Whanganui East School

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School Context

Whanganui East School caters for 187 students in Years 1 to 6. Over 60% of students are Māori.

The school’s vision statement is: Every Child Achieving. This is supported by the ACHIEVE values, focused on: attitude; cooperation; hauora; integrity; effort; values; and enjoyment. The strategic plan has three key goals relating to the curriculum, community and culture.

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

  • progress and achievement in reading, writing and mathematics
  • wellbeing.

The school is in the sixth year of the Ministry of Education initiative Positive Behaviour for Learning (PB4L) and has undertaken teacher professional development in Accelerating Learning in Mathematics (ALiM) since 2016.

Since the November 2014 ERO report, there have been significant changes in the staff. Three out of the four board representatives are in their second term.

Evaluation Findings

1 Equity and excellence – valued outcomes for students

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

Schoolwide achievement trends in reading, writing and mathematics show improvement over time since 2014. The majority of students achieve well. Most learners targeted during 2017 made accelerated progress in reading, writing and mathematics. Girls achieve better than boys, particularly in literacy. Lifting the achievement of boys remains an ongoing priority. 

1.2 How effectively does this school respond to those Māori and other students whose learning and achievement need acceleration?

The school has increased the effectiveness of its strategies to support Māori students’ progress and achievement. Significant gains in mathematics and writing occurred during 2017.

Most Māori students targeted for improvement made accelerated progress in reading, writing and mathematics during 2017. Since 2014, there is a general upward trend in achievement.

2 School conditions for equity and excellence

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

There is a sustained focus on reducing disparity and increasing student achievement through targeted actions, particularly for boys and Māori students. Strengthened and coherent schoolwide systems for tracking, monitoring and reporting contribute to improved student achievement.

Teachers carefully identify strategies and critically reflect on their impact on students’ progress. Parents of children who need support receive reports on learning each term. Inclusive practices are highly evident.

Redevelopment of the school curriculum is increasingly focused on collaborative learning and how students can lead their own learning. A clear focus on literacy and mathematics is sustained, as is targeted support for each individual.

Learning opportunities celebrate and build upon the strength of Māori learners’ language, culture and identity. These include learning te reo Māori, kapa haka, pōwhiri and other valuable experiences. Teachers continue to increase their culturally responsive practices through ongoing professional learning and development.

Cohesive and student-centred professional leadership supports ongoing improvements in learning. Assessment practices are robust. Regular interrogation of results strengthens their dependability. Teachers increasingly work collaboratively, using their strengths to enhance learning.

The appraisal process is robust and evidence based. High expectations for teaching and learning are upheld.

Stewardship by the board is centred on ensuring students have opportunities to learn through focused strategic targets and resourcing decisions. Termly scrutiny of the progress of target students is contributing to increased levels of progress. Trustees appropriately focus on improving the school property and environment to support collaborative teaching and learning.

The board, school leaders and staff build productive partnerships for learning within the school community. This practice includes drawing on community resources and initiatives to enhance learning opportunities and wellbeing. 

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

School leaders should continue their focus on strengthening the effectiveness of teaching practices through the implementation of the appraisal process and linking this to inquiries into their individual practices.

The use of internal evaluation is beginning to become more evaluative. Continuing to improve the use of internal evaluation to support ongoing curriculum development should enable school leaders and teachers to identify practices that contribute to successful student outcomes.

Trustees should strengthen the governance framework by ensuring that there are sufficient procedures to support policy implementation.

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.

Areas for improved compliance practice

To improve current practice, the board of trustees should ensure there are sufficient procedures to implement school policies, including a procedure for police vetting of staff. 

4 Going forward

Key strengths of the school

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

  • a relentless focus on improving learning through robust and coherent schoolwide systems
  • professional leadership focused on growing the effectiveness of teaching strategies
  • responsiveness and inclusive approaches for learning.

Next steps

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

  • continuing to strengthen teaching practices and student outcomes through appraisal linked to teaching as inquiry
  • continue to strengthen the use of internal evaluation to support ongoing curriculum developments and improvements
  • strengthening the governance policy and procedure framework.

ERO’s next external evaluation process and timing

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

Alan Wynyard
Deputy Chief Review Officer Central (Acting)

Te Tai Pokapū - Central Region

12 February 2018

About the school

Location

Whanganui

Ministry of Education profile number

2476

School type

Contributing School (Years 1 to 6)

School roll

187

Gender composition

Female 52%, Male 48%

Ethnic composition

Māori                                   58%
Pākehā                                 37%
Pacific                                    2%
Other ethnic groups            3%

Review team on site

November 2017

Date of this report

12 February 2018

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review             November 2014
Education Review             August 2011
Education Review             September 2008

Findings

Students learn in an environment that fosters their wellbeing. They are engaged in learning. Respectful relationships are clearly evident. School leaders are aware of the urgency to address identified areas of underachievement. Many aspects of school practice and operation have been reviewed since the 2011 ERO review.

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?

Wanganui East School is located in suburban Whanganui and has a roll of 167 students, 63% of who identify as Māori. The school’s positive culture is guided by the values captured by ACHIEVE (attitude, cooperation, hauora, integrity, effort, values, enjoyment). The school’s involvement over the past four years in Positive Behaviour for Learning (PB4L) supports students to follow these values through explicit teaching and schoolwide expectations. Te Mana, an after-school learning initiative, continues to support the engagement of Māori students in literacy and numeracy.

Since ERO's August 2011 review, there have been significant changes to leadership, following the retirement of the long-standing principal. The deputy principal was appointed to the principal’s role in 2012. A new deputy principal and two team leaders were subsequently appointed, expanding the senior leadership team.

2 Learning

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

Schoolwide student achievement information is appropriately analysed and used to identify students at risk of not achieving in relation to National Standards in reading, writing and mathematics. Achievement levels continue to be of concern, with many students achieving below expected standards. Achievement targets have been developed in response. The principal reports to the board on progress. Trustees use this information to make resourcing decisions to support student learning.

School leaders are focused on raising student achievement. They are aware of the urgency to address identified areas of underachievement. School leaders set team goals each term to use for tracking student progress. Teachers identify priority learners and develop action plans to enhance their learning. They work with teacher-aides to provide programmes to help accelerate progress. Programmes are in place for students with special needs and abilities.

Parents are well informed about student progress through written reports and teacher-parent meetings.

Teachers are supported to reflect on their practice. A key next step is for school leaders to assist teachers to improve their use of student achievement information, specifically to:

  • teach to specific, individual needs and schoolwide priorities
  • evaluate the effectiveness of their teaching on student learning and progress.

3 Curriculum

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

School leaders are developing the effectiveness of the school’s curriculum to promote and support student engagement and learning. It is closely aligned to the principles and key competencies of The New Zealand Curriculum (NZC). Literacy and mathematics are priorities.

Clear expectations guide teacher practice and planning. The purpose and principles of assessment are well defined. Interventions that support students identified as achieving below expectation have been reviewed in response to student achievement data.

School leaders have good knowledge of daily classroom practice. Staff know students and their families well. Routines and expectations for learning and behaviour are clearly understood by students. Respectful, reciprocal relationships are evident across the school. Students participate in activities that support their learning about te ao Māori. They are provided with and accept a range of leadership opportunities. Students are supported in organised games to promote social skills development. Processes for students’ transition to school are well organised and considered.

Teachers use a wide range of strategies to engage students in learning. Information and communication technologies are increasingly being used to enhance learning and access the wider world.

Staff participate in a wide range of professional learning and development (PLD) opportunities. ERO has identified, and school leaders agree, that PLD should focus on the school’s priority of accelerating student progress and achievement. This focus will support embedding effective teaching practice across the school.

ERO and school leaders agree that the next step is to review and refine the curriculum to ensure that it reflects the school’s community and local context.

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

Positive relationships between teachers and students foster and support Māori learners’ wellbeing. Students have a strong sense of pride in their school. It is timely for school leaders, trustees, staff and whānau to review school initiatives in relation to how Māori students are achieving success as Māori.

4 Sustainable Performance

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

The school is developing its capacity to sustain and improve its performance. There is a culture of reflection for improvement. Many aspects of school practice and operation have been reviewed since ERO's 2011 review.

School leaders and ERO have identified the need to strengthen self-review practice. This should enable leaders, trustees and teachers to better determine the effectiveness of programmes and further inform future strategic decision-making.

Trustees have recently consulted parents and whānau to review and develop the school’s vision and values. The board is well informed about achievement, school operation and progress in relation to strategic direction. Trustees understand their governance role in supporting the principal and staff to promote positive outcomes for all students.

Teachers are supported to take leadership roles. The recently reviewed appraisal system has the potential to support teacher development. The process includes teacher and leadership goals aligned to school priorities and individual needs.

The senior leadership team is cohesive and focused on improving school performance. Wellconsidered change-management practices are addressing underachievement. It is important that all staff understand the urgency required to accelerate student progress and achievement.

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 an environment that fosters their wellbeing. They are engaged in learning. Respectful relationships are clearly evident. School leaders are aware of the urgency to address identified areas of underachievement. Many aspects of school practice and operation have been reviewed since the 2011 ERO review.

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

Joyce Gebbie

National Manager Review Services Central Region

11 November 2014

About the School

Location

Whanganui

Ministry of Education profile number

2476

School type

Contributing (Years 1 to 6)

School roll

167

Gender composition

Male 51%, Female 49%

Ethnic composition

Māori

NZ European/Pākehā

Pacific

Other ethnic groups

63%

33%

3%

1%

Review team on site

September 2014

Date of this report

11 November 2014

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

August 2011

September 2008

May 2005