St Johns Hill School

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Findings

The St John’s School curriculum successfully promotes high levels of student learning and achievement. Effective and distributed leadership, embedded systems for data collection and use, highly effective self review, and a range of new initiatives since the previous ERO review, continue to improve student outcomes.

ERO is likely to carry out the next review in four-to-five years.

1. Context

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

St John’s Hill School is a long-established Whanganui primary school catering for students in Years 1 to 6. At the time of this ERO review, 355 students attend the school. Of these, 8% identify as Māori and 2% as Pacific.

The mission statement, ‘St John’s Hill School will provide a stimulating learning environment where children develop respect for themselves and others, and aim for excellence in all endeavours’, is successfully enacted in practice. Students have a wide range of learning, sporting, cultural and leadership opportunities and experiences. The school community takes pride in the attractive, well maintained and resourced grounds and buildings. These enhance the strong focus on education for sustainability.

St John’s Hill has a very positive reporting history with ERO. Since the July 2010 ERO review, the board, school leaders and teachers have sustained and improved the school’s performance.

2. Learning

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

The school successfully uses achievement information to make sustainable, positive changes to learners’ engagement, progress and achievement.

The board, school leaders and teachers have a deliberate focus on accelerating the progress of all students, particularly those below National Standards. Data is regularly and systematically collated, analysed and reported in order to monitor the progress of learners.

Teachers have strengthened the use of assessment information at a classroom and team level. Comprehensive intervention plans guide teachers to individualise programmes for students at risk of not achieving.

Well developed internal and external moderation processes help teachers understand student levels of achievement against National Standards and provide consistent assessment judgements.

Increasing percentages of students achieve at and above the National Standards as they move through the school. By the end of Year 6, few students are below. Māori and Pacific students are successful learners alongside their peers. Leaders monitor the progress of a small group of senior boys who require ongoing support in writing.

Students set learning goals with teachers and their parents. The information shared by parents is valued and contributes to a deliberate process that aids transition between classes. This ‘settingupfor-success’ system helps teachers develop early knowledge of students' needs. Individual students’ achievements are well tracked as they progress through the school.

Leaders recognise emerging trends and patterns in student achievement information and are innovative in response. An example is the successful transition-to-school programme (Hatchlings) which fosters parent partnership and participation in their children’s learning.

Students with special or diverse needs are very well supported. Their class placement is carefully considered. Parents are deliberately included in developing responsive programmes. Detailed individual education plans include clear measurable goals. Progress is well monitored.

Targeted action effectively raises student achievement. Actions are specific, well implemented and closely monitored. Target setting is very well considered and based firmly on in-depth analysis of schoolwide data. Year-group, gender and ethnicity comparisons are made and appropriate emerging and historical trends responded to. The board receives regular reports about schoolwide achievement, progress against targets and the impact of interventions.

3. Curriculum

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

The school's curriculum successfully promotes high levels of student learning and achievement.

Three ‘stones’ of learning (knowledge, personal skills, learning skills) form a framework for curriculum delivery and deliberate teaching. A focus on key competencies is included across programmes.

Education for sustainability (EFS) is a key feature of the curriculum and provides a vehicle for authentic learning, student inquiry and integration of learning areas. Students’ learning experiences link strongly to local community contexts and build on individuals’ interests and motivations.

Students are engaged, challenged and actively encouraged to develop skills as independent learners. There are high expectations for self-management and success. They are encouraged to discuss their ideas and learning. The deliberate teaching of strategies for thinking and learning feature in classrooms. Information and communication technologies are embedded tools for learning.

Respectful, caring relationships underpin student success. Wellbeing for learning is a key priority within the curriculum. A virtues programme promotes school values and helps to develop a culture of care and respect. The board and staff are committed to equity of access to resources and programmes for all students.

A comprehensive review of wellbeing provision in 2014 resulted in staff revisiting school guidelines. There are explicit expectations to support a positive and safe environment. Transition into and beyond school is a focus.

The school values biculturalism within a curriculum that reflects specific Whanganui te ao Māori contexts. External facilitators work with staff to support schoolwide development and include te ao Māori perspectives in curriculum. This fosters a sense of connection and belonging for Māori students.

Data collated for Pacific students shows they are very successful learners; achieving academically, and in sporting, cultural and leadership roles. There are opportunities within the curriculum for Pacific students and families to share and celebrate their cultures.

Gifted and talented students participate in programmes to extend their learning and achievement in academic, cultural and sporting arenas. There is a diverse range of opportunities for student leadership, including in areas related to EFS.

Comprehensive and explicit guidelines and expectations effectively support teaching, learning and assessment. Professional learning and development aligns with school priorities and targets, and individual teacher and student needs. Provisionally registered teachers and those new to the school participate in a well coordinated programme of support.

Very good systems are in place to inform the principal and senior leaders about the quality of teaching and to encourage professional growth. Teachers are strengthening their understanding of how well their teacher practice contributes to improved student outcomes. This teaching-as-inquiry (TAI) process is strongly evidence-based. It encourages teachers’ collaboration and sharing of ideas in teams. Leaders observe teacher practice in relation to goals for improved teaching practice.

Leaders recognise the need to continue strengthening this process.

Senior leaders and the board have set a goal to further extend student-directed learning alongside planned e-learning and modern learning environment developments. ERO’s evaluation affirms this as an appropriate next step.

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

The identity, language and culture of Māori students are successfully fostered in the school. Ka Hikitia - Accelerating Success 2013-2017 – the Māori Education Strategy, forms the basis of school policy development and Tātaiako, Cultural Competencies for Teachers of Māori Learners is considered within curriculum plans. Teachers and leaders share achievement information with families. Whānau have strong relationships with school. There are many opportunities for them to share their views and aspirations for their children.

4. Sustainable Performance

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

The school is very well placed to sustain and improve its performance.

Trustees bring a range of expertise to their governance roles. The board is well informed and trustees have high expectations for continuous improvement of all students’ achievement. They are very responsive to students at risk of not achieving.

The annual plan and accompanying action plans set clear direction and appropriate priorities’ for ongoing change and improvement. Māori success as Māori is a well considered priority.

Highly effective self review contributes to positive change and improvement. It includes reference to research and best practice and uses information from a range of sources.

Effective and distributed leadership supports schoolwide development. The principal has taken a considered and thoughtful approach to developing leadership capability through planned professional development. Staff have a variety of opportunities to lead and develop their careers. School leaders encourage reflection, collaboration and innovation. Sharing responsibility for leading teaching and learning has broadened team leaders’ roles and led to greater focus on learners at risk of underachieving.

Teacher appraisal and TAI have a clear focus on the sustainability of high quality teaching. The processes are both accountability and improvement focused. Senior leaders are refining the appraisal process in 2015. ERO’s evaluation supports this as a next step. There is potential for appraisal to be increasingly effective with a stronger focus on Registered Teacher Criteria and Tātaiako, Cultural Competencies for Teachers of Māori Learners intended.

New initiatives and schoolwide developments are well led. They are strategically planned and implementation is supported by sound systems and practices. Ongoing reflection and review occur at teaching, management and board levels. Initiatives are then refined and adapted to ensure they are embedding and successfully improving outcomes for students.

Parents have high levels of participation in the life of the school. They are valued as partners and encouraged to contribute to their child’s learning. Opportunities are provided to help parents have a greater understanding of teaching and learning. The school seeks and responds to parent views about the quality of teaching and learning and their ideas are used in the school's strategic planning and actions.

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

The St John’s School curriculum successfully promotes high levels of student learning and achievement. Effective and distributed leadership, embedded systems for data collection and use, highly effective self review, and a range of new initiatives since the previous ERO review, continue to improve student outcomes.

ERO is likely to carry out the next review in four-to-five years.

Image removed.

Joyce Gebbie Deputy Chief Review Officer Central

10 April 2015

About the School

Location

Whanganui

Ministry of Education profile number

2450

School type

Contributing (Years 1 to 6)

School roll

355

Gender composition

Male 51%, Female 49%

Ethnic composition

NZ European/Pākehā

Māori

Pacific

Asian

Other ethnic groups

84%

8%

2%

5%

1%

Review team on site

February 2015

Date of this report

10 April 2015

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

July 2010

March 2007

April 2003

1. The Education Review Office (ERO) Evaluation

St John’s Hill School caters for students in years 1 to 6 and is situated in the northern suburbs of Whanganui. Well maintained attractive grounds and buildings contribute to a welcoming environment that strongly reflects an established emphasis on environmental sustainability. The school has recently received a gold award for its enviro-schools approach. This review finds that positive features identified in previous ERO reviews remain evident throughout the school. Self review for continuous improvement is strongly embedded in all areas of school operation.

Students are respectful, confident and well able to articulate the ethos and benefits of their school. They appreciate many leadership opportunities, including participation in peer mediation, house and sports organisation and the Green Team Te Wā Kakariki, which influences school-wide decisions about sustainability.

Reliable assessment information in reading, writing and mathematics shows that most students, including Māori, are achieving at or above national expectations for their year levels. Many students demonstrate high achievement in reading. Those requiring learning support or extension are receiving programmes tailored to their needs.

The principal demonstrates effective professional leadership. He is well supported by the senior leadership team in fostering a collaborative and positive staff culture based on professional dialogue and high expectations for teaching and learning. Consultation and reflection for improvement are embedded practices that strongly influence curriculum planning and development.

The curriculum focuses appropriately on literacy and mathematics, along with school-wide emphases on sustainability, virtues, physical activity, bicultural perspectives and local contexts. Many high quality teaching practices are evident throughout the school. Teachers are suitably aligning their assessment and reporting practices to National Standards requirements. They know students well and families have been consulted about their needs and aspirations. Classes are settled and students are purposefully engaged in their learning experiences.

The board of trustees demonstrates support for the principal and staff and a strong interest in positive outcomes for students. The board receives assistance from funds raised by an active parent-teacher association. Since the 2007 ERO review, the school’s information centre has been significantly developed and the computer infrastructure enhanced. Family partnerships are fostered. Parents are well informed about new education approaches and are actively engaged in their students’ learning.

Future Action

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

2. St John’s Hill School’s Curriculum

How effectively does the curriculum of St John’s Hill School promote student learning - engagement, progress and achievement?

School context and self review St John’s Hill School has a positive reporting history with ERO. The 2007 ERO review focused on writing programmes and noted many areas of good performance. These included collaborative, reflective leadership, effective teaching and assessment practices, literacy-rich classroom environments, authentic learning contexts, and well-monitored learning support programmes. School leaders were using reliable assessment information to identify and address learning needs.

During the last three years, well-established and effective self-review processes have continued to provide direction for raising student achievement, developing curriculum programmes and improving teaching strategies. In 2007, the analysis of school-wide assessments demonstrated that mathematics achievement levels were not as high as literacy levels. School leaders and trustees, therefore, provided teachers with professional development, support and resources to address this gap. This has resulted in increasing levels of numeracy achievement.

Community and bicultural contexts are reflected in the environment and learning programmes. The curriculum is effectively based on the consideration of self review outcomes including staff, student and parent consultation. Along with literacy and numeracy, school-wide emphases on environmental sustainability, virtues and health promotion are clearly evident in the curriculum. The school has recently received a gold award for its enviro-schools approach which is the result of many years’ work and review. Self review is strongly embedded in all areas of school operation.

Areas of strength

Student achievement information Student achievement information for students in years 1 to 6 is collated from the results of nationally referenced assessments in reading, writing and mathematics. School-wide analysis of recent information shows that most students, including Māori, are achieving at or above year level expectations, with nearly half the school attaining high levels in reading. Students identified as at risk or causing concern receive appropriate interventions and targeted, well-monitored classroom support.

Leadership The principal and leadership team are reflective, collaborative and strategic in their approach to continuous school improvement and development. There is a culture of focused professional dialogue resulting in clearly articulated high expectations for students and staff, based on rigorous discussion and ongoing self review. Leadership roles are distributed among staff who continually seek to engage with current and emerging educational trends and research.

The curriculum The curriculum is highly effective in promoting students’ learning, engagement, progress and achievement. Students are actively engaged in authentic learning tasks based on their identified needs. Programmes in all learning areas emphasise inquiry, sustainability, care for the environment, bicultural perspectives, inclusion, positive relationships and self management. Students are increasingly encouraged to reflect on their achievement and take responsibility for their learning.

Teaching practices Many high quality teaching practices are apparent at all levels of the school. These include: using assessment information to guide teaching; providing students with focused feedback and next steps about their learning; promoting positive interactions among students; integrating te reo me ngā tikanga Māori; and maintaining attractive, educationally stimulating classroom displays that celebrate students’ best work. Teaching programmes are evaluated on the basis of student achievement with next steps for planning and teaching. Classes are settled and students are purposefully engaged in their learning experiences.

Assessment Teachers’ assessment and planning practices are regularly monitored and consistently implemented across the school. School-wide assessments and teacher observations assist in the identification of more able students across a range of appropriate dimensions. A suitable variety of programmes is provided to extend and challenge these students. Teachers are well aware of processes for moderating overall teacher judgements about achievement against school expectations and national standards. Reports to parents are aligned with National Standards requirements.

Partnerships with parents Parent partnerships are valued and encouraged. Many parents are actively engaged in their students’ learning and the life of the school. Community meetings provide information about school-wide achievement patterns including the analysis of Māori achievement. Parents are well informed about new education approaches and requirements. School and teaching team newsletters along with homework books and entries in student learning profiles provide a range of opportunities to engage with students’ learning and progress.

Governance The outgoing board demonstrates support for the principal and staff and a strong interest in positive outcomes for students. Trustees reflect on their progress in relation to strategic goals which are strongly focused on learning and achievement. Robust guidelines for governance roles and responsibilities are likely to assist smooth succession for new trustees.

Areas for development and review

Through continual reflection and self-review practices, school leaders and teachers acknowledge that they are continuing to develop:

  • teachers’ use of the action competence model of inquiry as a consistent approach for teaching and learning in topic studies;
  • increasing opportunities for students to reflect on their own learning;
  • school-wide review of the implementation of the school’s thinking and information, communication and technologies skills programmes; and
  • further integration of te reo Māori across the school.

ERO agrees with these directions.

3. Board Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the board of trustees and principal of St John’s Hill School completed an ERO Board Assurance Statement and Self-Audit Checklist. In these documents they attested that they had taken all reasonable steps to meet their legal obligations related to:

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

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

  • emotional safety of students (including prevention of bullying and sexual harassment);
  • physical safety of students;
  • teacher registration;
  • stand-downs, suspensions, expulsions and exclusions; and
  • attendance.

The checking process indicated that the school has established policies, procedures and practices to enable it to meet its legal obligations.

4. Future Action

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

Kathleen Atkins

National Manager Review Services

Central Region

7 July 2010

About The School

School type

Contributing Primary (Years 1 to 6)

Decile1

10

School roll

362

Gender composition

Male 50%,

female 50%

Ethnic composition

New Zealand European/Pākehā 73%;

Māori 10%;

Other European 9%;

Asian 2%;

Other ethnic groups 6%

Review team on site

May 2010

Date of this report

7 July 2010

Previous three ERO reports

Education Review March 2007

Education Review April 2003

Accountability Review June 1999

7 July 2010

To the Parents and Community of St John’s Hill School

These are the findings of the Education Review Office’s latest report on St John’s Hill School.

St John’s Hill School caters for students in years 1 to 6 and is situated in the northern suburbs of Whanganui. Well maintained attractive grounds and buildings contribute to a welcoming environment that strongly reflects an established emphasis on environmental sustainability. The school has recently received a gold award for its enviro-schools approach. This review finds that positive features identified in previous ERO reviews remain evident throughout the school. Self review for continuous improvement is strongly embedded in all areas of school operation.

Students are respectful, confident and well able to articulate the ethos and benefits of their school. They appreciate many leadership opportunities, including participation in peer mediation, house and sports organisation and the Green Team Te Wā Kakariki, which influences school-wide decisions about sustainability.

Reliable assessment information in reading, writing and mathematics shows that most students, including Māori, are achieving at or above national expectations for their year levels. Many students demonstrate high achievement in reading. Those requiring learning support or extension are receiving programmes tailored to their needs.

The principal demonstrates effective professional leadership. He is well supported by the senior leadership team in fostering a collaborative and positive staff culture based on professional dialogue and high expectations for teaching and learning. Consultation and reflection for improvement are embedded practices that strongly influence curriculum planning and development.

The curriculum focuses appropriately on literacy and mathematics, along with school-wide emphases on sustainability, virtues, physical activity, bicultural perspectives and local contexts. Many high quality teaching practices are evident throughout the school. Teachers are suitably aligning their assessment and reporting practices to National Standards requirements. They know students well and families have been consulted about their needs and aspirations. Classes are settled and students are purposefully engaged in their learning experiences.

The board of trustees demonstrates support for the principal and staff and a strong interest in positive outcomes for students. The board receives assistance from funds raised by an active parent-teacher association. Since the 2007 ERO review, the school’s information centre has been significantly developed and the computer infrastructure enhanced. Family partnerships are fostered. Parents are well informed about new education approaches and are actively engaged in their students’ learning.

Future Action

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

Review Coverage

This report provides an evaluation of how effectively the school’s curriculum promotes student learning - engagement, progress and achievement. ERO’s evaluation takes account of the school’s previous reporting history and is based on:

what is known about student achievement information, including the achievement of Māori and Pacific students;

decisions made to improve student achievement using assessment and self review information; and

teaching strategies and programmes implemented to give effect to the school’s curriculum.

ERO also gathers information during the review to contribute to its national reports. The national reports are published on ERO’s website.

If you would like a copy of the full report, please contact the school or see the ERO website, www.ero.govt.nz.

Image removed.

Kathleen Atkins

National Manager Review Services

Central Region

General Information about Reviews

About ERO

ERO is an independent, external evaluation agency that undertakes reviews of schools and early childhood services throughout New Zealand.

About ERO Reviews

ERO follows a set of standard procedures to conduct reviews. The purpose of each review is to:

  • improve educational achievement in schools; and
  • provide information to parents, communities and the government.

Reviews are intended to focus on student achievement and build on each school’s self review.

Review Focus

ERO’s framework for reviewing and reporting integrates the following:

  • school curriculum;
  • national evaluation topics –contribute to the development of education policies and their effective implementation; and

Board Assurance Statement, including student and staff health and safety.

ERO’s review is responsive to the school’s context. When ERO reviews a school, it takes into account the characteristics of the community from which it draws its students, its aspirations for its young people, and other relevant local factors.

ERO also builds on the school’s own self-review information. ERO is interested in how a school monitors the progress of its students and aspects of school life and culture, and how it uses this information to improve student learning.

This helps ERO to answer the major evaluation question for reviews:

How effectively does this school’s curriculum promote student learning - engagement, progress and achievement?

Areas for Development and Review

ERO reports include areas for development and review to support on-going improvement by identifying priorities. Often the school will have identified these matters through its own self review and already plans further development in those areas.