Hamilton West School

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Education institution number:
1733
School type:
Full Primary
School gender:
Co-Educational
Definition:
Not Applicable
Total roll:
675
Telephone:
Address:

36 Hammond Street, Hamilton West, Hamilton

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1 Context

Hamilton West School is a well-established, multi-cultural school with a strong sense of history and place within the local community. The school's roll of 549 identifies that 144 students are Māori, 32 are of Pacific origin, and 75 are Indian. Many of the children who come from diverse cultures are speakers of other languages. The school has an enrolment plan in place to manage recent roll growth.

Since the 2013 ERO review, the principal and senior leaders have continued in their roles and there have been some changes to staff. The board chair is the same and two new trustees were elected just before this 2016 ERO review. Teachers have been involved in school-wide, externally-facilitated professional learning in mathematics and in aspects of literacy learning.

Parents and whānau are actively involved in the school and assist with many fundraising events, coach sports teams, and help inside and outside the classroom. The school has joined a Community of Learning (CoL) alongside other central Hamilton schools to engage in shared initiatives to raise learning outcomes for students.

2 Equity and excellence

The vision and valued outcomes defined by the school for all children are to actively promote the values of Ako, Manaakitanga, Rangitiratanga, Kaitiakitanga, and Whanaungatanga. The values are expressed as the 'Hamwest way' and underpin a positive culture for learning and wellbeing.

The school’s achievement information shows that in reading, writing and mathematics, approximately two thirds of Māori, every four out of five Pacific children, and every three out of four other students achieved at or above National Standards in 2015. Data over the past three years shows that Māori children achieving below National Standards has remained the same.

The school uses a range of standardised assessment tools, along with other evidence gathered by teachers, to make judgements about each child's achievement in relation to National Standards. Leaders and teachers moderate these judgements to ensure they are consistent across the school. They have yet to moderate children's work samples alongside other schools.

Since the 2013 ERO evaluation the school has focused on establishing a holistic approach to promoting the wellbeing and achievement of all children. Māori children who are at risk of not achieving are clearly identified in teacher planning. The school's current professional development initiative focuses on a group of students in each class whose learning in mathematics needs accelerating. All teachers have worked alongside external facilitators to establish targets and actions to raise children's achievement, and inquire into their own teaching practice.

An internally facilitated teacher mentoring programme has provided teachers with the opportunity to reflect on their practice, including a recent focus on culturally responsive practice.

3 Accelerating achievement

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

The school is increasing its responsiveness to Maori children whose learning and achievement need acceleration. The Māori children at risk of not achieving equitable outcomes are identified through the analysis of robust achievement data and a wide range of other information. The school places a strong emphasis working closely with families/whānau, and attending to any health and wellbeing needs of individual children through a range of internal and external support.

For mid-year results in 2016, of the 39 Māori students identified as priority learners in reading, 20 were on track to achieve at or above the standard by the end of the year. In writing, 29 out of the 47 Māori priority students were predicted to achieve at or above, and in mathematics, 21 out of 39 Māori students are on track to achieve at appropriate levels by the end of the year.

Teachers need to continue to share the range of successful strategies they use. In addition, the principal's reports to the board should now focus on the extent to which the school is accelerating progress for Māori children throughout the year.

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

The school is also increasing its responsiveness to other children whose learning and achievement need acceleration. Leaders and teachers are experienced, knowledgeable and well equipped to respond to the needs of this culturally diverse group of students. They establish positive relationships with parents and whānau of all children, and are able to evaluate appropriate learning and wellbeing needs for children at risk of underachieving.

Leaders and teachers gather and analyse robust achievement data that is used to plan programmes of learning for groups and individuals, and report to parents and the board. Teachers are increasingly using this data to identify strategies that accelerate achievement for children at risk of poor educational outcomes. There is a need to extend this approach. Teachers are in the early stages of evaluating the effectiveness of these strategies, and the overall changes to learner's engagement, progress and achievement in relation to school goals and targets.

Senior leaders access a range of appropriate support for children with diverse learning and behaviour needs. Children's learning needs are diagnosed through robust assessment, and an effective English for Speakers of other Languages (ESoL) programme is in place to respond to children who are speakers of other languages. Teachers work with identified priority learners in the classroom and teacher aides work also alongside children where the classroom teacher oversees their programmes of work. Teachers should continue to share their reflections on the effectiveness of their practices in working with children who are at risk of not achieving equitable outcomes.

Senior leaders need to continue to monitor and evaluate progress in relation to school goals and targets and report this information to trustees throughout the year. The school has set targets in relation to raising achievement for groups of children whose learning needs accelerating, and these are monitored and reported to the board. A clearer definition of acceleration in terms of measurable outcomes will support a more focused approach to documenting and reporting on the targeting of individuals and groups of students, and the progress that they make. Other related internal evaluation information, for example for attendance, health and wellbeing and parent perceptions, informs the board about the effectiveness of initiatives they have resourced.

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 curriculum and other organisational processes and practices are increasingly enacting the school's vision, values, goals and targets. Leaders are responsive to the education and care needs of students, and are increasingly integrating Māori values, contexts, and te reo into the curriculum, including participation in kapa haka, waiata, taiaha and pōwhiri.

The curriculum includes an appropriate focus on the teaching of literacy and numeracy, and a well-established inquiry learning model that build's children's learning competencies in all learning areas. A wide range of interventions and support programmes are used to respond to the needs of diverse learners who are at risk of poor educational outcomes.

There are examples of good quality teaching practices across the school where children are clear about the purpose of their learning and what they need to do to achieve success. In many classrooms, activities are designed to enhance engagement in learning, with a particular focus on responding to the learning needs of Māori and boys. Leaders need to ensure that these teaching strategies are promoted in all classrooms.

Children participate in many sporting and cultural activities and events outside the classroom, including camps and leadership opportunities, and these are well supported by parents and whānau. Parents are also encouraged to be involved in their child's learning at home. Programmes such as 'reading together' have reinforced learning partnerships between the school and whānau.

The principal has a clear vision for the school. He provides strong leadership focused on raising achievement for all children. The leadership team use their experience and knowledge to build teacher professional capability, advocate for children and their families, and promote a positive and cohesive school learning culture. They engage in professional inquiry as they seek to improve outcomes for children.

Trustees work collaboratively the principal, staff, parents are whānau. They promote the school's strategic vision and values, ensure a safe environment for all, and bring useful skills and expertise to their roles, including Māori perspectives. The board is inquiring into what success means for Māori children and their families at the school. They now need to further refine school goals and targets to give greater clarity to the effectiveness of efforts to accelerate children's learning.

5 Going forward

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

Leaders and teachers:

  • know the children whose learning and achievement need to be accelerated
  • respond to the strengths, needs and interests of each child
  • regularly evaluate how teaching is working for these children
  • need to systematically act on what they know works for each child
  • need to have a plan in place to build teacher capability to accelerate the achievement of all children who need it.

School leaders, trustees and staff are strongly focused on responding appropriately to the diverse needs of children, and especially those who are at risk of poor educational outcomes. They work in close partnerships with families/whānau and the local community. School leaders are building teacher capability in using strategies that accelerate children's learning.

Next steps for ongoing development include:

  • setting more specific targets for those students whose learning needs accelerating
  • continuing to monitor and report progress against these targets as the year progresses
  • identifying and sharing successful strategies that accelerate learning
  • continuing to engage parents and whānau in their child's learning.

Action: The board, principal and teachers should use the findings of this evaluation, the Effective School Evaluation resource, the Internal Evaluation: Good Practice exemplars and the School Evaluation Indicators to develop more targeted planning to accelerate student achievement. Planning should show how processes and practices will respond effectively to the strengths and needs of children whose learning and achievement need to be accelerated.

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

ERO recommends that that the school continue to refine its processes for using achievement information to set goals and targets focused on accelerating the progress of children at risk of poor educational outcomes, and evaluate the effectiveness of their actions. 

Lynda Pura-Watson

Deputy Chief Review Officer

24 November 2016

About the school

Location

Hamilton

Ministry of Education profile number

1733

School type

Full Primary (Years 1 to 8)

School roll

549

Gender composition

Boys 55% Girls 45%

Ethnic composition

Pākehā

Māori

Indian

Asian

Other

Pacific

42%

26%

14%

6%

6%

6%

Review team on site

June 2016

Date of this report

24 November 2016

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

August 2013

December 2010

July 2007



1 Context

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

Hamilton West School is situated in the central area of Hamilton, near Lake Rotoroa. It provides education for students in Years 1 to 8. The school is Hamilton’s founding school, and in 2014 will celebrate its 150th anniversary. Its roll of 518 students includes 135 who identify as Māori, and whakapapa to many different iwi. The school continues to celebrate the multicultural nature of its student population and has 71 students with English as their second language.

Since the previous review the roll has remained stable, however the school has experienced significant growth in Years 7 and 8. The leadership has remained constant and there have been some changes in the teaching staff. Teachers have participated in professional learning and development in literacy, numeracy, and e-learning. They have also been involved in a programme to further build positive relationships with students and their families. At the recent elections, three new members were elected to the school board of trustees. The board continues to focus on providing equitable opportunities for all students. An active parent teacher association provides valuable support for school initiatives and community events.

The “Ham West Way” identifies the values of Ako, Manaakitanga, Rangitiratanga, Kaitiakitanga, and whanaungatanga. These values are actively promoted, and contribute to the school’s positive tone for learning.

The school has a positive ERO reporting history.

2 Learning

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

The school makes good use of achievement information to promote positive outcomes for students.

The school reported at the end of 2012 that a significant majority of students achieved at or above National Standards in reading, writing and mathematics.

School leaders collate and analyse school-wide achievement data to guide self review and school development. They report this information to the board of trustees, school community and teachers. Leaders identify and monitor the achievement of students requiring additional support to promote their progress. ERO and the principal have identified a need to refine school-wide targets to better enable them to track and celebrate the accelerated progress of priority learners.

The board is kept well informed about student achievement by regular reports from school leaders and teachers. They use this information to make decisions that support positive learning outcomes for students.

Teachers make good use of student achievement information to develop meaningful learning programmes for students. They are continuing to develop and implement processes that support them to make robust judgements in relation to National Standards.

Parents are well informed about their children’s progress and achievement through individual reports and records of learning, and interviews involving students, parents and teachers. Those parents spoken to by ERO value teachers’ approachability and responsiveness to their ideas and wishes for their children.

3 Curriculum

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

The school curriculum effectively promotes and supports students learning. The school places priority on literacy and mathematics programmes. In other learning areas, teaching focuses on guiding students to research and inquire into significant concepts and topics of interest. To further enhance these processes, school leaders should review this current approach to develop clear learning pathways guided by the intent of The New Zealand Curriculum. Features of the school’s curriculum include:

  • contexts for learning that celebrate and acknowledge students’ cultural diversity
  • many opportunities for students to develop their leadership skills and contribute to decision- making
  • opportunities for students to experience success in a wide range of sporting, cultural and academic events
  • frequent trips and school camps
  • a focus on making students’ experiences at school fun.

The school implements a wide variety of programmes to support students with additional learning needs including those students who are learning English as another language. The knowledgeable deputy principal oversees these programmes, which are implemented by experienced teachers and teacher aides. A recent initiative has been the employment of a skilled school support worker to support the care and well-being of students and their families. Students who are identified as having special abilities and talents access a wide range of programmes that extend their learning under the guidance of an experienced teacher.

As a result of school-wide self review, specific programmes are being implemented for e-learning and in science for students in Years 5 to 8.

Students and their families benefit from well managed and resourced processes that assist young children’s transitions into the school programme.

Teachers have respectful and affirming relationships with students and their families. Students interact positively in classroom and playground situations. Younger students benefit from many opportunities to interact with their older peers.

ERO observed teachers using a wide range of highly effective strategies that engage students in learning. There is a need for leaders to continue to provide teachers with support and guidance to increase the consistent use of these strategies in all classrooms.

The school continues to enjoy considerable parent and community support in a wide variety of school and class activities.

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

Māori students’ sense of identity and belonging is fostered through a continued recognition of a Māori dimension in school and class programmes, and learning experiences. The whānau support group continues to provide valuable advice and guidance to school leaders. It actively contributes to initiatives such as kapa haka and mau rākau, and to implementing other aspects of tikanga Māori practices. Teachers appreciate opportunities to further develop their understanding of te reo and tikanga Māori practices through regular workshops provided by a knowledgeable teacher of te ao Maori. A key next step is to develop and implement a sequential te reo Māori programme school-wide.

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 because:

  • the board of trustees, led by an experienced chairperson, provides effective governance
  • the knowledgeable principal has a focus on school development and student learning
  • the deputy and assistant principal are supportive of the principal and are reflective leaders
  • the school’s self-review practice is well embedded and focused on ongoing improvement
  • the school is committed to providing leadership opportunities that allow teachers to use their skills and strengths.

Board assurance on legal requirements

Before the review, the board of trustees and principal of the school completed the ERO Board Assurance Statement and Self-Audit Checklists. In these documents they attested that they had taken all reasonable steps to meet their legislative obligations related to:

  • board administration
  • curriculum
  • management of health, safety and welfare
  • personnel management
  • financial management
  • asset management.

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

  • emotional safety of students (including prevention of bullying and sexual harassment)
  • physical safety of students
  • teacher registration
  • processes for appointing staff
  • stand-downs, suspensions, expulsions and exclusions
  • attendance.
When is ERO likely to review the school again?

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

Graham Randell National Manager Review Services Northern Region (Acting)

9 August 2013

About the School

Location

Hamilton

Ministry of Education profile number

1733

School type

Full Primary (Years 1 to 8)

School roll

518

Gender composition

Girls 51% Boys 49%

Ethnic composition

NZ European/Pākehā

Māori

Indian

Other

Other Asian

Other European

South East Asian

Fijian Indian

Pacific

43%

26%

13%

5%

3%

3%

3%

2%

2%

Review team on site

July 2013

Date of this report

9 August 2013

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

December 2010

July 2007

June 2004