Victoria Avenue School

Victoria Avenue School - 17/08/2016

1 Context

Victoria Avenue School is located in Remuera, Auckland. The school reflects its diverse community well and is characterised by strongly positive relationships and a culture of respect and inclusion. While the school's cultural composition is changing it remains underpinned by a longstanding history and sense of tradition.

Since the last ERO review a new and experienced principal has been appointed. The school has joined a network of schools (the Auckland Central Community of Learning (CoL)) that are working together to address common achievement challenges.

The school has a history of positive ERO reporting. The 2011 ERO review noted strengths in school governance and leadership to support student achievement. These strengths have been sustained and further developed to support positive outcomes for all children.

2 Equity and excellence

The vision and valued outcomes defined by the school for all children are focussed on them becoming well-rounded individuals who can make a valuable contribution to society. The school's motto - 'Our Best Always'- reflects the high aspirations of the school community. There is an emphasis on giving children challenge in their learning and helping them to achieve within an inclusive environment where kindness, honesty and respect are valued. The school promotes positive relationships with students, teachers, families and whānau as the essential condition for achieving meaningful learning for children.

The school’s achievement information shows that children achieve very well. The vast majority achieve at or above the National Standard in mathematics, reading and writing. This high achievement has been evident and sustained over time.

Māori children also achieve very well. The school's most recent data show that they achieve better than other groups of children in the school in reading, the same as other groups of children in writing but slightly less well in mathematics. Pacific students achieve very well in reading and writing but less well in mathematics than the rest of the school.

Since the last ERO evaluation the school has;

  • undertaken comprehensive professional learning and development in mathematics and writing
  • built 'student agency' by continuing to develop children's sense of understanding, directing and owning their learning
  • expanded the schools' digital capacity
  • further developed collaborative teacher planning practices and strengthened teachers' assessment and evaluation capability
  • utilised internal professional capacity to refine and strengthen teachers' professional practice
  • undertaken further teacher inquiry to improve student learning
  • participated in ongoing assessment moderation through partnerships in the CoL.

3 Accelerating achievement

How effectively does this school respond to Māori children whose learning and achievement need acceleration?

The school is highly effective in responding to Māori children whose learning and achievement needs acceleration. School leaders prioritise the achievement of Māori learners and there are comprehensive systems and processes across the school to promote and support their success.

School leaders ensure that learning is optimised for each Māori child by closely monitoring and analysing their achievement information from the time they enter the school. As part of this process all Māori children have an individual longitudinal file which holds this analysed data and other relevant information to help progress their achievement.

The school has developed effective relationships with whānau. The school work alongside whānau to develop successful extension and learning support programmes for tamariki.

How effectively does this school respond to other children whose learning and achievement need acceleration?

The school is highly effective in responding to Pacific and other learners whose learning and achievement need acceleration. The same systems promoting Māori student achievement are also enabling Pacific and other students to be supported and achieve well.

These systems and strategies include leaders and teachers:

  • knowing students and families well
  • scrutinising student achievement data closely to develop acceleration strategies
  • collating and analysing a wide range of data to evaluate the success of acceleration initiatives and how well they are benefitting individual children
  • ·         where necessary, refocussing programmes and initiatives to ensure success for particular children or groups.

4 School conditions

How effectively do the school’s curriculum and other organisational processes and practices develop and enact the school’s vision, values, goals and targets for equity and excellence?

The school's curriculum and other organisational processes and practices very effectively support the development and enactment of the school's vision, values, goals and priorities for equity and excellence.

The key organisational processes and practices that are supporting success and promoting equity and excellence for learners in this school include;

  • leadership that is collaborative, focussed on capacity building and underpinned by an ethic of care
  • strong communication and engagement with family/whānau
  • a responsive curriculum which has Te Ao Māori increasingly well integrated across programmes
  • high quality teaching approaches centred on children's interests and needs and informed by teachers' inquiries into practice
  • sound, strategic governance.

The principal and senior leaders, have a strong focus on the child as a learner. They lead professional learning and actively support teachers in classroom practice. Classroom teaching throughout the school reflects current best practice. Positive and affirming relationships underpin the high quality learning interactions evident between all children and their teachers.

The board, senior leaders and staff display genuine care for the wellbeing of children. The school is highly inclusive in its practices and ensuring the best outcomes for children and their families is at the centre of decision-making.

A culture of evaluation and inquiry supports an evidence-informed approach to school improvement. The principal leads a high quality leadership team who foster a strategic approach to developing teachers' capability and building the school's capacity as a learning community.

Teachers value children's individuality and they know each child both as a learner and a person. The systems for supporting children with additional needs and strengths are very well managed and monitored. The board demonstrates an ongoing commitment to providing timely and appropriate resourcing to benefit children.

There are clear and comprehensive curriculum guidelines for teachers. Curriculum programmes are flexible and responsive to children's learning, strengths and interests. Local contexts and global perspectives provide purposeful learning opportunities for children. There is good evidence of high quality teaching and learning across the school. Classrooms increasingly reflect modern learning practices, including the use of digital technologies. The successful introduction of the school's new inquiry curriculum has contributed to this.

Māori language and cultural perspectives are increasingly well integrated across the learning areas of the curriculum. This is supported by a school-wide focus on building teachers' confidence and capability in te reo me ngā tikanga Māori. Māori children report that these approaches help them to feel valued as learners and members of the school community.

Teachers' inquiry into practice is promoting high level professional engagement, collaboration and ongoing school improvement. An effective and coherent performance management system contributes to teachers' professional growth.

The school is well governed. The board seeks external training to support its governance role and has sound processes and policies in place. Trustees have a strong commitment to the wellbeing of all children and staff. They actively scrutinise achievement data, and seek the very best learning outcomes for all children. The board is considering ways to continue reflecting the school's increasingly culturally diverse community.

5 Going forward

How well placed is the school to accelerate the achievement of all children who need it?

Leaders and teachers:  

  • know the children whose learning and achievement need to be accelerated
  • respond effectively to the strengths, needs and interests of each child
  • regularly evaluate how well teaching is working for these children
  • act on what they know works well for each child
  • build teacher capability effectively to achieve equitable outcomes for all children
  • are well placed to achieve and sustain equitable and excellent outcomes for all children.

Victoria Avenue School is very well placed to sustain equitable and excellent outcomes for all children. The school's culture of continuous improvement and coherent systems and processes are underpinned by thoughtful internal and well-considered external evaluation. This impacts positively on outcomes for all children.

The board, senior leadership team and ERO agree the school's ongoing areas for development include:

  • ongoing development of teacher pedagogical knowledge and practice to promote student agency
  • enhancing and further extending parent and whanāu engagement in children's learning
  • continuing to develop bicultural practices across the school through the use of resources including The New Zealand Trustees Association's Hautū- Māori Cultural Responsiveness Self-Review Tool for Boards of Trustees.

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

6 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 the following:

  • board administration
  • curriculum
  • management of health, safety and welfare
  • personnel management
  • 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
  • processes for appointing staff
  • stand down, suspensions, expulsions and exclusions
  • attendance
  • compliance with the provisions of the Vulnerable Children Act 2014.

7 Recommendation

ERO recommends that the school continues to use its systems of robust internal evaluation and evidence informed practice to sustain and enhance its success in promoting positive outcomes for all children. 

Graham Randell
Deputy Chief Review Officer Northern

17 August 2016

About the school 

Location

Remuera, Auckland

Ministry of Education profile number

1544

School type

Contributing (Years 1 to 6)

School roll

523

Gender composition

Girls       52% 
Boys      47%

Ethnic composition

Māori
Pākehā
Chinese
Pasifika
British
Australian
Middle East& African
other European
other Asian

  5%
63%
15%
  3%
  2%
  1%
  1%
  3%
  3%

Review team on site

June 2016

Date of this report

17 August 2016

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review
Education Review
Education Review

November 2011
August 2008
October 2005

Victoria Avenue School - 18/11/2011

1 Context

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

Student learning and well-being are central to the vision of the Victoria Avenue School board of trustees. Students are confident learners and benefit from the school’s well resourced learning environment. They enjoy challenging and enriched learning programmes that are designed to reflect the values and principles of The New Zealand Curriculum. Students’ learning needs are identified and met in positive and affirming ways.

Teachers provide an inclusive, family-focused and personalised education for all children. Students and their families are well known to teachers and support staff. The school benefits from strong community support. The principal’s appointment in 2009 has enabled the community’s high expectations to be further raised.

The school has a history of positive ERO reports. High quality leadership characterises school management and impacts positively on student learning and staff morale. The principal is well regarded by the community, staff and students of the school. The school’s positive tone results from the board’s clear direction and from consistent management practices.

2 Learning

How well are students learning – engaging, progressing and achieving?

Students make good progress and achieve very well overall. Analysed information reported to the board shows that the majority of students are achieving above national expectations. Assessment data is used effectively to identify improvement targets for individual children, as well as for cohorts and groups of students. The achievement of specific groups of students, including Māori and Pacific, and those with English as a second language, is monitored and reported separately.

Teachers are working well with the National Standards. They use a variety of assessment and observational strategies to form judgements about student achievement in relation to National Standards in reading, writing and mathematics. Teachers’ overall judgements about student achievement levels in relation to the National Standards are moderated within the school and are reported clearly to parents.

Teachers use achievement information purposefully. They group children for learning and monitor their progress carefully. Lessons are interesting and well paced, and students participate and contribute confidently. Teacher share learning intentions with students and encourage them to set individual learning goals. Consequently, students are motivated learners and are well engaged in the process of learning.

The board resources learning programmes generously. Additional support is provided for students who are achieving below expectations, students with special learning needs, and those needing learning extension. These programmes are well managed and the interventions are evaluated to ensure that students’ learning needs are being met effectively.

Students work cooperatively and develop confidence as learners. School entry procedures and transitions between classes are well managed. Respectful relationships between students and teachers contribute to the positive climate for learning. Older students take responsibility and show leadership skills and, where they can, are willing learning buddies for students who have additional learning needs.

Teachers’ learning is strengthened though well considered professional development, which is strategically aligned to school goals. Teachers contribute to teamwork within class syndicates. Senior managers agree that next steps in strengthening student engagement in learning could include increased clarity about student goal setting. Closer alignment between goal setting and personal progress and achievement information would enable students to develop greater ownership of their learning and to take a more active role in reporting their progress to parents.

Teachers could extend the use of the reflective teaching practices that are evident in a number of classrooms. These good practices include the use of teacher modelling, self-directed learning methods, and evaluation of the effectiveness of teaching practices.

How well does the school promote Māori student success and success as Māori?

The board has a clear commitment to promoting biculturalism and supporting Māori students to experience learning success. Senior managers engage regularly with Māori parents and whānau and seek feedback about ways of improving the school-wide programme of te reo and tikanga Māori. The expertise of a Māori elder supports teachers to deliver the programme, and the results of this well-planned approach are evident throughout the school. In the arts, physical education, science and social studies, teachers include Māori contexts in learning and performance, and celebrate the role of tangata whenua in New Zealand.

Māori students, who comprise six percent of the school roll, achieve well overall. School data shows that Māori students make good progress and reach achievement levels similar to those of their peers. Teachers know the Māori students in their classes and are aware of the targets the school has for further improving outcomes for Māori students.

Ka Hikitia: Managing for Success, the Ministry of Education’s Māori Education Strategy, has been recently used to review the school’s charter goals. Ongoing evaluation will further promote the Ka Hikitia goal of ‘Māori enjoying success as Māori’.

3 Curriculum

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

The school’s curriculum is well managed. Learning programmes promote and support students’ progress in learning very well.

The learning programme throughout the school has a strong focus on literacy and mathematics and on inquiry-based learning. In many classrooms these aspects are integrated, providing students with meaningful, connected learning contexts. Teachers’ emphasis on literacy is lifting the quality and variety of student’s written and oral language learning experiences.

The school’s curriculum clearly reflects the priorities and values of The New Zealand Curriculum. Leadership has been strengthened across the curriculum and specialist teachers enhance learning in the arts, physical education and information and communication technologies. Students gain social competencies through their participation in restorative practices, peer mediation and school leadership roles.

Students’ learning is supported by organised and purposeful classroom environments. Teachers make good use of classroom and school facilities to highlight curriculum values and principles and to reflect school-wide learning goals. Thinking skills are a current focus of professional learning and development that supports the curriculum focus on inquiry and prior learning.

Senior leaders are considering how the development of a successful learner profile could further enhance the school’s curriculum. Involving staff and parents in determining the characteristics of a confident, life-long, 21st century learner could be a useful step in this development.

4 Sustainable Performance

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

The school is very well placed to sustain and improve its performance. School leadership and management are highly effective.

The board has a clear strategic overview that guides planning and reporting. School operations are closely aligned with the board’s strategic priorities. School leaders collaborate and share responsibilities for supporting teachers in the classroom.

Processes of continual reflection support ongoing improvement. Self review at all levels of school operation includes close examination of patterns and trends in school data and feedback from parents and staff. Ongoing improvements resulting from self review are well considered and are based on reliable evidence, educational research and identified best practice in teaching and learning.

A key factor in school leadership is the principal’s ability to build staff capability and confidence. Clear expectations of staff underpin effective performance management systems. The professional tone of the school and the efficient operations of the board reflect the principal’s skill in leading trustees and staff.

ERO is confident that the board and principal can sustain new initiatives, progress curriculum developments, and continue to make good decisions to improve school performance.

Provision for international students

Victoria Avenue 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 ten international students attending the school. All the current international students are Korean. 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. International students are well integrated into school life. They have access to an experienced director who is one of the school’s senior managers. School programmes and care-giver arrangements are efficiently organised and evaluated.

The school board receives regular information, and self-review reports required by the Ministry of Education are completed annually.

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
  • 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.

Richard Thornton

National Manager Review Services Northern Region

18 November 2011

About the School

Location

Remuera, Auckland

Ministry of Education profile number

1544

School type

Contributing (Years 1 to 6)

Decile

10

School roll

517

Gender composition

Girls 52%, Boys 48%

Ethnic composition

NZ European/Pākehā

Māori

Chinese

Korean

Pacific

Indian

other European

other

67%

6%

12%

3%

2%

2%

4%

4%

Review team on site

September 2011

Date of this report

18 November 2011

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

August 2008

October 2005

April 2002