Sumner School

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Education institution number:
3546
School type:
Full Primary
School gender:
Co-Educational
Definition:
Not Applicable
Total roll:
387
Telephone:
Address:

Colenso Street, Sumner, Christchurch

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School Context

Sumner School is a large, Year 1 to 8 primary school located in Sumner, Christchurch. At the time of this review it had a roll of 403 students, including 27 who identify as Māori and three international students.

Its vision is ‘connecting with our people, our learning and our place’. The school plans to achieve this through the values of Whanaungatanga - respecting, fostering and maintaining important relationships, Mōhiotanga – developing knowledge and understanding as lifelong learners, and Kaitiakitanga – working as guardians and active protectors of place, people, language and culture. The school aims to meet the needs of all students and its community.

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

  • school-wide achievement in reading, writing and mathematics
  • progress for focus group learners
  • achievement and progress of students in intervention programmes
  • achievement in relation to the school’s expectations in its concept curriculum (including learning areas beyond literacy and mathematics)
  • attendance
  • aspects of students’ wellbeing, attitude to learning, opinions about their schooling.

Since the May 2015 ERO report, the senior leadership team is new. A new deputy and associate principal were appointed, along with a new principal, in 2019. There have been other staffing changes. The trustees are all new to the board. The school has been completely rebuilt to include modern, flexible learning spaces.

Teachers have participated in school wide professional learning and development in positive education, digital fluency (technology teaching and learning), collaborative teaching in flexible learning spaces, a concept-based curriculum, Ministry of Education literacy and mathematics intervention programmes, writing, and culturally responsive practice.

Sumner School is a member of the Aupaki 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 and excellent outcomes for the majority of its students.

Learning information between 2018 and the end of 2019 indicates most students (over 83%) are achieving at or above the school’s expectations in reading, writing and mathematics. Overall, the proportions of boys and girls achieving at this level in reading is similar. Larger proportions of girls, compared with boys, are achieving at or above the school’s expectations in writing, with boys outperforming girls in mathematics in 2019.

Māori learners overall achieve as well as their peers at the school in reading, writing and mathematics. Previous differences in achievement between these groups are no longer evident.

Most students are achieving at or above the school’s expectations in the learning areas included in the school’s inquiry/concept-based curriculum.

Overall attendance levels at the school are high.

The large majority of students in Years 5 to 8 report that they have a say in what happens at school.

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

The school is increasingly effective in accelerating the progress of students who need this.

Student learning information shows that in 2018 and 2019, over three quarters of the students who needed to make accelerated progress in reading did so through targeted teaching and intervention programmes.

Almost two thirds of focus group learners made accelerated progress in writing in 2019, with over half of these learners making this progress in 2018.

The proportion of focus group learners who needed to make accelerated progress in mathematics has increased to over half in 2019.

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’ learning is enhanced through a rich, diverse, challenging curriculum that enhances equity and excellence. It is responsive in its design and enactment. Leaders and teachers ensure that it is coherently managed across the breadth and depth of the New Zealand Curriculum (NZC). It reflects students’ and whānau aspirations. Students value the meaningful choices they have within it. Positive character education is a prominent curriculum feature which promotes students’ social and emotional competence.

Culturally responsive education is a strong, key feature of the school’s local curriculum. This can be seen through effective connections to the local landscape, cultural narrative and the knowledge of whānau and iwi. All students learn much about the local environment, including its cultural significance for Māori. Teaching practices reflect concepts valued by local iwi. These align well with the school’s vision and values for its learners. As a result, all students, especially Māori, develop a sense of belonging and connectedness to the local environment in ways that link to the school’s strategic priorities.

Effective partnerships at all levels of the school support a positive school culture of care and high expectations. School leadership champions and sustains educationally powerful connections within and beyond the school. School leaders model openness, risk taking and receptiveness to change and improvement. Relational trust is built through effective communication and transparency and contributes to collaborative ways of working. This ensures all are actively working towards the school’s vision for its learners through high quality, learning centred relationships.

Students’ learning and wellbeing is prioritised and enhanced through effective systems and processes. Learner agency is promoted through meaningful goal setting, curriculum design and accessibility. Students are placed at the centre of all decision-making. They positively engage in a curriculum that provides older students with a wide range of opportunities to learn, younger children with play-based learning experiences, and a concept/inquiry curriculum that effectively integrates many areas of the NZC. Students’ self-efficacy is built through high levels of engagement.

The school’s vision for its learners is a powerful driver for its direction. It is coherently connected to all aspects of school life: the curriculum; strategic and annual planning; and teachers’ professional learning and development. The board has successfully guided the school through a revisioning process that has been comprehensive, collaborative and future-focused. As a result, school-wide understanding of the vision for learners is shared, enacted, relevant and meaningful.

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

Many aspects of internal evaluation are supporting students’ learning. Teachers’ inquiries look deeply into what does and doesn’t work for their learners. Much information gathering is wide reaching and involves relevant stakeholders. There is a wealth of data about learners’ achievement and progress within the school. The board and leaders acknowledge that the presentation, interpretation and reporting of this material could be more streamlined to better show trends and patterns over time, and be more targeted for respective audiences.

The board is well informed about key aspects of curriculum design and implementation for learners. It is now timely to extend and streamline this reporting so that not only the inputs, but outcomes for learners can be more clearly evaluated. This will further support the board in its decision making.

Leaders and teachers facilitate, and students experience, many aspects of culturally responsive education. This has been a significant focus for the school over the past few years. It is now timely to extend this to include more progressive te reo Māori learning for students, with the help of the ongoing learning that staff are currently undertaking.

3 Other Matters

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 three short-stay international students attending the school.

The school uses internal evaluation processes effectively to know about the quality of pastoral care and education provision for international students and to identify areas for improved practice. Some changes to documentation have been strengthened to provide greater information and support for parents about the enrolment process.

Systems for knowing about and being welcomed to the school are carefully considered and thorough. Students’ pastoral and wellbeing needs are very well supported and responded to appropriately. They are encouraged to be actively involved in the life of the school and the local community.

4 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 Children’s Act 2014.

5 ERO’s Overall Judgement

On the basis of the findings of this review, ERO’s overall evaluation judgement of Sumner School’s performance in achieving valued outcomes for its students is: Strong.

ERO’s Framework: Overall Findings and Judgement Tool derived from School Evaluation Indicators: Effective Practice for Improvement and Learner Success is available on ERO’s website.

6 Going forward

Key strengths of the school

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

  • its diverse, responsive curriculum that promotes learner agency and ownership of learning
  • culturally responsive education that connects students to the local environment and history
  • educationally focused partnerships that support the school’s vision for learners
  • leadership, systems and practices that promote learner engagement and success
  • a coherent vision that has been collectively and collaboratively developed.

Next steps

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

  • extending aspects of internal evaluation to show a consistent focus on outcomes for learners
  • extending culturally responsive practices to enhance students’ te reo Māori learning.

Area for improved compliance

ERO identified non-compliance in relation to reporting annually that the board meets its good employer requirements.

Since the onsite stage of the review the school has provided ERO with satisfactory information that shows the way this will be addressed in future annual reporting.

Dr Lesley Patterson

Director Review and Improvement Services (Southern)

Southern Region - Te Tai Tini

11 June 2020

About the school

The Education Counts website provides further information about the school’s student population, student engagement and student achievement.

Findings

Students achieve highly in reading, writing and mathematics. The school’s curriculum is very effective in promoting and supporting student learning and wellbeing. A culture of high expectations for all and a focus on outcomes for students are strongly evident. There is increasing emphasis on including te reo and tikanga Māori in the curriculum. Parent and community support is high. The board and school leadership are knowledgeable and forward thinking.

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

1 Context

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

Sumner School benefits from high levels of parent and community support. Good facilities provide a range of options and learning environments to support student engagement and learning. Programmes provide students with opportunities to learn in and beyond the classroom. Very good use is made of the local beach areas. The school is well resourced.

The school is involved with a local cluster of schools which has been working together for some time. This collaboration is providing increased learning opportunities for students.

The school has a positive reporting history with ERO. Significant progress has been made in the areas identified for review and development in the 2010 ERO report. Teachers regularly reflect on their teaching practice to identify what is making the difference to student learning outcomes.

2 Learning

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

The school very effectively uses student achievement information to improve students' engagement, progress and achievement. Student achievement in reading, writing and mathematics against the National Standards is very high.

Students who are at risk of not achieving or who are not making the expected levels of progress are identified. Teachers carefully select the most appropriate programmes and practices to help these students make faster progress. Teachers use very good systems to closely monitor the effectiveness of interventions on student progress, achievement and wellbeing. Teachers are well aware of, and responsive to, those students in their classes who need extra support or extension.

The board sets relevant targets for raising student achievement. There is a strong collaborative process involved in setting these meaningful targets. Each teaching team also sets further specific and related targets. Trustees are fully supportive of the efforts of leaders and teachers to raise achievement.

The board receives regular and detailed information about the progress of all students, including those targeted for extra support.

Teachers, parents and students work together effectively to decide on students’ learning goals. Learning conferences held early in the year establish shared expectations and where needed, enable targeted support to occur promptly. Students are guided to make decisions about their next steps by reviewing the previous year’s achievement results.

Professional development has increased teachers’ understanding of assessment practices. Teachers are confident in making judgements about students’ achievement against the National Standards in reading, writing and mathematics. They check the quality of these judgements in and across teams. A next step is to consider extending these practices by working with other schools to compare how well these judgements are made.

3 Curriculum

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

The school’s curriculum is very effective in promoting and supporting student learning and well being.

Students benefit from a rich curriculum that promotes community involvement, encourages the development of shared values and attitudes and provides a wide range of learning opportunities. Staff respond positively to the high expectations set by the board and parent community. Teachers work well together.

Student learning and wellbeing are very well supported. Teachers make considerable efforts to build positive relationships with students and their families. There are a number of useful approaches for communicating with parents. This is very much a two-way process.

Teachers confidently plan and teach from the well-documented, localised curriculum.

Guidelines and expectations for student learning are clear. Teachers use a good range of strategies to extend students’ learning, particularly those identified as gifted and talented.

Leaders and teachers seek and use students’ ideas in planning for the future. Students’ learning needs and wellbeing are carefully considered. Their feedback and ideas about curriculum programmes are valued and acted upon.

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

Leaders and teachers emphasise the use of te reo and tikanga Māori. This is evident in:

  • the growing use of mihi whakatau
  • modelling the use of te reo Māori by the principal
  • integrating Māori concepts and knowledge into everyday units of work
  • celebrating Māori culture and te reo Māori in school assemblies
  • valuing the large kapa haka group, including involvement in a cultural festival
  • opportunities to visit the local marae.

The board has a strategic goal for supporting Māori success as Māori. The focus for 2015 is to develop a greater presence of tikanga Māori and other cultural practices in the school. Biannual consultation with the parents of Māori students informs a useful action plan. A teacher with strengths in this area has responsibility for supporting other staff.

Adults have high expectations for Māori students and work to ensure all students make good progress in their learning. Targets in 2014 sought to raise the achievement of Māori students with good effect. Their achievement is high and compares very well against national results for reading writing and mathematics.

ERO, senior leaders and the board agree that it is important for the school to continue to build closer relationships with the local Māori community. Ensuring early involvement in decision making and receiving regular feedback on the actions taken as a result of consultation, should assist this aim.

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.

Rigorous evaluation and review practices are resulting in high levels of performance across the school. A wide range of comprehensive information is gained through self review. It is well analysed and recommendations are developed, acted on and evaluated for the benefit of students.

The board is knowledgeable and forward thinking. Trustees use well-considered goals to drive review and support decision-making. They receive good-quality information through reports to the board. Trustees are very responsive to the learning and wellbeing needs of students and staff. There is a strong focus on positive outcomes for students.

The principal’s very effective approach to leadership is evident in the collaborative way he works with the board, senior leadership team and staff. Leaders’ strengths are used well. Roles and responsibilities are well defined. Teachers have many opportunities to further develop their leadership capabilities. High expectations and the promotion of student success are strongly evident in leadership planning and decision making.

An innovative approach to professional development provides teachers with choice about where to focus their learning. New knowledge and skills are shared with staff. Professional development is having a positive effect on classroom practice.

The staff has a high level of respect for school leaders and the board. Teachers and other staff enjoy working in a positive school culture where they feel respected, valued and well supported by the board, principal and senior leaders.

Leaders and teachers acknowledge and value the crucial role parents play in their child’s education. Parent views are sought and their involvement in the school is strong. This understanding is well embedded in the school’s culture.

Teachers benefit from a useful appraisal programme. Outcomes from appraisal are focused on developing effective teaching strategies to further raise student achievement. Teachers early in their career benefit from high-quality mentoring and induction into the teaching profession.

The board is aware of its next steps and has plans to continue to:

  • build understanding amongst staff and parents about modern learning environments and teaching practice
  • further develop appraisal
  • extend work within the local cluster of schools.

ERO and school leaders have discussed the usefulness of further developing polices and processes to better document overviews of some well-established school practices such as appraisal and self review.

Provision for international students

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

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 achieve highly in reading, writing and mathematics. The school’s curriculum is very effective in promoting and supporting student learning and wellbeing. A culture of high expectations for all and a focus on outcomes for students are strongly evident. There is increasing emphasis on including te reo and tikanga Māori in the curriculum. Parent and community support is high. The board and school leadership are knowledgeable and forward thinking.

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

Graham Randell

Deputy Chief Review Officer Southern

5 May 2015

About the School

Location

Sumner, Christchurch

Ministry of Education profile number

3546

School type

Full Primary (Years 1 to 8)

School roll

438

Number of international students

0

Gender composition

Boys 52%;

Girls 48%

Ethnic composition

European

Māori

European

Other ethnicities

82%

7%

5%

6%

Review team on site

February 2015

Date of this report

5 May 2015

Most recent ERO reports

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

December 2010

November 2007

August 2004