West Rolleston Primary School

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School Context

West Rolleston Primary School | Te Kura o Te Uru Kōwhai provides education for children in Years 1 to 8 in Rolleston. The school opened in 2016 for children in Years 1 to 4 and expanded to include children up to Year 8 in 2017. The school has grown from an opening roll of 77 to 400 children at the time of this review. This growth reflects the rapidly growing local community.

The school’s vision is to ‘nurture our learners to GROW’. The school’s charter states that it aims to support children to grow as happy and healthy learners, respect themselves, others and the environment, own their unique learning journey and work individually and collaboratively to solve problems, acquire skills and be creative.

To achieve these outcomes the school has set the following strategic priorities:

  • building a positive, caring and inclusive learning culture

  • supporting all children to succeed in their learning and to enable children to contribute with confidence and creativity

  • valuing all children’s culture, language and identity

  • building partnerships with parents and the education community to enhance learning opportunities for children

  • encouraging sustainable practices.

To know about the school’s achievement of its goals, leaders and teachers regularly report to the board, schoolwide information about outcomes for students in the following areas:

  • achievement in relation to the New Zealand Curriculum and school expectations in reading, writing and mathematics

  • aspects of children’s safety and wellbeing.

A feature of the school is the way children learn together in large, flexible-use learning studios. The school hosts a satellite classroom of the Waitaha Special School. The school is a member of the Ngā Peka o Tauwharekākaho Kāhui Ako|Community of Learning (CoL). Since the school’s New School Assurance Review in 2017, a new deputy principal and a number of new teachers have been appointed. Teachers have participated in whole-school professional learning on positive behaviour management and collaborative teaching and learning practices.

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’s 2017 achievement information shows that most children achieve at or above the school’s achievement expectations in reading and the majority of learners achieve well in writing and mathematics.

It is too soon to evaluate how well this new school is achieving equitable and excellent outcomes for all of its students. The school has worked quickly to set up systems and practices to get to know the learning needs of all children enrolled in the school. These systems are starting to help teachers and leaders to know about children’s progress and achievement over time.

The school is not yet reporting on children’s achievement and progress in other learning areas or against the school’s other valued outcomes.

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

Similarly, it is too soon to evaluate how well the school is accelerating learning for all children who need to. The school is in the early stages of setting up systems to analyse the rate of progress all children make. This information will assist leaders to evaluate the effectiveness of plans and actions to accelerate learning.

School information about children targeted for acceleration in 2017 shows that the school was more effective at accelerating children’s learning in literacy than in mathematics.

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’s curriculum effectively enacts the school’s vision and values. Children participate and learn in caring, collaborative learning communities. They are encouraged and supported to develop skills to be self-managing and lead aspects of their learning. A broad, future-focused curriculum caters well for children’s interests and strengths. It reflects and responds to children’s diverse cultures and New Zealand’s bicultural heritage. Children are actively involved in and engaged by authentic contexts and purposes for learning.

School leaders are effectively and collaboratively developing conditions for equity and excellence across the school. This is evident in the way they:

  • lead and model high expectations and clear processes and practices for the development of a positive, relationship-focused school culture

  • ensure effective leadership, planning and coordination of the school’s curriculum, teaching and learning

  • build educationally powerful connections with parents, whānau and the wider education community to enhance learning opportunities for children

  • effectively plan for and manage rapid roll growth and the ongoing development of school processes and systems

  • support and promote teacher development and leadership capability.

Leaders and teachers are actively building their professional capability and collective capacity to achieve excellent and equitable outcomes for children. Teachers are highly engaged in systematic, collaborative and individual inquiry processes focused on improving learning for children. They are participating in well-planned professional learning which is clearly aligned with the school’s vision and valued outcomes for children. Teachers and leaders are working constructively as a new learning community on developing and implementing shared understandings of effective teaching practice.

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

The school has had an appropriate focus in the last two years on the development of a positive school culture, core learning programmes and setting up key school practices and processes. ERO, trustees and leaders agree that it is now timely to:

  • build collective capacity to undertake internal evaluation

  • ensure internal-evaluation processes are robust and well aligned with the school’s strategic priorities, annual goals and progress and/or achievement targets

  • further develop curriculum guidelines and assessment practices to enable evaluation of how well children achieve the school’s valued outcomes, and learning across the breadth of the New Zealand Curriculum.

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 positive, caring learning culture that values each child as a unique individual

  • a broad, future-focused curriculum that engages children through authentic learning opportunities

  • a collaborative leadership and teaching staff that are working constructively to build effective teaching and learning practice.

Next steps

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

  • building collective capacity and robust processes for internal evaluation, in order to know how effectively school processes and programmes are supporting excellent and equitable outcomes for all children

  • developing guidelines for the assessment of the wider curriculum to enable the school to know about all children’s achievement and progress in learning areas beyond reading, writing and mathematics.

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

7 June 2018

About the school

Location

Rolleston

Ministry of Education profile number

584

School type

Full Primary

School roll

400

Gender composition

Girls: 50%

Boys: 50%

Ethnic composition

Māori: 12%

Pākehā: 67%

Pacific: 3%

Other: 18%

Review team on site

April 2018

Date of this report

7 June 2018

Most recent ERO reports

New School Assurance Review: March 2017

New School Readiness Review: May 2016

New School Assurance Review Report

1 Introduction

A New School Assurance Review is a review of particular areas of school performance and is undertaken to specific terms of reference.

New School Assurance Reviews are generally undertaken within the first year of the school’s opening.

Terms of Reference

This review is based on an evaluation of the performance of West Rolleston School – Te Kura o Te Uru Kōwhai. The terms of reference for the review are to provide assurance to the community:

that the school is well placed to provide for students

that the school is operating in accordance with its vision of ‘We will nurture our learners to GROW’.

2 Context

West Rolleston Primary School is a newly established school catering for Years 1 to 8 students.

The new buildings have been constructed with flexible learning areas. The spacious grounds and areas cater for a variety of co-curricular activities. Colour, name and environment link each learning studio to the culture and history of the local area. The well-equipped gymnasium, Te Wao Nui a Tane, is available for hire to the community.

West Rolleston Primary hosts a satellite school. A class of students from Waitaha Special School is situated in the learning studio Te Pā Harakeke.

3 Background

In 2013 the Government recognised that the population in the Rolleston area was growing, and in 2014 announced the establishment of a full primary school in West Rolleston.

An establishment board was set up in 2014 and a principal appointed later that year. The appointment of a deputy principal followed. In May 2016, the school community elected five trustees to form the foundation board. Sixteen staff have been appointed with further staffing expected as the roll grows.

The school opened with 77 children from new entrants to Year 4. At the time of this ERO audit the roll had reached 149. The school is now preparing for a further increase in the roll. Years 4 to 8 students will be enrolled at the start of 2017 as the school transitions to a full primary catering for Years 1 to 8.

4 Findings

The school is very well placed to provide for its students. The establishment board, the foundation board, and senior leaders all have a strong focus on student learning and wellbeing. The school vision and values: to nurture its learners to GROW - to grow, respect, own, and work, are highly evident in aspects of school and community life. These provide a framework for curriculum development and spread throughout the school environment and into the wider community. A sustainable environment is being well established.

Examples of the effective features of the school’s curriculum include:

  • alignment with the New Zealand Curriculum
  • personalised and localised learning contexts that reflect and build on children’s interests and culture
  • the use of digital technologies as an integral part of teaching and learning
  • strong community links to support the learning and teaching programme
  • comprehensive guidelines and expectations for teaching and learning.

Children are highly engaged. Teachers use the modern learning environment well to enable children to make choices, share learning, and work both independently and collaboratively. The open and shared teaching spaces allow flexibility for teachers and children in learning interactions. Children are developing useful skills in working together, making decisions about and managing their own learning.

All staff know the children very well. Good communication and the sharing of student progress with parents and whānau is a schoolwide expectation. Digital technologies are helping to build strong partnerships in learning between the children, their home and the school. Information evenings are held to upskill parents so that they can regularly access, understand and support their child’s learning and progress on line. Parents are actively welcomed and involved in school activities.

Children are achieving well. Children whose learning needs to be accelerated and children with additional learning needs are identified early and closely monitored. Interventions and support are used appropriately and regularly evaluated.

Māori culture is reflected and valued in the school. Core Māori values of manaakitanga (caring) whanaungatanga (family-like relationships) and tuakana-teina (relationships of peer support) are highly evident in the culture and operation of the school.

The focus on a holistic approach to learning helps ensure children learn in an inclusive environment that celebrates the diversity of culture and learning needs. The successful inclusion of the class from Waitaha Learning Centre further adds to the respectful and supportive family atmosphere in the school.

A culture of collaboration among staff to meet the learning needs of all students is very evident. The principal’s enthusiastic and strong leadership underpins the successful opening of the school. Professional learning development (PLD) is well planned and appropriate for the staff. The robust appraisal system is proving useful for the teachers as they further improve their knowledge and practice of teaching in this flexible learning environment.

The school is well governed. Trustees have a range of expertise and interests with a strong strategic focus. The board and senior leaders have developed a well considered charter with strategic and annual plans. These are clear links between the school’s charter goals, values, PLD and teacher appraisal.

School policies and procedures initially developed are now undergoing evaluation as students and staff settle into the school. Evaluation practices are an integral expectation for all procedures and learning programmes. Surveys to ensure student, parent and staff input are regularly held. Continual reflection and carefully considered next steps have been an integral part of the successful development of the school since it opened at the start of the year.

The school acknowledges that their next step is to manage the rapid growth in the roll next year as Years 5 to 8 students enter the school. Senior leaders and staff are excited about the change and are well prepared. Children already enrolled for next year have been given opportunities to involve themselves in the school. Well considered induction planning for the children and the parents are in place to help ensure a clear understanding of the school’s vision and values.

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:

  • school management and reporting
  • 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 students' 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

West Rolleston Primary School has made a very good start to delivering its vision of nurturing their learners to GROW. Staff and students work well together and enjoy the 21st century school environment with its shared teaching and learning. Children are able to make choices and work both independently and collaboratively. Parents are actively involved in their children’s learning and in the life and developmentof the school.

ERO is likely to carry out the first full review of the school after 12 months as part of the regular review cycle for new schools.

Dr Lesley Patterson

Deputy Review Services Manager-Southern/Te Waipounamu Region

14 March 2017

About the School

Location

Rolleston

Ministry of Education profile number

584

School type

Full Primary (Years 1 to 8)

School roll

149

Gender composition

Male 54%; Female 46%

Ethnic composition

Pākehā

Māori

Other ethnicities

68%

16%

16%

Review team on site

November 2016

Date of this report

14 March 2017

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