Wakaaranga School

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1 Context

Wakaaranga School is a large, Year 1 to 6 primary school situated adjacent to Farm Cove Intermediate in Pakuranga. Since ERO's 2013 evaluation the school's staff and roll have been relatively stable. Equal numbers of Pākehā and Chinese students make up 60 percent of the roll. Māori and Pacific students make up eight percent and six percent of the roll respectively. Teachers have been involved in professional learning in literacy, maths and eLearning, and most significantly in science, together with a cluster of local schools.

2 Equity and excellence

The vision and valued outcomes defined by the school for all children are "to develop lifelong learners who are confident, relate well to others, have a strong sense of personal identity and are able to contribute positively to our society. They will also strive to be 'the best they can possibly be'". The school's core values are responsibility, respect and reflection. Children refer to the waka and three Norfolk Pine trees in the school's logo as a visual reminder of the values, of the history of the area, and that they are on a learning journey.

The school’s achievement information shows that the majority of children have achieved consistently well over the last three years in reading, writing and mathematics in relation to National Standards (at least 90 percent, 81 percent and 86 percent respectively). Māori and Pacific children achieve very well in reading in comparison to other children. Māori children's achievement is similar to all children in writing, though showed a small decline in mathematics during 2015. Pacific children achieve as well as or better than their peers in writing and mathematics. The data show small gender based differences, where boys achieve better than girls in mathematics and vice versa in writing. The school reports that children with English as an additional language make good progress during their time at school.

Senior leaders are confident that teachers make reliable judgements about how well children are achieving in reading, writing and mathematics. They monitor these decisions, and have developed documents to support the consistency of teacher judgments across the school. Teachers use a variety of sources of information to make decisions about children's levels of achievement. They have developed shared understandings about what achievement looks like at different year levels with their colleagues and teachers from local schools.

Since the last ERO evaluation the school has strengthened systems that support teachers to know more about and respond to each child as a learner, and to collaborate more effectively in identifying which strategies are most effective in accelerating children's learning.

3 Accelerating achievement

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

The school responds effectively to Māori children whose learning and achievement need acceleration. Good systems are in place to identify, monitor and track Māori children at the individual child, class, team, and whole-school levels. Teachers and leaders are able to show that the learning for these children has been accelerated.

Teachers and leaders have strengthened their knowledge about individual Māori children in terms of their learning, and increasingly, their culture and identity. Teachers use this information to adapt planning and teaching approaches.

Teachers are beginning to document the culturally responsive strategies they plan to use. In the school's raising achievement plan, senior leaders have identified the need to consult with whānau to find out how they can further improve their responsiveness. They should now evaluate how effective specific strategies have been in supporting the learning and achievement goals of Māori children.

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

The school responds effectively to all children whose learning and achievement need acceleration. Teachers know who these children are and in their planning, identify the particular support they are providing. Through their professional inquiries, teachers regularly reflect on teaching practice and what further changes they should make to promote acceleration. Improved communication systems have helped teachers and leaders take a shared responsibility for supporting the achievement of these children.

Teachers work collaboratively in teams or with leaders to identify and share strategies that are successful in promoting acceleration, or to seek advice. Trained teachers and teacher aides are employed to provide additional support. The Special Needs Coordinator gives thoughtful consideration to the most effective ways teacher aides' time is used to respond to children's diverse learning needs.

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 are very effective in promoting equity and excellence.

Teachers provide children with high quality, authentic learning experiences through a broad, integrated curriculum. Children are articulate, engage well, and are able to work independently and cooperatively. They confidently share their work with their peers and other audiences. Children appreciate the many opportunities to take on leadership roles and to represent the school in the wider community. Children have access to a wide range of extra-curricular programmes. Specialist teachers provide additional enrichment in physical education, art, music and language learning. Enviroschools is an important, relevant part of the curriculum. The school has proudly maintained its Green Gold Enviroschools status.

Classrooms are well resourced and children have easy access to the learning materials they require. Environments are vibrant and celebrate learning. Children's ownership of their learning is supported by having regular opportunities to set goals and reflect on their achievements. Leaders could consider evaluating how well these factors are contributing to the learning and accelerated progress of children who are yet to meet the National Standards.

Senior leaders continue to support the school's bicultural practice. In addition to professional learning, leaders have developed a curriculum framework to support teachers to integrate te ao Māori across the curriculum. Children continue to have opportunities to participate in kapa haka, pōwhiri and Matariki celebrations. As a result of a recent survey of whānau Māori, senior leaders sought advice to help them enhance how they support Māori children to succeed in their identity as Māori. Senior leaders have plans to continue strengthening the bicultural curriculum and the engagement of whānau Māori.

The principal and two associate principals have complementary strengths and provide cohesive, learner focused leadership. They have high expectations of children succeeding across the curriculum. Senior leaders promote high levels of professional trust within a collegial environment. They work collaboratively with syndicate leaders, teachers and support staff to understand and meet children's diverse learning requirements.

Teachers regularly reflect on their practice and draw on professional readings to raise achievement. A new appraisal process is supporting teachers to focus more explicitly on how their practice accelerates the progress of children at risk of underachieving. Teachers analyse achievement information to inform children's goals, and class, team and school-wide priorities.

Senior leaders value teachers' involvement in setting annual achievement targets. Further analysis of achievement information, over more than a two year period, in terms of gender, ethnicity, cohort and time at school could help to identify relevant trends and patterns in achievement.

Trustees and leaders value the views of parents and whānau. They regularly consult with them about a range of school matters. Parents and whānau report that they appreciate the variety of ways they can access information. They have many opportunities to discuss their child's achievement and how they can support learning at home. Written reports clearly show how well children progress during their time at school.

The board is new, and trustees bring useful skills, knowledge and experiences to their governance role. The board continues to co-opt a representative from the Chinese community to provide a link with Chinese parents. Trustees receive useful information about student achievement and the curriculum from school leaders. They use this information to guide their decision making and resourcing. Leaders could further support the board by including more evaluative commentary that explains the impact of specific interventions or different curriculum areas on valued student outcomes. 

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.

Wakaaranga School is very well placed to achieve and sustain equitable and excellent outcomes for all children.

Senior leaders, with teachers, have identified relevant professional learning that will continue to support teachers to accelerate learning for specific groups of children.

To further enhance equity and excellence outcomes for all children, senior leaders and trustees have taken proactive steps to build on the successful ways they engage whānau Māori, and to strengthen links with the school's growing Pacific community.

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

  • provision for international students.

7 Recommendation

ERO recommends that trustees and staff continue to use internal evaluation to support equity and excellence for all children.

Graham Randell

Deputy Chief Review Officer Northern

9 March 2017

About the school 

Location

Pakuranga, Auckland

Ministry of Education profile number

1560

School type

Contributing (Years 1 to 6)

School roll

740

Number of international students

3

Gender composition

Boys 52% Girls 48%

Ethnic composition

Māori

Pākehā

Chinese

Indian

Pacific

Middle Eastern

Sri Lankan

African

British/Irish

Filipino

Korean

other European

other Asian

other

8%

30%

30%

10%

6%

3%

2%

1%

1%

1%

1%

4%

2%

1%

Review team on site

November 2016

Date of this report

9 March 2017

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

August 2013

August 2010

June 2007

1 Context

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

Wakaaranga School is a large primary school located in Pakuranga, in the eastern area of Auckland. The school’s ethos and culture caters well for a diverse mix of students and their families. The Māori community is positively engaged in the school. Learning relationships at all levels in the school are positive and affirming.

The 2010 ERO report noted the links Wakaaranga has to the history of its locality. The school’s waka toa and three pine trees are icons that continue to be effective in communicating the school’s educational vision to its community.

The Wakaaranga School curriculum has a strong focus on sustainability. Cooperative learning promotes and fosters students’ social competencies. The board of trustees continues to resource developments in communication technology within the school’s e-learning programmes. This strategic vision for digital learning increases opportunities for students to understand and participate in twenty-first century learning. Parents comment on the confidence these learning approaches instil in their children.

School leaders have considered the recommendations made during the2010 ERO review. Students now demonstrate a wider responsibility for their own learning and teachers continue to inquire rigorously into the impact of their teaching practices on student learning and achievement.

2 Learning

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

Leaders and teachers make good use of achievement information to identify students’ learning pathways and to support them to be successful learners. Data indicate that most students achieve very well in relation to National Standards in mathematics, reading and writing. Māori and Pacific students are achieving at comparable levels to other students.

Teachers’ inquiry into their assessment and tracking information has continued to develop at class and team levels. The school’s charter targets aim to accelerate the small groups of students, who are not yet at the expected levels, to achieve National Standards. These students spend time with learning support teachers who monitor progress and regularly liaise with each child’s class teacher. Children’s learning is therefore integrated into the main class programme. Students with specific learning and behaviour needs are included in these groups and are benefitting from one to one specialist teaching.

Syndicate leaders work with their teams to plan collaboratively. At the time of this review the school was part of a local school cluster to improve the teaching of writing. Inter-school initiatives such as this continue to assist teachers to make reliable and confident judgements about student assessment.

Parents are well informed about their children’s progress and achievement through written reports and face to face conferences. Reports clearly express how students are achieving in relation to each National Standard. They also outline meaningful ways that families can support their children’s learning at home.

Senior leaders will continue to explore ways that the school can report on the progress made by identified groups of learners to ensure that the programmes, approaches and strategies used are making a difference.

3 Curriculum

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

The Wakaaranga curriculum is very effective in engaging students to become reflective, lifelong learners. Students take ownership and responsibility for their learning. The school's curriculum is closely aligned to The New Zealand Curriculum document and effectively merges core subjects into three main learning areas: e-learning, landscape learning and co-operative learning. Key competencies and school values are an integral part of the curriculum through the focus on co-operative learning.

Mathematics and literacy skills are integrated within the wider curriculum and form part of students’ learning in investigative topics. Māori perspectives are often included in these inquiries. Students are viewed as capable learners and take ownership of their learning and goal setting. There are high levels of cognitive engagement in most classrooms, particularly where students are working in groups and teams on complex activities that are both challenging and stimulating. Parents and other community members have opportunities to participate usefully in the school’s curriculum delivery.

Teachers are supported to continue to develop high quality teaching practice, through relevant professional development.

The senior executive team agree that the school should continue to develop the visibility of the Pacific cultures within the curriculum and school environment.

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

Māori students benefit from effective processes for teaching, learning and the valuing of relationships school-wide. Most Māori students are achieving well in relation to National Standards.

Whānau contribute to student learning through timetabled te reo Māori me ōna tikanga classes that explore Māori language, identity and culture. Students share an understanding about the cultural heritage of Aotearoa in meaningful contexts. Teachers are also benefiting from this whānau involvement as they develop their own knowledge and skills.

Māori students have opportunities to perform in the school kapa haka group and celebrate significant events in the Māori calendar such as Matariki.

The senior executive team acknowledge the value of reporting more formally and evaluatively on the Māori programme in the school. This will inform the board of trustees and the Māori community about the effectiveness and quality of this learning and what still needs to be planned for in the future to ensure the success of Māori learners.

4 Sustainable Performance

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

Wakaaranga School is effectively led and is well placed to sustain and build its capability through systematic self review practices. Leadership is grown from within the school using the expertise of different teachers. Trustees, leaders and teachers are committed to improving student learning.

A positive tone and culture in the school supports the learning of all students. Different perspectives sought from students and the school community often contribute to self review.

The senior executive team is considering ways to deepen the evaluative component of their strategic self review. This may lead to a clearer expression of the elements that contribute to quality teaching and learning within the context of Wakaaranga School. It may also add value to shared, school-wide understandings about teaching practices that best suit priority learners.

Trustees use the information they receive from school leaders to set positive directions for the school. The board of trustees values the views and involvement of its community in strategic planning.

The current board is aware of its legal obligations and responsibilities in relation to good employment practice. An external consultant has been appointed to manage the principal's appraisal.

Provision for international students

Wakaaranga School provides an effective education, an inclusive culture and a responsive pastoral care system for international students. The school is a signatory to the Code of Practice for the Pastoral Care of International Students (the Code) established under 238F of the Education Act 1989. At the time of this review there was one international student 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 three years.

Graham Randell

National Manager Review Services Northern Region (Acting)

14 August 2013

About the School

Location

Pakuranga, Auckland

Ministry of Education profile number

1560

School type

Contributing (Years 1 to 6)

School roll

645

Number of international students

1

Gender composition

Boys 50% Girls 50%

Ethnic composition

NZ European/Pākehā

Māori

Chinese

Indian

Other European

Other Asian

African

Middle Eastern

SE Asian

Fijian

Samoan

Tongan

Other

35%

8%

25%

11%

5%

4%

2%

2%

2%

1%

1%

1%

3%

Review team on site

June 2013

Date of this report

14 August 2013

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

August 2010

June 2007

February 2004