Pegasus Bay School

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School Context

Pegasus Bay is a large, purpose-built primary school north of Christchurch. It is part of a community that is increasingly culturally diverse. Since the school opened in 2014, it has continued to experience rapid growth. A classroom suite for the junior school was added in 2016.

Aspects of culture, important to the local area, are highlighted and visible within the school’s modern learning environment.

The school’s vision for students to ‘Be the Somebody’ is underpinned by the intent of growing inspiring and challenging adventurers, creators and thinkers who demonstrate the values of ako, kaitiaki and whanaungatanga.

The school’s strategic priorities relate to clarity of vision, a high quality curriculum and whānau engagement and wellbeing.

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

  • student achievement and progress in reading, writing and mathematics
  • progress and achievement in relation to the school’s targets
  • approaches to teaching and innovations to strengthen students’ learning.

Due to the strong focus on developing students as digital citizens the school has been acknowledged by an international information technology company as a ‘Distinguished’ information technology school.

The school belongs to the Katote 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 effectively working towards achieving equitable and excellent outcomes for all its students.

The 2018 achievement data shows that:

  • most students, including Māori, achieve at or above expected curriculum levels in reading and mathematics

  • the large majority of students, including Māori, achieve at or above expected curriculum levels in writing

  • by the time students reach Year 8, almost all are achieving at or above expected curriculum levels in reading and mathematics

  • students with additional needs, including those who are English Language Learners (ELL), also achieve well in relation to expected levels of performance.

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

The school is successfully accelerating learning, in some cases significantly, for many targeted students, including Māori, those with additional learning needs, including ELL students.

Leaders are aware that there is some disparity of outcomes for boys’ in their writing achievement. The planning and intervention programmes that have been put in place to address this are showing early indications of accelerated 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?

School leaders have built systems that support a collaborative culture in which teachers have shared responsibility and ownership for the way things work. There are positive and respectful relationships at all levels. The school values are prominent, known, articulated and enacted.

Students benefit from a future-focused localised curriculum. This provides them with rich, meaningful learning experiences. There is a strong focus on developing digital capability across the school, including building infrastructure, and using this to enhance students’ learning. Te ao Māori is valued and evident at all levels and is woven across the curriculum in meaningful ways.

Leaders and teachers have a strong focus on developing environments that engage students in learning. This is evident in the way they:

  • adapt the curriculum

  • respond to the identified needs, strengths and interests of students

  • care for students and whānau and ensure that all are included in the life of the school

  • gather students’ ideas and opinions and encourage them to take increasing responsibility for their own learning

  • use local resources, personnel and expertise to enrich students’ learning.

There is also a commitment to strengthening the partnership with parents in children’s learning.

Leaders seek community and student voice and incorporate their ideas into developments. On-line communication, which allows teachers to regularly share children’s learning with parents, is proving successful, as are invitations to parents to discuss aspects of their child’s learning.

Teachers use effective systems for identifying, tracking and monitoring student learning and progress. Students who need extra help to succeed are provided with appropriate support through specific programmes and one-to-one support from teachers and teacher aides.

A strong professional leadership team use their collective strengths to ensure that the school is a well-structured and supportive environment, conducive to student learning and wellbeing. Through a robust appraisal process, leaders provide teachers with guidance and support to grow their teaching practice. They invest in developing teachers as middle leaders, and teachers are encouraged and supported to innovate and grow their practice in a safe learning community. Leaders are actively involved in and contribute to the wider educational community.

A high level of relational trust supports leaders and teachers as they collaboratively and critically reflect on the effectiveness of innovations to ensure positive outcomes for students. Accountability exists at all levels of the school. There is a coherent approach to capability building informed by research and professional learning. The programme of teacher-led innovation is well resourced, supports improvement and aligns well with the school’s strategic goals.

The school’s trustees bring a range of skills and expertise to the board. They make well-informed strategic decisions to achieve the school’s goals. They are mindful of the need for stability and continuity in a fast-growing organisation. Succession planning is carefully considered. The board’s strong commitment to growing the place of Māori within the school is reflected in their funding of a specialist teacher of Māori.

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

The school has identified, and ERO agrees, that it is timely to review the school’s curriculum to foster its valued outcomes and indicators of success and to respond to increasing community diversity.

Leaders and teachers should continue to strengthen internal evaluation. This will enable them to consistently show what programmes, practices and initiatives have had a positive impact and what needs to change.

The new board would benefit from the opportunity to undertake ongoing training to further develop understanding of their governance role.

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 ERO’s Overall Judgement

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

ERO’s Framework: Overall School Performance is available on ERO’s website.

5 Going forward

Key strengths of the school

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

  • collaborative, and inclusive culture at all levels
  • high expectations for student achievement and high quality teaching practice
  • strong professional leadership team that supports ongoing improvements in outcomes for students and better learning partnerships with parents/whānau
  • broad, rich learning experiences provided for students to engage in and succeed.

Next steps

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

  • continuing to review and update the school’s curriculum
  • further strengthening the internal evaluation process to ensure a consistent approach across the school, including the board.

Dr Lesley Patterson

Director Review and Improvement Services Te Tai Tini

Southern Region

6 August 2019

About the school

Location

Pegasus

Ministry of Education profile number

3570

School type

Full primary (Years 1-8)

School roll

416

Gender composition

Boys 52%

Girls 48%

Ethnic composition

Māori 12%

NZ European/Pākehā 67%

Pacific 1%

Asian 3%

Other ethnicities 17%

Students with Ongoing Resourcing Funding (ORS)

Yes

Provision of Māori medium education

No

Review team on site

June 2019

Date of this report

6 August 2019

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review November 2015

Findings

Learning programmes reflect the school’s connection with the local environment well. There is an effective approach to informing and engaging parents and strong support from the school community. Teachers support students to achieve well overall, with higher levels of achievement for Māori tamariki in reading and mathematics. Moving to a new site, an increasing student roll and embracing collaborative teaching approaches are amongst significant changes managed and integrated well.

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?

Previously known as Waikuku School, Pegasus Bay School commenced on its new site in May 2014. The board, principal and senior leaders have been proactive and effective in the way they have managed this major transition and its considerable implications for students’ learning and wellbeing.

The purpose-built campus and facilities are based on modern-learning concepts and practices. These are designed to promote collaborative learning in ways that reflect the school’s vision for adventurous, challenging and inspiring learning. The Māori value of kaitiakitanga (guardianship) strongly underpins school programmes and practices.

Greater diversity is evident in the steadily increasing school roll. A number of new staff appointments have been made in response to roll growth. The board has a model of shared leadership with two trustees sharing the chairperson’s role.

Strong support from the school community and parent-teacher association has benefited the school and students in many ways. The school is involved in a local educational cluster that is focused on improving learning and positive outcomes for all students.

2 Learning

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

The school is increasingly improving its use of achievement information to make positive changes to the engagement, progress and achievement of its learners.

The board’s strategic plan clearly shows its commitment to meeting the needs of students requiring extra support in their learning. The principal and senior leaders have worked strategically to further develop systems and practices that better meet the needs of students at risk of underachievement. This includes strengthening processes for identifying and supporting students with special needs.

Teachers make considerable effort to maintain very regular contact with parents about their children’s learning, progress and achievement. There is a high level of information sharing about aspects of students’ education and wellbeing. The school provides parents with many opportunities to learn about, and contribute to, students’ learning outcomes.

Teachers capably track individual learning and wellbeing. They have engaged in significant professional development to enable them to better meet students’ learning needs. To advance students’ learning, teachers:

  • make good use of learner information to identify and monitor academic and wellbeing needs
  • use a range of assessment tools to get a good picture of progress and achievement
  • have helpful guidelines that support them in making National Standards judgements
  • use a variety of effective teaching strategies known to assist in raising achievement.

Teaching teams regularly discuss ways to further engage students in their learning and use this to support forward planning.

Areas for review and development

The next step is for the board, senior leaders and teaching teams to further refine:

  • annual achievement targets for specific groups
  • processes for analysing, monitoring and reporting levels of acceleration.

3 Curriculum

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

The curriculum provides good support to promote student learning and engagement.

Student achievement is highest in reading and mathematics. Writing, while an area of focus for improvement, is above the national average. Māori achievement in literacy is high.

Significant changes to the school’s curriculum have taken place as a result of the shift to the new school site. Teaching and learning now occur in flowing, flexible spaces instead of individual classrooms.

The strengths of the current curriculum include:

  • an authentic and creative focus on a place-based approach to programmes and practices that is supporting students’ sense of belonging and school identity within the local community
  • the provision of a wide range of learning opportunities and experiences within and beyond the school that are aligned to the school’s vision and values
  • a school-wide approach to assist students to inquire into their learning in specific essential learning areas
  • a sustained focus on active collaboration at learning and teaching levels.

Students are gaining increased opportunities to make decisions about their learning and the ways they choose to work within the learning environment. They are supported to develop the social skills and habits that contribute to learning readiness and self management. Ongoing and targeted support for literacy and mathematics development is a feature of the curriculum.

Teachers know students well. Teaching teams use flexible ways to help stimulate student interest and learning. Useful curriculum guidelines, many of which are research based, are in place to support teachers’ understanding and practice. Teachers are supported and encouraged to be knowledgeable and innovative in their practices in order to meet the needs of students.

Areas for review and development

The principal and senior leaders recognise, and ERO agrees, that there are further improvements to be made to the school’s curriculum. Agreed priorities for this development include:

  • completing the development of the Pegasus School curriculum document so that it clearly reflects the school’s unique context and approach to learning
  • continuing to increase student knowledge about, and ownership over, their own learning and ways they can effectively monitor their own progress
  • increasing opportunities for further teacher collaboration across and beyond the school
  • revising the strategic direction and implementation of e-learning to better support students’ independence and ability to work collaboratively.

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

Good progress is evident in the way the school is promoting educational success for Māori students, as Māori. Students have a range of opportunities to learn about and participate in aspects of te ao Māori.

The board, principal and staff ensure that meaningful and creative thought has gone into the way te ao Māori is represented in the school’s physical environment. This reflects the way Māori culture and links with the local area are valued and respected.

The school has a new programme and leadership structure to support the development of Māori success. Linked to this, work is underway to increase teachers’ use of te reo Māori. Teacher feedback shows a strong willingness by staff to work together in continuing to build a culturally responsive curriculum.

Increasing consultation with whānau and iwi is leading to more opportunities for their involvement in the life of the school. Celebration of te ao Māori included the very successful Mātariki event this year that attracted a large number of school and community members.

A continued focus on extending the use of te reo Māori across all classrooms will help to further promote Māori success, as Māori in the school.

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 board and principal, supported by other school leaders and staff, have ably managed the significant changes and challenges since the 2012 ERO review. There is a collective willingness to explore new ideas to progress school-wide and classroom practices.

The board structure promotes a high level of collaboration. Trustees bring considerable knowledge and expertise to their roles. The board has high expectations for positive outcomes for students.

The board has developed a good quality charter and strategic plan. Plans are forward focused and clearly show how strategic priorities will be met over time.

The senior leadership team has developed a very robust appraisal system. There are strong links between appraisal and ongoing expectations for teaching that are directly linked to teachers’ job descriptions. The board has clearly documented its expectations for leaders’ reports to refine the type of information they receive for decision making.

The board has a considered and effective approach to informing and engaging parents in the life of the school. Trustees regularly seek community feedback on a range of matters, including satisfaction with interactions and feedback from teachers. Responses are mostly positive. The board is responsive to survey findings. It clearly communicates results and the actions it is taking to improve outcomes for learners.

School leadership is focused on continuous learner and school improvement. An environment of trust and respect enables teachers to explore innovative teaching approaches. Staff strengths are well used. There is a culture of reflective practice within the school.

Areas for review and development

Senior leaders recognise, and ERO agrees, that there is a need to refine internal evaluation processes and to further build evaluation capacity within the school.

As the school continues to grow rapidly, there is a need for the board to increase opportunities for senior leaders to access mentoring and visioning opportunities. This is likely to help leaders to continue to drive the school forward.

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

Learning programmes reflect the school’s connection with the local environment well. There is an effective approach to informing and engaging parents and strong support from the school community. Teachers support students to achieve well overall, with higher levels of achievement for Māori tamariki in reading and mathematics. Moving to a new site, an increasing student roll and embracing collaborative teaching approaches are amongst significant changes managed and integrated well.

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

Chris Rowe
Deputy Chief Review Officer Southern (Acting)

30 November 2015

School Statistics

Location

Pegasus, North Canterbury

Ministry of Education profile number

3570

School type

Full Primary (Years 1 to 8)

School roll

325

Gender composition

Boys 54%; Girls 46%

Ethnic composition

Pākehā
Māori
European
Other ethnicities

67%
16%
11%
  6%

Review team on site

September 2015

Date of this report

30 November 2015

Most recent ERO report
previously Waikuku School

No previous ERO reports