Oxford Crescent School

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School Context

Oxford Crescent School in Upper Hutt is for Years 1 to 6 students. Of the roll of 306, 33% of students are Māori and 2% are of Pacific heritage.

The mission is to create a school alive with learning according to the needs of and in partnership with students and the community. The vision is to develop active and literate lifelong learners who are able to participate in the digital world, be responsible, independent thinkers and communicators who participate and collaborate with others. The school’s STAR values are for being: safe, a team player, active learners and respectful.

Key strategic goals for 2018 are to raise student achievement in writing, to accelerate Māori and boys’ achievement in mathematics, and to improve student engagement.

Leaders and teachers regularly report to the board, schoolwide information about outcomes for students in the following areas: student achievement and progress in reading, writing and mathematics.

Since the June 2015 ERO report, the roll has increased by 20%. The previous principal retired at the end of Term 1, 2017 and new principal was appointed for Term 3, 2017. Many new teachers have joined the staff. A new senior syndicate leader began at the start of 2018.

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?

The school continues to focus on achievement of equitable and excellent outcomes for students.

At the end of 2017, most students continue to achieve at national expectations in reading and mathematics. Achievement in writing is slightly lower.

Over time, since 2015, there have been slight increases in boys’ writing and girls’ mathematics achievement. For Māori students, there have been slight overall increases in achievement in reading and writing, and a slight decline in mathematics.

Reducing disparity in student outcomes is ongoing.

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

There is a strategic focus on continuing to accelerate the progress of Māori students who need targeted support to achieve well.

Many students involved in specific literacy support programmes made accelerated progress during 2017.

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?

Students are well supported to be successful learners. The STAR values are reflected in learning programmes. Students understand the role of key competencies in enabling learning. Senior students’ involvement in community projects enhances this aspect of the school curriculum. Students are increasing their use of digital technologies to share their learning with their teachers, parents and whānau. Regular kapa haka and te reo Māori programmes are valued by students. There are high expectations for students to self-manage and take responsibility for their learning. Leaders and teachers grow their knowledge of individuals, particularly targeted students, to better cater to their learning interests and needs.

Leaders and teachers seek improvement in student outcomes and to know about the difference they are making. Considered professional leadership for ongoing improvement in the responsiveness of the curriculum is evident. Teachers are encouraged to explore new strategies to foster students’ leadership and engagement in learning. Well-established systems support teachers to identify, track and report on the impact of special programmes and additional resources for learning. The special education needs coordinator seeks opportunities, additional resources and external expertise to improve student outcomes.

Development of teachers’ professional practice is aligned to improving students’ learning. The induction of new teachers and appraisal processes continue to develop and strengthen. There is clear alignment between individual teachers’ goals, observations of their practice and provision for the teaching and learning of target students. Inquiries into individual teaching strategies support increased reflective practices by teachers. Targeted staff professional learning and development and increased involvement in leadership broaden learning opportunities for students.

Partnerships for learning are promoted. School leaders and trustees continue to increase their engagement with and consultation of the school community, families, whānau, students and staff.

Stewardship by the board of trustees is improvement focused. A core group trustees provide continuity and stability in governance. Trustees seek to provide all students with equitable learning opportunities and experiences through carefully considered resourcing decisions. The board uses data well to scrutinise the school’s performance and set improvement targets for achieving equity and excellence in student outcomes. Trustees are well informed about the impacts of board funded programmes for students.

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

The use of self review and inquiry by leaders and teachers continues to develop. Strengthening teachers’ use of assessment and analysis of data to inform teaching is an ongoing next step. This includes further developing teachers’ understanding of acceleration and its role in improving learning for those students who need this. In turn, this should also enable teachers to better evaluate the impact that specific strategies for teaching and learning have on student outcomes.

Leaders should strengthen their use of internal evaluation to determine which recent initiatives and innovations are working well for students, and how. Findings from this evaluation could then be used to develop clear expectations to guide effective teaching, aligned to the planned review of the school curriculum, and related particularly to play-based learning, literacy and mathematics programmes.

More regular tracking and monitoring of the progress of target students by trustees should assist the board to make more responsive resourcing decisions.

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.

4 Going forward

Key strengths of the school

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

  • strong leadership and governance that is improvement focused and provides coherence and stability for the school’s educational provision for students’ learning success

  • robust school systems and processes that guide teaching and learning and build teachers’ capabilities

  • strategies to involve students, parents and whānau that support partnerships for learning and inform the school’s strategic direction.

Next steps

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

  • teachers’ analysis and use of assessment data to strengthen their understanding of the role of acceleration in supporting improved learning for targeted students

  • teacher inquiries and leaders’ use of internal evaluation to establish clear expectations for effective teaching and support continuity of good practice during review of the school curriculum

  • increased monitoring and tracking by trustees of the progress of students who require targeted action and support to achieve well.

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

1 August 2018

About the school

Location

Upper Hutt

Ministry of Education profile number

2943

School type

Contributing (Years 1 to 6)

School roll

306

Gender composition

Male 52%, Female 48%

Ethnic composition

Māori 33%
Pākehā 57%
Asian 6%
Pacific 2%
Other ethnic groups 2%

Students with Ongoing Resourcing Funding (ORS)

Yes

Provision of Māori medium education

No

Review team on site

June 2018

Date of this report

1 August 2018

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review June 2015
Education Review July 2011
Education Review December 2007

Findings

A positive school climate is reinforced by clear expectations for ‘STAR’ values – for students to be safe and work in teams as active, respectful learners. Senior leaders are building teaching capability to raise student achievement in writing, through the continued development of a reflective, collaborative and inquiring culture.

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?

Oxford Crescent School is located in central Upper Hutt City. A diverse range of Year 1 to 6 students attend the school. From the current roll, 33% identify as Māori.

The school mission is to create ‘A school alive with learning – in partnership with the needs of its students and the students and the community’. Student and staff interaction is underpinned by the school’s ‘STAR’ values - to be safe and work in teams as active, respectful learners.

Since the July 2011 ERO report, teaching staff have been involved in four areas of professional learning and development (PLD). They are: Positive Behaviour for Learning (PB4L); Accelerated Literacy Learning (ALL); Learning with Digital Technologies and writing across the school. Three of these have been externally led projects supported by lead teachers from within the school.

2 Learning

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

A wide range of achievement information is collected and well used to identify students at risk of not achieving in relation to National Standards. Teachers are expected to provide targeted support, adapt teaching programmes and accelerate the progress of these learners.

Clearly documented processes guide assessment and moderation, to improve the dependability of overall teacher judgements about student achievement.

Schoolwide data is regularly collated and individual student progress and achievement is well monitored by teachers and syndicate leaders.

The board receives summary reports about schoolwide National Standard achievement three times a year and progress towards strategic targets twice a year.

In November 2014, 80% of all students were at National Standard for reading and mathematics. Writing remains an area of focus, with fewer students at expected level, especially in Years 2 and 3.

Appropriate targets are set based on end of year data. In 2014, 29% of students in the writing target group accelerated their progress and moved from below the National Standard to be at Standard.

Trustees and leaders recognise that for Māori learners, the curriculum is not yet as successful as for students overall. Small numbers of Pacific learners are enrolled. They are well known and their achievement is monitored as individuals and as a group.

Students with special needs are well identified. A range of programmes are in place to support their progress. They are individually monitored.

The school is well placed to examine schoolwide data over time and consider trends and patterns for groups of students as they move through from Year 1 to Year 6. Leaders have compared data for students who have been at the school for some time to that for students who have more recently arrived.

3 Curriculum

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

The curriculum successfully promotes and supports learning for many students.

Teaching and learning in literacy and mathematics predominates. Literacy is linked to topics of student inquiry. A focus on the provision of meaningful, authentic tasks is fostering improved engagement and achievement, especially for boys.

Expanding the range of curriculum experiences through Friday clubs and discovery time has been a focus since the previous ERO review. Meaningful partnership with parents and whānau is fostered. There are opportunities for parents and community to contribute to the curriculum and for students to make choices in their learning.

There are some opportunities within the curriculum for all students to experience and improve their knowledge of te reo me ngā tikanga Māori. Some units of work focus on marae protocols or events such as Matariki. External expertise is used to promote te reo Māori learning. Senior leaders identify that the next step is to create more opportunities within current learning areas that allow Māori students to engage with their language, identity and culture.

Involvement in a schoolwide programme to support positive behaviour has provided a consistent approach to how students and adults relate to each other. Implementation is systematic, well monitored and considers sustainability. Clear guidelines and a system of rewards help support new staff and students to understand the school’s expectations. As a result, a positive culture, improved teaching strategies and deliberate teaching of ways to interact with others are becoming a feature of the curriculum.

There are models of good practice in teaching writing. Senior leaders recognise the need for consistently high quality teaching for all students. The school has embarked on PLD in writing and is updating curriculum guidelines and teacher practice. The planned approach uses sequenced, internally-led PLD, linked to current research about what is effective writing practice. This initiative expands on previous PLD. The intention is to transfer and sustain the positive outcomes for students from the targeted ALL intervention. ERO’s external review supports this as a key next step towards increasing rates of progress in writing.

There are a number of strategies used by some teachers to involve students fully in decisions about their learning. The ‘active learner’ aspect of 'STAR' is one which provides further opportunity to explore and build on student agency and engagement. Senior leaders have prioritised this development and ERO’s evaluation supports this.

The wellbeing survey undertaken with Years 5 and 6 at the end of 2014 was analysed. Some findings have been reported to trustees, discussed and responded to through curriculum and student leadership planning. The school is in the process of deeper analysis, consideration and response to the data.

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

Many Māori students experience curriculum success. The tuakana teina reading programme purposefully fosters relationships and senior students’ leadership and mentoring of younger students.

Senior leaders and the board recognise the need to have a more strategic approach to improving success for Māori as Māori. Some initial work, begun on consultation and partnership, was halted due to more immediate needs within the school. Trustees and senior leaders are planning to resume the focus on Māori success in a manageable way.

More rigorously evaluating school provision for Māori students, in light of Ka Hikitia - Accelerating Success 2013-2017 – the Māori Education Strategy, and Tātaiako: Cultural Competencies for Teachers of Māori Learners, is an important first step. This should help decide key priorities for charter, curriculum and teacher development and how they can be aligned with schoolwide initiatives.

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.

Senior leaders approach to building capability and sustainability is well managed. The pace of change, number of initiatives and current research about best educational practice are all key factors that contribute to decision making. Leaders reflect on new initiatives as they are put into practice. They adapt and act promptly to improve implementation and impact.

Self review is established practice at all levels. Useful written guidelines support the process. The next step is to ensure that documented self review includes a greater level of evaluative inquiry in line with these guidelines.

Since the previous ERO review, the appraisal process has become more robust and useful in support of teacher development. Teachers are reflecting on the effectiveness of their teaching for groups of target students through a well-structured and transparent teaching as inquiry process. This is linked to appraisal and strategic targets. Teachers participate in useful learning conversations with senior leaders where their teaching practice is examined and challenged. These conversations are providing senior leaders with a very clear understanding of staff capability and professional knowledge.

Senior leaders are refining the teaching as inquiry approach through:

  • earlier observations of teacher practice and more frequent learning conversations
  • supporting teachers to delve more deeply into data about student achievement to identify individual’s learning needs and explicitly match teaching actions to needs.

ERO’s review affirms these as appropriate development steps.

The school is developing partnerships with parents to support student learning. There are some opportunities for parents to discuss the aspirations they have for their children and to share their knowledge about the child’s strengths and abilities and the strategies that might support their further learning. These meetings have been primarily focused on students identified as needing more support. Senior leaders recognise the benefits and positive outcomes for students in such partnerships and intend to continue and expand this work.

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

A positive school climate is reinforced by clear expectations for ‘STAR’ values – for students to be safe and work in teams as active, respectful learners. Senior leaders are building teaching capability to raise student achievement in writing, through the continued development of a reflective, collaborative and inquiring culture.

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

Joyce Gebbie

Deputy Chief Review Officer Central

19 June 2015

About the School

Location

Upper Hutt

Ministry of Education profile number

2943

School type

Contributing (Years 1 to 6)

School roll

260

Gender composition

Male 51%

Female 49%

Ethnic composition

Māori

Pākehā

Pacific

Asian

Other ethnic groups

33%

61%

1%

3%

2%

Review team on site

April 2015

Date of this report

19 June 2015

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

July 2011

December 2007

April 2005