Westbrook School - 11/11/2013

1 Context

What are the important features of this school that have an impact on student learning?

Westbrook School (Te Kura o Maungataitua) is located in a Western suburb of Rotorua and caters for students in Years 1 to 6. The school serves a diverse community of families from a wide range of backgrounds. The school roll at the time of this review was 567, including 200 students who identify as being of Māori descent.

Since ERO’s last review in 2010, school leadership has remained constant. The distributive leadership model has continued to flourish, strengthening the consistency of teaching and learning across the school. The board comprises a balance of experienced and new trustees. Transition for new trustees effectively supports their growing understanding of school governance and associated responsibilities. The board, senior leaders and teachers have responded positively to the agreed priorities identified in the last ERO report. These priorities were about students’ involvement in their learning and reporting to parents.

Review of student achievement information has enabled the school to provide focussed professional learning and development for teachers. Over the last 3 years the major emphases have been writing, information communication technologies (ICT), and Māori students’ achievement.

During 2012 the teaching staff reviewed the school’s curriculum, developing a concept curriculum and initiating a two year trial. Within this curriculum, the ‘Westbrook Way’ is underpinned by the shared values of whanaungatanga, respect, responsibility, initiative and excellence. In addition, responsive relationships, inclusive attitudes and behaviours, and genuine partnerships are integral to the ‘Westbrook Way’.

2 Learning

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

School leaders have established well-understood and consistent assessment systems and practices. This enables effective use of achievement information to be made at all levels of the school to promote student progress and achievement. Teachers and leaders have good knowledge about assessment and use achievement information very well to plan specifically for the needs of individuals and groups of students.

Team leaders work collaboratively with teachers and provide many opportunities for them to reflect on and inquire into their teaching practice. Professional discussions are informed by assessment information gathered from a range of sources, including nationally referenced tests/tools. Moderation processes are continuing to develop and provide valuable support for teachers to make sound judgements about students’ progress and achievement in relation to National Standards.

The school’s achievement data, reported to the board at the end of 2012, shows that the majority of students at all year levels make expected progress, and some make accelerated progress in reading, writing and mathematics. The significant majority of students were achieving at and above the National Standard in reading and most had achieved the standard in writing and mathematics, with some above. Māori students overall are achieving at levels comparable to national expectations and the school’s data shows progressive improvement from 2011 to mid 2013.

Teachers are increasingly using strategies to engage students as active participants in the learning process. Student home-share books are the vehicle for sharing and reporting achievement and progress with families and form the basis of discussion at parent teacher interviews where senior students especially, take a lead role.

Senior leaders collate and analyse school-wide data to identify achievement trends and patterns for gender, ethnicity and year level groups, and report this information to the board. This information assists the board to make decisions about resourcing and future priorities for school development. However, ERO and senior leaders have identified the need to strengthen school-wide annual planning and reporting processes by:

  • more specifically defining targets about accelerating the progress of priority learners in relation to National Standards
  • developing an implementation plan (for each target) to support work with priority learners that is linked to teaching as inquiry, teachers’ appraisal goals and professional learning and support.

3 Curriculum

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

The school is developing a concept curriculum in response to The New Zealand Curriculum that effectively promotes and supports student learning. Key concepts for study are collaboratively identified, planned cooperatively within teams, and integrated across all subject areas of the curriculum. Appropriate inclusion of bicultural contexts is enabling all students to develop their understanding of New Zealand’s dual cultural heritage. The school continues to give priority to literacy and mathematics learning. Ongoing curriculum review is enabling leaders and teachers to refine its scope, design and implementation. The curriculum is responsive to students’ interests and enriched through a wide range of learning opportunities that include sporting, cultural and education outside the classroom experiences. Clear expectations about teaching and learning are well understood. High quality teaching practice is evident across the school.

Teachers are benefitting from a strategic and well-planned approach to professional learning and development. Student achievement information is used well to identify aspects of teaching practice for development, and as a result, the teaching of writing has become a current school-wide focus. Relevant support and guidance is being provided by external consultants and expert teachers from within the school who model and promote ‘best practice’. Team leaders have been empowered to lead learning within their teams, and there is good communication and sharing of practice between them. Leaders now recognise the importance of teachers sharing, reflecting on, and evaluating strategies most likely to accelerate the progress of priority learners.

The school is committed to the provision of additional learning support for identified students. The Special Educational Needs Coordinator (SENCO) works closely with senior leaders to coordinate programmes and initiatives specifically designed to raise student achievement. Together they report on the effectiveness of these programmes to the board at intervals throughout the year.

Teachers know students and families well and value their diverse backgrounds and cultures. Classroom environments are safe, inclusive and consistently reflect the values of the ‘Westbrook Way’. Students are encouraged and supported to understand and be involved in decisions about their learning. They can talk confidently about what they have learned, what they need to learn next, and how to improve their achievement.

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

The school has maintained its commitment and focus on raising the achievement of Māori students. The board, school leaders and teachers are establishing genuine and mutually beneficial partnerships with the school’s Māori community through Te Roopu Hurihanga (the Māori development group). This group has influenced greater whānau participation in school events, and formal and informal meetings with their childrens’ teachers.

The curriculum provides many authentic opportunities for Māori students to contribute and participate as tangata whenua. Māori protocols, values and concepts are a natural part of the curriculum and school life. Examples are:

  • noho marae for students, teachers and trustees
  • pōwhiri
  • cooperative learning opportunities
  • learning contexts that reflect Māori perspectives
  • tuakana/teina relationships in classrooms and the wider school environment
  • ako, where the student becomes the teacher or expert, and the teacher becomes the learner.

The teacher-led professional learning group for Māori is providing opportunities for all teachers to inquire into their competence as teachers of Māori learners. This work has enabled each teacher to review their practice and identify their strengths and areas of need and professional support and development.

4 Sustainable Performance

How well placed is the school to sustain and improve its performance?

Westbrook School is very well placed to sustain and improve its performance because:

  • the board is highly committed to raising student achievement, well informed, and provides very effective governance
  • student achievement information is very well used by teachers, leaders and the board to inform decision-making
  • self review is inclusive of all stakeholders and focused on improvement
  • the principals collaborative leadership style is pivotal in promoting an inclusive culture for learning
  • the associate principals’ work closely with the principal and liaise effectively with team leaders to ensure that agreed expectations for teaching and learning are met
  • established, shared leadership is contributing to clear communication, consistent and cohesive practice across the school
  • there is a shared commitment to successful learning outcomes for all students
  • there is a focused commitment to the provision of high quality professional development for staff
  • relationships that are founded on mutual respect and trust are highly evident at all levels
  • there is meaningful involvement and contributions from parents and whānau that enrich opportunities for student learning and enhance the home-school partnership.

In order to further strengthen sustainability, the board will continue to refine the appraisal process with a review to further building teacher capability through critical feedback and teacher goal setting.

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.

When is ERO likely to review the school again?

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

Dale Bailey

National Manager Review Services

Northern Region

11 November 2013

About the School

Location

Rotorua

Ministry of Education profile number

2077

School type

Contributing (Years 1 to 6)

School roll

567

Gender composition

Boys 50%

Girls 50%

Ethnic composition

NZ Pākehā/European

Māori

Asian

Other

Pacific

60

35

11

2

3

Review team on site

September 2013

Date of this report

11 November 2013

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

August 2010

October 2007

August 2004