Greenacres School

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1 Context

Greenacres School in Tawa caters for students from Years 1 to 6. Thirteen percent of the roll identifies as Māori and 7% as Pacific. There has been recent roll growth. The school enjoys close links with families and high levels of parent involvement in school activities.

Since the 2013 ERO review, there have been significant changes to the senior leadership team. A new deputy principal started at the beginning of 2014 with a second in 2015. There is a positive, affirming and supportive school culture that is inclusive and welcoming. The wellbeing of each student is valued.

The school is part of the Tawa Community of Learning.

2 Equity and excellence

The vision and valued outcomes defined by the school for all children are to encourage them to become creative, independent and collaborative learners.

Leaders and trustees aim to provide an environment where all students’ needs are being met socially, emotionally, culturally and academically. The ‘Encourage Tree’ underpins their focus on a positive school culture and promotes values that guide how students and teachers learn and work together at Greenacres. The school whakatauki is: "Together we encourage, challenge and inspire while fostering a love of learning. Ehara taku toa, he taki tahi, he toa taki tini. Encourage, Challenge, Inspire, Learn!"

The school’s achievement information shows that the majority of students achieve at or above National Standards for reading, writing and mathematics. The overall achievement of Māori students is below that of their peers in the school. This disparity has been consistent over time and remains a challenge for the school. Girls achieve proportionally higher than boys in some areas.

Annual achievement targets are to raise the percentage of students achieving at or above the National Standards. Raising achievement in writing is a priority for 2016. School leaders recognise the need to review and strengthen schoolwide targets. Developing a specific focus on those students at risk of not achieving should enable leaders and teachers to more effectively respond, monitor, and report on the progress of individuals, groups and cohorts.

Since the previous ERO evaluation the school has worked to increase the achievement of all students. This has included:

  • a well-considered strategic approach to managing change and improvement
  • development of clear guidelines and moderation processes to support more consistent and reliable overall assessment judgements by teachers
  • annual action plans for key curriculum focus areas linked to targets: for mathematics in 2014, and writing in 2015-2016
  • focused professional development and learning to improve teacher expertise and practice
  • fostering learning-centred relationships and culturally responsive practice
  • reviewing and redesigning the school's curriculum

3 Accelerating achievement

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

Māori students whose progress requires acceleration are well identified, tracked and monitored at class and team level. Teachers plan collaboratively and share strategies to promote better learning outcomes.

Regular professional discussions about Māori students who need to make progress are contributing to shifts in student learning. Teachers are regularly reviewing the effectiveness of their practice. Data shows that a positive difference is being made for a number of these students.

The school knows that not all Māori students have their achievement accelerated in reading, writing and mathematics. Leaders have developed a Māori achievement plan, a key component of which is growing educationally powerful partnerships with whānau to support accelerated progress.

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

The school responds well to Pacific and other students whose learning and achievement need acceleration by using the successful strategies identified for Māori students. Good systems and processes for monitoring and tracking the achievement of all students are in place.

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?

Board members bring a range of skills and valuable community links to their governance role. They provide clear strategic direction, work well with school leaders and are student and improvement focused. Community consultation is important in informing development and change.

Proactive leadership by the principal includes priority given to developing a learning culture with students at the centre. Leaders are actively involved in the professional growth of teachers. They encourage innovation and support knowledge building through planned coaching and mentoring. There are ongoing, externally facilitated, school-wide professional development programmes about effective teaching and assessment.

A well-designed and implemented appraisal system supports teachers' reflections on practice that are research and evidence based. These reflections contribute to whole staff professional discussion. Teachers inquire into their practice and share successes and useful strategies.

Teachers maintain positive, supportive and affirming relationships with their students, and use appropriate strategies to engage them with learning. Staff have a collective focus on students' wellbeing and growing their sense of belonging.

The school's curriculum was developed in consultation with staff, students, parents and community. There are clearly articulated expectations for systems and processes to implement, integrate and monitor teaching and learning, the use of rich local contexts, knowledge and experiences, and culturally responsive teaching practices.

Expectations for literacy and numeracy are woven throughout the curriculum. Deepening and embedding te Ao Māori should support school initiatives to promote the language, culture and identity of Māori learners.

Established self-review processes promote reflection, inform decision making and lead to improvement. Strengthening the evaluative aspects of this review should support trustees and teachers to more effectively measure the impact of systems and processes on student outcomes and identify next steps.

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 effectively to the strengths, needs and interests of each child
  • regularly evaluate how well teaching is working for these children
  • act on what they know works well for each child
  • build teacher capability effectively to achieve equitable outcomes for all children
  • are well placed to achieve and sustain equitable and excellent outcomes for all children.

Foundations have been established to implement changes to school-wide systems and practices to support accelerated progress for students and address disparity. Consultation involves students, whānau and staff. Children are at the heart of all school decisions. Trustees and staff have good opportunities to improve their knowledge and skills through professional learning development and leadership.

ERO is likely to carry out the next 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 Recommendations

ERO and school leaders agree that key next steps are to continue to develop and embed all new systems and practices, with a focus on:

  • reviewing and strengthening schoolwide achievement targets
  • strengthening internal evaluation to better measure impacts for students and guide decision making
  • continuing to lift achievement and ensure outcomes are equitable for all students
  • deepening and embedding te Ao Māori throughout the curriculum.

As part of this development, school leaders should systematically gather, analyse and track evidence of the school's progress over time in reducing disparity. 

Joyce Gebbie

Deputy Chief Review Officer Central

4 November 2016 

About the school

Location

Tawa

Ministry of Education profile number

2849

School type

Contributing (Years 1 to 6)

School roll

224

Gender composition

Female 51%, Male 49%

Ethnic composition

Māori

Pākehā

Indian

Pacific

Other ethnic groups

13%

58%

7%

7%

15%

Review team on site

September 2016

Date of this report

4 November 2016

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

December 2013

December 2010

July 2007



1 Context

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

Greenacres School is a small community school in Tawa. It caters for students from Years 1 to 6. Thirteen percent of the roll identifies as Māori and 7% as Pacific. There has been recent roll growth and the school enjoys close links with families. A positive, welcoming tone is evident with a high level of parent involvement in a range of school activities.

Since the December 2010 ERO report, there have been significant changes in the senior leadership team. The principal started at the beginning of 2013. She has been supported by the longserving deputy principal and an acting assistant principal. The new assistant principal starts at the beginning of 2014.

The previous ERO report noted areas for further development in the use of achievement information, curriculum and self review. Although little progress was made to address these areas, the new principal has initiated a very good school-wide programme of professional learning and development this year.

The board of trustees is working with an external adviser to plan the school’s future direction over the next three years. As part of this process, trustees have consulted families and whānau and used the information they gathered to help inform the school’s forward planning.

2 Learning

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

The principal has initiated positive changes to support teachers to make better use of achievement information to further enhance outcomes for students.

Schoolwide data gathered at the end of 2012 in relation to the National Standards showed that the majority of students were generally achieving at or above the Standards for reading, mathematics and writing. The achievement of Māori students was just below that of their non-Māori peers. Pacific students are a target group for improved achievement. Asian students were achieving well and the school provides help for those who are English language learners.

Achievement in literacy was better than achievement in mathematics. As a result, teachers are supported to make better use of assessment information in mathematics, with particular emphasis on raising the achievement of students achieving below the National Standards. The professional learning and development undertaken this year helps staff make good use of achievement information and to adapt their teaching practices to the identified needs of students in their classes.

Information about schoolwide achievement in writing is yet to be collated, moderated and reported. The school’s next step is to continue to support teachers to make better use of achievement information in the teaching of reading, writing and mathematics. This should help teachers to accelerate the progress of those students who are underachieving and trustees to set better achievement targets to support ongoing schoolwide development.

School leaders have sought and responded positively to feedback from parents about the school’s reporting processes. Parents and whānau have opportunities to meet with teachers and receive reports that provide them with useful information about their child’s engagement, progress and achievement in relation to National Standards.

Most new entrants settle quickly into school. Teachers make good use of assessment information to plan class programmes and to monitor each child's progress. The school's next step is to use this information as a baseline from which to track the progress and achievement of the same groups of students over six years of schooling.

As part of schoolwide development, older students are provided with opportunities to give feedback about their class programmes.

3 Curriculum

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

The school’s curriculum provides students with a good range of academic, cultural and sporting opportunities. Appropriate emphasis is given to literacy and numeracy, together with the arts and physical education. Students learn in settled, welcoming class environments where interactions are positive and supportive. They enjoy participating in activities outside the classroom, and especially the engagement they have during special events with other students at schools in the area.

The principal recognises that it is timely to review the school’s curriculum. This is necessary in order to more fully implement The New Zealand Curriculum and support the vision, principles and goals the board has set for the next three years.

Through ongoing schoolwide professional learning teachers are developing their awareness of effective teaching and assessment practices in mathematics and other areas. They are provided with useful feedback and next steps related to class observations.

The school provides a range of additional support for students with special needs and teachers monitor their progress. School leaders have identified the need to review these programmes to establish and report on their effectiveness, and use the findings to further enhance outcomes for these students.

An important next step in strengthening teaching and learning is to review appraisal processes and support for provisionally registered teachers. Sound mechanisms are needed to support ongoing professional growth and development.

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

Senior leaders and trustees are working towards providing Māori students with learning experiences that support educational success and reflect their cultural heritage as mana whenua. They recognise that Māori students enjoy a sense of belonging when they see that their language, culture and identity are valued.

Substantial initiatives have raised the profile of te ao Māori in the school. The board employs a tutor to teach te reo me ngā tikanga Māori on a regular basis schoolwide. A lead teacher supports the implementation of this programme. Teachers learn alongside students and the tutor’s contribution is highly valued. The school’s newly formed kapa haka group is gathering strength and mana, and students and whānau see it as a positive element of the school curriculum.

ERO’s external evaluation affirms the board’s plan to engage Māori parents in discussion about ways to enhance their provision for Māori learners. Increased knowledge of whānau values and aspirations should contribute to the development of culturally responsive strategies to further promote Māori students’ success as Māori.

4 Sustainable Performance

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

The school is well placed to improve its performance. The board has a carefully considered strategic direction for the school and trustees benefit from the support they are getting from an external adviser. They know there is further work to be done to develop the principal’s appraisal and aim to ensure there is good alignment between all aspects of operation. Trustees work in partnership with the senior leadership team and teachers to help all students reach their potential.

The principal provides knowledgeable, professional leadership. She has initiated an effective change management process targeted to the needs of students. She is leading schoolwide professional development, together with a lead teacher and support from an external adviser. The senior leadership team are positive about the school’s direction. It is timely to grow leadership capacity and capability within the school to support and promote continuous improvement across all curriculum areas over time.

Self review is at early stages of development. The board and senior leaders plan to develop shared understandings about the review process and its use at all levels of the school’s operation. The next step is to have a cycle of review to establish the effectiveness of developments over time. The outcomes of review are likely to help students reach their potential as learners.

The strong sense of partnership with families and the ongoing engagement planned with whānau promotes student learning.

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.Image removed.

Joyce Gebbie

National Manager Review Services

Central Region (Acting)

19 December 2013

About the School

Location

Tawa

Ministry of Education profile number

2849

School type

Contributing (Years 1 to 6)

School roll

210

Gender composition

Male 52%

Female 48%

Ethnic composition

NZ European/Pākehā

Māori

Pacific

Other

67%

13%

7%

13%

Review team on site

November 2013

Date of this report

19 December 2013

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

December 2010

July 2007

September 2004