Cambridge East School

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School Context

Cambridge East School is located in Cambridge and caters for students in Years 1 to 6. The roll of 420, includes 54 Māori students. The school has experienced roll growth and student numbers have grown by approximately 45 since the last ERO review in 2015. Since that time the principal has remained as the school leader. A new deputy principal was appointed in 2016 and the leadership structure has been reviewed to build capacity and promote leadership opportunities. The school has recently been upgraded and students learn in both innovative learning environments (ILE) and traditional teaching spaces.

The school is part of the Te Puna o Kemureti Community of Learning (CoL) | Kāhui Ako. Teachers have undertaken a range of professional learning and development opportunities initiated by the school and the CoL.

The school states its vision is ‘learning together today, empowering citizens of tomorrow’ and aims to have students who are ‘creative and curious, effective communicators, self-motivated learners, innovative thinkers, respectful citizens that have a ‘can do’ attitude through resilience’. In addition the school has recently introduced a character wheel which promotes the values of kindness, honesty, compassion, consideration, obedience, respect and responsibility.

The 2018 charter identifies three key strategic goals that aim to:

  • provide quality learning opportunities that enable learners to succeed in a 21st Century world

  • build culture from within

  • focus on sustainability.

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

  • reading, writing and mathematics.

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 achieving excellent outcomes for some and working towards achieving equity for all students. Achievement data from 2015 to 2017 shows an upward trend for almost all groups within the school in reading and writing, including for Maori, Pacific and boys. School data for 2017 shows most students achieved at or above national expectations in reading, writing and mathematics. This data also indicates that girls achieved at similar levels to boys in reading and mathematics and at higher levels in writing. There has been a significant increase in rates of achievement for Maori from 2015 to 2017, however disparity remains in writing and mathematics.

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

Leaders collated information about accelerated learning during the ERO review. They are able to show accelerated achievement for some Māori and other students. Mid-year achievement data for 2018 indicates that in mathematics and reading slightly over one third of at-risk students made accelerated progress. Leaders now need to further develop systems to report school-wide information that shows the rate and pace of acceleration for all at-risk students.

Students with additional learning needs are making good progress against their individual goals.

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?

Senior leaders provide effective leadership for learning. They have high expectations for teaching and learning which are reflected in the consistency of school-wide practice. Tracking systems that closely monitor progress and achievement of individual at-risk students are well managed by leaders. Professional development and teacher inquiries are aligned to the strategic direction of the school. Leaders encourage innovation. They focus on building teacher capability to respond to priority learners.

The school’s curriculum is broad and responsive to children’s interests. There is a strong emphasis on reading, writing and mathematics in daily programmes. There are many opportunities for students to be extended across curriculum areas including sports, music, science, leadership and art. These opportunities are made accessible through the inquiry approach and the school’s ‘enrich and discover programme’. Parents are welcomed into the school to view the programmes in action and strengthen the partnerships for learning.

Teachers use a range of effective strategies. There are clear links between students identified learning needs and teacher planning. These links are shared with students and parents on a weekly basis. Learner focused relationships are evident in the classrooms. Teachers encourage students to follow their interests and use an inquiry approach to actively engage them in their learning. There is an effectively balanced approach between teacher-directed and student-led learning, and a common language for learning is becoming embedded by teachers, students and parents.

Students effectively lead their learning. Learning environments are managed in ways that support participation, engagement and student ownership of learning. Documented, clear progressions in reading, writing and mathematics are well understood by students and provide the framework for planning next learning steps. There is a wide range of strategies that promote student independence including:

  • individualised timetables monitored by the student

  • clear guidelines for non-negotiable learning tasks

  • peer support for reviewing learning

  • targeted workshops and tutorials provided by the teacher

  • co-constructed learning goals between student, parent and teachers.

Students are provided with sufficient, related opportunities over time to revisit and consolidate learning in cooperative and flexible learning environments.

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

To further strengthen aspects of internal evaluation ERO and the school have agreed there is a need to:

  • refine charter targets to more specifically focus on all students whose learning needs acceleration

  • continue to evaluate the effectiveness of programmes and initiatives with a particular focus on the progress and acceleration for priority learners.

Progress has been made since the last ERO review with a planned approach to developing the bicultural dimension in the school. This needs to remain a priority in order to more consistently integrate Māori language, culture and identity into teaching and learning programmes.

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.

4 Going forward

Key strengths of the school

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

  • leadership that sets and monitors high expectations for teaching and learning

  • responsive teaching and learning environments that contribute to high levels of student ownership and engagement.

Next steps

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

  • specific target setting and reporting that includes all at-risk learners

  • continued evaluation of school-wide practices to show the impact of initiatives and programmes on accelerating student achievement.

ERO’s next external evaluation process and timing

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

Lynda Pura-Watson

Deputy Chief Review Officer

Te Tai Miringa - Waikato / Bay of Plenty Region

13 August 2018

About the school

Location

Cambridge

Ministry of Education profile number

1700

School type

Contributing primary (Years 1 to 6)

School roll

420

Gender composition

Boys 51% Girls 49%

Ethnic composition

Māori 13%
Pākehā 76%
Indian 4%
Chinese 2%
Cook Island Māori 2%
Japanese 1%
Latin American 1%
Samoan 1%

Students with Ongoing Resourcing Funding (ORS)

4

Provision of Māori medium education

No

Review team on site

June 2018

Date of this report

13 August 2018

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review June 2015
Education Review December 2010

Findings

Students learn in a respectful and supportive educational environment where they are well supported by teachers who are committed to their wellbeing and learning. Students, including those needing additional support, engage positively in all areas of the curriculum, and make very good progress as they move through 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?

Cambridge East is a contributing primary school located in the residential area of Cambridge, providing education for students in Years 1 to 6. The school has a current roll of 364 students. Approximately 40 of these students are of Māori descent.

In the last year, significant changes to leadership personnel has occurred. The longstanding principal retired in 2014, and a new principal was appointed to take up this position in term 3 2014. In addition, the assistant principal also retired and a new assistant principal has been appointed, taking up her position at the start of 2015.

There have also been significant changes to governance personnel. Several new trustees were elected at the last election and a new board chairperson appointed.

Since the 2010 ERO review, a well-established team of teachers has been involved in ongoing professional learning and development, as part of Ministry of Education contracts in literacy and mathematics. The deputy principal, with support from leaders of literacy and mathematics, has led this development, in response to achievement trends emerging in 2012/2013 data.

Under the leadership of the new principal, priority is being given to the development of a learner-centred curriculum that embraces the principles of The New Zealand Curriculum (NZC).

The school continues to draw strong support from its parent community and has a positive reporting history with ERO.

2 Learning

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

The school makes effective use of the information it gathers about student achievement and progress in reading, writing and mathematics. An appropriate range of information is gathered throughout the year from teachers’ observations and externally referenced assessments/tests. This information is well analysed by school leaders, and learning trends and patterns for year levels groups, gender and ethnic groups are identified. Leaders also use this information to make comparisons from year to year, and to track the progress of cohorts and groups of ‘at risk’ learners as they move through the school.

Relevant school-wide charter achievement targets are developed by management, in consultation with the board. Detailed action plans underpin these targets, and guide the work of teachers of these ‘at risk’ students. There is good alignment of these targets with teachers’ appraisal goals, and classroom teaching practice. This good practice is leading to accelerated progress for most of these students.

Teachers are making effective use of assessment information to make informed decisions about programme planning and teaching strategies to meet the identified needs and abilities of students. There are many opportunities for leaders and teachers to have dialogue about, and inquire into, their practice using the achievement information. In response to a school-wide expectation, teachers are now beginning to inquire into and reflect on their practice as part of the appraisal process, and share successful strategies with colleagues. These conversations are enabling teachers to make more valid and reliable overall teacher judgement in relation to National Standards in reading, writing and mathematics.

The school makes strong provision for students who are ‘at risk’ of poor learning outcomes. A knowledgeable Special Education Needs Coordinator (SENCO) effectively oversees the referral process, and works alongside teachers and support staff to implement interventions and monitor progress. She maintains valuable networks with specialist staff and support agencies in the community.

Achievement information for 2014 in relation to National Standards indicates a notable overall improvement from the previous year. In reading, writing and mathematics, a significant majority of students are now achieving at and above the standard. The proportion of students achieving the expected National Standard compares favourably with that of students in other similar schools.

3 Curriculum

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

The school’s curriculum effectively promotes and supports student learning. The recently appointed principal is leading the review and development of the school’s existing/current curriculum. Leaders and teachers have revisited the vision for learning and behaviour. Priority is now being placed on the development of a more learner-centred curriculum using an inquiry approach while maintaining a strong focus on literacy and mathematics. In keeping with the principles of the NZC, the board in its strategic plan has set direction for the development of modern learning environments. The principal and leadership team are now prioritising their work with teaching staff to establish clarity about expectations for learning and teaching in this revised curriculum.

There continues to be a strong focus on ‘parents as partners’ in their children’s learning. Parents and their children are well supported to transition successfully into the school. Formal and informal conferencing opportunities involving the parent, teacher and student provide opportunities for students to share information about their learning and progress. Parents are encouraged to contribute and learn helpful strategies to assist their children at home.

Ongoing professional learning and development for teachers in response to the trends and patterns identified in achievement information for literacy and mathematics is influencing the way teachers implement these areas of the curriculum. Teachers have been motivated and inspired to reflect on, and adopt more effective strategies for the teaching of reading, writing and mathematics. Leaders are continuing to implement this process of teacher development and are planning more opportunities for modelling and sharing best practice across the school. There are already indications that this more deliberate teaching is contributing to higher levels of student engagement and achievement.

Teachers are increasingly using practices to involve students as active participants in their assessment and learning. Practices such as individual goal setting and the sharing of learning intentions with students is enabling them to better understand their next learning steps and how to achieve these. Teachers now need time to consolidate and embed agreed best practice in relation to students as self-managing learners (student agency).

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

Māori students are well engaged in classrooms and school activities. The school has an inclusive approach to children and their families. The board has identified an iwi leader to advise them about appropriate Māori protocols and connections in the Māori community.

Management closely monitors the achievement of Māori students across the school, and have identified the need to accelerate the achievement of students in this group to ensure that they progress at similar rates to their non-Māori peers. Data for 2014 shows that Māori students overall are achieving at levels slightly below that of their non-Maori peers.

The school is yet to integrate the principles of Tātaiako and Ka Hikitia. The board and school leaders must now ensure that the development of practices that promote the language, culture and identity of Māori students at all levels of school operations becomes a priority area for ongoing development.

4 Sustainable Performance

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

The school is well placed because:

  • the board is governing effectively
  • the school is well resourced to support learning and teaching
  • there are high expectations for student achievement
  • the principal and senior managers are knowledgeable about teaching and learning
  • there are well-developed, self-review systems and practices
  • students learn in a caring and inclusive environment
  • school community engagement continues to be a notable feature

In order to effectively manage and lead the school through a period of change, priority should now be given to:

  • extending consultation processes at all levels to make them more inclusive
  • building collaborative leadership for learning within a distributive structure by: - establishing agreed direction - clarifying roles and responsibilities and lines of communication
  • ensuring that the process of curriculum review and design actively engages all teaching staff, leading to shared understanding and ownership of a learner-centred approach to learning and teaching.

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

Students learn in a respectful and supportive educational environment where they are well supported by teachers who are committed to their wellbeing and learning. Students, including those needing additional support, engage positively in all areas of the curriculum, and make very good progress as they move through the school.

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

Dale Bailey

Deputy Chief Review Officer Northern

26 June 2015

About the School

Location

Cambridge

Ministry of Education profile number

1700

School type

Contributing (Years 1 to 6)

School roll

364

Gender composition

Boys 52%

Girls 48%

Ethnic composition

European

Māori

Pacific

Asian

Other

76%

12%

3%

7%

2%

Review team on site

May 2015

Date of this report

26 June 2015

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

December 2010

February 2008

December 2004