Elmgrove School

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School Context

Elmgrove School is an urban school in Mosgiel. At the time of the review there were 313 Years 1 to 6 students at the school. The school’s vision is ‘Elmgrove learners will be resilient, caring and engaged. They will learn skills and attitudes that enable them to participate positively within their community’. The vision is underpinned by the school values of respect, caring, perseverance and responsibility.

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

  • achievement in reading, writing and mathematics

  • progress and achievement in relation to school targets in reading, writing and mathematics, and intervention programmes.

Since the last ERO review in 2014 the school has appointed a new principal.

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 making good progress towards achieving equitable and excellent outcomes for all its students.All teachers and leaders strongly prioritise the provision of equitable opportunities for all children to achieve well.

Over the last three years, most students achieved at or above the school’s expectations in reading, writing and mathematics.

Most boys achieve well in reading and mathematics. There is some disparity for boys in writing. Most girls achieve well in reading and writing, with some disparity for girls in mathematics.

Students with additional learning needs are well supported to achieve their learning goals by a system of regular, careful planning and school-wide monitoring of their progress.

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

The school is effective in accelerating the learning for many of those students who need to make this progress.All students who are at risk with their learning are very well supported. Leaders and teachers closely monitor individual engagement, progress and achievement within year groups.

In 2017 the majority of students needing to make accelerated progress did so.

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 a number of processes and practices that are highly effective in enabling achievement of equity and excellence.

The board is very well informed about student learning and wellbeing and uses this information very effectively to ensure the focus remains on equity and excellence for all students. Trustees bring a valuable range of skills and experience to the governance of the school. The board is strongly focussed on serving the community and school in its role.

Leadership across the school is strong, professional and collaborative. Leaders continue to enhance the positive environment for teaching and learning by engaging in school-wide, purposeful professional development. The focus on evidence-based inquiries into teaching and learning practice has successfully supported decision making in a period of significant change. Teachers use a systematic and effective approach to gathering, tracking and sharing learning information about students.

Leaders have continuously focused on improving positive outcomes for all students by:

  • the strategic alignment of resourcing to support school priorities

  • increasing collaboration between teachers

  • building effective leadership and teaching practice

  • meaningful enactment of the school values

  • effective internal evaluation processes.

Students are at the centre of the learning community which is characterised by respect, relational trust, cooperation and team work. Students benefit from an inclusive, caring and collaborative culture where their abilities and interests are valued. They are actively engaged in authentic, well-planned learning programmes. Leaders and teachers have deliberate relationships with parents and whānau, with an increasing focus on learning. Students are effectively supported to take increasing responsibility for themselves and their learning. They can demonstrate an understanding of the incremental steps they need to take to make progress, and are aware of the relevance of their learning through mathematics and writing pathways.

A broad, coherent and responsive curriculum offers students rich opportunities for learning. New Zealand’s bicultural heritage is reflected throughout school practices and programmes. A range of well-tailored interventions support students who need extra support with their learning. Experienced and trained teacher aides are an integral and valued part of the collaborative teaching model.

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

School leaders and teachers now need to continue to use the learning information already in the school to more fully evaluate and record the:

  • sufficiency of progress for all students (whether acceleration being achieved is sufficient to reach school expectations)

  • impact of initiatives on outcomes, including evaluating the impact of strategies, programmes and interventions to improve learning and well-being outcomes for students.

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:

  • an inclusive culture that supports learning and wellbeing

  • the way in which teachers enable best outcomes for students

  • effective governance practices that are contributing to positive learning outcomes

  • learner-centred, improvement-focused teaching that contributes to improved learning outcomes

  • provision for children with additional needs that enables them to experience success.

Next steps

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

  • measuring the impact of strategies, programmes and interventions to improve learning and well-being outcomes

  • more fully evaluating and recording sufficiency of progress for all students.

ERO’s next external evaluation process and timing

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

Alan Wynyard

Director Review & Improvement Services Southern

30 August 2018

About the school

Location

Mosgiel

Ministry of Education profile number

3778

School type

Contributing (Years 1 to 6)

School roll

313

Gender composition

Girls: 47%

Boys: 53%

Ethnic composition

Māori 12%

Pākehā 79%

Pacific 2%

Other ethnicities 7%

Students with Ongoing Resourcing Funding (ORS)

No

Provision of Māori medium education

No

Review team on site

July 2018

Date of this report

30 August 2018

Most recent ERO reports

Education Review: August 2014

Education Review: July 2011

Education Review: May 2008

Findings

Elmgrove is a high-performing school. Students benefit from multiple and varied learning opportunities. They are encouraged to take personal responsibility for their learning. The school culture is highly inclusive and supportive of students and their families. Leadership and management are effective, and the team approach enables teachers to use their strengths and interests.

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?

Elmgrove School is a high-performing school. There is a very useful alignment between strategic planning, the responsive school curriculum, teaching practice and classroom programmes. The school’s vision of care for ourselves, each other and the environment is at the centre of its performance. Teachers and leaders have a strong emphasis on enhancing the school culture that supports learning for all.

Teachers have high expectations of their own teaching and of students’ learning and behaviour. These factors combine with the positive engagement of the community to create an environment where students are supported in reaching their potential.

Teachers are committed to adapting their practice to maximise each student's learning, where this is appropriate. There is an obvious focus on priority learners who need to make accelerated progress. Teachers and leaders are currently focusing on developing students’ understanding of their own learning and their role in the learning process.

Important features of this school are the way:

  • all students are valued members of the school community
  • biculturalism is effectively integrated into the culture of the school
  • programme developments are built and maintained through a team approach.

Parents take the many opportunities provided to engage in their children’s learning and in the life of the school. They provide support that benefits all students across the broad school curriculum.

The school has made considerable progress in key areas identified in the 2011 ERO review.

Reports to the board and Ministry of Education (MOE) show that most students achieve at good levels in literacy and mathematics in relation to National Standards. They also show accelerated progress for those students needing to lift their achievement levels.

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 very effectively to make positive changes to learners’ engagement, progress and achievement. Teachers and leaders use student achievement information throughout the year to identify and respond to those students at risk of not achieving as well as expected.

Students, with teacher support, use learning information well to:

  • set goals and determine their next learning steps
  • identify appropriate times to attend workshops with their teachers
  • talk with their parents about their learning at interviews
  • track progress in specific areas.

Teachers gather useful information across many areas, including student wellbeing and social development. They gather this through observations and a range of tools. They analyse the information thoroughly to:

  • identify needs and abilities
  • monitor and show progress of individual students and groups of students
  • help decide on appropriate teaching programmes to cater for identified needs and abilities
  • evaluate the effectiveness of their teaching strategies and adapt programmes and approaches when necessary.

School leaders investigate class, syndicate and school-wide learning information comprehensively to identify needs of students and teachers. They then:

  • identify targets for specific curriculum areas, groups of students and for the charter
  • determine staffing needs, learning interventions and programmes
  • monitor and confirm progress, evaluate the effectiveness of school teaching programmes, including interventions, and make necessary changes
  • establish professional learning programmes for teachers and parent education programmes.

Trustees are well informed through reports on school-wide achievement and progress. This informs their decisions about resourcing, targets and interventions.

Next step

Leaders and teachers need to review the written reports to students and their parents, especially for consistency of format and use of plain language.

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 student learning. Students are very actively involved in an interesting and wide-ranging curriculum that they describe as fun.

The curriculum is very responsive to:

  • students’ needs, identified for individuals, groups and the whole school
  • the New Zealand Curriculum, best teaching practice and other research
  • teachers’ needs, interests and strengths
  • educational focuses, including National Standards and Māori succeeding as Māori
  • community needs and aspirations.

This responsiveness leads to a dynamic curriculum through the teachers and school leaders, the curriculum in action:

  • continues to place an emphasis on developing students’ skills and knowledge in literacy and mathematics
  • builds students’ awareness of their bicultural heritage through well-chosen integration of Māori perspectives into class studies and practices
  • uses students’ ideas and views respectfully
  • uses ICT effectively as teaching and learning tools and for engaging parents in their children’s learning.

Students take up the many opportunities provided to:

  • be leaders within the life of the school, including leading class physical activities, supporting teachers and students with ICT and mentoring junior students
  • develop skills and approaches to manage and take responsibility for their own learning
  • take part in a wide range of sporting, physical and cultural activities.

Students gain from the multiple layers of learning support and systems designed to provide them with high-quality teaching and learning. These systems and support include specialist teachers to work with students with high learning needs, trained and well supported teacher aides, and tailoring MOE initiatives to the school’s context. Comprehensive action plans, school leaders and appropriate resourcing guide teachers with class and school targets.

Students benefit from settled and purposeful classrooms. ERO observed well-managed classrooms and high levels of student involvement in appropriate learning activities. Students were generally able to tell ERO about their learning and what they currently had to focus on to improve. Teachers use a range of suitable teaching approaches to make learning meaningful to students. They reflect on their teaching to ensure they are making a difference to students’ learning.

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

Students experience many aspects of their identity, culture and language in school life and learning.

Contributing to these experiences are marae visits, many opportunities to hear and use te reo Māori throughout the day and incorporating tikanga Māori into the way things are done at Elmgrove. Mātariki is celebrated as a whole school annually. The large kapahaka group showcases the group’s growing Māori performance skills and offers opportunities for student leadership to be extended in this context.

The teaching team championing biculturalism and success for Māori has established a comprehensive strategic plan. This plan is based on well thought-out descriptions of key Māori cultural concepts, including manaakitanga/caring, whanaunatanga/inclusion and rangatiratanga/respect. These concepts are very evident throughout school practice. The school’s curriculum overview should be enhanced if the cultural concepts were aligned with the school’s existing values.

The strategic plan provides a strong strategic approach to build the knowledge, confidence and skills of all those in the school’s community. Teachers use practical te reo teaching resources provided by the support teachers.

Currently teachers gather whānau voice on an individual whānau by whānau basis. The support team is exploring ways to boost whānau input by having group discussions; these could include sharing key points of the strategic plan to gain family input, response and support.

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. There is strong alignment between governance, leadership, management, teachers, the curriculum and student learning.

School governance is based on a well-defined vision and curriculum overview. The vision is developed through useful long and short-term planning and review. Trustees have put in place suitable practices to look after the wellbeing of staff.

The principal’s leadership style empowers staff. Leaders at all levels are well supported to build their capability and capacity as leaders. Leadership teams focus on building a learning culture as guided by school plans.

Effective management practices focus on ensuring good outcomes for students. This is evident in the:

  • appropriate four-year development cycle to introduce and embed new programmes and initiatives
  • clear lines of responsibility
  • development areas being ably led by teacher groups
  • well-planned performance management practices with purposeful links to school goals.

Students, whānau and teachers benefit from the meaningful and reciprocal home/school relationships. Parents take the numerous opportunities provided to be part of their child’s life at school. The school is responsive to feedback it receives from parents.

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

Elmgrove is a high-performing school. Students benefit from multiple and varied learning opportunities. They are encouraged to take personal responsibility for their learning. The school culture is highly inclusive and supportive of students and their families. Leadership and management are effective, and the team approach enables teachers to use their strengths and interests.

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

Graham Randell

National Manager Review Services Southern Region

1 August 2014

About the School

Location

Mosgiel

Ministry of Education profile number

3778

School type

Contributing (Years 1 to 6)

School roll

262

Gender composition

Girls: 50% Boys: 50%

Ethnic composition

NZ European/Pākehā

NZ Māori

Pacific

Asian

Other

83%

12%

1%

2%

2%

Review team on site

June 2014

Date of this report

1 August 2014

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

July 2011

May 2008

May 2005