka group and have opportunities to perform and to welcome new students to the school.

Senior leaders acknowledge the value of further promoting New Zealand’s bicultural heritage by gaining a greater awareness of the history of the local area.

4 Sustainable Performance

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

Pigeon Mountain School is very well placed to sustain and improve its performance through self review. Trustees, leaders and teachers have a commitment to continually developing and reviewing practices that are aimed primarily at improving student learning. Evidence is systematically gathered and analysed to inform school planning and development. This self knowledge promotes a smooth running, well organised school.

Senior leaders promote inclusive, responsive relationships amongst staff, board and the school community. They value and seek perspectives from teachers, students and parents, including those from different ethnic groups. The leadership team is considering ways to better focus self review by differentiating between evaluation, reflection and assessment.

Senior leaders successfully sustain teaching initiatives and manage the pace of change of further teaching developments. Growing staff leadership has been a key focus over recent years. Teachers are offered good opportunities to take leading roles and responsibilities in curriculum and teaching teams. External professional learning has enabled team leaders and coaches to take the initiative in developments to support teaching and learning.

Coherent processes help to build teaching capacity to improve student learning. Multiple forums are offered for teachers to reflect on professional learning and on the impact of their practice on student learning. Teacher appraisal and coaching processes encourage teachers to reflect on their professional practice.

The school’s charter is relevant to the context of the school and aligns well with the school's management programme and classroom practices. The school’s three year self-review plan could now be used as a coherent document to guide self review, planning, and reporting to the board of trustees.

Provision for international students

Pigeon Mountain School provides an inclusive culture, responsive pastoral care and effective education 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 four international students were attending the school.

The school has attested that it complies with all aspects of the Code. ERO’s investigations confirmed that the school’s self-review process for international students is thorough.

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 four-to-five years.

Dale Bailey

National Manager Review Services Northern Region

14 June 2013

About the School

Location

Bucklands Beach, Auckland

Ministry of Education profile number

1439

School type

Contributing (Years 1 to 6)

School roll

492

Number of international students

4

Gender composition

Boys 51%

Girls 49%

Ethnic composition

NZ European/Pākehā

Māori

Chinese

Indian

African

British

Korean

Pacific

Sri Lankan

Other Asian

Other

33%

4%

37%

6%

5%

4%

2%

1%

1%

4%

3%

Review team on site

May 2013

Date of this report

14 June 2013

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

April 2010

April 2007

August 2003