Cobden School

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Education institution number:
3322
School type:
Full Primary
School gender:
Co-Educational
Definition:
Not Applicable
Total roll:
83
Telephone:
Address:

Fox Street, Cobden, Greymouth

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School Context

Cobden School is a full primary school situated in Greymouth on the West Coast. It has a roll of 120, about a quarter of whom identify as Māori. A recent development is a more transient population of up to 20% of the students. The school has a strong connection with its community, and is about to celebrate its 150 years’ anniversary.

The school’s vision is for high achieving, confident, engaged and caring thinkers. The foundation for achieving this vision is the ten point Graduate Profile which incorporates the school’s values of caring, communication and cooperation. The vision is also supported by a wellbeing programme which is in the early stages of implementation.

The board comprises several recently appointed trustees. The board’s key strategic target for 2018 is to improve progress and achievement in writing, especially for boys.

The school is involved in the global New Pedagogies for Deeper Learning initiative, with support through Core Education.

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

  • progress and outcomes in relation to key initiatives such as PB4L

  • progress and achievement for children whose learning and/or wellbeing is at risk

  • progress and achievement for Māori children.

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 uses a wide range of strategies and interventions well to support improving outcomes for equity and excellence.

School information over the last four years shows that:

  • the majority of students achieved at or above expected levels in reading

  • the majority of students achieved at or above expected levels in mathematics

  • achievements in writing fluctuated across all groups.

Leaders and teachers effectively promote excellence in outcomes for all children which they recognise in many ways. Reported improvements in student attendance and learning behaviour are having a positive effect on learning and wellbeing outcomes.

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

The school has strong systems in place to respond well to those students whose learning needs acceleration.

School information over the last two years shows that:

  • the school is effective in accelerating learning for the majority of target group of Māori students in writing

  • the school is effective in significantly accelerating learning for a target group of boys in writing

  • the school has yet to significantly reduce the number of students whose progress is well below expected levels.

Maōri students are successfully identified, tracked and reported on as a priority group. Other priority groups receive targeted support.

Children with additional learning needs are well supported to make progress.

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?

The school effectively prioritises the achievement of equity and excellence, and acceleration of learning. Capable, future-focused leaders and trustees, adaptive and innovative teaching and learning programmes, and a responsive local and global curriculum all support children’s learning and progress. Children feel valued and safe and are involved in decisions about their own learning and the direction of the school.

School leaders have a clear vision for enhancing learning and wellbeing for all children. They vigorously pursue the school’s vision and values by promoting the schoolwide Graduate Profile and wellbeing initiatives. There is regular, effective consultation and communication with the wider community. Collaborative practices and decision making ensure that a culture of ongoing, continuous reflection and evaluation are embedded as part of the school’s cycle of change. Decisions are informed by careful research and an understanding of the available data. A clear focus on identified strategic targets and groups of students has resulted in accelerated progress for targeted learners in the last year. Resourcing priorities are equitable and based on children’s identified needs.

Teaching and learning programmes reflect the commitment of teachers and leaders to the learning, wellbeing and other needs of children. Teachers have an unrelenting collective focus on positive outcomes for children as individuals. Leaders support teachers and teacher aides with comprehensive, targeted opportunities to develop professional learning. Teachers positively embrace teaching as inquiry and appraisal processes to improve their capability, and to undertake leadership of key school initiatives. Teachers are creative, innovative and improvement focused in order to bring about positive outcomes for children. They have a holistic vision of what progress and achievement for children looks like.

The school’s curriculum is focused, broad and student centred. It is based on students’ interests, needs, skills and goals. There is a strong emphasis on children managing their own learning and decision making. This includes personalised learning opportunities within an organised overall learning programme. The Graduate Profile’s processes enable children to access these learning opportunities and skills. It contributes to a positive school culture and is the means for recognising and celebrating student success. Aligned global and local curriculum initiatives support teachers to meet the wellbeing and other needs of children as 21st century learners. To support children’s readiness to learn, the school is in the process of implementing a well-considered, community supported and student-led wellbeing programme.

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

School leaders and ERO agree that the school’s highly useful Graduate Profile for learners is yet to be fully embedded. The planned and evident alignment of other school priorities and programmes to the Graduate Profile is likely to assist this process. Two of these other priorities, the New Pedagogies for Deeper Learning initiative and the schoolwide wellbeing programme, also need to be further embedded and evaluated as part of the school’s continuous reflection for improvement.

The school is committed to the principles of biculturalism, but needs to continue developing understandings and practices to reflect this. Current teacher commitments to learning reo Māori and re-establishing the school’s kapa haka group need to be supported by schoolwide practices which reflect and recognise ngā tikanga Māori and te ao Māori in the day-to-day life of the school.

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:

  • leadership which has a vision for enhancing learning and wellbeing for all children

  • teaching and learning programmes and priorities that are adaptive, innovative and focused on positive outcomes for children

  • curriculum design and delivery that are student-centred, authentic and based on students’ interests, needs and goals.

Next steps

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

  • embedding the Graduate Profile and evaluating its effectiveness

  • embedding the New Pedagogies for Deeper Learning global initiative and evaluating its effectiveness

  • implementing, embedding and evaluating the schoolwide wellbeing programme

  • improving understandings, skills and practices to reflect a commitment to the bicultural nature of Aotearoa New Zealand.

ERO’s next external evaluation process and timing

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

Dr Lesley Patterson

Deputy Chief Review Officer

Te Waipounamu - Southern Region

27 July 2018

About the school

Location

Greymouth

Ministry of Education profile number

3322

School type

Full Primary

School roll

120

Gender composition

Girls: 55%

Boys: 45%

Ethnic composition

Māori 24%

Pākehā 65%

Pacific 5%

Other ethnicities 6%

Students with Ongoing Resourcing Funding (ORS)

Yes

Review team on site

June 2018

Date of this report

27 July 2018

Most recent ERO reports

Education Review: May 2015

Education Review: December 2011

Supplementary Review: September 2008

Education Review: October 2007

Findings

Students, their families and school staff share respectful and inclusive relationships. Students’ learning and wellbeing is given high priority through communication with families and support agencies.

Students are well supported to know about and take responsibility for their learning. Leaders now need to continue to review aspects of the curriculum and school’s annual planning.

The school is well led and managed.

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?

The key feature of the school is the positive, respectful and inclusive culture. The school’s values (3Cs) and vision are integral to all aspects of the school’s beliefs and practices. New students and visitors are warmly welcomed to the school.

Students and their families are provided with strong pastoral care. Students’ wellbeing is given high priority and well supported by a range of external agencies. Teachers and senior leaders use a number of successful ways to engage with parents and whānau.

The school roll changes significantly throughout the year with families moving into, and out of the area. Senior leaders and teachers work closely with these families and students to build trusting relationships and open communication.

The school is well resourced, including a heated swimming pool and community library. Many of the school’s facilities are used by local groups. Students have opportunities to participate in the afterschool music programme provided at the school.

2 Learning

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

The school fosters a positive learning culture. The board, senior leaders and teachers make very good use of student achievement information to inform decision making and support student learning and engagement.

Students who have been at the school for extended periods of time make very good progress in reading, writing and mathematics. However, the large number of transient students enrolling with significant learning needs, impact on the school’s overall achievement rates.

Teachers know students and their families well. Students most at risk of not achieving are closely monitored and provided with carefully considered learning programmes. Teachers and students are well supported by experienced and competent teacher aides, who are actively involved in all aspects of the school.

Students’ transitions into and beyond the school are well supported, particularly for those students with specific learning needs.

Students know about their strengths and next learning steps. They are encouraged to take responsibility for, and make decisions about their own learning. Teachers, parents and students regularly set and review learning goals based on individual needs.

Senior students know about their achievement in relation to National Standards. Parents also receive useful information about how well their child is progressing and achieving. However, teachers should ensure that they include all aspects of achievement in mathematics in students’ reports.

Senior students have meaningful leadership opportunities. They work well with others and are encouraged to support younger students. Teachers foster a culture of ako (everyone is a learner).

Senior leaders have identified, and ERO agrees, that the next step is to develop a ‘graduate profile’. This will enable teachers to continue to build and extend consistency of student ownership of their learning across the school.

3 Curriculum

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

The school’s curriculum is highly effective in promoting a positive learning environment. Students and their families’ views are well considered in the school’s curriculum.

Students are provided with many interesting learning opportunities to broaden their knowledge of the wider community. Teachers plan meaningful learning experiences that focus on the local history and environment. They provide differentiated programmes to meet individual and group needs.

Senior leaders have high expectations for quality teaching and learning. They provide teachers with thorough and useful guidelines to support their teaching programmes.

Students learn in attractive, calm environments. They have access to a wide range of resources to support their learning. Technologies are integrated naturally throughout learning programmes.

Teachers participate in a wide variety of regular and targeted professional learning and development. This is having a positive impact on extending teaching practices, leading to greater consistency across the school.

Senior leaders have agreed that their next steps are:

  • using the current planning framework to develop a process for reviewing all learning areas of the curriculum over time
  • regularly reporting the outcomes of learning and achievement from curriculum reviews to the board, as part of the school’s self-review cycle.

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

Māori students achieve at similar rates to their peers. Students with identified needs are closely monitored.

The senior leaders have introduced a number of initiatives to engage and consult with Māori whānau. They make good use of expertise within the local community.

Staff expertise is acknowledged and their skills and interests are well utilised. All students have opportunities to learn about Māori language and culture and to be involved in the school’s successful Kapa Haka.

Senior leaders and teachers are continuing to extend their knowledge and confidence in using te reo Māori.

4 Sustainable Performance

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

The experienced senior leadership team work well together and provide strong leadership across the school. They have high expectations for students and staff and promote a positive learning environment.

Senior leaders encourage teachers to use their personal strengths and make use of the many opportunities to take leadership roles.

The teachers’ in-depth appraisal process is thorough and focused on improving teaching practices and outcomes for students. Teachers set meaningful goals, regularly reflect on their teaching and best practice research. They are provided with useful feedback from senior leaders.

The board is highly supportive of the school and works well with the principal. Trustees are focused on the best ways to support teachers to raise student achievement. They use their individual expertise and skills appropriately.

The board and senior leaders have a robust process for self-review. They regularly seek the views of the school community and staff. Self-review leads to useful and practical outcomes and improvements.

The principal keeps the board well informed and provides regular assurances that legal requirements are being met.

The senior leaders and board have identified, and ERO agrees, that the school’s charter and strategic direction need to be further refined. This includes:

  • developing closer links between the annual and strategic plan
  • ensuring strategic goals are progressive from year to year
  • making student achievement targets more specific.

The board could benefit from additional training to help strengthen some governance practices.

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, their families and school staff share respectful and inclusive relationships. Students’ learning and wellbeing is given high priority through communication with families and support agencies.

Students are well supported to know about and take responsibility for their learning. Leaders now need to continue to review aspects of the curriculum and school’s annual planning.

The school is well led and managed.

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

Graham Randell

Deputy Chief Review Officer Southern

29 May 2015

About the School

Location

Greymouth

Ministry of Education profile number

3322

School type

Full Primary (Years 1 to 8)

School roll

153

Gender composition

Boys 54%;

Girls 46%

Ethnic composition

Pākehā

Māori

Pacific

Asian

75%

19%

5%

1%

Special Features

Lead School for RTLB Cluster

Review team on site

March 2014

Date of this report

29 May 2015

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Supplementary Review

Education Review

December 2011

September 2008

October 2007