Southbridge School

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School Context

Southbridge School is a Years 1-6 school located in a small, rural township on the outskirts of Christchurch. It has a roll of 138 students.

The school's vision is captured in the words, ‘Inspire, Equip, Ignite’. Its values are aroha, kaitiakitanga, mana, manaakitanga, and whanaungatanga.

The 2018 strategic goals are that:

  • all students enthusiastically access authentic and engaging learning opportunities as evidenced by their progress and achievement in relation to the New Zealand Curriculum
  • the community is an extension of the classroom
  • students lead their learning.

The school’s learning targets emphasise fostering student wellbeing and improving achievement, particularly writing.

Leaders and teachers regularly report to the board, schoolwide information about outcomes for students in the following areas:

  • achievement in reading, writing, mathematics and the wider curriculum

  • outcomes for children with additional needs and special abilities

  • students' wellbeing.

The school has a long-established relationship with the local rūnaka. The school is celebrating its 150th anniversary in 2018.

In the past three years, there has been a small number of staff changes. A new principal began in 2017. The school has received external support to improve teaching and learning in mathematics. This year teachers are involved in a programme that focuses on students’wellbeing and positive behaviour for learning.

Southbridge School is part of Ngā Mātāpuna o Te Waihora Kāhui Ako | Community of Learning.

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 is achieving equitable outcomes for most groups of students in literacy and mathematics. Achievement in these learning areas has steadily improved over the last three years.

The majority of students, including Māori, achieve well in reading, writing and mathematics. Most girls achieve well, especially in reading and mathematics. The school has identified that boys need further support with writing.

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

The school is having some success at accelerating the progress of students who need it.

School targets have been focused on small groups of students. In 2017, a small number of these students made accelerated progress. Most students receiving additional support during 2017 made some 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?

Effective culturally responsive practices support and promote student learning. Students' culture and identity are highly valued. The curriculum includes specific expectations for culturally responsive practice. Leaders and teachers have high expectations for Māori and all learners. There is a progressive plan for learning and teaching te reo Māori to challenge teachers and students. The school has also developed a comprehensive plan to ensure that Māori students have many opportunities to succeed as Māori. Leaders and teachers seek feedback from, and regularly provide information to, whānau about how well their children are progressing. The school environment is inclusive of all students.

Students are provided with relevant, real-world learning experiences within and outside the classroom. Teachers make good use of local expertise and resources. Students care for the environment and each other. At each year level, they have specific responsibilities to care for the gardens, orchard and animals on site. Teachers provide learning opportunities that intentionally incorporate children's interests, needs and abilities.

School leaders collaboratively pursue and enact the school's vision, values and goals. The school values align to those of the rūnaka. These are evident in the environment and in the way children and adults interact. Trustees and leaders work well together. They are supportive of student and staff wellbeing. There is clear alignment from the school's vision, goals and targets to teachers' personal goals, professional development and the thorough performance-management process. Change is purposefully managed in ways that consider the needs of staff and students.

Parents, whānau and community are welcomed and included in school activities as respected and valued partners. The school has strong links with its community. Parents have many opportunities to come into the school for social and learning-based activities. Leaders and teachers skilfully use a variety of ways to seek feedback from, and provide information to, parents and the wider community.

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

School leaders need to strengthen internal evaluation processes to more specifically evaluate the impact of plans, programmes and practices on outcomes for students. It is not always clear how or why action plans have been developed, or how well the actions have achieved the goals. Reports to the board inform trustees of what has happened and next steps for consideration. However, reports could be more evaluative about how effective the plan or programme has been. Internal evaluations would be more robust if they began with an evaluative question and included specific indicators that could be used to evaluate success against.

School leaders need to deepen their analysis, evaluation and reporting of learner outcomes. Teachers and leaders collect useful learning information related to a variety of student outcomes. Further analysis of trends and patterns in this data would help trustees and leaders to have a better understanding of sufficiency and rates of progress for all children below expected levels in literacy and mathematics.

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:

  • creating a welcoming, inclusive and culturally responsive environment that fosters student participation in the life of the school

  • the relevant and interesting curriculum, with its strong focus on caring for the environment that promotes student engagement in learning

  • a collaborative and cohesive approach to learning and teaching that ensures high expectations for students and teachers.

Next steps

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

  • further analysis of the school’s learning information to provide meaningful school-wide reporting about students’ sufficiency of progress

  • better evaluating the impact of plans, programmes, processes and practices on learner outcomes to achieve equity for all groups in the school.

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

8 May 2018

About the school

Location

Southbridge, Christchurch

Ministry of Education profile number

3509

School type

Contributing School, Years 1-6

School roll

138

Gender composition

Female: 53%

Male: 47%

Ethnic composition

Māori: 17%

Pākehā: 71%

Pacific: 2%

Other ethnicities: 10%

Provision of Māori medium education

No

Review team on site

March 2018

Date of this report

8 May 2018

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review: December 2014

Education Review: November 2009

Education Review: November 2006

Findings

Students benefit from a wide range of interesting learning experiences where their interests are recognised and included. There is an inclusive school culture. The school is taking positive steps to increase the opportunities for Māori students to succeed as Māori. The board and principal have a good understanding of school leadership and governance. They are well focused on schooling improvement. The local community is supportive and involvement is welcomed and valued.

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 school’s rural environment is used well to extend students' learning. Students of all ages mix freely in the large playgrounds. There is an inclusive school culture.

The school benefits from good community support. Many opportunities are provided for students, parents and staff, to share their views and opinions with the board and principal. Their involvement is encouraged, welcomed and valued.

Since the previous 2009 ERO review, the school has had a significant change in staffing, including a new principal, assistant principal and many new teachers. The school is responding well to the wide range of needs and strengths of the students.

2 Learning

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

School leaders and syndicate teams use achievement information very well to promote student learning. The leaders have a good knowledge of the students who are working towards the National Standards in reading, writing and mathematics as well as those who are achieving at or above expectations.

School leaders and teaching teams make good use of achievement information to:

  • keep an overview of students’ progress and achievement patterns
  • identify students needing extra help and discuss the best ways to target this support
  • share ideas about best teaching practice and ways to engage learners.

Providing for special needs students and priority learners is a significant strength of the school. The range of learning support options and the management and delivery of these are of very good quality. There are regular reviews of the effectiveness of interventions. Provisions are changed or adapted if they are not making a difference.

Parents are kept well informed about their child’s progress and achievement through student-led conferences, interviews and informative and easy to understand written reports.

The board receives regular, useful achievement reports from the principal and school leaders. Trustees are effectively informed about how well students are progressing towards the National Standards for reading, writing and mathematics and the school’s annual achievement targets. This information assists them in making carefully considered decisions about the allocation of resources.

The principal and senior leaders are aware of the need to continue to strengthen teachers’ use of assessment information.

Areas for review and development

The board needs to ensure that annual targets clearly include a focus on how they will lift students’ progress in relation to the National Standards. While this was the intention of the board, it is not explicit in the targets set for 2014.

3 Curriculum

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

Students are provided with a wide range of interesting experiences that contribute to their learning. Most students are achieving well in reading and writing against the National Standards. School leaders and teachers are working towards lifting achievement in mathematics.

Teachers of new entrants and Year 6 students have good systems in place to support the transition of students into the school and on to college. They appreciate the working relationship they have with other education providers in the area. This collaboration is making a positive difference for students.

Students’ interests are recognised and responded to within the curriculum. Their ability to follow their own inquiry studies is being increasingly supported by school leaders and teachers. Some teachers are skilled at promoting student independence in their learning.

Year 6 students are provided with many good opportunities to take on leadership roles within the school and local community. A recently introduced programme to support this has quickly gained momentum. School leaders are now considering how this could be extended to include other year levels.

Students’ views are sought and valued. They are involved in many school decisions, including teacher appointments. The board has an annual target to help students build strong relationships with one another. Surveys to monitor student wellbeing are analysed to inform programmes and to monitor students’ ongoing progress.

Areas for review and development

School leaders have identified that the curriculum is ready for review. They have identified what needs to occur and have begun to put a plan in place to guide the process. ERO agrees this is a timely focus, particularly the clarifying of guidelines for high quality teaching practice and programme development to further support outcomes for students.

There is some variability in the consistency of teaching practice. With ongoing changes in teaching staff, this situation needs to continue to be actively monitored and addressed.

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

The school is taking positive steps to increase the opportunities for Māori to succeed as Māori. These steps include:

  • growing links with the local marae
  • responding to feedback from the annual whānau hui to build mana and pride amongst students in a variety of ways
  • a review of te reo and tikanga Māori programmes and practices and developing an action plan to address recommendations
  • increasing the board and teachers’ understanding of key resources from the Ministry of Education.

The school shared its next steps to further improve learning and cultural outcomes for Māori students. Of the plans in place, priority should be given to:

  • reviewing the school’s te reo Māori strategy, is used to build on students’ knowledge when they begin school
  • building te reo and tikanga Māori confidence and competence amongst staff.

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. The principal has a very good understanding of the school’s strengths and next steps and uses this knowledge well in decision making. The board and principal have high expectations that are clearly focused on school improvement. The board provides the principal with good-quality external appraisal and feedback.

There is a strong working relationship between the board and school leaders. Trustees bring a range of useful skills and experience to their governance role. They have sound systems in place to support effective governance to meet the school's legal obligations. The board seeks and makes good use of training opportunities.

The board and principal are kept well informed through a variety of reports and reviews. The findings and recommendations are used well.

Teachers benefit from regular feedback on their classroom practice. A useful appraisal process assists teachers to reflect on their practice. Good systems are in place to support teachers beginning their careers. Teacher aides are valued, appraised and provided with appropriate professional development.

School-wide professional development is focused on promoting high quality teaching practices that further improve students’ learning outcomes.

The principal and board are working with the community, staff and students to plan the future direction of the school. This should help to clarify the areas of highest value and focus for the school.

Areas for review and development

The school has experienced a number of new initiatives. ERO, the board and principal agree that there is a need to give continued priority to:

  • carefully managing the process of change
  • refining, consolidating and building on programmes and initiatives that best support the school’s long-term direction and students’ learning outcomes.

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 benefit from a wide range of interesting learning experiences where their interests are recognised and included. There is an inclusive school culture. The school is taking positive steps to increase the opportunities for Māori students to succeed as Māori. The board and principal have a good understanding of school leadership and governance. They are well focused on schooling improvement. The local community is supportive and involvement is welcomed and valued.

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

Graham Randell

National Manager Review Services Southern Region

19 December 2014

About the School

Location

Southbridge, Canterbury

Ministry of Education profile number

3509

School type

Contributing (Years 1 to 6)

School roll

167

Gender composition

Boys 53%;

Girls 47%

Ethnic composition

NZ European/Pākehā

Māori

Other ethnicities

83%

10%

7%

Review team on site

November 2014

Date of this report

19 December 2014

Most recent ERO reports

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

November 2009

November 2006

February 2004