Bellevue School (Newlands)

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School Context

Bellevue School (Newlands) caters for children in Years 1 to 6 in the Wellington suburb of Newlands. At the time of this ERO evaluation 13% of the 308 children attending identify as Māori, and 7% as of Pacific heritage. The school is ethnically diverse with 25% having English as an additional language.

The school’s vision states ‘At Bellevue School we are active, connected life-long learners’ and is reinforced by the guiding values of confidence, respect, responsibility, resilience and inclusion. The motto is ‘E tipu e ako- Where learning grows’.

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

  • achievement in reading, writing and mathematics
  • the progress and acceleration of targeted learners
  • participation in specific initiatives and interventions.

The school is a member of the Newlands Kāhui Ako. 

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?

Most students achieve at or above expectations in reading, writing and mathematics. Achievement levels have remained stable over time in reading and mathematics, with improvement occurring in writing.

2017 achievement data indicates that:

  • girls achieve better than boys in reading and writing
  • boys and girls achieve similarly in mathematics
  • Māori students achieve similarly in reading and writing and less well than their peers in mathematics.

The board and leadership have identified specific cohort groups in mathematics and writing for acceleration in 2018.

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

The school continues to develop its effectiveness in responding to students whose learning needs acceleration. There is evidence to show that some students make accelerated progress.

There has been a closing of the disparity gap for Māori and Pacific students and their Pākehā peers since the July 2014 ERO report. By the end of Year 6 nearly all students reach curriculum expectations in reading, most in writing and the large majority in mathematics.

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?

Board systems and practices effectively support trustees to carry out their roles and responsibilities. There is a focus on promoting enhanced student learning outcomes. A self review plan is in place.  

A deliberate and considered approach to strengthening acknowledgement of identity, language and culture for Māori students and their whānau is evident. Building a shared understanding of cultural competencies by staff has been undertaken since the previous ERO review. The Māori Learning Profile sets clear expectations for teaching and learning, determined in collaboration with whānau. Aspirations of whānau Māori are sought and valued to inform strategic direction and contribute to a culturally responsive curriculum. All learners are given opportunities to participate in meaningful learning experiences that reflect Māori culture language and identity.

The school continues to thoughtfully review and develop the curriculum to be highly responsive to the increasingly diverse needs of their students’ wellbeing, culture, language and identity and learning. The school has reported a significant shift in teachers’ pedagogical understandings through considered exploration of evidence-based best practice, education theory and research. 

Teachers use a range of effective strategies and deliberate actions to engage students in purposeful learning. High expectations for positive behaviour, structured learning environments and student self-management skills contribute to engagement. Students’ wellbeing, sense of belonging and engagement in their learning are promoted. Regularly sharing of students’ learning with families and whānau supports increasing engagement and achievement.

Teachers develop caring, collaborative learning communities that are inclusive of diverse learners. Appropriately designed systems, and responsive planning and resourcing contribute to the delivery of effective programmes to cater for increasing numbers of students with identified and complex needs.

Appropriate appraisal processes are consistently implemented for teachers and the principal.

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

Trustees, school leaders and teachers are using internal evaluation and inquiry to reflect on practices and systems. The next step is to further develop understandings of evaluation to determine the impact and significance of practices to better inform future decision making.

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. 

Provision for international students

The school is a signatory to the Education (Pastoral Care of International Students) Code of Practice 2016, (the Code). The school does not have any international students currently enrolled. It annually attests to the New Zealand Qualification Authority that expectations of the Code are met. Annual self review indicates in detail what the school is doing to provide for international students, but not how effectively the outcomes have been achieved.

4 Going forward

Key strengths of the school

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

  • parent partnerships that support students’ interests, engagement and learning
  • teacher reflection, inquiry and collaboration that carefully consider and research effective teaching practices that are responsive to students.

Next steps

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

  • deepening understandings of evaluation to determine the significance of initiatives and actions taken to inform ongoing improvements to school practices and the impact on outcomes for students
  • strengthening the curriculum to provide guidelines across the essential learning areas that effectively inform implementation.

ERO’s next external evaluation process and timing

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

Patricia Davey
Deputy Chief Review Officer Central (Acting)

Te Tai Pokapū - Central Region

16 May 2018

About the school

Location

Newlands

Ministry of Education profile number

2806

School type

Contributing (Years 1 to 6)

School roll

308

Gender composition

Female 51%, Male 49%,

Ethnic composition

Māori                                   13%
Pākehā                                 45%
Pacific                                    7%     
Indian                                   14%
Asian                                       7%
Other ethnic groups          14%

Provision of Māori medium education

No

Review team on site

March 2018

Date of this report

16 May 2018

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review             July 2014
Education Review             June 2011
Education Review             May 2008

Findings

This school is well placed to sustain and improve progress. Students are engaged in their learning and achieve well. The new principal leads a collaborative, reflective staff. An inclusive, values-based curriculum integrates digital learning well and values tikanga Māori. Next steps are to review the curriculum and strengthen evaluation capability.

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?

Bellevue School is a contributing school in Newlands, Wellington. It currently caters for 262 students and 13% are Māori. Children from a range of nationalities contribute to the diverse ethnic makeup of the school.

The curriculum emphasises cornerstone values education in an inclusive environment, driven by student learning needs and interests.

Before and after school programmes operate daily at the school.

The effective practices identified in the June 2011 ERO report continue to be implemented.

A new principal started at the school in May 2014.

2 Learning

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

Leaders and teachers make good use of achievement information to improve learning outcomes for students. A rich array of assessment information is collated, analysed and reported to the board. Senior leaders use schoolwide data appropriately to identify priorities for future focus, teacher professional development and setting goals. Individual teachers use their assessment data to group students and to inform their planning to meet specific, identified needs.

National Standards information is shared with trustees at mid and end of each year. Data from 2013 shows that a substantial majority of students, including Māori and Pacific, are achieving at or above the National Standards expectations in reading. Over two thirds of students are at or above National Standards expectations in writing and mathematics. Senior staff are aware of the need for boys and Māori students to improve achievement in writing. Formal reports to parents, with clear reference to National Standards, provide useful information about their child’s learning, progress, and competencies.

Teachers help students to understand the purpose of their lessons. Students are actively engaged in learning. Those at risk of not achieving are well supported to accelerate their progress.

Students with diverse learning needs are well catered for in an inclusive climate. A wide range of strategies is used to support their progress and participation. The new special education needs coordinator (SENCO) agrees that it is timely to review the current approach. In particular, to review procedural guidelines and evaluate the effectiveness of the many interventions and support strategies.

3 Curriculum

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

The local curriculum, developed in 2009, clearly aligns with the principles and key competencies of The New Zealand Curriculum. It provides direction for teaching. The curriculum includes values education effectively woven into term planning. It is timely to review curriculum documentation to ensure it continues to meet community aspirations and reflects improvements made to teaching practice.

Teachers are reflective practitioners and are working to ensure the purpose for learning is clear to students. Collaboration is strong. They engage in regular professional discussion about the successes and challenges of their teaching programmes. Professional development and support is designed to respond to needs identified through analysis of school data.

Teacher interactions with students are positive and affirming. Student wellbeing is a priority.

Use of digital technologies (ICT) is a strength. Classrooms are well resourced and ICT is effectively integrated into teaching and learning. Teachers report increased confidence in their use of technology and improved student engagement.

Teachers help each other to use te reo Māori meaningfully in classrooms. They are working to be more culturally responsive. In some rooms, students' culture, language and identity are celebrated. Curriculum review should include consideration of how Pacific cultures and the other nationalities of the school community are reflected. This is likely to contribute to a sense of belonging for both student and family.

Students have a variety of opportunities to develop leadership skills.

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

Te reo me ngā tikanga Māori is valued throughout the school. This is apparent and celebrated by appropriate use of karakia, whakataukī, and waiata. Pōwhiri protocol is well developed and provides opportunities for student leadership. The kapa haka group is led by Māori parents with teacher support and occurs during school time. Recognition of the value of tuakana teina relationships is behind the school’s decision to merge its playground areas.

A whānau group meets regularly, providing opportunities for whānau participation. They discuss how best to support Māori learners and raise the profile of te ao Māori across the school.

Links have been made with the local marae including involvement in joint activities. Hui with other local schools at the marae, strengthen this connection.

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. Its approach to improving teacher performance is well conceived. Teachers’ inquiries into their practice show strong links to school priorities, Registered Teacher Criteria and cultural competencies. Best examples are highly reflective and supported by focused, constructive feedback about the quality of practice. Interviews with students are included.

Understanding and use of evaluative review needs further development at all levels to enhance decision-making about priorities linked to improvement. With the appointment of a new principal, it is timely to review board practices to develop more sustainable systems for the smooth running of the school. This should include:

  • a schedule for formal review of policies and procedures
  • revising guidelines for board roles and responsibilities
  • taking a more active role in strategic and annual planning.

The board should receive reports about the effectiveness of funded programmes and initiatives to prioritise future resourcing.

Leaders share responsibilities and remain focused on improved outcomes for children. They lead professional development and ensure time is given for learning conversations.

Key Next steps

The following are areas for review and development to sustain good practice.

  • Review the curriculum to ensure documentation reflects current practice.
  • Build evaluation capacity of board, managers and teachers.
  • Refine the school charter and strategic planning to give clarity to school direction.
  • Develop systems and documents to support the inclusive practice evident in the school.
  • Continue to explore strategies to improve achievement in writing for boys and Māori.
  • Continue to develop the transition to school approach.

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

This school is well placed to sustain and improve progress. Students are engaged in their learning and achieve well. The new principal leads a collaborative, reflective staff. An inclusive, values-based curriculum integrates digital learning well and values tikanga Māori. Next steps are to review the curriculum and strengthen evaluation capability.

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

Joyce Gebbie

National Manager Review Services Central Region

4 July 2014

About the School

Location

Newlands

Ministry of Education profile number

2806

School type

Contributing (Years 1 to 6)

School roll

262

Gender composition

Male 54%, Female 46%

Ethnic composition

Māori

NZ European/Pākehā

Indian

Asian

Pacific

Other ethnic groups

13%

49%

14%

11%

4%

9%

Review team on site

May 2014

Date of this report

4 July 2014

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

June 2011

May 2008

August 2005