Berkley Normal Middle School

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Education institution number:
1695
School type:
Restricted Composite (Year 7-10)
School gender:
Co-Educational
Definition:
Normal School
Total roll:
776
Telephone:
Address:

26 Berkley Avenue, Hillcrest, Hamilton

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School Context

Berkley Normal Middle School caters for students in Years 7 to 9 in Hamilton. At the time of the review the school roll was 719 and 16% of students identify as Māori. Students come from a wide range of ethnic backgrounds.

This school is an authorised International Baccalaureate (IB) Primary Years Programme (PYP) school. The PYP is designed to prepare students to become active, caring, lifelong learners who demonstrate respect for themselves and others, and have the capacity to participate in the world around them.

Through the school values of ‘we care – kia manaaki, we share – kia tiaki, and we dare – kia toa’ learners are empowered to ‘take up the challenge’. The key strategic goals of the school are to:

  • provide high-quality learning and teaching experiences
  • create a professional learning community to improve learning outcomes for all students
  • create and sustain positive relationships with all Berkley learners
  • enhance communication, collaboration and trust at each level of the school community.

The school has responded well to the 2014 ERO evaluation.

From 2015 to 2016, a commissioner was appointed by the Ministry of Education (MoE) to oversee the operation of the school. In 2016 a new board of trustees, with a wide range of expertise and experience was elected. Trustees have been further supported to strengthen their understanding of stewardship roles and responsibilities. A new principal was appointed in November 2015. The school has collaboratively reviewed its vision, values and strategic plans to realise the school community’s aspirations.

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

  • reading, writing and mathematics
  • IB learner profile and PYP units of inquiry.

Evaluation Findings

1 Equity and excellence – achievement of valued outcomes for students

1.1 How well is the school achieving equitable and excellent outcomes for all its students?

The school is positively working towards achieving equitable outcomes for all its students.

Many students entering at the beginning of Year 7 in 2016 and leaving at the end of Year 8 in 2017 made significantly more than expected curriculum rates of progress over the two years.

Most students in Years 7 and 8 achieve well in reading, writing and mathematics in relation to curriculum expectations. In 2017, most students in Year 9 achieved well in mathematics and writing. A large majority of students achieved well in reading. Significant disparity between Māori and Pākehā is evident in writing, reading and mathematics.

In Years 7 and 8, boys achieve at comparable levels to girls in mathematics. However, they are significantly below girls in reading and writing. In the small Year 9 cohort, boys’ and girls’ achievement is comparable in reading. However, girls outperform boys in writing, and boys achieve significantly better than girls in mathematics.

1.2 How well is the school accelerating learning for those Māori and other students who need this?

The school is effectively accelerating progress and achievement for Māori and other students who need this.

In 2018, the school has effectively accelerated the learning for Māori and other groups of learners in reading, writing and mathematics in Years 7 and 8. The disparity is narrowing in writing and significantly reducing in reading for Māori learners in relation to non-Māori.

The school has extended the range of strategies and initiatives used to accelerate the learning and achievement of targeted learners. More robust systems for making dependable judgements in relation to curriculum expectations have been developed. There is an increased focus on tracking and monitoring of progress and achievement.

2 School conditions for equity and excellence – processes and practices

2.1 What school processes and practices are effective in enabling achievement of equity and excellence, and acceleration of learning?

A highly skilled, experienced and collaborative leadership team is driving school-wide strategic improvement. Leaders are actively involved in the wider education community. Comprehensive curriculum frameworks guide teaching and learning.

A coherent and well-considered approach to strengthening teacher practice that is focused on improving outcomes for students is evident. Professional learning opportunities encourage teachers to engage in high-quality practice. Leaders and teachers collaborate well across areas of knowledge and learning activities within the school, and with the community and the wider education sector.

Students learn in caring, collaborative and inclusive environments. Positive learning focused relationships have been well established between leaders, teachers and students. Culture, language and identity for all students is nurtured and celebrated throughout the school. Teachers know students and their whānau well. Active engagement is encouraged and students are developing understanding of themselves as learners.

The school’s rich curriculum makes purposeful connections to learners’ lives, prior knowledge and real world contexts. An extensive range of opportunities and experiences supports all learners to fully participate in the life of the school. The school’s vision and values are highly visible throughout the school. A well-considered approach to support learners’ engagement and wellbeing reflects the school’s culture of care. Learners are confident and curious to explore their understanding of the world around them.

Strong relationships with contributing schools supports highly-effective transition processes for all learners, particularly those with additional needs. A welcoming and inclusive approach supports targeted learning and behaviour programmes for students. A new appointment has been made to lead this area in term 3, 2018. A recent review of the Enhanced Learning Centre (ELC) has identified the strengths and the key areas for improvement.

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

The school has identified that embedding consistently high-quality teaching practice across the school is a priority. This should include extending collaborative partnerships between teachers and with whānau for the teaching and learning of students with additional needs.

Enhancing the understanding and use of effective internal evaluation for innovation and ongoing improvement is needed. This approach should include:

  • supporting leaders and teachers to deepen their inquiry into the impact of strategies, initiatives and interventions on accelerating progress and achievement
  • continuing to build systems and processes to ensure data gathered to inform outcomes decisions is dependable.

3 Board assurance on legal requirements

Before the review, the board and principal of the school completed the ERO board assurance statement and self-audit checklists. In these documents they attested that they had taken all reasonable steps to meet their legislative obligations related to the following:

  • board administration

  • curriculum

  • management of health, safety and welfare

  • personnel management

  • finance

  • asset management.

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

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

  • physical safety of students

  • teacher registration and certification

  • processes for appointing staff

  • stand down, suspension, expulsion and exclusion of students

  • attendance

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

Provision for international students

The school is a signatory to the Education (Pastoral Care of International Students) Code of Practice 2016 (the Code) established under section 238F of the Education Act 1989. The school has attested that it complies with all aspects of the Code.

At the time of this review there were 18 international students attending the school.

The school has an inclusive environment that welcomes international students and supports them to be actively involved in the life of the school. Students benefit from a wide range of experiences and activities. Their wellbeing and transition into, through and beyond the school is carefully considered and forms the foundation for successful learning. The school has responded well to their internal review of learning programmes for international students.

4 Going forward

Key strengths of the school

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

  • school leadership that is effectively building high-quality teaching practice

  • curriculum design and delivery that responds well to students interests and needs

  • learning-focused relationships that underpin productive partnerships for progress and achievement.

Next steps

For sustained improvement and future learner success, priorities for further development are in:

  • consistent implementation of effective teaching strategies to enhance equitable and excellent outcomes for learners

  • extending effective internal evaluation processes to further support trustees and leaders decision-making for improvement.

ERO’s next external evaluation process and timing

ERO is likely to carry out the next external evaluation in three years.

Adrienne Fowler

Director Review and Improvement Services

Te Tai Miringa - Waikato / Bay of Plenty Region

22 November 2018

About the school

Location

Hamilton

Ministry of Education profile number

1695

School type

Restricted Composite (Years 7 to 9)

School roll

719

Gender composition

Girls 51% Boys 49%

Ethnic composition

Māori 16%
Pākehā 58%
Chinese 5%
Other European 6%
Other Asian 4%
Other 11%

Students with Ongoing Resourcing Funding (ORS)

Yes

Provision of Māori medium education

No

Review team on site

September 2018

Date of this report

22 November 2018

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review October 2014
Education Review May 2010
Special Review June 2007

Findings

Berkley Normal Middle School provides the International Baccalaureate Primary Years Programme. An experienced leadership team provides effective leadership for learning. The well-designed curriculum effectively promotes student engagement, progress and achievement through a wide range of learning opportunities. Māori language, culture and identity are valued and visible in the school.

ERO is likely to carry out the next review in three years.

1 Context

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

Berkley Normal Middle School is located in Hillcrest, Hamilton. It is a restricted composite school that caters for students in Years 7 to 9. As a normal school, part of Berkley’s special nature is that it works closely with the education programmes of the Waikato University School of Education. At the time of this review there were 723 students enrolled, 108 of whom identify as Māori. There are 42 students in the Year 9 group. These Year 9 students enjoy opportunities to build strong relationships with their home room teacher, consolidate their learning, and further develop leadership and self-management skills.

Since the previous ERO review in 2010 the long standing principal retired and in March 2014 a new principal was appointed. As a result of issues arising since this appointment, the board of trustees accepted the principal’s resignation in August 2014. At the 2013 board elections three new trustees were elected. An experienced board chairperson continues in her role.

The school has become an accredited provider of the International Baccalaureate Primary Years Programme as a means of delivering aspects of The New Zealand Curriculum. School leaders and all teachers have participated in professional learning to support them to deliver this curriculum. They have continued with professional learning focused on writing using an external facilitator.

The school has a positive ERO reporting history. Good progress has been made with the priorities identified in the 2010 ERO report relating to strengthening leadership, consultation with the community, and increasing the Māori dimension in the school.

Positive and respectful relationships amongst students and teachers contribute to a safe and inclusive environment for learning. The school is well maintained and presented. A particular feature of the school is the high-quality resources and extensive specialist facilities that enhance learning.

2 Learning

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

The school continues to make good use of student achievement information to promote student engagement, progress and achievement.

Senior leaders have developed robust systems that guide the collection and analysis of student achievement information particularly in the areas of reading, writing and mathematics. They use this information to identify students that require extra support and extension. School leaders effectively monitor the progress and achievement of individuals and groups of students over time at the school. They make good use of achievement data to identify opportunities for teachers’ professional learning and development. ERO and school leaders agree that there is a need to continue to develop processes to support teachers to make more reliable judgements in relation to the National Standards in reading, writing and mathematics.

The deputy principal provides the board of trustees with regular and useful school-wide student achievement information. This information is well used by the board to inform strategic planning, resourcing decisions and set appropriate charter goals.

Teachers make good use of assessment information to identify and closely monitor the achievement of students who are achieving below the National Standards. They regularly reflect with colleagues on the effectiveness of their teaching practice to raise achievement of these target students.

National Standards achievement information for Years 7 and 8 students at the end of 2013 indicates that reading and mathematics results were similar to national comparisons. School leaders are continuing to implement professional learning for teachers to address lower levels of achievement in writing. Achievement information for Year 9 students indicated that at the start of 2014 the range of achievement was slightly below national comparisons in reading, writing and mathematics. The school’s achievement information from 2012 to 2013 shows that most students made expected progress in those areas.

Parents are able to be well informed about their children’s achievement and progress, through two comprehensive written reports each year, and recently introduced student-led conferences.

3 Curriculum

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

The school curriculum is well designed and continues to effectively support students’ learning through a wide range of learning opportunities. The curriculum is enhanced through embedded and robust self-review practices. Classrooms are attractively presented and displays reflect current learning.

Students are confident and enthusiastic about sharing their learning. They have many opportunities to:

  • explore their ideas and extend their learning in real-life contexts
  • spend quality time to further their knowledge in specialist and technology classes
  • develop their leadership skills and celebrate success with their peers and families
  • understand and demonstrate the school values of 'Care, Share and Dare'
  • experience success through trips, camps, sporting and cultural events.

There are well-planned and implemented transition processes that contribute to student wellbeing as they enter the school and as they move on to secondary school.

The Enhanced Learning Centre continues to provide a high quality and well-resourced facility catering for English Language Learners and students with diverse needs. The facility is overseen by a skilled and well-qualified special education needs coordinator (SENCO).

ERO observed models of good teaching practice that reflect the high expectations shared by school leaders and teachers. These practices include:

students engaged in the learning process by sharing their own knowledge, developing a clear understanding of the purpose of their learning and reflecting on this when setting personal learning goals

  • collaborative learning and discussion amongst students
  • timely and specific feedback from teachers to students about their learning
  • planned learning programmes that respond to the individual needs of students.

Senior leaders and ERO agree that an important next step is to link learning goals in reading, writing and mathematics with specific learning pathways to further empower individual students to achieve their goals.

Teachers are a collegial and professional team. They have worked collaboratively with school leaders and established an agreed philosophy of teaching founded on current theory and best practice. A comprehensive appraisal process provides teachers with regular and specific feedback and many opportunities to reflect on their teaching. Many teachers are dedicated to giving generous time to run extra programmes that constructively involve students in their interest areas during out-of-class times.

There are many opportunities for whānau and parents to contribute to, and share in the life of the school. The parent partnership would be enhanced by school leaders and trustees further including parents in appropriate self-review processes and as collaborative partners in their child’s learning.

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

Since the previous ERO report in 2010 the school has taken a planned approach to improving the educational success of Māori students, as Māori. There are clear targets related to increasing teacher and student knowledge of te reo Māori and tikanga Māori. These targets are supported by a skilled kaiako developing and implementing high-quality programmes for all teachers and students. The school now welcomes special guests and visitors with whole-school pōwhiri and regularly share waiata and karakia. Māori students take leadership roles and celebrate excellence through Kapa Haka. Māori language, culture and identity are valued and visible in the school. The school has consulted with whānau through surveys and hui. They continue to develop a better understanding of their aspirations and views.

Through this consultation process, Māori whānau have identified the need to build on and sustain this progress by:

  • further increasing teacher knowledge and confidence in the use of te reo Maori
  • including local history and places of significance to Māori as an integral part of the school’s curriculum.
  • In order to continue to sustain and accelerate success for Māori as Māori, current initiatives would be further enhanced by implementing Ministry of Education guidelines found in Ka Hikitia and Tataiako publications.

4 Sustainable Performance

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

The school is well placed to sustain and improve its performance. Trustees bring a wide range of skills and expertise to their governance roles. The deputy and assistant principals, supported by senior teachers have maintained a focus on school improvement through continuing to raise the quality of teaching practice across the school. There is clear strategic direction for ongoing school development. Comprehensive and well-understood systems and processes are in place to guide school operations. Teachers work collaboratively to provide the best outcomes for students.

Self-review practices are well established and lead to ongoing school development and improvement. The deputy principal and assistant principal are an experienced and professional team who provide effective leadership for learning.

During this ERO review, information was provided to the review team by a number of staff who expressed serious concerns relating to the principal’s leadership and behaviour. They considered that these concerns affected the well-being of a significant number of staff. These concerns were brought to the attention of the board and addressed.

Provision for international students

The school is a signatory to the Code of Practice for the Pastoral Care of International Students established under section 238F of the Education Act 1989. The school has attested that it complies with all aspects of the Code.

At the time of this review there was one international student attending the school. The school hosts exchange students from time to time. A knowledgeable Dean of International Students effectively monitors the pastoral and educational needs of International students.

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

Berkley Normal Middle School provides the International Baccalaureate Primary Years Programme. An experienced leadership team provides effective leadership for learning. The well-designed curriculum effectively promotes student engagement, progress and achievement through a wide range of learning opportunities. Māori language, culture and identity are valued and visible in the school.

ERO is likely to carry out the next review in three years.

Dale Bailey

National Manager Review Services Northern Region

10 October 2014

About the School

Location

Hamilton

Ministry of Education profile number

1695

School type

Restricted Composite (Years 7 to 9)

School roll

723

Number of international students

1

Gender composition

Boys 52% Girls 48%

Ethnic composition

NZ European/Pākehā

Māori

Chinese

Pacific

Indian

Other European

Other Asian

Other

61%

15%

4%

4%

2%

6%

5%

3%

Review team on site

August 2014

Date of this report

10 October 2014

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Special Review

Education Review

May 2010

June 2007

November 2005