West Melton School

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School Context

West Melton School is a semi-rural, full primary school on the outskirts of Christchurch. The roll is 477 children. The number of children enrolled has increased significantly since the 2013 ERO review. The roll growth has resulted in opportunities for new learning environments and more staff.

The school’s vision and valued outcomes for students are embodied in ‘ICE DRIVER’ – that is, for students to be Innovative, Connected and Empowered and for the curriculum to support students to show Determination, Respect, Integrity, Vitality, Empathy and Resilience. These values are integrated into all aspects of the curriculum and underpin the strategic direction of the school.

The school has attained silver status in the Enviro programme which enhances the rural context and global sustainability aspects of the curriculum.

The school is in the recently approved Ngā Peka o Tauwharekākaho Kāhui Ako|Community of Learning.

Leaders and teachers regularly report to the board school-wide information about outcomes for students in the following areas:

  • achievement in reading, writing and mathematics in relation to the National Standards

  • outcomes for children with additional learning needs

  • progress and accelerated progress

  • progress and achievement in relation to school and national targets

  • progress against the school’s strategic goals.

Evaluation Findings

1 Equity and excellence – valued outcomes for students

1.1 How well is the school achieving equitable and excellent outcomes for all its students?

The school is effectively achieving equitable outcomes for learners.

In reading, writing and mathematics learners have, over time, achieved broadly consistent levels of very good achievement in the National Standards. In writing girls are achieving more highly than boys. In mathematics, which has shown strong improvement and achievement across the school, boys are slightly outperforming girls. The school has programmes in placed to address these issues and has narrowed the gap between girls and boys in mathematics.

1.2 How effectively does this school respond to those Māori and other students whose learning and achievement need acceleration?

The school very effectively responds to those Māori and other students whose learning and achievement need acceleration.

The achievement of Māori students is comparable to that of other students in reading, writing and mathematics over time. In 2016 there was a drop in achievement in Māori students in mathematics and the school has responded to this.

The school effectively identifies and monitors students requiring additional support. Interventions are based on a range of data and are personalised and flexible. Information shows that approximately half of those students identified as needing to accelerate their progress do so and that most other students make good progress.

2 School conditions for equity and excellence

2.1 What school processes and practices are effective in enabling achievement of equity and excellence?

There is strong professional leadership at all levels of the school. The principal and board have embedded a clear strategic vision. This vision is supported by coherent plans and actions which underpin the school curriculum with explicit links to desired learning and wellbeing outcomes for children. As a result, there is a shared understanding across the school about vision and purpose. This extends from the charter and annual planning to teaching practices. Strategic direction is strengthened by a detailed and targeted approach to building leadership capability and depth.

A broad, well designed curriculum offers children rich opportunities for learning. Extensive collaborative planning for team teaching, and prioritised professional learning and development, assist the school to meet the needs of its children. There are thoughtful, well considered and carefully planned approaches to teaching and learning practices within the recently completed modern teaching spaces. Robust systems and practices support all children, including those with additional learning needs and those capable of high achievement. Children have some choice in what and how they learn and are effectively supported to develop self-management skills. Their achievements in a wide range of learning endeavours are acknowledged and celebrated. The school’s clearly developed and understood student graduate profile highlights the future-focused direction of the curriculum. Effective processes for enrolling at and moving beyond the school ensure seamless transitions.

The school leadership has built strong relational trust within the school and with the wider community. Effective communication within the school community has led to successful team building, consistent practices and a collective view about how to balance stability with ongoing school growth. Detailed systems which support teacher expertise and confidence are significant in managing the challenges of the new teaching environments and of rapid change in the community. Children understand the school values well and these are reflected in their inclusive and respectful relationships. Parents and the wider local community are directly involved in the school and their views are sought and valued.

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

School leaders need to continue to build on existing strong information gathering practices to establish a planned, detailed programme for evaluating all aspects of the school over time. The impact of decisions, practices and initiatives needs to be fully considered when establishing future pathways.

Leaders and teachers need to provide more support for Māori to confidently achieve as Māori. Bicultural inclusion in the curriculum needs to be deliberate and visual. New ways to engage Māori whanau need to be explored.

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:

  • strong professional leadership which ensures that the strategic vision forms a foundation for all school decisions and practices. This alignment results in a cohesive, student focused approach to all aspects of the school operations

  • a broad, cohesive and responsive curriculum based on well-developed collaborative planning and practices to engage learners

  • sound relational trust and strong connectivity both within the school and with the wider and rapidly changing community.

Next steps

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

  • continuing to develop the use of evaluation to understand the impact of programmes, practices and initiatives on outcomes for learners and to inform future decision making

  • continuing to develop and embed school-wide bicultural understandings and practices to reflect more strongly the bicultural nature of Aotearoa New Zealand and affirm Māori learners as Māori.

ERO’s next external evaluation process and timing

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

Dr Lesley Patterson

Deputy Chief Review Officer Southern

Te Waipounamu - Southern Region

16 January 2018

About the school

Location

West Melton, Canterbury

Ministry of Education profile number

3587

School type

Full primary, co-educational

School roll

477

Gender composition

Female 48%

Male 52 %

Ethnic composition

Māori 7%

Pākehā 81%

Other ethnicities 12%

Provision of Māori medium education

No

Review team on site

November 2017

Date of this report

16 January 2018

Most recent ERO report(s)

February 2013
November 2009

1 Context

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

The school’s strong vision and values are well understood by students, parents and staff. Students learn in a positive learning environment. The parents and community have high expectations for student achievement and take an active part in the daily life of the school.

Since the November 2009 ERO review, the school has a new purpose-built learning space. This includes new classrooms, a community area and a well-resourced science room. These rooms are well used by the school and community. They have enabled students’ learning in science, the arts and physical education to be extended.

Students, teachers and the community value the long serving staff and rural setting of the school. However, the board and staff are aware of the need to carefully plan and manage the rapidly growing roll and changes to the makeup of the local community.

2 Learning

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

Senior leaders use well-analysed literacy, mathematics and science achievement information to identify and monitor students at risk of not achieving their potential. This information identifies students’ abilities and levels against national and the school’s achievement standards. Relevant support programmes help students with specific learning needs to make better progress. Students participate in a wide range of enrichment activities that meet their interests and extend their thinking.

Targeted and on-going professional development (PD), detailed guidelines and clear expectations have supported teaching staff to use teaching and assessment practices effectively, to engage and support student learning. This includes the use of ICT and the school’s well known values and approaches to learning.

Students have many opportunities to take responsibility for their own leaning. They regularly set and monitor their own progress and achievement and share this with other students and their parents. A focused leadership programme for senior students encourages them to provide confident leadership around the school.

The school has good systems for identifying students who are achieving well academically. Senior leaders have acknowledged that it is now timely to review their definition for students who have abilities in a wider range of areas. This could include extending the definition to include bicultural perspectives.

The school’s student achievement targets have been developed to raise the achievement of all students in aspects of literacy and mathematics. Groups of students are identified at team and class level, but they are not as clear in the school’s Charter. The principal has identified that the 2013 Charter targets for raising student achievement will more clearly identify the groups of students who are at risk of not achieving their potential.

3 Curriculum

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

The school’s curriculum is highly effective in promoting and supporting students’ learning.

Curriculum self review is used very well to develop programmes and practices, and to improve student learning. Teachers make very good use of the school’s vision and values to plan programmes and activities that link with the environment and include the wishes of the parents.

Students have a wide range of well planned learning experiences. They benefit from the way teachers use their own interests and strengths to enrich learning programmes in areas other than literacy and numeracy.

Students have good opportunities to extend their knowledge and understanding of science through the school’s specialised programme and teaching resources. Teachers are using the way they have documented and reviewed science to further develop other learning areas.

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

Positive relationships and learning activities enable Māori students to succeed well as Māori. The school’s values and vision reflect Māori culture, including their kete of knowledge.

Since the 2009 ERO review, the school has developed a number of initiatives that further support Māori success. These include:

  • establishing a large kapa haka group that has participated in a cultural festival
  • involving the local iwi in the opening of new school buildings and moving the whāre to a more central location
  • naming teaching blocks and teams with Māori names
  • integrating te reo and tikanga Māori across programmes.

The board and senior leaders have plans to further develop tikanga and te reo Māori within the school. This involves planned PD for staff and continuing consultation with whānau.

4 Sustainable Performance

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

West Melton School is very well placed to sustain and improve its performance.

The board, principal and teachers have high expectations for, and are strongly focused on, raising student learning and achievement. Trustees ensure through the principal that strategic planning clearly links to all aspects of student learning.

Views and opinions from students, staff and the community are well considered and included in school decision making. Parents are well informed about their children’s learning and school events. Senior leaders regularly meet with and provide parents with detailed information about school programmes. This includes meeting with and providing information for parents of new-entrant children.

Self-review processes are well understood and effectively used and promoted by the school leaders. The principal makes good use of staff strengths and provide opportunities for teachers to grow as leaders. Knowledgeable trustees have a clear understanding of the difference between governance and management. There are good systems to ensure students’ safety and wellbeing.

Board assurance on legal requirements

Before the review, the board of trustees and principal of the school completed the ERO Board Assurance Statement and Self-Audit Checklists. In these documents they attested that they had taken all reasonable steps to meet their legislative obligations related to:

  • board administration
  • curriculum
  • management of health, safety and welfare
  • personnel management
  • financial management
  • asset management.

During the review, ERO checked the following items because they have a potentially high impact on student achievement:

  • emotional safety of students (including prevention of bullying and sexual harassment)
  • physical safety of students
  • teacher registration
  • processes for appointing staff
  • stand-downs, suspensions, expulsions and exclusions
  • attendance.

When is ERO likely to review the school again?

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

Graham Randell

National Manager Review Services Southern Region

15 February 2013

About the School

Location

West Melton, Canterbury

Ministry of Education profile number

3587

School type

Full Primary (Years 1 to 8)

School roll

303

Gender composition

Boys 54% Girls 46%

Ethnic composition

NZ European/Pākehā

Māori

Samoan

Asian

Other Ethnicities

86%

5%

1%

2%

6%

Review team on site

November 2012

Date of this report

15 February 2013

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

November 2009

August 2006

September 2003