Concord School

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Education institution number:
3727
School type:
Contributing
School gender:
Co-Educational
Definition:
Not Applicable
Total roll:
74
Telephone:
Address:

5 Thoreau Street, Concord, Dunedin

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School Context

Concord School is a small, urban school providing education for 84 children from Years 1 to 6. Māori and Pacific children make up 27% of the roll.

The staffing has remained stable for many years. All teaching staff are experienced. The principal also has a teaching role.

The school’s vision of ‘Together we learn and grow’ and values of ‘Concord Kids CARE - Confident And Respectful, Responsible and striving for Excellence’, were developed in consultation with the children and their families. The school community has also developed a Learners’ Profile which states the valued outcomes for its students.

The school’s current strategic priorities are to:

  • enhance engagement in learning for all children with a focus on achieving well in literacy and numeracy

  • ensure a safe and inclusive school culture for all staff, children and whānau

  • develop positive learning partnerships with whānau that aim to accelerate children’s progress in all curriculum areas.

The principal reports to the board on:

  • student achievement and progress/accelerated progress
  • progress and achievement in relation to school targets
  • outcomes related to engagement and wellbeing for success.

In response to the recommendations from the last ERO review in 2015, the school has further developed its appraisal process and strategic plan. Strengthening internal evaluation processes and reporting to the board on progress towards the annual goals is work in progress. Teachers have taken part in professional development to support consistent approaches to learning and behaviour.

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 working towards achieving excellent outcomes for all students. The school’s data over the last five years shows most students achieving at or above the school’s expected levels in reading and mathematics and slightly lower in writing. Boys achieved less well than girls in reading and writing. In 2017 overall levels of achievement dropped in reading and mathematics. There was disparity for boys overall and particularly for Māori boys in writing.

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

The school is having mixed success in accelerating the achievement of students who need extra support to succeed.

The school’s 2017 data shows that two thirds of the students who had not reached expectations in 2016 made accelerated progress in reading. The focus on raising the achievement of a group of boys for writing had very limited success.

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?

The school has effectively involved its community in developing and refreshing the school’s vision and values. The valued outcomes for Concord students are clearly defined. The CARE attributes/values are being consistently implemented to help achieve the valued outcomes. These values are interwoven across all aspects of school life. They are highly visible throughout the school and students are able to talk about them and explain what they mean for their learning and behaviour.

Students feel well supported by their teachers to learn. Specialist care is provided for students with additional learning and behaviour needs so that they can be included in learning activities alongside their peers. Teachers are involved in ongoing learning to more effectively support students to grow their skills for independently managing themselves and their learning. Teachers know the students and their families/whānau well. The school seeks to involve parents and community members in the life of the school and in supporting students’ learning.

The teachers, teacher aides and the principal work well as a team, sharing their knowledge, strengths and interest in professional practice. They collaborate in planning and discussing ways that individual students like to learn.

The school ensures that all students have equitable opportunities to access the full curriculum. Students learn through a range of interesting experiences in and beyond the school. The strong focus on literacy and mathematics learning is integrated across all learning areas. The school has invested in digital technology to enhance students’ engagement in learning, particularly for boys’ writing. The inclusion of Māori language and culture into the curriculum, and involvement and celebration of cultural events is helping build students’ awareness of and value for New Zealand’s bicultural heritage. Students’ opinions and ideas are sought about their sense of wellbeing and their preferred and possible contexts for learning. With teacher support, they set and review their own goals for learning.

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

Internal-evaluation processes and practices need further strengthening and development. Teachers and school leaders need to develop more in-depth understanding of internal evaluation and its use to show effectiveness and improvement. This involves developing:

  • a framework with clear guidelines and processes for effective internal evaluation
  • a schedule aligned to the school’s strategic goals and key priorities to ensure regular review of all key operations
  • rigorous appraisal for all teachers and inquiry, coherently aligned to the school’s targets for raising achievement and other key priorities.

The school’s progress toward achieving the annual goals and key priorities for improving outcomes for children, including planning for target students, should be reported on more regularly.

The school should continue to strengthen ways for Māori and Pacific children to develop knowledge and pride in their own culture and identity. This includes teachers continuing to grow their own comfort and skill in meaningfully using te reo and tikanga Māori.

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:

  • a supportive and inclusive school culture

  • a broad curriculum underpinned by school values that promote children’s learning and wellbeing

  • the way in which key competencies are being supported and implemented

  • collaborative relationships between teachers, the principal and parent community.

Next steps

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

  • school leaders and teachers developing further understanding, guidelines and coherence in internal evaluation and strengthening appraisal to promote improved outcomes for children

  • the principal reporting more frequently on the school’s progress toward achieving the school’s annual goals, targets and key priorities

  • the teachers, principal and trustees continuing to more deliberately plan for Māori and Pacific children to strengthen knowledge and pride in their culture and identity

  • targeted planning to accelerate learning.

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 Southern

Te Waipounamu - Southern Region

2 August 2018

About the school

Location

Dunedin

Ministry of Education profile number

3727

School type

Contributing (Years 1 to 6)

School roll

84

Gender composition

Boys: 45

Girls: 39

Ethnic composition

Māori: 17
Pākehā: 54
Pacific: 8
Other ethnicities: 5

Students with Ongoing Resourcing Funding (ORS)

Yes

Provision of Māori medium education

No

Review team on site

June 2018

Date of this report

2 August 2018

Most recent ERO reports

Education Review: September 2015

Education Review: May 2012

Exemplar Report - Concord School - A Journey Towards Implementing the Digital Technologies Curriculum Content - February 2020

In February 2020 the Education Review Office published an Exemplar Review on A Journey Towards Implementing the Digital Technologies Curriculum Content. Please read it here.

Findings

Concord School provides a positive and safe learning environment for all students. It has consulted extensively with the community to develop its shared values. The board and teaching staff are committed to care for students’ culture, identity and language. Significant progress has been made in lifting reading and mathematics achievement since 2012.

Students experience learning across a broad curriculum within and beyond the school.

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?

Concord School is a small urban school for students in Years 1 to 6. It continues to provide a positive and safe learning environment for students. The school hosts a class from Sara Cohen School for students who have very high needs.

The school roll remains stable and there has been no recent change in the teaching staff. There are several new trustees on the board, and a new chairperson took over the role at the beginning of 2015.

The school is building effective relationships with its parent community. It values the support it receives from its parent and wider community. The school works with local early childhood centres to help children transition smoothly into school.

The school’s vision is for children to be happy and motivated learners. Teachers are committed to supporting students to strive for success through their best effort, self determination and courage to make wise choices.

Achievement in 2014 showed that most students were achieving well in reading and mathematics. Achievement in writing was lower. Appropriate targets and plans are in place to improve writing achievement. Significant progress has been made in reading and mathematics achievement since 2012.

Since the 2012 ERO review, the school has made good progress in addressing the areas for improvement identified in the ERO report.

2 Learning

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

The school uses achievement information effectively to make positive changes to learners’ engagement, progress and achievement.

Teachers are supporting students to take a greater responsibility for their learning and the assessment of their learning. Students are setting useful goals to lift their achievement levels and enhance their work and social skills. Students told ERO they think the goals are having a positive impact on their learning.

Teachers know their students well as individuals and learners. Teachers use achievement information well to:

  • determine learning needs for individuals and groups of students
  • guide their planning and teaching
  • identify common areas of need across the school
  • evaluate the effectiveness of their teaching and focus on improving their practice.

The principal regularly analyses school-wide and group data. This leads to:

  • setting relevant targets to address areas of need
  • relevant professional learning and development (PLD) and teachers’ appraisal goals for teachers
  • informative reports to the board.

Trustees use this analysed student achievement information to make decisions about additional staffing and other resourcing.

3 Curriculum

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

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

Students experience learning across a broad curriculum within and beyond the school. This includes camps, trips, sports and opportunities for senior students to develop leadership skills.

The teaching guidelines for learning programmes and student achievement expectations are clear and contribute to school-wide consistency. The school is in the process of revising aspects of its curriculum, in particular its vision and values. School leaders have consulted widely with the school community about these.

The school provides specific programmes to cater for the different needs and abilities of students. Teachers are responsive and adjust their teaching programmes to allow for more opportunity for students to learn. For example, students are benefitting from more time for writing instruction and the deliberate teaching of skills and knowledge.

Other positive aspects of the school’s curriculum include:

  • deliberate actions to engage parents/whānau in their children’s learning and the life of the school
  • the numerous ways students have to practice and enhance their oral language skills
  • a variety of activities and experiences to support students’ social-skill development.

School leaders acknowledge that leaders and teachers could make more purposeful use of assessment data to lift the quality of oral language.

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

A significant number (19%) of students at the school identify as Māori. These students achieve very well in reading and mathematics, and slightly lower in writing.

The school is committed to care for students’ culture, identity and language. Māori students are seeing and hearing aspects of their culture within school programmes. All students and teachers enjoy and benefit from regular kapahaka lessons. These lessons incorporate te reo and tikanga Māori.

The school holds regular hui to gather Māori whānau perspectives about the school curriculum and activities. The hui have greatly contributed to strong relationships being developed between home and school.

The school and whānau Māori are well placed to formally develop their vision for what success as Māori is for Concord School. Action plans need to be developed to enable this vision to be met. The progress and achievement of the vision need to be evaluated and reported at whānau hui and to the board.

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, principal and teachers engage well with the community and in particular their whānau Māori. They have consulted extensively with the community to develop shared values for students and adults.

The board and principal have developed a comprehensive strategic plan. It effectively aligns the planned actions to meaningful desired goals and outcomes for students. Trustees and the principal agree that the strategic plan could provide better direction by being more focused on key priorities.

The school has a well-developed framework to guide its review of programmes, including useful questions and a schedule for regular review. The board receives regular reports about the interventions and additional programmes in place to support students’ learning. These reports could be strengthened by ensuring they are evaluative rather than describing what has been done. As a result of review, good analysis of data and professional learning and development, the principal and teachers have made worthwhile improvements to the school’s writing and mathematics programmes.

The board is very supportive of the teachers. Teachers have purposeful PLD opportunities that support school-wide initiatives. These are linked to identified student needs and achievement targets.

A useful appraisal system links well to school goals and targets. A next step is for teachers to provide greater and more evaluative appraisal evidence.

Key next steps

The principal and board need to put in place robust processes to ensure that the:

  • strategic plan has purposeful links to the school vision
  • strategic plan identifies actual school priorities
  • progress of planned actions is monitored and reported throughout the year
  • plans and actions are evaluated to show the difference made to student 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

Concord School provides a positive and safe learning environment for all students. It has consulted extensively with the community to develop its shared values. The board and teaching staff are committed to care for students’ culture, identity and language. Significant progress has been made in lifting reading and mathematics achievement since 2012.

Students experience learning across a broad curriculum within and beyond the school.

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

Chris Rowe

Deputy Chief Review Officer Southern (Acting)

4 September 2015

About the School

Location

Dunedin

Ministry of Education profile number

3727

School type

Contributing (Years 1 to 6)

School roll

72

Gender composition

Boys: 40

Girls: 32

Ethnic composition

Pākehā

Māori

Other

47

14

11

Review team on site

July 2015

Date of this report

4 September 2015

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Supplementary Review

May 2012

March 2009

April 2006