Latest ERO Review

Findings

Key strengths of the school

For sustained improvement and future learner success, the school can draw on existing strengths in:

  • learning opportunities that support student engagement
  • positive partnerships with parents, whanau and the community that promotes a strong sense of belonging
  • provision for children with additional learning and behaviour needs.

External Independent Education Review Office review report: 18/06/2019

1. Context

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

Rhode Street School is located in Dinsdale, Hamilton. It is a full primary school providing education for students in Years 1 to 8. The current roll of 210 includes 142 Māori and a growing number of students from culturally diverse backgrounds, including 21 Pacific students.

Since the 2014 ERO review the school roll has remained consistent. The school reports the roll tends to fluctuate with a high number of students enrolling and leaving throughout the year. The principal has remained the same. Two new associate principals were appointed in 2016 along with a number of new teaching staff in 2017. There have been new trustees elected including the board chairperson.

The school’s vision is to promote the development of learners. This is represented within the recently developed MANA values which are:

  • Manaakitanga - connected learners
  • Awhi - collaborative contributors
  • Nga manukura – resilient achievers
  • Ako – inquiring minds.

Rhode Street School’s strategic goals for 2019 are to:

  • build teacher and leader capabilities, through collaborative inquiry and effective teaching and learning
  • grow learner agency through culture and identity, partnership, voice and ownership
  • to recognise and strengthen powerful connections and transitions with parents, whānau, community and other organisations.

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

  • reading, writing and mathematics
  • wellbeing.

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 yet to achieve equity and excellence for all students who need this.

The school’s achievement data since 2016 shows a decrease in achievement levels over time. Achievement information from 2017 to 2018 shows that less than half of the students achieved national expectations in reading and mathematics and less than a third in writing. The school has data to show students enter at five years of age with low levels of literacy. Information collected in a survey in 2017 for Year 5 to 8 students indicates that the school effectively supports student wellbeing.

In 2018 Māori student achievement is similar to Pākehā in writing and mathematics but is significantly less in reading. Pacific student data shows the majority achieved expected curriculum levels in reading and writing, and less than half in mathematics. This data also indicates that girls achieved at higher levels than boys in reading, mathematics and writing. Students with additional learning needs are making good progress against their individual learning and behaviour goals.

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

The school has some achievement information that shows individual students have had their learning accelerated.

Leaders are yet to develop robust systems and processes to regularly track and monitor rates of acceleration for all at-risk learners.

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?

Leaders have recently developed useful systems and practices to guide school operations. In 2018 this included:

  • review of the school curriculum and teaching and learning expectations
  • development of a graduate profile aligned to the MANA values
  • an update of the school code of conduct and staff handbook
  • review of the school charter and values in consultation with all stakeholders.

Leaders are effectively supported by the board of trustees to provide well-resourced learning environments for all students. The school has been re-organised into three areas (hubs) with composite classes that provides a range of placement options to better meet students’ learning and behaviour needs.

Positive and respectful relationships with whānau and the community have been established. School personnel know students and their whānau well. Parents feel welcome and able to be involved in the school. Useful communication strategies are used to inform, engage and consult with parents. The school has effective and responsive processes to support parents as their children transition into and out of the school. Leaders and teachers have established positive community networks which promote broad and rich curriculum opportunities for students.

Students learn in caring and positive learning environments. Teachers use appropriate strategies to promote positive behaviour and engage students in learning. These include positive and affirming praise, differentiated group teaching, cooperative learning opportunities and celebrating student success. Classes are settled and well managed enhancing students’ learning and wellbeing.

Students with additional learning needs are well supported. The special needs coordinators access a wide range of specialist services for children with additional learning or behaviour needs. Support staff work cooperatively and productively alongside teachers and students in classroom programmes. Individual plans are kept for students which document ongoing learning and behaviour progress and development.

Leaders and teachers have worked cooperatively to implement a robust teacher appraisal process. This process is linked to priority learners and aimed at growing teacher capability to improve and accelerate learning outcomes for students.

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

In order to achieve excellence and equity further development is needed to strengthen internal evaluation and leadership of learning. Leaders need to:

  • clarify and document their own roles and responsibilities within the school
  • ensure sustainability through full implementation of current school-wide initiatives and action plans, including the response to a 2018 teachers’ culture and climate survey
  • review and strengthen the bicultural dimension to include a more systematic school-wide approach to the integration of te ao Māori into the curriculum to support Māori students’ language, culture and identity.

Leaders need to improve the way student achievement information is managed and used at all levels of the school. Particular attention should be given to:

  • developing more specific and inclusive targets for all identified groups of at-risk learners and reporting regularly to the board how effectively their progress is being accelerated
  • collating and analysing school-wide student achievement data to evaluate the impact and effectiveness of classroom teaching, programmes and interventions
  • accessing professional learning and development in response to student achievement information to build leaders’ and teachers’ capability to accelerate the achievement of at-risk learners.

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.

To improve current practice the principal should report school-wide attendance trends and patterns regularly to the board of trustees.


Conclusion

On the basis of the findings of this review, ERO’s overall evaluation judgement of Rhode Street School performance in achieving valued outcomes for its students is: Developing.

Next steps

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

  • leaders clearly defining their roles and responsibilities to ensure sustainability of school-wide processes and practices
  • targeted action to accelerate the progress of all students whose learning is at risk
  • evaluating the effectiveness of programmes and initiatives that accelerate the progress of priority learners.


Phil Cowie

Director Review and Improvement Services Central

Central Region

18 June 2019