Elmwood Normal School

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Education institution number:
3334
School type:
Contributing
School gender:
Co-Educational
Definition:
Normal School
Total roll:
516
Telephone:
Address:

Aikmans Road, Merivale, Christchurch

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1 Context

Elmwood Normal School is a large contributing school that has a long, close affiliation with teacher training providers. The school's community is highly interested in and supportive of children's learning and achievement. Teachers and senior leaders work closely with local early learning services and schools in local and national clusters.

There have been some changes in the board. A new deputy principal was appointed in 2016.

2 Equity and excellence

The vision and valued outcomes defined by the school for all children are to strive to be the best they can be. The vision is that children will be successful in tomorrow's world. The school's values are excellence, creativity, empathy, collaboration and independence.

The school’s achievement information shows that Māori children are achieving well, particularly in reading and mathematics. The high rates of achievement in reading, mathematics and writing have continued over time. Writing has been identified as an area for ongoing improvement.

Teachers focus on accelerating children's progress towards and beyond the National Standard and use a range of ways to assess children's learning. They regularly share the strategies that have proven most effective in supporting children's engagement and progress in learning. Teachers have robust processes for moderating their judgements across the school and cluster.

Since the 2013 ERO review, the school has developed the school-based curriculum. This has included redefining the vision and values. Greater emphasis has been given to the use of digital technologies within learning programmes and increased access to digital devices.

3 Accelerating achievement

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

The school is highly responsive to Māori children whose learning and achievement need acceleration. Teachers know Māori children very well as individuals. They have regular and meaningful communication with children's whānau about their learning and wellbeing.

Teachers have high expectations for children's learning and progress. They make very good use of achievement information to plan for the learning needs, interests and strengths of individual children. They use a wide range of highly effective teaching practices to assist the accelerated progress of children most at risk of not achieving. Teachers regularly reflect on their teaching practices and consider ways they can adapt their programmes to best support children with their learning.

Children identified as needing additional help are provided with well-organised, targeted learning support programmes. Highly experienced teacher aides participate in regular and appropriate training to enable them to assist children's learning needs. The board are given detailed information about the progress of each intervention.

The focus and increased use of digital technology is having a positive impact on the ways children learn. Children regularly use technology meaningfully to encourage and engage in learning and to receive regular and purposeful feedback. They are also able to easily share learning with their whānau.

Māori children have many opportunities to use and hear te reo Māori and learn about Māori culture. The school employs a Māori tutor with expertise to work with groups of children. The school is currently considering how to ensure bicultural aspects are visible and integrated across learning programmes.

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

The school responds very effectively to other children whose learning and achievement need acceleration. They use the same thorough systems and practices outlined above for identifying and monitoring learning, progress and achievement for all children.

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?

The school's curriculum very effectively supports the school's processes and practices in enacting the vision, values and goals for equity and excellence. The school's values are well known by the children, who are clearly able to articulate what they mean to them.

Children are highly engaged in learning. They have many opportunities to extend their abilities and interests. Teachers provide a wide range of fun learning experiences that encourage children's engagement in learning. Parents are well informed about their children's learning. They are provided with useful information that enables them to contribute to and support class and individual programmes.

The school provides a supportive environment. Teachers, children and parents share positive relationships. There are many opportunities to regularly communicate about children's learning and wellbeing. Children's transitions into, within and beyond the school are well managed and responsive to individual needs.

Teachers participate in well-targeted, relevant professional development. They work closely together and regularly reflect on how they can improve outcomes for children. Senior teachers provide teachers with helpful feedback about their teaching practices.

Senior leaders provide effective leadership. They ensure a culture of shared decision-making. Good use is made of individual teacher's strengths and abilities. The board is presented with regular, useful information to inform decision-making.

Senior leaders and teachers have developed a useful framework and process for internal evaluation that strongly focuses on priority learners. They place a significant emphasis on ongoing improvement. The principal has identified that this process could be further strengthened by ensuring that reviews are more evaluative.

Trustees bring a useful range of experience and expertise to their governance role. They have a good understanding of their responsibilities. The board has thorough systems in place to monitor school operations. The school's community is kept well informed.

Senior leaders and teachers have identified, and ERO agrees, that the next step for the school is to continue to develop the school's curriculum. The board and senior leaders should also give greater emphasis to regular reporting against the school's strategic goals.

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.

Senior leaders and teachers make very good use of achievement information. They are highly reflective about children's learning and what programmes and resources will best support these. Senior leaders could now consider increased reporting of learning and achievement across all learning areas. The board is kept very well informed and considers the reported information in their resourcing to meet the needs of children and staff.

ERO is likely to carry out the next review in four-to-five 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

For the school to continue to improve its performance, ERO recommends that the senior leaders and teachers:

  • continue to develop the school's curriculum
  • extend internal evaluation practices to ensure they are evaluative and cover all areas of the curriculum. 

Dr Lesley Patterson

Deputy Chief Review Officer Te Waipounamu/Southern

29 November 2016

About the school

Location

Christchurch

Ministry of Education profile number

3334

School type

Contributing (Years 1 to 6)

School roll

532

Number of international students

0

Gender composition

Boys 47%; Girls 53%

Ethnic composition

Māori

Pākehā

Asian

Pacific

Other ethnicities

7%

79%

11%

1%

2%

Review team on site

October 2016

Date of this report

29 November 2016

Most recent ERO reports

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

October 2013

August 2010

September 2007

 

1 Context

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

Elmwood Normal School provides students with a positive learning environment. The active promotion of the school’s vision and motto creates a place where students display a strong sense of belonging, are well supported in their learning and encouraged to strive to be the best they can.

The board is responding positively to the challenges of the Canterbury earthquakes. The appointment of a new principal in 2012 is supporting the board and teachers to continue to improve the overall quality of teaching and learning for students. Students increasingly come from a wide variety of backgrounds and cultures. The way leaders and teachers acknowledge, respond to and celebrate students’ differences promotes an inclusive school culture.

Since the school’s 2010 ERO review, students have benefited from improvements to:

  • planning for the diverse needs of students
  • improved reporting to the board and strategic action planning
  • the integration of bicultural perspectives into the curriculum.

The board, principal and staff actively promote and encourage the involvement of parents and community in the life of the school. The parents' association group contributes greatly to the broad range of educational experiences and resources that effectively support positive outcomes for students.

2 Learning

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

Leaders and teachers use robust systems for monitoring, tracking and supporting student learning, especially in literacy and mathematics. Teachers gather useful information from a range of assessments. They work collaboratively to make sure they are consistent in their decisions about each student’s learning.

Achievement information shows that most students achieve at or above National Standards in reading, mathematics and writing. It also highlights groups of students who need to accelerate their progress to meet National Standards levels. Leaders, teachers and trustees work together to set suitable achievement goals for these students. Teachers are encouraged to monitor the progress of those students in their classes who need extra support with their learning.

School-wide information is well analysed by the deputy principal and reported to the board. Trustees are able to use this information to track students’ progress against National Standards and to make appropriate resourcing decisions to support students who are not meeting them. The school is now well positioned to track the progress that students make over the course of their time at the school.

Specialist teachers and teacher aides teach students in withdrawal programmes and provide in-class support. Students who do not meet National Standards are well supported through the comprehensive learning support programme that aims to accelerate their progress. Students with special abilities are given a range of additional learning opportunities.

Parents are well informed about their children’s learning and progress though learning conferences that include the teacher, the students and parent; and well written reports.

Area for reviw and development

Leaders and teachers have identified the need to extend assessment practices so they can fully evaluate all the skills and abilities needed by self-directed learners across all areas of the curriculum.

3 Curriculum

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

The school’s curriculum gives students a wide variety of opportunities to engage in and extend their learning. Students’ learning is well supported by consistently good quality teaching across the school. Teachers develop supportive and affirmative relationships with students. They manage class programmes effectively to meet the range of learning needs. Students are helped to understand the purpose for learning. Teachers provide feedback to students about their learning successes and next learning steps.

Teachers focus on helping students to become self-directed learners. They quickly identify learning needs and appropriate teaching strategies that will best support successful learning. Teachers regularly monitor students’ progress and the quality of their teaching. This enables them to make changes and improvements to their teaching and class programmes.

Strengths of the curriculum include:

  • the way values and key competencies are well embedded in class programmes
  • the strong focus on literacy and mathematics
  • individual and group achievements in music that reflect a well developed music programme
  • a range of opportunities for students to participate in the performing arts and sport
  • many opportunities for senior students to learn about leadership.

The curriculum is being improved so it better reflects a bicultural approach to learning and teaching. Teachers meet each week to improve their confidence with te reo and tikanga Māori, and to identify how they can better embed these practices in class programmes.

There is good use of information and communication technologies as learning and teaching tools in class programmes.

Parents have many opportunities to be directly involved with their children’s learning and to participate in school activities. They are offered forum sessions that help them to understand the school’s curriculum and how it can support and improve students’ learning.

Areas for review and development

Leaders and teachers have identified the need to further develop the school’s curriculum. Work has begun on improving students’ abilities to manage and monitor their own learning. The next steps to support this initiative include:

  • developing a school-wide approach for extending students’ thinking and inquiry skills
  • identifying how these skills will be embedded at each level across the curriculum
  • teaching students how to become self-directed, independent learners
  • developing plans and guidelines for each curriculum review that will give consistency across all curriculum areas
  • ensuring improvements identified from review will be implemented and their effectiveness monitored.

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

The board and staff show strong commitment to supporting Māori students to achieve as Māori. A development plan is being used to improve communication with parents and whānau, and to support teachers to more directly and capably support Māori students. A review of the development plan will help the school to evaluate the effectiveness of their initiatives.

4 Sustainable Performance

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

The school is well placed to manage the changes planned for curriculum, assessment practices, and self review, and to improve its performance.

The principal effectively leads the senior management team. It includes members who are very capable in leading and managing their school-wide responsibilities. The deputy principal is working collaboratively with teachers to efficiently monitor students’ progress and achievement. Team and curriculum leaders are well involved in school-wide curriculum development and in decision making. There are good opportunities for teachers to take responsibilities and to grow their leadership.

Teachers are supported to teach the school’s curriculum through a well-planned professional learning programme. Leaders and teachers have established clear guidelines for planning, assessment, and the self review and improvement of teaching. Teachers work collaboratively to change and improve their teaching approaches and to make sure students experience consistently good quality teaching across the school. Recent changes to teachers’ appraisal processes are providing them with more feedback and support to achieve these outcomes.

School self review is supported by well analysed school-wide achievement information. The outcomes of review are used by the board and leaders to manage and resource learning and teaching. Teachers are supported to be reflective and evaluative in their practices.

Trustees are implementing sound governance processes. Their knowledge and experience is contributing to decision making that supports students’ learning and wellbeing. The school’s charter gives clear direction for implementing the school’s vision and annual planning is manageable. Trustees work collaboratively with leaders and staff to achieve their vision.

Provision for international students

The school is a signatory to the Code of Practice for the Pastoral Care of International Students (the Code) established under Section 238F of the Education Act 1989. No international students were enrolled at the time of this ERO review.

The principal has met the annual review requirements and this has been acknowledged formally by the Ministry of Education.

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.

Graham Randell

National Manager Review Services Southern Region

3 October 2013

About the School

Location

Merivale, Christchurch

Ministry of Education profile number

3334

School type

Contributing (Years 1 to 6)

School roll

522

Number of international students

Four (short term)

Gender composition

Girls 53%; Boys 47%

Ethnic composition

NZ European/Pākehā

Māori

Samoan

Asian

Australian

European

82%

5%

1%

7%

2%

3%

Review team on site

August 2013

Date of this report

3 October 2013

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

August 2010

September 2007

October 2004