Hamilton East School

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Education institution number:
1731
School type:
Contributing
School gender:
Co-Educational
Definition:
Not Applicable
Total roll:
451
Telephone:
Address:

Dawson Street, Hamilton East, Hamilton

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School Context

Hamilton East School is an inner-city school located in Hamilton. It provides education for students in Years 1 to 6. The school’s current roll of 444 students includes 27% Māori. Approximately 28% of the school roll are English language learners. There has been a significant growth in the school roll over the past three years. Attendance data shows that approximately one third of the school roll changed in 2019. 

The school vision is for students to ‘Stand tall, Reach high, Tū tangata, Tū māia.’ Learners are encouraged to be engaged, respectful, literate, curious and connected.

Strategic goals place priority on:

  • reducing disparity of outcomes for learners
  • engaging students as lifelong learners to reach their highest potential
  • continuing to develop and support teacher excellence
  • establishing strong community connections and partnerships.

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

  • reading, writing and mathematics
  • English language learners
  • Years 1 and 2 oral language
  • schoolwide literacy interventions.

Since the January 2017 ERO report there have been some changes to the teaching team and all trustees are new to the board. Senior leaders have remained in their roles. Leaders and teachers have undertaken professional learning and development in literacy, mathematics, science, Māori language, culture and history, and hauora/wellbeing. There has also been significant property enhancement with the building of a new classroom block on Tōtara Whenua.

The school is a member of the He Piko He Taniwha Kāhui Ako and WaiMac (Waikato Māori Achievement Collective).

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 working toward achieving equitable outcomes for all its students, however disparity remains in some areas.

The school’s achievement data from 2019 shows that the majority of students are achieving at or above expected levels in reading and mathematics and less than half in writing. Significant disparity in achievement between Māori and Pacific students in comparison to their Pākehā peers in all areas is evident. Boys and girls are working at similar levels in mathematics. Girls are achieving at significantly higher levels than boys in reading and writing.

In 2019, the large majority of students in Years 4 to 6 are achieving at or above expected levels in reading and there has been significant improvement in achievement over the past three years. Less than half of Year 4 to 6 students are achieving the expected outcomes in writing and mathematics.

The school’s analysed data from 2019 shows the large majority of Years 4 to 6 Māori and other students have positive levels of wellbeing and feel safe and connected at school.

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

The school is accelerating learning for some Māori and other students who need it.

School-wide achievement data for 2019 has been collated and analysed to show rates of acceleration for all students who were identified as achieving more than one level below curriculum expectation. Approximately one third of these students made accelerated progress in writing, including English language learners. Approximately one third of Māori students made accelerated progress in reading. Higher rates of acceleration are evident for girls in literacy. English language learners made effective acceleration in oral language.

Data also shows a smaller number of targeted Māori and other students were effectively accelerated in literacy and oral language as a result of targeted interventions and programmes.

Students with additional learning needs are well supported and make appropriate progress in relation to 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?

The school has a highly inclusive culture for learning. A wide range of programmes and interventions contributes to positive progress and acceleration for students at risk. Students with additional learning needs are well catered for and effective liaison with outside agencies supports their learning and behaviour. Deliberate strategies enable positive transitions for students into and out of the school. Trustees make informed decisions about resourcing in response to student need and evidence of the benefits of specific interventions. Generous funding of learning support programmes contributes to equitable opportunities to learn. 

A responsive curriculum meets the cultural diversity within the school and community. A broad range of learning opportunities engage students through authentic learning contexts. English language learners are well supported through targeted learning programmes. Diversity is acknowledged and successfully integrated into the life of the school through festivals and celebrations. Regular consultation with the school’s multicultural community gathers views and aspirations of parents and whānau and informs school planning and direction. A planned approach to the teaching of te reo across the school and interwoven tikanga practices contribute to Māori students being affirmed in their culture and having a strong sense of identity.

Teachers use deliberate strategies to enhance learning. Students at risk are clearly identified through a range of appropriate assessment information. Classroom programmes and routines support students’ skills for self-management and independence. Regular and open communication with parents enables positive partnerships for learning and improved outcomes for students. Respectful relationships between teachers and students contribute to calm and settled environments for learning. 

Leaders facilitates a well-managed and supportive environment for learning and wellbeing. Clear systems are in place for developing teacher capability through coaching and mentoring, induction and appraisal. Professional learning is prioritised to build shared knowledge and improve practices. The school’s vision and values are actively promoted through leadership that is highly visible within the school. Strong pastoral care and personalised support enables a sense of community and belonging for students and their families.

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

Continuing to develop a strategic and sustainable approach to raising overall levels of student achievement and reduce disparity is a focus for the school. Priority should be given to strengthening annual targets to focus on all students whose learning requires acceleration. Ensuring appropriate systems are in place for data management should support improved reporting to the board on achievement trends, patterns and rates of progress over time. This should enable leaders and trustees to inquire more deeply into what is making a difference for student learning and inform strategic planning and direction.

There are some examples of classroom planning that are well aligned to student learning progressions. There is a need to improve the consistency of targeted planning in classrooms to respond more effectively to the individual needs of at-risk students and accelerate their learning. Considering ways to increase students’ knowledge of their own learning progressions and next steps, is also needed to further empower students in the learning process.

3 Other Matters

Provision for international students

The school is signatory to the Education (Pastoral Care of International Students) Code of Practice 2016 established under section 238F of the Education Act 1989. The school has attested that it complies with all aspects of the Code. No international students were enrolled at the time of the ERO review.

4 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 Children’s Act 2014.

5 ERO’s Overall Judgement

On the basis of the findings of this review, ERO’s overall evaluation judgement of Hamilton East School’s performance in achieving valued outcomes for its students is: Developing.

ERO’s Framework: Overall Findings and Judgement Tool derived from School Evaluation Indicators: Effective Practice for Improvement and Learner Success is available on ERO’s website.

6 Going forward

Key strengths of the school

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

  • leadership for learning that is focused on promoting wellbeing and improving outcomes for students
  • a culture for learning that prioritises additional learning support for students
  • a curriculum that celebrates cultural diversity and promotes high levels of student engagement.

Next steps

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

  • targeted action to reduce disparity and promote excellence.
  • student agency to grow fully independent learners.

Actions for compliance

ERO identified non-compliance in relation to health, safety and welfare.

In order to address this, the board of trustees must:

  • develop policy and procedures on surrender and retention of property and searches of students by the principal, teachers and authorised staff members.
    [Sections 139AAA to 139AAF of the Education Act 1989 and the Education Surrender, Retention and Search Rules 2013].

After the on-site visit the school provided ERO with evidence that showed the area for compliance was satisfactorily addressed.

Areas for improved compliance practice

To improve current practice, the board of trustees should:

  • make provision for post disaster relief
  • review the school’s child protection policy to include appropriate reference to sections 18 and 19 of the Children’s Act 2014.

Phil Cowie

Director Review and Improvement Services (Central)

Central Region - Te Tai Pūtahi Nui

3 July 2020

About the school

The Education Counts website provides further information about the school’s student population, student engagement and student achievement.

1 Context

Hamilton East is an inner city primary school, providing education for children in Years 1 to 6. Set on an historical site, the school’s population is very multicultural. Children of Māori descent are the largest ethnic group. Leadership in the school continues unchanged since the last ERO review but there have been several changes to teaching staff. A large team of support staff is employed in response to the diverse needs of children. Board membership has changed. The board chair took up her position in 2016, and she leads a supportive and experienced team of trustees, which includes two parent members who are of Māori descent.

2 Equity and excellence

The vision and valued outcomes defined by the school for all children are central to its whakatauki - Stand tall. Reach high. Tū Tangata! Tū Māia. This vision is highly visible in the environment and culture of the school where children are supported and challenged to reach their potential, and to become capable and confident learners.

The school’s achievement information shows that in reading and mathematics (2013 to 2015), just over half of the children attending the school during that time were achieving the National Standards. The proportion achieving the standard in writing was slightly less. Trends and patterns are difficult to track over time because of the frequently changing make-up of student cohorts. Accelerating the progress of the significant proportion of children who are yet to meet the expected National Standard is an ongoing priority for the school.

The school’s achievement data for 2016 indicates a similar pattern. Approximately a third of the roll are English Language Learners (ELL) which has a significant impact on the overall levels of achievement. Māori and boys continue to be over represented in the below categories in reading, writing and mathematics. A significant challenge for the school is to accelerate the progress of Māori, Pacifica and boys, in order to address the disparity between them and other groups of learners in the school.

Teachers use a range of assessment information that includes standardised testing, to make well-informed decisions about how individual students are achieving and progressing in relation to National Standards. Leaders closely monitor these overall teacher judgements (OTJs) and the school is considering the use of the Progress and Consistency Tool (PaCT) in 2017 as a way to further strengthen the dependability of these judgements.

Since the last ERO evaluation the school has prioritised the following areas of development to improve outcomes for children, and accelerate learning and achievement:

Oral language learning and teaching, particularly in the first two years is well embedded across the curriculum. Programmes give priority to the speaking and listening.

Teaching as inquiry is becoming well embedded in the school’s internal evaluation process. Teachers inquire into the effectiveness of their teaching practice for at risk learners, and use individual assessment information to inform these inquiries. 

Building reciprocal relationships with children, whānau and families is inherent in the learning culture. Diversity is recognised and valued, and there are comprehensive support networks to meet the diverse ethnic, cultural, social and learning needs of children.

Developing and embedding the profile of the Hamilton East Learner. (Toolkit). These values and dispositions are owned and well understood by teachers, children and parents. Leaders and teachers are working collaboratively to enable children to become self-managing, thinking learners.

3 Accelerating achievement

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

There are well embedded systems to promptly identify and respond to the individual learning needs of Māori children. Careful consideration of assessment information by teachers and team leaders, close liaison with the school Special Education Needs Coordinator (SENCO) and support staff, contribute to the programmes and interventions, specifically designed to raise the achievement of Māori at-risk learners.

Team leaders collate and analyse classroom data across their teams and are able to show rates of progress for individuals, including Māori. It would now be useful for leaders to use this information to develop a coherent school-wide picture of achievement and progress. This would show trends and patterns for groups of learners such as Māori and boys, and enable more comparative use of data by leaders to inform the evaluation of programme effectiveness.

The school’s approach to accelerating the progress of Māori children who are achieving below the expected standard needs to be more deliberate. A more explicit approach that includes specific and measurable targets for Māori and other groups of at risk learners is needed to bring about greater shifts in achievement for these groups of learners.

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

The school responds promptly to the identified learning needs of all children on entry into the school. Teachers make good use of the assessment information they gather to respond to the identified needs of these children. With support from team leaders, they carefully monitor the progress of at-risk learners in their classes.

Team leaders and teachers inquire into the effectiveness of their teaching practice, particularly in relation to oral language in the junior team, and in middle and senior teams, reading/literacy. This reflective practice is enabling teachers to share effective strategies, and there are examples in literacy learning where teacher inquiry has led to accelerated progress for some children, and improved outcomes for others.

Comprehensive support networks help teachers to build positive relationships with families from a diverse range of cultures and many who don’t have English as their first language. Additional learning support is provided to enable children to develop oral language, and this includes English Language Learning (ELL) for many children. Strong and reciprocal support for migrant mothers, and other parents of at-risk learners is contributing to better learning outcomes for these children. Oral language data for children in their first two years indicates that many of these children are on track to be communicating verbally at an age-appropriate level by age 6.

There is significant disparity between the achievement of Pacific children and that of other groups in the school. School leaders now needs to take a strategic approach to lifting the achievement of this group of at-risk learners. Specific targets and a supporting action plan is necessary to bring about sustained progress over time for these children.

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 vision and values are well enacted through its curriculum. Many organisational processes are influenced by strong social justice awareness amongst school leaders. There is a high level of responsiveness to the very diverse needs of children in the school community through additional learning support and pastoral care systems. This support is enabling them to better access the curriculum at their level, and leading to improved educational outcomes.

Children experience a wide variety of experiences in an inclusive culture for learning. Cultural diversity is celebrated and families from other cultures are invited to contribute to the life of the school. In keeping with the charter vision and values, this builds a sense of belonging and respect for one another, and encourages children to be proud of their heritage. The school’s natural environment, including gardens, trees and birdlife, provides a well-used, and meaningful context for integrated learning. These factors contribute to an engaging and responsive curriculum that affirms and acknowledges children’s diverse needs, strengths and backgrounds.

The bi-cultural dimension of the curriculum continues to evolve. A sequential approach to the teaching of te reo Māori, waiata and kapa haka is being implemented. The board is maintaining links with Ngāti Wairere, and teachers and leaders value the local features and places in the local environment that have significance for Māori. Māori children are benefitting from the ways in which their culture and heritage is recognised and valued in the school curriculum and environment.

Leaders are providing well-informed professional leadership for teachers, several of whom are new to the school this year. Team leaders play a vital role of building the capability of teachers in their respective teams. Team leaders work with teachers to consistently implement the performance management process and develop and monitor their appraisal goals. There would now be value in leaders working with teachers to ensure these goals are consistently about building and strengthening aspects of teaching practice that are most likely to make a difference to learner outcomes.

Across the school, a responsive pedagogy is emerging. Play-based learning has been introduced in junior classes, alongside a strong and well-embedded oral language focus. Both strategies are in response to a notable trend of low oral language levels on entry at age five. The notion of ‘learner agency’, whereby children are supported and enabled to become self-managing learners, is a school-wide focus. Children knowing and understanding their learning needs and what they need to do to improve should enable them to make progress and achieve their potential.

Improved management and use of achievement information across the school is an area of development for school leaders. Particular attention should be given to:

  • clarifying leadership roles and responsibilities in relation to assessment
  • consistently tracking and monitoring trends and patterns of achievement and progress for gender, ethnic and year level cohorts over time
  • collating and analysing data across year levels and using this school-wide achievement information to inform inquiries and validate strategic decision making.

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
  • need approaches that effectively meet the needs of each child
  • need to ensure the school is well placed to accelerate the achievement of all children who need it.

Areas of strength:

  • reciprocal relationship building with parents family/whānau
  • pastoral care networks to support children and their families so that they are able participate in the life of the school, and the learning curriculum
  • strong professional leadership at team level that is enabling teachers to inquire into their practice
  • the ongoing, deliberate focus on oral language development to enable children to succeed as early literacy learners
  • a positive working relationship between the board and the experienced principal that is providing clear direction for continuing school development.

Leaders should now give consideration to:

  • collating coherent school-wide achievement information that is accessible and easily shared and reported
  • closer scrutiny of this school-wide data to identify disparity for groups of at risk learners, in particular Māori, Pacific and boys
  • setting clearly defined achievement targets for identified groups, and developing inclusive action plans to specifically address the needs and accelerate progress
  • the comparative use of school-wide data to identify achievement patterns and trends at each year level
  • using achievement information to inform reporting to the board by the principal and senior leaders, and to more closely monitor the effectiveness of programmes and interventions.

Action: The board, principal and teachers should participate in an internal evaluation workshop. They should use this workshop, the Internal Evaluation: Good Practice exemplars and the School Evaluation Indicators to address the findings of this evaluation and develop more targeted planning that includes a significant focus on building teacher capability to accelerate learning and achievement.

As part of this review ERO will continue to monitor the school’s planning and the progress the school makes. ERO is likely to carry out the next full review in three 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

The board and principal should now place priority on improving the management and use of achievement data to inform internal evaluation. 

Lynda Pura-Watson

Deputy Chief Review Officer Waikato/Bay of Plenty

24 January 2017 

About the school 

Location

Hamilton

Ministry of Education profile number

1731

School type

Contributing (Years 1 to 6)

School roll

431

Gender composition

Boys 50% Girls 50%

Ethnic composition

Māori

Pākehā

Pacific

Asian

Indian

African

Other

34%

33%

9%

8%

7%

5%

4%

Review team on site

November 2016

Date of this report

24 January 2017

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

December 2012

November 2009

December 2006