Grants Braes School

We maintain a regular review programme to evaluate and report on the education and care of young people in schools.

We are in the process of shifting from event-based external reviews to supporting each school in a process of continuous improvement.

There may be delays between reviews for some schools and kura due to Covid-19 and while we transition to our new way of reviewing.

Read more about our new processes and why we changed the way we review schools and kura.

Find out which schools have upcoming reviews.

School Context

Grants Braes School is a Years 1 to 6 primary school in Waverley, Dunedin. The roll is 275 students, 38 of whom identify as Māori.

The school’s vision is Kia tūhura, kia kite, kia mahi ngātahi: To explore, discover and learn together. Its values are: E kumanu ana - we care; E ako ana - we learn; E āhei ana - we can; E mahi ngātahi ana - we are. The school states that its strategic goals are that all students and staff will be actively engaging with the school curriculum and progressing towards achievement, and to strengthen and encourage family and whānau participation and engagement in the school community.

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

  • reading, writing, mathematics, and other learning areas of the New Zealand Curriculum
  • progress of groups of students receiving additional learning support.

Since the February 2015 ERO review a new principal and junior school team leader have been appointed. There has been considerable growth in the roll and an enrolment scheme has been implemented. Learning spaces have been redeveloped to provide flexible learning areas for students in Years 2 to 6. School-wide professional learning has been undertaken in mathematics, literacy, collaborative practices and future focused curriculum.

Grants Braes School continues to be a high performing school.

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 consistently positive outcomes for most students. Achievement information for 2016 to mid-2019 shows that most students achieve at or above the school’s expectations in reading, writing and mathematics, and across the wider curriculum.

Some disparity in the outcomes for girls and of a group of Māori learners in mathematics, in 2018, resulted in strategic interventions being implemented in 2019, and this disparity is reducing significantly.

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

Specific and targeted responses to accelerate progress have been effective in supporting those students who need this.

Learning interventions are carefully considered and selected to meet the needs of each student, and progress is closely monitored. Students who are not experiencing success in a particular learning support programme are quickly directed on to other interventions or agencies. Those who have completed a programme are monitored to ensure progress is sustained.

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 are the focus of all work of the school. Close collaboration among leaders, teachers, students and parents supports and enriches learning. Work with other education professionals and organisations extends students’ opportunities for learning. The social and collaborative nature of learning is recognised and well organised, with students experiencing multiple opportunities to work with a range of peers and adults.

Students’ creativity, curiosity and exploration are promoted across the curriculum through play and inquiry, which also develops oral language, social skills and leadership. Clear progressions, thoughtful planning and carefully scaffolded learning ensure that the individual and collective needs of students are well met. Students are confidently engaged and empowered as learners.

Leaders pursue equity and excellence for students by building and embedding effective relationships, structures and processes. The school community works together to create a positive environment that is inclusive, open minded and strengths based. Relational trust at all levels supports openness, collaboration, risk taking and receptiveness to change.

The perspectives of parents, whānau and runanga are gathered, valued, and incorporated into the school’s vision, values and curriculum. Learning is enriched by cultural and community resources. Leaders are directly involved in planning, coordinating, evaluating and knowledge building to support best outcomes for all students.

Trustees, leaders and teachers are well informed about the progress of their priority learners, and resources are appropriately directed to meet the needs of students most at risk of not achieving. Students are provided with equitable opportunities to learn and achieve success.

The board of trustees effectively represents and serves the school community to enact its vision, values and priorities. Strong board processes, including comprehensive policy reviews, support the principal and enable effective governance. External support is appropriately sourced, when required. Trustees receive a range of quality learning information and evaluations, including multiple perspectives, to support their understanding for strategic decision making. Decisions are appropriately focused on the learning, achievement and wellbeing of students.

Trustees, leaders and teachers make use of coherent systems and practices that support equitable student participation and engagement. Robust systems are used for assessing, tracking and monitoring achievement and progress, including those students who have recently left the school. Coherent communication tools and practices ensure that learning is widely known about and celebrated. Teachers’ inquiry and knowledge building processes are purposeful and responsive to student needs. Students learn in a well-informed, cohesive and orderly environment.

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

Trustees, leaders and teachers, in association with students and whānau, should further explore and clarify the ways in which the school’s curriculum is connected to their valued outcomes for learners. This should enable the school to better evaluate how well its students are prepared, with the necessary knowledge, skills, values and dispositions, to be successful lifelong learners.

3 Other Matters

Provision for international students

The school is a signatory to the Education (Pastoral Care of International Students) Code of Practice 2016 (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 was one international student attending the school.

The school is providing well for this student’s educational and pastoral needs.

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 Grants Braes 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:

  • positive, collaborative relationships that support students’ learning and personal development
  • effective leadership that builds a culture of openness to growth across the learning community
  • the board’s, leaders’ and teachers’ knowledge of, and responses to, individual needs that lead to excellent and equitable outcomes
  • well-established systems and processes that sustain effective practices at all levels.

Next steps

For sustained improvement and future learner success, a priority for further development is in making explicit the connections between the school’s curriculum and its valued outcomes for learners, so that the effectiveness of these can be clearly known and evaluated.

Dr Lesley Patterson

Director Review and Improvement Services Southern

Southern Region

28 January 2020

About the school

Location

Dunedin

Ministry of Education profile number

3742

School type

Contributing primary (Years 1-6)

School roll

275

Gender composition

Male 53%

Female 47%

Ethnic composition

Māori 13%

NZ European/Pākehā 59%

Chinese 6%

Middle Eastern 4%

Other 18%

Students with Ongoing Resourcing Funding (ORS)

Yes

Provision of Māori medium education

No

Review team on site

November 2019

Date of this report

28 January 2020

Most recent ERO reports

Education Review February 2015

Education Review December 2011

 

Findings

The school has high expectations that students will achieve well, make appropriate progress and be engaged in their learning. Students benefit from effective teaching. There are robust processes to support sound governance and leadership. The school’s value for the language, culture and identity of Māori students and whānau is being made increasingly more visible.

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?

Grant’s Braes School provides a positive, inclusive environment for students and their families. A strong focus is placed on creating a family-like culture based on respect, care and co-operation (manaakitanga, whanaungatanga). Senior students that spoke with ERO expressed a strong sense of belonging and appreciation for their school and teachers.

Students achieve highly. They experience a well-balanced variety of learning. This includes effective programmes to support and/or extend their thinking and interests.

The school roll has grown significantly since the 2011 ERO review. Its local community and student population has become increasingly diverse. The school maintains close links with its parent and wider community. The community is kept well informed and involved through reports, consultation, surveys and a useful school website. Teachers and school leaders develop effective working relationships with the students and their families/whānau. Parent involvement is sought and welcomed. As a result, experiences for learning have been enriched.

The school’s focus on what is best for students and their achievement is well managed and planned for. The school has successfully addressed the recommendations from the last ERO report.

2 Learning

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

The school makes very effective use of a wide range of learning information to make positive changes to students’ learning. Trustees and teachers have high expectations that students will achieve well, make appropriate progress and be engaged in their learning.

Areas of strength

Students are highly aware of their learning. This includes the purpose of class and group lessons, their next steps and goals. They are appropriately involved in assessing their own and classmates’ work against set criteria and can identify how this helps with their learning.

Teachers make effective use of learning information to:

  • determine the learning levels and needs of individuals and groups of students
  • monitor and ensure students are making appropriate progress
  • evaluate the impact their teaching is having on students’ learning
  • identify the changes they need to make to progress students’ learning
  • engage students in their learning and the learning process.

Leaders make purposeful use of learning information to:

  • identify trends and patterns of achievement across the school and within groups of students
  • identify targeted groups and areas of learning that need to be supported and focused on
  • monitor the achievement and rates of progress of individuals and groups of students
  • evaluate the impact of interventions and other support programmes running within the school.

Trustees receive comprehensive and well-analysed information. They use this to inform their resourcing decisions, including professional learning and development, staffing, and purchasing and building plans. Trustees are knowledgeable about the impact of support programmes and interventions.

3 Curriculum

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

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

Areas of strength

Students benefit from effective teaching. Key features of the teaching practices include:

  • consistency of approach across all classes with suitable flexibility to best meet the needs for the different ages
  • expectations of teachers being made clear to the students regarding their learning and behaviour
  • students having opportunities to learn through effective timetabling, curriculum content, and class tone and management
  • teachers using students’ interests well to provide interesting, relevant learning contexts
  • the competent use of ICT as teaching and learning tools.

The school’s curriculum is soundly based on the principles, values and key competencies of the New Zealand Curriculum. It places an appropriate emphasis on literacy, mathematics, fitness and physical education. Other learning areas are effectively taught through an inquiry approach. This approach has evolved over time to support the school’s vision of developing children who are inquiring, resilient, life-long learners with the skills and desire to contribute and succeed.

Learning support programmes are well implemented. Students benefit from a range of interventions to support identified needs. Their progress is well monitored. Teachers review this to ensure they are meeting the students’ needs. The school makes effective use of the skilful teacher aides.

Other key features of the curriculum include:

  • useful collaborative learning partnerships developed between teachers and whānau
  • explicit guidelines leading to robust assessment practices
  • regular gathering and responding to the ideas and opinions of students and parents
  • a purposeful programme and systems to transition students into school and between classes
  • purposeful, varied extension programmes for all year levels.
Next step

The school leaders and teachers need to make additions to the curriculum guidelines to ensure they reflect the current high-quality practices. This should help maintain the high expectations and guide practice in the future.

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

Since the last ERO review, the school has further improved the ways in which Māori students are supported to engage and achieve in their learning. The overall level of Māori achievement in reading, writing, mathematics and other areas of learning is consistently high. The progress Māori students make in their learning is closely monitored. Students with identified needs are prioritised and receive effective support.

Staff, school leaders and trustees have created a culture that promotes and supports respect and diversity. This is very well planned and managed. The school’s value for the language, culture and identity of Māori students and their whānau is being made increasingly more visible. The values of whanaungatanga and manaakitanga are widely known and practiced. As the school, with parents and whānau, work through the Māori plan they could further develop a shared understanding of what success as Māori will look like at the school.

The school-wide development of kapa haka is providing meaningful opportunities for learning for all students and their families. Teachers include aspects of language and culture into the daily learning of all students. The identification of Māori students on the school roll has increased. The support from lead teachers and Māori parents are helping to enrich the learning of te ao Māori for staff and students.

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. Trustees, leaders and teachers are committed to ongoing school-wide improvement.

Areas of strength

The board is very well informed about student achievement and all things happening to support their progress. Strategic planning places a strong focus on what is best for students and what contributes to improving their learning. School review is guided by well-analysed information that focuses on improving outcomes for students.

The school's vision is well developed and future focused.

School leaders have effectively built a culture of ongoing improvement within the school.

  • A shared focus on student outcomes informs decision-making.
  • Senior leaders and teachers work collaboratively and reflect on their practices.
  • Best-teaching practice is effectively built and shared.
  • School-wide systems are well-known and rigorously applied.

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 was one international student attending the school. He and his parents receive good quality support from the school. He receives effective support for his learning and is well integrated into the school community.

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

The school has high expectations that students will achieve well, make appropriate progress and be engaged in their learning. Students benefit from effective teaching. There are robust processes to support sound governance and leadership. The school’s value for the language, culture and identity of Māori students and whānau is being made increasingly more visible.

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

Graham Randell

Deputy Chief Review Officer Southern

10 February 2015

About the School

Location

Dunedin

Ministry of Education profile number

3742

School type

Contributing school (Years 1 to 6)

School roll

201

Number of international students

1

Gender composition

Boys: 55% Girls: 45%

Ethnic composition

Pākehā

Māori

Asian

Pacific

Other

70%

14%

6%

3%

7%

Review team on site

November 2014

Date of this report

10 February 2015

Most recent ERO reports

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

December 2011

July 2008

November 2005