Wiri Central School

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Findings

Wiri Central School has made good progress in addressing priority areas for development. Collaborative practices are supporting improved teaching practices. Students experience settled learning environments and variety in classroom programmes.

On the basis of the findings of this review, ERO ‘s overall evaluation judgement of Wiri Central School’s performance in achieving valued outcomes for its students is: Well placed.

1 Background and Context

What is the background and context for this school’s review?

Wiri Central School in Manurewa, provides education for children from Years 1 to 8. Māori and Samoan children each make up one-third of the roll. Tongan and Cook Island Māori children make up 20 percent. The school’s two language-based units are Mōkai Awhina, offering bilingual education in te reo Māori, and Fofoa i Vaoese, a Samoan bilingual option.

The senior leadership team includes a long-standing principal and deputy principal, and a recently appointed deputy principal. They are supported by six leaders of learning, including two who are new to their role. Since the 2017 ERO review, almost half of the staff are new to the school.

The 2017 ERO report noted a school focus on student wellbeing, the loyalty of the local community, and families’ intergenerational connections with the school. ERO identified concerns with systems and processes for:

  • guiding teaching and learning to raise the level of student achievement
  • building effective leadership capability to sustain and embed changes
  • promoting in-depth internal evaluation to support school improvement
  • building board capability to strengthen governance.

For these reasons ERO decided to monitor the school’s progress through a longitudinal review process.

Over the past two years the school has worked with ERO, the Ministry of Education, and an external facilitator, to make improvements in specific areas of concern. As a result, quality systems and processes for monitoring overall school achievement and building leadership to sustain change, have significantly improved. Governance processes and internal evaluation have been strengthened, and continue to be ongoing areas of focus for the school.

2 Review and Development

How effectively is the school addressing its priorities for review and development?

Priorities identified for review and development

Priorities for school review and development identified in 2017 included:

  • addressing low student achievement through the use of effective systems and processes

  • building teacher capacity and creating a professional culture of learning

  • strengthening leadership capacity and capability to sustain and embed changes

  • establishing a process for in-depth internal evaluation that promotes ongoing school improvement

  • building board capability to strengthen processes and school improvement.

Progress

The school has made progress in all of the priority areas.

Senior leaders have developed and implemented schoolwide systems and processes to address low student achievement. Interventions are now happening earlier for students whose achievement needs improvement. Leaders and teachers share information about good teaching practices to support teaching and learning.

The progress of target students is discussed at all levels. These discussions focus on developing a shared understanding of how teachers can accelerate progress, and foster learning partnerships with parents, in order to accelerate student achievement. Partnerships with families are providing parents with ways to support their children’s learning at home.

Schoolwide information shows small positive shifts in students’ achievement compared with the 2017 data. Senior leaders acknowledge it is too soon to see significant improvement in school data across all curriculum areas. They have recognised that where there is poor student attendance, the impact on low student achievement is high. Leaders are considering strategies to increase students’ engagement with the school curriculum.

Leaders and teachers have reviewed the school curriculum. They have made good shifts towards a shared understanding of the school vision and the development of teaching approaches that increase student ownership of their learning. Teaching and learning practices are becoming more consistent and embedded across the school.

Teaching practices in Mōkai Awhina continue to be strengthened by new staff members’ use of its curriculum and assessment. Fofoa i Vaoese has had some changes in staff and an additional class. Teachers in this unit are beginning to develop their own Samoan curriculum and assessment practices. Students from both units participate in schoolwide activities, events and programmes.

A schoolwide culture of staff professional learning and sharing is promoting clear expectations. New appraisal processes include specific goals focused on lifting student achievement. Leaders continue to provide opportunities for teachers to share evidence of effective practices that contribute to raising student achievement.

Key next steps

The principal and senior leaders should continue to evaluate and refine systems and processes that guide improvement. They should plan intentional strategies to sustain recent improvements and current good practices. The principal and senior leaders agree to continue to:

  • further develop schoolwide shared understandings of strategies that help to raise students’ achievement

  • extend moderation practices by working with other English medium schools

  • build middle leadership capability.

3 Sustainable performance and self review

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

The school is increasingly well placed to continue to review and improve its performance.

Senior leaders work collaboratively. They have developed a strategic approach to building leadership capability to sustain and embed changes. Professional learning focused on leadership is helping to build the capability of the leaders of learning and supporting them to develop a shared understanding of their roles and responsibilities.

The school has developed and implemented the Wiri Whānau Way to guide positive relationships and behaviour management. Leaders should review the content and use of the school’s anti-bullying policy, to address the high number of reported incidents.

Good frameworks have been developed to guide internal evaluation across the school. It is timely for trustees, leaders and teachers to strengthen their shared understanding of the purpose of internal evaluation, including its impact on outcomes for students.

The board of trustees works collaboratively. This has supported the board’s capability to strengthen support for school improvement initiatives. There is a willingness from trustees to continue to strengthen their governance roles and responsibilities through external support.

The school is a member of Te Kaahui Ako o Manurewa |Community of Learning, which is made up of local schools. This is fostering useful school connections and initiatives that could support improved outcomes for students.

Key next steps

The school has been through a period of significant change, challenge and improvement, and is now moving into the next phase of this change process. The senior leaders and trustees should continue to evaluate systems and processes to support ongoing improvement. The principal and trustees agree to:

  • improve the content and use of the school’s anti-bullying policy

  • seek external support to build trustees’ understanding of their roles and responsibilities

  • develop a shared understanding of the purpose of internal evaluation and its impact on outcomes for students across the school

  • further explore strategies to strengthen educational learning partnerships with parents.

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.

In order to improve practice, the board should:

  • develop secure processes for filing confidential documentation

  • ensure correct processes are followed for the use of in-committee meetings.

4 Recommendations

Recommendations, including any to other agencies for ongoing or additional support.

ERO recommends that the Ministry of Education continue to provide support for Wiri Central School to build teacher capacity and capability to sustain practices that result in improved outcomes for students.

Conclusion

Wiri Central School has made good progress in addressing priority areas for development. Collaborative practices are supporting improved teaching practices. Students experience settled learning environments and variety in classroom programmes.

On the basis of the findings of this review, ERO ‘s overall evaluation judgement of Wiri Central School’s performance in achieving valued outcomes for its students is: Well placed.

Steve Tanner

Director Review and Improvement Services Northern

Northern Region

9 May 2019

About the School

Location

Wiri, Auckland

Ministry of Education profile number

1576

School type

Full Primary (Years 1 to 8)

School roll

374

Gender composition

Boys 55% Girls 45%

Ethnic composition

Māori
Samoan
Tongan
Cook Island Māori
other ethnic groups

34%
39%
11%
9%
7%

Special Features

Māori Bilingual 3 classes MMI Samoan Bilingual 4 classes

Review team on site

March 2019

Date of this report

9 May 2019

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review
Education Review
Education Review

June 2017
May 2014
April 2011

Summary

Wiri Central School in South Auckland caters for children from Years 1 to 8. The school roll is 436. Māori children make up one third of the roll, Samoan children also a third, and Tongan, Cook Islands Māori and others make up the further third. Children are able to learn in two language based units. Mōkai Awhina offers immersion education in te reo Māori. Fofoa i Vaoese provides a Samoan bilingual option.

Since the 2014 ERO review, the board has remained largely unchanged. Trustees are still coming to terms with their governance role and effectiveness. A new deputy principal who is experienced in establishing systems for monitoring and supporting student achievement, began at the start of 2017.

Teachers have participated in significant professional learning and development (PLD) in the last three years. The learning from these opportunities is yet to have a positive impact on outcomes for children. Major maintenance has upgraded and refreshed the exterior of school buildings.

The 2014 ERO report identified low achievement as an area for development. At the time of this review overall achievement in reading, writing and mathematics has continued to decline. While there is little disparity between the achievement levels of groups of children, the school has not been able to effectively accelerate the rate of progress for those who need to achieve better.

How well is the school achieving equitable outcomes for all children?

The school has not yet responded effectively to Māori and Pacific children whose learning and achievement need acceleration. Māori and Pacific children make up 98 percent of the school roll.

School leaders and teachers are still developing processes to enable the equitable and excellent achievement of children. Very recently some initiatives that are likely to support teachers to know more about their children as learners, including tracking and monitoring processes, have been introduced in some classes.

At the time of this review, this school was not well placed to provide conditions for children to achieve educational excellence, or to address in-school disparities.

The main areas of concern are:

  • lack of urgency in addressing low student achievement in reading, writing and mathematics

  • student achievement data trending down over time

  • the absence of programmes and initiatives to accelerate the progress of identified learners. 

Leaders and teachers:

  • have not yet adequately built their knowledge of the children whose learning and achievement need to be accelerated

  • have not yet adequately established necessary conditions to effectively accelerate learning and achievement

  • are not well placed to achieve and sustain accelerated achievement for all children who need it.

ERO intends to carry out a process of ongoing evaluation to support development over the course of one-to-two years.

Equity and excellence

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

The school has not yet responded effectively to Māori and Pacific children whose learning and achievement needs acceleration.

Overall, children’s achievement is low with 43 percent achieving the National Standards in reading, 41 percent in writing and 44 percent in mathematics. Girls achieve considerably better than boys in reading and mathematics. Achievement for boys and girls in writing is similar. In comparison to data of schools in the local area, achievement is significantly lower in reading, writing and mathematics.

Achievement for Māori and Pacific children is similar in reading and mathematics. In writing Pacific children achieve at slightly higher levels than Māori.

For children in Mōkai Awhina, levels of achievement are low in korero (oral language), pānui (reading) and tuhituhi (writing), and have declined since 2015. In te tau (number), children’s achievement is higher and showing improvement.

Coherent leadership of support programmes for children with additional learning needs is likely to impact positively on the social and learning outcomes for these children.

Since ERO’s 2014 review, the school’s data shows lower achievement in reading, writing and mathematics. Trends in the data for cohorts of children show a decline in achievement over their time at the school.

Teachers use appropriate assessment tools to gather information about children’s learning and achievement. They moderate samples of children’s work within their teaching teams and across the school. This moderation process is helping teachers to make more consistent judgements about children’s achievement, particularly in writing.

For children in Mokai Awhina, the school intends that bilingual and biliterate proficiency will support them to be secure in Te Ao Māori. Similarly for children who learn in Fofoa i Vaoese, it is intended that bilingual and biliterate proficiency will support them to be secure in Fa’a Samoa. The graduate profile could be used to influence decision-making processes. 

School conditions supporting equity and excellence

What school processes are effective in enabling achievement of equity and excellence?

The school has not developed processes that are effective in enabling the achievement of equity and excellence. Frameworks to support teachers to know more about their children as learners have recently been introduced in some classrooms. However these are not yet embedded or implemented school wide.

Children’s’ cultural heritages and backgrounds are well nurtured in the school. Good opportunities are offered for them to immerse themselves in their language and culture in Mōkai Awhina. The team leader provides increasingly helpful guidance for teachers in the areas of curriculum, assessment and supporting children with additional learning needs.

Children in Fofoa i Vaoese consistently hear Samoan language in formal settings and in conversations. They learn through a curriculum that recognises and builds on their cultural backgrounds and prior knowledge. The team leader models good teaching practice for her teachers.

Senior leaders are reviewing the school curriculum. This work provides a good foundation for developing clear expectations of teachers and their practice.

Trustees report improved confidence to contribute during board meetings. They ask questions and discuss topics in greater depth and have developed a better understanding of their role and of board processes. A mentor who has been co-opted onto the board through a business partnership, models governance processes for parent trustees.

A focus on student wellbeing over the past three years has resulted in improvements in class tone and the school culture. The local community is loyal to the school and many families have intergenerational connections to Wiri Central. Senior leaders and trustees report that families are now attending school events in greater numbers.

Since the 2014 ERO review, facilitators from within and outside the school have provided teachers with a range of in depth PLD opportunities. There is little evidence to suggest that teachers were expected to improve their practice as a result of this work.

Sustainable development for equity and excellence

What further developments are needed in school processes to achieve equity and excellence?

A sense of urgency is required at all levels of school operations to better support the development of positive outcomes for children. Being more responsive to patterns and trends in student achievement information and other data is important in addressing the learning needs of identified under achievers.

Effective leadership of improvement is necessary so that when initiatives are introduced they become embedded for all teachers. Teachers and team leaders require greater clarity and guidance about what is to be taught and how it is to be taught. Expectations should include: 

  • clearly articulating the school’s vision for teaching and learning and documenting this as the school’s curriculum
  • creating a school wide strategy to address low student achievement that includes a shared understanding of how teachers can accelerate progress and foster learning partnerships with parents
  • establishing high expectations of children, teachers and leaders
  • creating a culture of professional learning and sharing for staff. 

School wide systems to implement the curriculum, policies and procedures are not in place. To ensure that the expectations of teachers and new professional learning and development can become established, it is necessary to establish the consistent use of agreed frameworks and processes across the school.

The board is very supportive of the school. Trustees are not yet aware of their role in scrutinising the effectiveness of programmes and initiatives.

In order to implement and embed initiatives to address priorities for improvement, school leaders must establish efficient internal evaluation processes in all areas and levels of school operations.Using ERO publications such as School Evaluation Indicators and Effective Internal Evaluation, could strengthen this process going forward. 

The areas identified for school wide improvement are also relevant for strengthening the overall performance of both Mokai Awhina and Fofoa i Vaoese.

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

  • asset management.

During the review, ERO checked the following items because they have a potentially high impact on student safety and wellbeing:

  • emotional safety of students (including prevention of bullying and sexual harassment)

  • physical safety of students

  • teacher registration and certification

  • processes for appointing staff

  • stand down, suspension, expulsion and exclusion of students

  • attendance

  • school policies in relation to meeting the requirements of the Vulnerable Children Act 2014.

Appraisal audit

During the course of the review, ERO audited the process for the endorsement of teachers’ practising certificates undertaken within the last 12 months. ERO found there was insufficient evidence in teachers’ portfolios for endorsements to meet requirements. The process that is now in place is more likely to meet Education Council requirements.

Actions required

ERO identified non-compliances in relation to National Standards and board processes. In order to address these the board must: 

  1. ensure teachers report students’ achievement in relation to National Standards to their parents twice a year in writing
    NAG 2A(a) 
  2. comply with all statutory requirements
    NAG6. 

In order to improve practice, the board should use in-committee meeting processes to protect the privacy of staff and students.

Going forward

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

At the time of this review, this school was not well placed to provide conditions for children to achieve educational excellence, or to address in-school disparities. The main areas of concern are:

  • lack of urgency in addressing low student achievement in reading, writing and mathematics

  • student achievement data trending down over time

  • the absence of programmes and initiatives to accelerate the progress of students who need to achieve better

Leaders and teachers:

  • have not yet adequately built their knowledge of the children whose learning and achievement need to be accelerated

  • have not yet adequately established necessary conditions to effectively accelerate learning and achievement

  • are not well placed to achieve and sustain accelerated achievement for all children who need it.

ERO intends to carry out a process of ongoing evaluation to support development over the course of one-to-two years. 

Recommendations

ERO recommends that the Ministry of Education and New Zealand School Trustees Association provide support for the school in order to bring about the following improvements: 

  • establish effective leadership
  • address low student achievement
  • establish high expectations for children, teachers and leaders
  • create a culture of professional learning and sharing. 

Steffan Brough

Deputy Chief Review Officer Northern (Acting)

9 June 2017

About the school 

Location

Manurewa, Auckland

Ministry of Education profile number

1576

School type

Full primary (Years 1 to 8)

School roll

439

Gender composition

Boys 52% Girls 48%

Ethnic composition

Māori

Samoan

Tongan

Cook Islands Māori

other

36%

38%

11%

10%

5%

Provision of Māori medium education

Yes

Number of Māori medium classes

3

Total number of students in Māori medium (MME)

54

Total number of students in Māori language in English medium (MLE)

0

Number of students in Level 1 MME

54

Number of students in Level 2 MME

0

Review team on site

March 2017

Date of this report

9 June 2017

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

May 2014

April 2011

May 2008