Sawyers Bay School

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Education institution number:
3817
School type:
Contributing
School gender:
Co-Educational
Definition:
Not Applicable
Total roll:
116
Telephone:
Address:

99 Stevenson Avenue, Sawyers Bay, Port Chalmers

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School Context

Sawyers Bay School, near Port Chalmers, caters for students in Years 1 to 6. The school has experienced significant roll growth over time and currently has approximately 140 students. Twenty percent of the roll are Māori.

The school’s vision states that the school is a place where teaching and learning engages, challenges and supports students, empowering all to become confident and capable lifelong learners. The vision is underpinned by the school values, where both children and staff are expected to be thinkers, risk takers, collaborators, communicators and self-managers. 

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

  • achievement in all curriculum areas, including literacy and mathematics
  • accelerated learning progress and achievement in relation to school targets and other areas related to engagement and the key competencies.

Since the 2014 ERO report, school leadership has remained stable. There have been some changes in the board and teaching team. Leaders and teachers have participated in professional development with a deliberate focus on using teaching strategies to accelerate children’s progress.

Sawyers Bay School is a part of the Dunedin North Community of Learning | Kāhui Ako (CoL), comprising of eleven schools, five early learning services and a tertiary provider. Leaders and teachers have long-established relationships with several local early learning services, schools and wider community networks. 

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 successfully achieving equitable and excellent outcomes for all students. Overall most students, including Māori, achieve at or above expected levels in reading, writing and mathematics. School data shows a positive upward trend in student achievement in reading, with increasing numbers of students achieving well as they move through the school. By the time students reach the end of Year 6 almost all learners are achieving well. 2015 and 2016 school data shows improved parity for boys in literacy and mathematics.

Students achieve well in relation to other school valued outcomes. These include students:

  • knowing that teachers have high expectations of them 
  • having a positive attitude and demonstrating confidence in themselves as learners
  • having opportunities to enact the school values
  • having greater ownership of their learning.

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

School leaders and teachers use effective strategies and practices to support Māori and other students whose learning and achievement need acceleration. Leaders and teachers are very aware of those children most at risk of not achieving, including children with additional learning needs.  They prioritise how they will respond by carefully monitoring and tracking the progress of these learners.

There is a strategic focus on targeted teaching in writing and mathematics with the aim of accelerating progress. This long term focus is having a positive impact on improving student achievement. So too is the board’s resourcing of specific programmes that deliberately support those children most at risk of not achieving. Recent 2017 school data identifies significant acceleration of children’s learning progress in literacy and mathematics.

2 School conditions for equity and excellence

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

The school has specific processes and practices that are effective in enabling achievement of equity and excellence.

The school promotes a positive culture for learning. Students, staff and parents are valued and encouraged to be actively involved. Relationships are respectful and productive. Intergenerational connections to the school are held in high regard. Community aspirations contribute to the school vision and values. The school values are well known to children and their whānau.

Effective school leadership is supporting a strengths based approach to, and shared responsibility for, pursuing equity and excellence for all learners. Leaders establish clear and consistent expectations that are designed to support teaching and learning. Leaders regularly report very good quality information about progress and achievement to the board.   

The board’s charter provides a high level of coherence. It identifies goals and specific achievement targets aligned to improving learning outcomes in writing and mathematics for identified groups of children. Progress towards these targets is closely monitored and reported to the board.

Leaders of different curriculum areas are deliberate in their approach to developing collective staff responsibility for students’ learning progress. Professional development is focused and deep. The school’s approach is personalised for children’s specific learning needs. This targeted approach is improving the effectiveness of teaching, particularly in writing and mathematics.

Ongoing connections and positive relationships with parents/whānau support successful learning outcomes for students. Parents have many opportunities to engage in conversations with teachers about their child’s learning. Parents regularly receive very good information about teaching and learning. Learning partnerships are fostered with families of children who are most at risk of not achieving.

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

Leaders and the board agree that continuing to strengthen bicultural practices is an area for ongoing focus. Reviewing and enhancing bicultural practices would provide more opportunities for Māori children to experience success as Māori, and for all children to learn about the bicultural heritage of Aotearoa New Zealand.

The board demonstrates a willingness to explore the New Zealand School Trustee Association document Hautū: Māori Cultural Responsiveness Self Review tool for Board of Trustees. This framework could help the board undertake an internal evaluation of the school’s responsibility to promote Māori learners’ success.

Leaders and teachers have yet to formalise internal evaluation and professional inquiry processes. It would be useful to explore current research and determine practices that will help deepen evaluation, inquiry and strengthen the school’s appraisal process. Such practices should enable the creation and sharing of new knowledge and understandings about what works best and makes the most difference for learners.

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:

  • leadership that capably develops and pursues the school’s vision, goals and targets for equity and excellence
  • fostering a positive school culture whereby students, staff and parents are valued and encouraged to be actively involved in the life of the school
  • deliberately focusing on accelerating students’ learning progress by developing professional capacity and collective responsibility
  • ensuring clear expectations are in place that support teaching and learning. 

Next steps

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

  • formalising internal evaluation processes and professional inquiry processes to deepen evaluation, inquiry and strengthen the school’s appraisal process
  • extending schoolwide bicultural processes and practices, for all children, and further support for Māori educational success.

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

13 March 2018

About the school 

Location

Port Chalmers

Ministry of Education profile number

3817

School type

Contributing

School roll

140

Gender composition

Boys:     56%

Girls:     44%

Ethnic composition

Māori     20%
Pākehā   75%
Other        5%

Provision of Māori medium education

No

Review team on site

December 2017

Date of this report

13 March 2018

Most recent ERO reports

Education Review:   October  2014
Education Review:   September 2009
Education Review:   July 2006

Findings

Adults and students are enthusiastic teachers and learners. School data shows high numbers of students achieve very well in relation to the National Standards. Students learn in settled classes and receive very good quality teaching. The school is well led by the senior leaders and board. The school is taking steps to develop the consistency of some aspects of good classroom practices throughout 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?

Adults and students at Sawyers Bay School are enthusiastic teachers and learners. They work in small classes and a nurturing environment. Recent renovations have made classrooms pleasant places for learning. The 3Cs values of courtesy, cooperation and common sense are evident in the school.

Since the 2009 ERO review, the school roll has increased. A new principal leads the school, and three new teachers in 2014 have settled quickly with the support of other experienced teachers and a useful induction process. The board of trustees has a good balance of long-serving and new trustees.

The principal has been proactive in forging close links with the parent and local community, neighbouring schools, and early childhood centres.

The school has a 153-year history. Teachers draw on this to enhance the curriculum. The school is well resourced and has continued its emphasis on building ICT resources and expertise to support students’ learning.

The board, principal and teachers have successfully responded to recommendations made in the last ERO review.

2 Learning

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

The teachers, principal and board use achievement information effectively to help students progress and achieve. Historical data shows high numbers of students achieve very well in relation to the National Standards and in comparison with this region. End of 2013 school information shows students achieve highly in reading. Overall, achievement in mathematics and written language is not quite as high but still similar to other schools in the region. In response to assessment information, the board has maintained targets set to raise student achievement in mathematics.

The principal diligently gathers, analyses and reports useful information to the board for making strategic decisions.

Teachers use a range of assessment methods that are both nationally and internally developed. They closely monitor students’ progress and achievement and quickly identify those students needing extra support to succeed in their learning. These students are then provided with a wide range of home and in-and-out of class teaching and support that is specific to their needs.

Teachers work collaboratively and with a neighbouring school to enable reliable judgements to be made about levels of student achievement.

Areas for review and development

There is room to develop greater consistency across the school so that students have a better understanding of their achievement and learning in written language. This will enable them to contribute more meaningfully to decisions about their next learning steps.

The wording of targets could be more specific to accelerating the progress of those students who are at risk of not reaching the National Standards.

Written reports to parents are useful in showing progress and achievement. They could more explicitly show:

  • students’ next learning steps
  • how parents can help support their child’s learning at home
  • an overall judgement about mathematics in relation to the National Standards. Currently this is broken down into the various aspects of mathematics.

3 Curriculum

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

The school’s curriculum effectively promotes students’ learning. Students are very willing, motivated learners.

Students learn in settled classes and receive very good-quality teaching. ERO observed respectful, caring relationships between students and teachers.

Students take part in a wide variety of interesting learning experiences within and beyond the school. The curriculum is enriched by teachers’ use of the geographic features and expertise within the local community. The curriculum is designed to focus on the identified needs of students, gaps in students’ understandings in mathematics. It also aims to broaden learning contexts beyond the core subjects such as science, sports and the arts which feature strongly in daily programmes. Many topics are chosen because of students’ interests and teachers’ strengths.

Documentation shows a well-considered approach to raising student achievement in numeracy. Systems are currently being developed to help build consistent practice across the school. The school guidelines provide a useful basis for the principal and teachers to review their effectiveness against. The principal and teachers have an ongoing focus on improving practice. This is evident in:

  • the appraisal process
  • professional development led by lead teachers
  • the way teachers work collegially and share strategies to help students achieve
  • the way the principal provides opportunities for and supports teachers to develop leadership skills.

Areas for review and development

Teachers’ reflections about their teaching and students’ learning could be more evaluative. There are some very good examples of this. Building consistency in this aspect of practice would enable them to more meaningfully contribute to whole-school self review.

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

Māori students achieve and progress well in their learning. Their achievement is closely monitored and supported, particularly for students showing lower than expected levels of achievement.

The school aim is for Māori students to relate comfortably and confidently in both worlds. All students have wide opportunities to learn te reo and tikanga Māori. The principal and staff model their value for Māori language and culture in their interactions and lesson planning. Students enjoy many combined activities such as Māori assembly, kapa haka group and waiata.

Input from the parent and wider community helps enrich all students’ learning. The opinion of Māori students and students’ parents are sought to set goals for individual learning and school-wide development. The good relationships created with other schools and local kaumatua help provide further opportunities for learning.

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. However, trustees could consider taking more training opportunities to help them carry out their governance roles.

The board is well informed about student progress and achievement. The principal regularly reports about student achievement and other aspects of school operations. Trustees are focused on raising student achievement. To this end, the board funds a specialist teacher and a teacher aide to support students who need extra help to succeed in their learning. There is strong support for developing ICT infrastructure, resourcing and expertise within the school.

The principal makes himself visible around the school and accessible to parents. He has established collaborative relationships amongst the new teaching team, with trustees, students and the parent community.

Teachers are improvement focused and committed to taking part in ongoing professional development. Robust appraisal processes support this improving practice.

The school benefits from strong community support such as PTA fundraising, support for camps, sports coaching and working bees. The community is regularly consulted for their ideas and wishes in aspects of school values, vision and curriculum contexts.

There is a well-defined framework to guide self review. The set schedule is followed and the process is documented. Positive changes result from self review.

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

Adults and students are enthusiastic teachers and learners. School data shows high numbers of students achieve very well in relation to the National Standards. Students learn in settled classes and receive very good quality teaching. The school is well led by the senior leaders and board. The school is taking steps to develop the consistency of some aspects of good classroom practices throughout the school.

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

Graham Randell

National Manager Review Services Southern Region

14 October 2014

About the School

Location

Sawyers Bay, Dunedin

Ministry of Education profile number

3817

School type

Contributing (Years 1 to 6)

School roll

94

Gender composition

Boys: 54 Girls: 40

Ethnic composition

NZ European/Pākehā

Māori

Other

75

13

3

3

Review team on site

August 2014

Date of this report

14 October 2014

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

September 2009

July 2006

August 2003