Sylvia Park School

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Findings

Sylvia Park School provides high quality education for students in Years 1 to 8. This is a dynamic and successful school with a well-designed curriculum, and high levels of collaboration between students, whānau, teachers and leaders. Effective school leadership maintains and extends the school’s very good performance.

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

1 Context

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

Sylvia Park School in Mt Wellington provides high quality education for students in Years 1 to 8. School leaders have maintained and extended the school’s very good performance. This is a dynamic and successful school that features high levels of collaboration between students, whānau, teachers and leaders.

The school enacts its vision to empower students to stand tall and be proud. Students are clearly at the centre of adults’ decision making. Trustees are experienced and are representative of the community. They work in partnership with the senior leadership team. New leadership structures are being developed as the roll continues to expand.

Since the last ERO review in 2010, the school has created whānau groups. They begin in Kowhai (Years 1 and 2) and progress to Pohutakawa (Year 3) and then Te Manawa (Years 4, 5 and 6). In Years 7 and 8, they enter Te Roopu o nga Manukura with high expectations for leading their learning and service to others.

New student and teacher leadership roles have been created through the establishment of each school whānau. Students and teachers have also collaborated to create their own identities within their whānau. At the same time they have retained a strong sense of loyalty to the school as a whole.

Te Puna Waiora, the school's bilingual whānau, has recently changed from a full immersion to a partial bilingual programme. After a thoughtful consultation process with whānau, the revised approach now offers Māori students a programme that supports their language, culture and identity and yet is also able to be assessed in English.

The school has continued to develop and consolidate their successful Mutukaroa partnership programme with whānau. Key school leaders now lead educational initiatives aimed at developing this partnership approach in other schools, locally, nationally and internationally.

2 Learning

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

School leaders monitor and evaluate students’ progress and achievement very effectively. They analyse achievement information and know how well groups of students and individuals progress over time. Leaders and teachers are well informed by educational research and they work collaboratively to enhance student learning.

Leaders prioritise the urgency for teachers to support students not achieving sufficiently to make accelerated progress. Teachers use achievement information well to evaluate student progress. Students also closely and clearly monitor their own work, taking responsibility for their progress.

National Standards are being well implemented. High quality and robust processes are evident. These systems ensure that, despite fluctuations in patterns and trends, the school has very good quality information to help teachers to meet students’ individual learning needs. Current school data compares well locally and nationally in reading and writing and locally in mathematics.

Equitable outcomes are evident for diverse groups of learners. The school finds ways to embrace the language, culture and identity of students to enhance their learning outcomes. Students with additional learning requirements receive very good support from caring and well trained staff. Further reporting on the success of these programmes would provide the board with good information about such initiatives.

Students’ enjoyment and understanding about their learning is also highly evident. They thrive on the school’s culture of high expectations and inquiry. Students’ aspirations and ambitions are valued and they are empowered to achieve them. As a result, students show a strong sense of belonging and pride in their school. They are self managing learners and highly engaged in learning.

Close relationships between the school and its community benefit students’ learning. Transition into and through the school is highly effective. Mutukaroa, the school’s partnership programme, begins at enrolment. Teachers work closely with families to develop and review personalised learning plans throughout students’ time at the school.

Useful achievement information underpins learning conferences with families and students. Whānau know how well their child is achieving and how they can help them achieve their learning goals. Sharing responsibility for student learning is an integral part of the school’s kaupapa,

Overall, trustees use student achievement information very effectively to inform planning and decision making. Challenging targets focus on promoting student learning and realising student potential. Other self-review information is also used well by trustees and leaders to review resourcing decisions and respond quickly to learners’ requirements.

3 Curriculum

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

Sylvia Park School’s curriculum is highly effective in promoting and supporting student learning. It is very well aligned to The New Zealand Curriculum (NZC) and enhances students’ key learning competencies.

The inquiry-based curriculum is well designed and innovative. Students report that the curriculum is interesting and enables them to develop skills and to make connections across learning areas. The inquiry process integrates literacy and mathematics, across curriculum areas. High quality arts programmes are also valued by students. They benefit from a wide range of opportunities to be physically active and enjoy their new, challenging playgrounds.

The curriculum continues to be broad, holistic and affirming of students’ cultural identities and heritages. Pacific and Māori contexts are very evident. The curriculum emphasises inclusive practices, affirming students’ wellbeing and promoting students’ empathy for others.

Students are challenged and inspired by meaningful, open-ended inquiries that provide a clear purpose to their learning. They have opportunities to contribute to the design of learning experiences. Students demonstrate a strong sense of social justice and respect for environmental sustainability.

The school’s learning environments are adapted to suit student learning preferences, interests and needs. Thoughtful use of technologies enhances learning opportunities and supports students to be self-managing learners. Classrooms are well resourced, vibrant places for student learning. School leaders are considering ways to reinstate a library space as they manage roll growth.

Teachers share decision-making with students and support student exploration in their learning. They are highly professional educators who work collaboratively together. Skilled support staff work closely with teachers in complementary ways to support student learning.

High quality teaching practices are evident throughout the school. Leaders and teachers have a shared understanding of effective teaching practices. An integral part of teachers’ effective practice is their active inquiry and a determination to continually improve their teaching. Comprehensive performance management processes promote teacher reflection and development.

ERO and school leaders agree that the school could review its mission and vision statements, aligning these with the school’s future focus. Strengthening career education in the senior school and supporting teacher’s ongoing learning and use of te reo Māori in the mainstream would also further benefit student learning.

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

Educational success as Māori is very well supported and promoted. The kaupapa of the school is strongly bicultural and Māori students benefit from this approach. The school has a well-developed kawa and deep understanding of tikanga Māori that is a part of regular school practice.

A range of opportunities are available for Māori students to explore their language, culture and identity. Bilingual learning opportunities gained through Te Puna Waiora result in Māori students who are confident and demonstrate high aspirations for their success. Ongoing consultation with whānau is appropriately planned to evaluate the recent changes from immersion to bilingual education.

Māori students in the mainstream benefit from a curriculum and a school culture that affirms their identity. Māori students achieve well and school leaders place a high priority on ensuring positive outcomes form Māori students.

4 Sustainable Performance

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

Sylvia Park School is very well placed to sustain and improve its performance. Self review is well developed and used to continually improve outcomes for students.

Highly effective and committed professional leaders serve the school community well. They continue to promote teacher leadership and development to benefit student learning. Other significant strengths of this school include:

  • a school culture which affirms whakawhānaungatanga, manaakitanga and kōtahitanga
  • a student-centred philosophy that is implemented through strong school management systems
  • experienced, well-informed and capable trustees
  • cutting-edge professional learning, based on highly effective practices, that is clearly building teaching capacity.

The school has highly developed reciprocal partnerships with educational and research-based organisations. School leaders’ high visibility in the educational community is increasing external demand for their time. It would be useful for the board to consider more formal ways of supporting leaders to manage the complex demands of their roles, while reducing any impact their new roles could have on staff wellbeing.

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

Sylvia Park School provides high quality education for students in Years 1 to 8. This is a dynamic and successful school with a well-designed curriculum, and high levels of collaboration between students, whānau, teachers and leaders. Effective school leadership maintains and extends the school’s very good performance.

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

Dale Bailey

National Manager Review Services Northern Region

22 December 2014

About the School

Location

Mt Wellington, Auckland

Ministry of Education profile number

1522

School type

Full Primary (Years 1 to 8)

School roll

443

Gender composition

Boys 54% Girls 46%

Ethnic composition

Māori

NZ European/Pākehā

Tongan

Samoan

Cook Island Māori

Indian

Niue

Filipino

South East Asian

other

26%

9%

26%

10%

7%

6%

3%

2%

2%

9%

Special Features

Bilingual unit: Te Puna Waiora

Two satellite classes of Somerville School

Review team on site

October 2014

Date of this report

22 December 2014

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Supplementary Review

Education Review

June 2010

June 2007

June 2006

ERO has also published an exemplar report on Sylvia Park School: Exemplar Review - Sylvia Park School - June 2018

1. The Education Review Office (ERO) Evaluation

Sylvia Park School in Mt Wellington caters for students from Years1 to 8 from a culturally diverse community. The school includes a Māori bilingual unit, Te Puna Waiora, and hosts two satellite classes from Somerville Special School for students with intellectual impairments.  The school is characterised by its clear focus on promoting student learning and raising student achievement, dynamic and innovative leadership, positive learning partnerships, and decision-making based on data. Students enjoy a culture where their learning is paramount. As a result they make accelerated progress and are increasingly achieving at or above national levels of expectation for their age in reading and writing. Students know their level of achievement, set targets and take steps to achieve these goals.

The ERO 2007 review noted that students benefited from a secure learning environment, and expectations that they would be active learners and achievers. The report commented that conversations that students had with their whānau about their achievements was an encouraging feature of a growing home-school partnership. The new principal’s leadership had been motivational and instrumental in bringing about the changes towards student-centred learning and teaching, evidence-based planning and evaluation, and improved classroom practice. This review finds that the improvements made have been sustained, and that high quality practices and systems have been further developed and extended.

Senior managers and teachers have worked effectively together to design a curriculum that promotes student progress and achievement. Appropriate priority is given to the core curriculum areas of reading, writing and numeracy. Teachers use effective teaching practices to build students’ capabilities and capacity to access the curriculum at an appropriate level. Key competencies are assessed, reviewed and embedded in school culture and are clearly defined in the inquiry part of the curriculum. Students use inquiry in meaningful and relevant contexts and their cultural capital is acknowledged, particularly for Māori.

A determined and well structured approach to strengthen whānau involvement in children’s learning is having a positive impact on student learning and whānau, community and school relationship. The Mutukaroa–School and Community Learning Partnership is helping to demystify education through sharing assessment data in a timely fashion, which enables whānau to help their children continue learning at home.

The school is well led by a dynamic, charismatic and innovative professional leader. Her involvement with professional groups and experts in the field of education is contributing to positive outcomes for students and for teachers. Effective leadership exists at governance, management, teaching and learning levels. Planned strategies are in place to ensure that this effective leadership is sustained.

Self review is well established. The board of trustee’s strategic planning continues to chart a well defined course for the school. There is a thoughtful and well considered approach to setting the school’s strategic direction, that is well understood by trustees and staff and provides a cohesive framework for school development. The board of trustees, staff, student and families are justifiably proud of their school and what has been achieved to build a culture that promotes students’ learning as the first priority.

Future Action

The board of trustees has demonstrated that it is governing the school in the interests of the students and the Crown. The board, together with the principal and school leaders, continues to be highly effective in using self review procedures to further promote student learning: engagement, progress and achievement. ERO is likely to carry out the next review in four to five years.

2. Sylvia Park School’s Curriculum

How effectively does the curriculum of Sylvia Park School promote student learning: engagement, progress and achievement?

School context and self review

Since the 2007 ERO review there has been extensive development of school facilities to support student learning. Well managed property development includes a new entrant classroom and two re-positioned classrooms for the Year 7 and 8 students. All classrooms have been upgraded. A separate space has been refurbished to accommodate Mutukaroa-School and Community Learning Partnership. The principal and board of trustees have successfully tendered for a health clinic facility to be built on the school site, and this is currently under way. Vegetable gardens and native plants have been established to give students’ first hand experiences in learning about sustainable environments. The response of the community to these developments is apparent in the increased student roll, and positive feedback from parents and community members.

Strong self-review processes are well established. All aspects of school operations, including curriculum, are systematically reviewed to ensure that they result in improved outcomes for students. Self review involves all stakeholders, and includes well analysed student achievement information and feedback.

Trustees, managers and staff value external evaluation and research-based practices. Curriculum developments and school initiatives are framed on research findings. Senior managers and staff actively promote and model life-long learning. They use self review, current research evidence and data to design a curriculum that is responsive to student needs and that is helping students to make good progress.

Areas of strength

Student progress and achievement. Raising student achievement is the absolute purpose of trustees, senior managers and staff. Students make accelerated rates of progress in reading and writing. Analysed achievement information for the end of 2009 indicates that the majority of students achieve well in reading, with over 80% achieving at or above expected national levels for Years 7 and 8. Achievement information in writing for students in Years 4 to 8 suggests that students’ rate of progress is significantly higher than the national rate at all these year levels.

Trustees, senior managers and staff know about the progress of groups of students, including students for whom English is an additional language.

Separate achievement information for Māori and Pacific students is collated and analysed. This indicates that Māori and Pacific students make double the rate of progress in comparison to national average mean scores in reading, and more than triple this rate for writing. Achievement information also suggests that Maori students who receive bilingual education achieve better than those in mainstream.

Using achievement information. Robust processes are established for making judgements about student achievement. Data analysis is timetabled during staff meetings to collectively interpret, analyse and to identify strengths and weaknesses and strategies for further improvement.

Senior managers use achievement information to build the capability of students, staff and parents and have identified strategies to sustain improvement. Trustees receive high quality and frequent information about student achievement in reading, writing and numeracy. They use the information to identify appropriate priorities and review their strategic direction.

Due to the positive outcomes gained for Pacific students, the school has become part of the University of Auckland’s Pasifika Research Project. Parents and whānau receive honest and frequent information about how well their children achieve in reading, writing and numeracy, and in relation to the National Standards. They engage in learning conversations that involve the sharing of their child’s assessment data. The parent or whānau and designated teacher identify ways to support their children’s specific learning needs at home.

Enthusiastic learners. Students are enthusiastic about knowing their achievement levels and next steps. They learn in a supportive and trusting environment that helps them to reach their individual goals. Most students show good levels of engagement. They have good opportunities for talking in groups and participate in collaborative approaches. Students know their levels of achievement, set targets and take steps to reach or achieve beyond expectations.

Curriculum design. Appropriate priority is given to the core curriculum areas of reading, writing and numeracy. Literacy and numeracy specific skills, knowledge and attitudes develop students’ capabilities and capacity to access the curriculum at their appropriate level. Key competencies are assessed, reviewed and embedded in school culture and are clearly defined in the inquiry part of the curriculum. Good links are made between the core curriculum areas and the school’s inquiry-based curriculum.

Student use of inquiry has a social action focus and is linked to the school’s Enviro School philosophy. Curriculum content is focused on community and sustainability issues now and for the future, and impacts positively in children’s homes lives. The curriculum also includes students’ involvement in Active Sports. They participate in a comprehensive lunchtime sports programme aimed at maintaining physical activity.

Teaching practices. Effective teaching practices are evident in the school and most teachers respond appropriately to students’ identified learning needs. Good use is made of teaching as inquiry to determine and review curriculum priorities and their impact on student achievement. All teachers participate in scheduled staff analyses of data, to identify strengths and next steps for teaching and learning. Professional development for teachers is provided to support any identified gaps in teaching practice or curriculum expertise.

Leadership. The principal provides strong and professional leadership. She builds and distributes leadership effectively so that it operates at management, teaching and learning levels. The principal’s effective interpersonal skills enable parents and community members to feel welcomed and comfortable in the school. She participates in educational and national forums that benefit outcomes for students. . The school participates in a pilot teacher training practicum initiative with Auckland University to support graduating teachers to be better prepared for school and classroom contexts.

Governance. The school is effectively governed. A new board has taken office and steps are in place for induction and training to build trustees’ capacity to continue effective governance practices. Strategic planning continues to chart a well defined course for the school. Decisions are based on strong self review and research. The school is well resourced to complement the delivery of learning programmes. Trustees use a thoughtful and well considered approach to setting strategic direction.

Strengthened home and school partnership. Trustees, senior managers and staff acknowledge the place that parents have in helping their children to learn. Senior managers and parents have collaboratively developed a structured model that helps to demystify education and empower parents to be active partners in their children’s learning.

3. Agreed priorities

Senior managers have identified, and ERO agree, that they should consider providing more levels of challenge for students, using students’ interests and talents, especially in inquiry, so that activities are differentiated.

They further agree to:

  • continue to explore ways for students to contribute to decisions about what they learn; and
  • make deliberate choices about curriculum content that allows for the diversity of perspectives that exist both between and within different Pacific groups represented in the school.

4. Board Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the board of trustees and principal of Sylvia Park School completed an ERO Board Assurance Statement and Self-Audit Checklist. In these documents they attested that they had taken all reasonable steps to meet their legal obligations related to:

  • board administration;
  • curriculum;
  • management of health, safety and welfare;
  • personnel management;
  • financial management; and
  • asset management.

During the review, ERO checked the following items because they have a potentially high impact on students’ achievement:

  • emotional safety of students (including prevention of bullying and sexual harassment);
  • physical safety of students;
  • teacher registration;
  • stand-downs, suspensions, expulsions and exclusions; and
  • attendance.

ERO’s investigations did not identify any areas of concern.

5. Future Action

The board of trustees has demonstrated that it is governing the school in the interests of the students and the Crown. The board, together with the principal and school leaders, continues to be highly effective in using self review procedures to further promote student learning: engagement, progress and achievement. ERO is likely to carry out the next review in four to five years.

Richard Thornton

National Manager Review Services

Northern Region

28 June 2010

About The School

School type

Full Primary (Years 1 to 8)

Decile

2

School roll

318

Gender composition

Boys 54%, Girls 46%

Ethnic composition

Māori 22%

NZ European/ Pākehā 7%

Tongan 29%

Samoan 12%

Cook Island Māori 6%

Indian 5%

Nuiean 4%

Chinese 3%

Filipino 3%

other 9%

Special features

Bilingual unit: Te Puna Waiora Two satellite units of Somerville School

Review team on site

May 2010

Date of this report

28 June 2010

Previous three ERO reports

Supplementary Review June 2007

Education Review June 2006

Supplementary Review February 2004

28 June 2010

To the Parents and Community of Sylvia Park School

These are the findings of the Education Review Office’s latest report on Sylvia Park School.

Sylvia Park School in Mt Wellington caters for students from Years1 to 8 from a culturally diverse community. The school includes a Māori bilingual unit, Te Puna Waiora, and hosts two satellite classes from Somerville Special School for students with intellectual impairments.  The school is characterised by its clear focus on promoting student learning and raising student achievement, dynamic and innovative leadership, positive learning partnerships, and decision-making based on data. Students enjoy a culture where their learning is paramount. As a result they make accelerated progress and are increasingly achieving at or above national levels of expectation for their age in reading and writing. Students know their level of achievement, set targets and take steps to achieve these goals.

The ERO 2007 review noted that students benefited from a secure learning environment, and expectations that they would be active learners and achievers. The report commented that conversations that students had with their whānau about their achievements was an encouraging feature of a growing home-school partnership. The new principal’s leadership had been motivational and instrumental in bringing about the changes towards student-centred learning and teaching, evidence-based planning and evaluation, and improved classroom practice. This review finds that the improvements made have been sustained, and that high quality practices and systems have been further developed and extended.

Senior managers and teachers have worked effectively together to design a curriculum that promotes student progress and achievement. Appropriate priority is given to the core curriculum areas of reading, writing and numeracy. Teachers use effective teaching practices to build students’ capabilities and capacity to access the curriculum at an appropriate level. Key competencies are assessed, reviewed and embedded in school culture and are clearly defined in the inquiry part of the curriculum. Students use inquiry in meaningful and relevant contexts and their cultural capital is acknowledged, particularly for Māori.

A determined and well structured approach to strengthen whānau involvement in children’s learning is having a positive impact on student learning and whānau, community and school relationship. The Mutukaroa–School and Community Learning Partnership is helping to demystify education through sharing assessment data in a timely fashion, which enables whānau to help their children continue learning at home.

The school is well led by a dynamic, charismatic and innovative professional leader. Her involvement with professional groups and experts in the field of education is contributing to positive outcomes for students and for teachers. Effective leadership exists at governance, management, teaching and learning levels. Planned strategies are in place to ensure that this effective leadership is sustained.

Self review is well established. The board of trustee’s strategic planning continues to chart a well defined course for the school. There is a thoughtful and well considered approach to setting the school’s strategic direction, that is well understood by trustees and staff and provides a cohesive framework for school development. The board of trustees, staff, student and families are justifiably proud of their school and what has been achieved to build a culture that promotes students’ learning as the first priority.

Future Action

The board of trustees has demonstrated that it is governing the school in the interests of the students and the Crown. The board, together with the principal and school leaders, continues to be highly effective in using self review procedures to further promote student learning: engagement, progress and achievement. ERO is likely to carry out the next review in four to five years.

Review Coverage

This report provides an evaluation of how effectively the school’s curriculum promotes student learning - engagement, progress and achievement. ERO’s evaluation takes account of the school’s previous reporting history and is based on:

  • what is known about student achievement information, including the achievement of Māori and Pacific students;
  • decisions made to improve student achievement using assessment and selfreview information; and
  • teaching strategies and programmes implemented to give effect to the school’s curriculum.

ERO also gathers information during the review to contribute to its national reports. The national reports are published on ERO’s website.

If you would like a copy of the full report, please contact the school or see the ERO website, www.ero.govt.nz.

Richard Thornton

National Manager Review Services

Northern Region

General Information about Reviews

About ERO

ERO is an independent, external evaluation agency that undertakes reviews of schools and early childhood services throughout New Zealand.

About ERO Reviews

ERO follows a set of standard procedures to conduct reviews. The purpose of each review is to:

  • improve educational achievement in schools; and
  • provide information to parents, communities and the government.

Reviews are intended to focus on student achievement and build on each school’s self review.

Review Focus

ERO’s framework for reviewing and reporting integrates the following:

  • school curriculum;
  • national evaluation topics –contribute to the development of education policies and their effective implementation; and
  • Board Assurance Statement, including student and staff health and safety.

ERO’s review is responsive to the school’s context. When ERO reviews a school, it takes into account the characteristics of the community from which it draws its students, its aspirations for its young people, and other relevant local factors.

ERO also builds on the school’s own self-review information. ERO is interested in how a school monitors the progress of its students and aspects of school life and culture, and how it uses this information to improve student learning.

This helps ERO to answer the major evaluation question for reviews:

How effectively does this school’s curriculum promote student learning - engagement, progress and achievement?

Areas for Development and Review

ERO reports include areas for development and review to support on-going improvement by identifying priorities. Often the school will have identified these matters through its own self review and already plans further development in those areas.