Middleton Grange School

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Education Review Report Middleton Grange School

The purpose of ERO’s reviews is to give parents and the wider school community assurance about the quality of education that schools provide and their children receive. An ERO school report answers the question “How effectively is this school’s curriculum promoting student learning - engagement, progress and achievement?” Under that overarching question ERO reports on the quality of education and learning outcomes for children and for specific groups of children including Māori students, Pacific students and students with special needs. ERO also reports on the quality of the school’s systems for sustaining and continuing improvements. The report answers four key questions about the school.

1. Context

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

Middleton Grange School is a non-denominational Christian school that provides education for students from Years 1 to 13. The school’s principles positively underpin everything that happens within the school. The special character is clearly defined by positive relationships and high expectations for students’ achievement. Central to everything is service to others. This includes international mission work.

The school provides an inclusive and welcoming environment. Close and proactive partnerships are fostered with parents and the wider community.

The school is organised into four schools. A primary school for students in Years 1 to 6, a middle school for students in Years 7 to 10 and a senior college for students in Years 11 to 13. There is also an international college.

The board and staff have responded positively to the 2012 ERO recommendations. A new system to manage student information has been introduced, transitions into and through the school have been strengthened. School evaluation practices have been extended. There have been some changes in leadership but staff are mostly long serving.

2. Learning

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

The school makes very good use of student achievement information to positively support high quality learning and teaching. Student engagement is given a high priority across all areas of the school. This has led to continual improvements in the quality of teaching.

National Certificates of Educational Achievement (NCEA) information shows that students’ achievement has been steadily increasing over time. Students achieve well at all levels of NCEA and University Entrance (UE) and achieve higher than national and regional levels. Teachers have introduced deliberate strategies to promote the learning of individuals. These include additional tutoring, regular online learning, feedback and support. The school is now focused on increasing the number or endorsements awarded and closing the gender gap.

Students in Years 1 to 8 achieve highly in relation to National Standards in mathematics, writing and particularly well in reading. Achievement information for students in Years 9 and 10 shows that they continue to make good progress and are supported in preparation for further learning.

The school has comprehensive systems for identifying, monitoring and improving outcomes for all students. Teachers effectively use achievement information to scrutinize individual learning and progress and provide specifically targeted support for individuals. They use a wide range of differentiated approaches, programmes and resources. Students at risk of not achieving are closely monitored.

Teachers’ high expectations for all students are appropriate and realistic. They work collaboratively and regularly share best practice ideas to support student learning. Teachers and students regularly reflect on learning and progress.

3. Curriculum

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

The school’s curriculum is highly effective in promoting positive learning outcomes for all students. It is clearly underpinned by the school’s special character and the New Zealand Curriculum. There is a strong culture of service within and beyond the school.

Students are provided with a variety of meaningful and authentic learning experiences. Teachers are increasing the use of technologies within their programmes and students have growing opportunities to access online learning.

Curriculum and learning teams are well led. Leaders are highly supportive of their teaching teams and are effectively supported by senior leaders. The board is provided with detailed and useful reports about individual curriculum areas. These reports clearly identify strengths and areas for development.

Teachers have a shared responsibility for students’ learning and wellbeing. Students are well supported by the strong pastoral care systems that operate across the school. Teachers know students and their families well. They actively foster close partnerships with parents and whānau.

The school provides a comprehensive careers and guidance programme that focuses on individual students and is easily accessible for students and their parents. Students are well prepared for future pathways.

The school’s curriculum has become increasingly culturally responsive. Students have opportunities to learn about and celebrate the school’s diverse cultures.

Students learn in well-organised and attractive learning spaces. They have access to high quality facilities that support and extend their learning and engagement.

School leaders have identified that their key priority is to complete the update of the primary school curriculum. They should also consider making outcomes for students more explicit within the curriculum strategic goal.

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

Māori students are very well supported to succeed successfully as Māori.

Māori students in the senior school achieve well in national assessments in comparison to the national and regional levels of NCEA and UE. Students in Years 1 to 8 achieve well in relation to National Standards.

Māori students have many opportunities to participate in cultural activities, including national competitions.

Senior student leadership positions have been developed to enable students to have greater ownership and input into school practices.

Māori whānau are actively involved in the school and are well informed about their child’s progress. They regularly provide useful feedback and direction to the school for future developments for learning.

The senior leaders and teachers have continued to build cultural capacity within the school. They have supported the increased use of te reo and tikanga Māori across the junior and middle schools. All students confidently participate in bicultural practices such as welcoming visitors to the school.

The senior leaders have identified that continuing to build teachers’ confidence and use of bicultural practices is an area for ongoing development.

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

Pacific students are very well supported to succeed successfully as Pacific.

Pacific students in the senior school achieve well in national assessments in comparison to the national and regional levels of NCEA and UE. Students in Years 1 to 8 achieve well in relation to National Standards, although levels in writing are slightly lower than their peers.

The school has broadened the opportunities Pacific students have to achieve within their own languages and cultures. Pacific students have increasing options within the curriculum, particularly at NCEA. The school has also extended the provision for Pacific students to participate in Pacific cultural festivals and competitions.

Many students experience Pacific culture through the annual mission and service trips the school undertakes to some of the Pacific Islands.

The school provides very good internal support for Pacific students and their whānau. There are many opportunities for parents to provide feedback about the school’s practices and performance. They are also well informed about Pacific student achievement and progress.

4. Sustainable Performance

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

The school is very well placed to sustain and improve its performance.

The board and senior leaders’ high expectations and ongoing focus on student achievement and engagement contributes to the sustained performance of the school. Trustee and staff practices and procedures are closely aligned to the school’s special character and modelled throughout the school.

The highly skilled board are actively involved in decision making, leading to improved outcomes for students. They scrutinize and question the information that is regularly provided to them.

The school is very well led. Senior leaders have very clear roles and responsibilities. They work closely together and model good practice. They make good use of evaluation to improve school, teacher and student performance. Senior leaders are building leadership capabilities across the school and make good use of individual teacher’s strengths.

Teachers are provided with innovative and meaningful professional learning programmes that are helping to raise consistency of teaching across the school. They have a deliberate focus on raising the engagement, participation, progress and achievement of Māori and Pacific students.

Senior leaders and teachers regularly seek the views and opinions of students and parents. They are receptive to feedback and make changes to their practice to better meet the identified needs of individual and groups of students.

The board and senior leaders are highly responsive and proactive in addressing evaluation findings and recommendations. For example during the on-site stage of the ERO review, the principal and senior leaders strengthened the senior school target to make it more specific.

The board and senior leaders have a clear focus on the school’s strategic direction. They effectively plan for and monitor progress towards meeting the identified priorities for improvement and future direction setting. School goals are very well embedded and aligned throughout all aspects of the school. The principal provides the board with detailed, quality information that shows progress towards meeting the goals.

Senior leaders have useful partnerships with other schools to support raising achievement and performance. The principal is regularly appraised by staff from similar Christian schools. This provides critical feedback on the school’s performance, with a particular focus on how well the school’s special character is embedded.

The senior leaders have identified, and ERO agrees that the school’s appraisal process needs to be strengthened. They also agree that they need to ensure that the strategic goals explicitly identify how students will become confident in their own identity, language and culture.

The board has comprehensive systems for ensuring student wellbeing and safety. This includes formally including student representation in decision making. The board should consider regularly evaluating its own effectiveness to assure themselves that they are meeting their governance roles and responsibilities.

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. The school has attested that it complies with all aspects of the Code.

At the time of this review, there were 106 international students attending the school.

The school has a designated International College to provide high quality, meaningful and appropriate programmes for international students. The specialist college staff are experienced and have very clear roles and responsibilities. They support teachers within the school and provide useful information about cultural diversity.

The International College has very good systems for monitoring student learning, safety and wellbeing. Staff regularly review these systems and programmes to ensure their effectiveness. The board are kept well informed about the results of these reviews.

Students experience a caring, inclusive and supportive culture. They have opportunities to share their cultures. They benefit from regular and planned opportunities to interact with the school’s student international ambassadors.

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

Middleton Grange’s non-denominational Christian special character is highly evident throughout all aspects of the school. There is a strong focus on individual engagement, learning and wellbeing. Students achieve highly in comparison to national and regional levels. The school is well led and managed. The board and leaders are highly collaborative and responsive to evaluation findings. Good systems ensure a safe and inclusive environment.

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

 

Chris Rowe

Deputy Chief Review Officer Southern (Acting)

15 September 2015

About the School

Location

Christchurch

Ministry of Education profile number

335

School type

Composite (Years 1 to 13)

School roll

1280

Number of international students

106

Gender composition

Girls 51%; Boys 49%

Ethnic composition

NZ Pākehā/European

Asian

Māori

Pacific

Other ethnicities

65%

21%

6%

3%

5%

Special Features

Integrated Christian School

Review team on site

August 2015

Date of this report

15 September 2015

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

November 2012

May 2009

August 2005

 


1. Context

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

Middleton Grange School provides education for students from Years 1 to 13. The school comprises a primary school for Years 1 to 6 students, a middle school for Years 7 to 10 students, a senior college for Years 11 to 13, with international students supported by specialist staff. The staff and students display strong Christian principles that are well integrated in the curriculum and other aspects of school life. The current principal started at the school in Term 2, 2010.

Students benefit from positive, respectful and supportive relationships. School leaders and staff encourage an inclusive culture. Students come from diverse backgrounds and have a wide range of learning needs. There is a large international student roll, and a wide range of cultures represented across the school. International students are well integrated into mainstream programmes and school events. They are provided with effective support in developing their English language skills.

The school has significant levels of enrolments at Years 7, 9 and 11. The majority of enrolments at Year 11 come from other Christian schools. This process is well planned. Middleton Grange School also provides technology classes for students from other local Christian schools.

The board, school leaders and staff have made very good progress in response to the 2009 ERO report. This includes a strong focus on developing high quality teaching practices and strengthening assessment systems.

There have been major building developments and improvements to facilities over the last three years. This includes a new performing arts centre, a primary school hall and new digital suites in the senior school arts department.

The board and staff responded well to the earthquakes of 2010-2011. They put in place systems and processes to support students and each other. There has been minimal physical damage to school buildings and grounds. The school provided facilities for some other groups from across Christchurch who were affected following the 22 February, 2011 earthquake. There are ongoing effects for staff and families resulting from damage to their homes or businesses.

The board and school leaders are effectively managing a period of substantial school-wide change that is supporting an increase in the quality and consistency of teaching practice.

2. Learning

How well are students learning – engaging, progressing and achieving?

High levels of student interest and motivation in learning are evident across all year levels. Students benefit from positive and productive relationships, focused on students’ learning and wellbeing.

Teachers use a wide range of strategies to successfully engage students. Students know the purpose of learning and what they need to do to improve. Many students are able to talk about what and how well they are learning. Students receive specific feedback on their learning and progress. Teachers increasingly seek and respond to students’ views on the appropriateness and effectiveness of their programmes.

Learning support programmes are well organised and targeted to meet the needs of students requiring additional support with their learning. Staff plan and monitor a wide range of programmes that are adapted to suit individual needs. Specific programmes are provided for high needs students in an adjoining house owned by the school. These programmes focus on building life skills, cooking, budgeting and gardening. Students with significant learning needs are also well integrated into the life of the school.

Some useful steps are being taken to increase staff awareness of Pacific learners, such as the board’s Pacific trustee talking with staff about Pacific learners. School leaders have met with Pacific families in 2012 to identify their aspirations for teaching and learning.

Leaders and teachers are making better use of assessment information to guide their planning and to raise achievement. They monitor the achievement and progress of individual students well. Teachers have participated in professional development to extend their knowledge and use of effective assessment practices. Better school-wide data management systems are in place. National Standards are being effectively implemented in Years 1 to 8. Leaders and teachers in Years 1 to 8 are continuing to develop their assessment practices in line with the National Standards to help ensure consistency and accuracy.

Achievement reports presented to the board at the end of 2011 show that most students are meeting the National Standards. For example:

  • all students achieved at or above the National Standards in writing after one and two years at school
  • after three years at school all are achieving at or above the National Standards in reading
  • most students in Years 1 to 8 achieved at or above the National Standards in reading, writing and mathematics
  • nearly all Pacific students in Years 1 to 8 achieved at or above the National Standards in writing and mathematics.

There is some lack of continuity in assessment and reporting in the middle school. Teachers in Years 7 and 8 are reporting achievement against curriculum levels. This is not yet in place in Years 9 and 10. This makes it difficult to monitor and report on progress and achievement across these year levels.

National Certificate of Educational Achievement (NCEA) results show very good levels of achievement overall. For example:

  • the proportion of students gaining NCEA Levels 1 and 2 over the last two years is higher than similar schools
  • there were very high pass rates for NCEA Level 1 literacy and numeracy requirements
  • there has been an increased number of scholarships awarded over the last three years.

Areas for development and review

Individual student progress is very closely monitored, particularly in the primary school. Further development needs to occur in assessment and data management systems to provide reliable information to the board and school community about progress over time, as students move through the school.

Trustees, school leaders and teachers should widen the scope of annual target setting to focus on all groups of priority learners. This should include:

  • regular progress reports against the targets to the board
  • linking targets to school leaders’ and teachers’ appraisals
  • clarifying the rates of progress that students are expected to make in a year
  • closer monitoring and reporting of targets set by teachers and teams in Years 7 to 13.

Achievement reports could be analysed further to identify the factors contributing to students’ success, and what needs to be improved or sustained.

3. Curriculum

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

The school’s curriculum effectively promotes and supports students’ learning.

The curriculum is strongly responsive to the diverse interests, needs and abilities of most students. The school’s Christian character is highly evident in teaching programmes and practices. A number of innovative developments have occurred since the previous ERO review to make learning more relevant for students. These include:

  • strengthening the process for identifying and responding to the needs of students at risk of not achieving
  • significant additions to the senior school curriculum, such as a building academy, contemporary music course, and a mathematics programme for able learners
  • an increased the range of learning pathways that relate to students’ possible career or vocation preferences
  • extending the range of learning experiences within and outside the school
  • establishing some boys only classes in Years 11 and 12
  • extensive development of the curriculum in Years 1 to 6
  • offering an international English language testing system (IELTS) for international students.

Targeted professional learning and development is improving teachers’ knowledge and use of effective practices. Greater use of good to high-quality teaching practices is apparent since the previous ERO review. This includes a wider range of effective teaching strategies and increased use of student-centred learning approaches.

Areas for development and review

The senior leaders and teachers should continue to extend and develop the school’s curriculum and use of effective teaching practices, so that all students experience greater continuity of learning as they progress through the school.

This could include clarifying what knowledge and skills students should have at key points in their learning, and how this will be assessed and reported.

School leaders and teachers need to further consider the provisions for:

  • careers education in Years 7 and 8
  • students with special abilities
  • transitions for students at key points, into and through the school.

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

The board and staff have taken positive steps to increase the prominence of Māori language, identity and culture across the school. These include:

  • establishing a whare and whare kai
  • appointing a teacher of te reo Māori for Years 7 to 13 students, and a tutor for kapa haka
  • the involvement of an external adviser to help raise the achievement of Māori students
  • regular whānau hui.
  • The school’s values, culture and relationships provide a strong link to concepts in tikanga Māori, including:
  • ako: recognising everyone as a learner and teacher
  • manaakitanga: care; respect and hospitality
  • tuakana-teina: younger and older students learning from each other.

These links could be made more explicit in school-wide documents.

Most Māori students in Years 1 to 8 achieve at or above National Standards in reading, writing and mathematics. In 2011, three quarters or more of Māori students achieved NCEA or higher endorsements in Years 11 to 13. All Māori students achieved the NCEA Literacy and Numeracy requirements at Levels 1 and 2.

A number of Māori students achieved significant academic success in the senior secondary school in 2011. School leaders and teachers are establishing roles for Māori student leaders in 2012.

In 2011, Māori students achieved at the same or higher than all students in similar schools nationally in NCEA. There are still some gains to be made between Māori students and their non-Māori peers within the school for NCEA.

Areas for development and review

Teachers gather information regularly to identify how well individual Māori students are achieving. Extending the analysis of Māori student achievement to evaluate their success as a whole would inform the board and school leaders better about how well Māori students are achieving and progressing.

The principal and teachers should continue to extend the use of bicultural learning across the school and find ways to strengthen engagement with Māori whānau.

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. A school-wide focus on improvement is evident.

A clear direction is being set for ongoing improvements to teaching and learning. The board and principal have taken steps to strengthen leadership opportunities for staff. Professional development is being provided to support school leaders in their roles.

The principal strongly articulates and models the school’s vision, values and expectations for teaching and learning. Other strong and effective leadership is evident across the school. School leaders are effectively supporting staff to improve their teaching practices.

The board and staff regularly seek the views of parents, whānau and students. They take action as a result of the information they gather, to improve aspects of teaching and learning, and school operations.

The board governs the school well. Trustees have good systems in place to guide their operations. The board has strengthened its self-review processes over recent years. These processes are well understood and are embedded in a way that ensures their ongoing use. Trustees and the principal work collaboratively to achieve the school’s goals.

Professional development is well used to support developments in targeted aspects of teaching and learning. Good use is made of external expertise including for assessment, leadership and raising the achievement of specific groups of students.

The school’s appraisal process is becoming well used to support the school’s goals and priorities. This involves teachers considering the effectiveness of their own practice and making changes to improve outcomes for all students.

Areas for development and review

There has been an increasing amount of review over recent years. However, there is some variation in their quality and usefulness. Aspects of self review could be improved by:

  • making more consistent use of evaluative questions to guide reviews
  • ensuring the scope of review is sufficient to answer the questions set
  • using agreed indicators to guide judgements about the quality of what is being reviewed
  • ensuring the findings of reviews are acted on.

School leaders are responding to feedback from some staff regarding the pace and extent of school-wide change. In light of the extensive amount of change across the school, and the ongoing effects of the 2010-2011 earthquakes, the board should continue to seek staff views about aspects of their work and wellbeing.

Provision for international students

The school is a signatory to the Code of Practice for the Pastoral Care of International Students (the Code). The school has attested that it complies with all aspects of the Code. At the time of this ERO review, 74 international students attended the school.

The board and school leaders take a well-planned approach to their provision for international students. The director of the programme effectively leads staff to deliver programmes to meet students’ needs and to help ensure that students are included in all aspects of school life.

Students receive good quality English language support and pastoral care. Students spoken with by ERO stated that they enjoy their schooling and feel well supported.

School leaders regularly review their compliance with the Code and other relevant government regulations. The board receives reports on the International Student programme and the progress students make in their learning.

ERO’s investigations confirm that the school’s self-review process for international students is thorough.

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
  • 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

5 November 2012

About the School

Location

Riccarton, Christchurch

Ministry of Education profile number

335

School type

Composite (Years 1 to 13)

Decile1

9

School roll

1250

Number of international students

74

Gender composition

Girls 53%; Boys 47%

Ethnic composition

NZ European/Pākehā

Māori

Pacific – Tongan, Cook Island, Samoan

Asian

African

79%

7%

3%

7%

4%

Special Features

Integrated School

Review team on site

August 2012

Date of this report

5 November 2012

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

May 2009

August 2005

September 2002

1 School deciles range from 1 to 10. Decile 1 schools draw their students from low socio-economic communities and at the other end of the range, decile 10 schools draw their students from high socio-economic communities. Deciles are used to provide funding to state and state integrated schools. The lower the school’s decile the more funding it receives. A school’s decile is in no way linked to the quality of education it provides.