What are the important features of this school that have an impact on student learning?
Burnside Primary School has faced many challenges since the 2012 ERO review. The school was part of the proposed school closures in 2012. This resulted in a drop in the school roll and the loss of teaching staff. As a result, the board and principal spent a significant amount of time focused on keeping the school open.
The announcement in 2013 that the school would remain open was followed by rapid roll growth and the appointment of a large number of new staff.
A key focus of 2013 and 2014 has been on successfully settling new students, engaging with their families and rebuilding the school culture and sense of community. The roll is increasingly multicultural with more Māori and Pacific students. Students and their families have good opportunities to see their cultures and languages acknowledged and reflected in the school environment.
Burnside Primary School is to be rebuilt. The board is working with the Ministry of Education and involving its community in decision making about its aspirations for a new learning environment for its students.
How well does this school use achievement information to make positive changes to learners’ engagement, progress and achievement?
Teachers make good use of achievement information at class levels to inform their teaching and to support learning. The principal and board are aware that improvements to the documentation and use of achievement information at a school wide and board level is needed to further raise the achievement of students across the school.
Teachers place a high priority on students’ wellbeing and engagement in the life of the school. They focus on getting to know students quickly so that they can respond promptly to their learning needs. Teachers use a suitable range of in-class assessments to identify students’ learning needs and provide a range of initiatives to support them.
School-wide systems are effective in helping identify students most at risk of not achieving. Additional support is provided for these students which includes making good use of external agencies.
There are well-developed systems and practices in place to help students transition successfully into the new entrant area of the school. Teachers have developed positive links with local preschool services that help them share useful information and be well prepared to support students’ needs before they start at school.
Students with English as a second language (ESOL) have their language learning well monitored and tracked through regular assessment. This information is used effectively to provide in class and out of class programmes.
Areas for review and development
The principal, teachers and board are aware that school achievement information identifies groups of students who require significant support to raise their achievement in reading, writing and mathematics. Some of the students represented in this data have been at this school for a very short period of time.
ERO and the board agree that important next steps for raising student achievement in the school include:
- further refining school targets so they are clearer about the greatest priorities for raising achievement for specific groups of students
- strengthening planning for meeting the school's achievement targets, for example, how student achievement in writing will be raised
- improving the analysis and use of school wide data to show progress patterns and trends for particular groups of students over time
- increasing the frequency of achievement information reported to the board about how well groups of students are progressing towards the school targets.
In addition, teachers should ensure that there is consistency in the way they report students’ progress and achievement against the National Standards.
How effectively does this school’s curriculum promote and support student learning?
The school’s curriculum is making progress towards promoting student learning.
A prominently-displayed carving meaningfully reflects the school’s values and aspirations for the inclusion and success of all children and their families. The carving also reflects rich bicultural understandings and meanings.
The curriculum places emphasis on supporting students understanding of the school’s values. Students’ successes are acknowledged and celebrated. Students benefit from a wide range of curriculum opportunities including many practical learning experiences.
The principal and teachers are highly aware of, and responsive to, the school community and multicultural nature of the school. A significant focus for school leaders is promoting culturally responsive and inclusive practices.
Teachers are currently focused on trialling a wider range of classroom approaches to better support student learning and engagement.
Some teachers are evaluating their own and school practices in useful ways that make improvements to teaching practices, school-wide programmes and outcomes for students. These examples could be extended across all teachers.
How effectively does the school promote educational success for Māori, as Māori?
The school has a strong focus on developing culturally responsive practices including staff involvement in ongoing professional learning in 2015.The principal is a role model for tikanga and te reo Māori. Māori culture is visible and celebrated within the school environment. Opportunities are provided for consultation with Māori whānau.
The next step is for the school, in consultation with Māori whānau and students, to develop clearer planning that will strategically identify how it will raise the achievement of Māori students.
How well placed is the school to sustain and improve its performance?
After a period of significant challenge the board is beginning to build a stronger foundation to improve and sustain its performance. This position will be further strengthened when the board has more effective self review practices to monitor:
- how well school programmes and initiatives are being implemented
- the impact of initiatives on student progress and achievement over time.
A sense of teamwork is evident across the school. The board, principal, staff, and community have a shared commitment to meeting children’s diverse learning needs and well being.
The board is well organised with clear roles and responsibilities. They have a strong focus on moving the school forward.
The principal and board actively promote a positive school culture. They seek staff and student views to inform their decision making. Strong emphasis is placed on building effective relationships with parents and whānau. This includes a range of consultative practices including specific consultation with Māori, Pacific and Asian groups.
The school is making good use of external professional development and expertise, as well as involvement in cluster initiatives with other schools, to support school improvement. Since the 2012 ERO review, the school has completed work with a limited statutory manager to develop better financial management systems.
Areas for review and development
ERO and the board agree the next step for the school is to develop stronger self-review practices. This includes a clearer schedule for review, the development of a process to guide self-review practices and clearer expectations on what the board expects in regards to reporting to the board.
Appraisal practices for both teachers and the principal also need to be reviewed and made more robust.
The board has also identified a need to develop clearer induction practices and resources for board members.
Provision for international students
The school is a signatory to the Code of Practice for the Pastoral Care of International Students (the Code) established under section 238F of the Education Act 1989. The school has attested that it complies with all aspects of the Code.
At the time of this review, there were five international students attending the school.
These students are well included in the daily life of the school and receive considerable support from an experienced teacher when they require additional English language support. The school is particularly focused on ensuring students’ cultures are well reflected in the school environment. The teacher with responsibility for international students ensures effective relationships and communication are maintained with students’ 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
- 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
Recommendations to other agencies
ERO recommends that the Ministry of Education support the board and school leaders in the areas of raising student achievement and self review.
ERO recommends the School Trustees Association provides support and guidance for the board to strengthen self-review practices.
Burnside Primary School has a positive and inclusive school culture. The school roll is becoming increasingly multicultural. Students are provided with a good range of curriculum experiences and other learning opportunities. The school will be fully rebuilt over the next few years. This report identifies a range of good practice at the school as well as some important areas for improvement for it to be better placed to sustain and improve performance.
ERO intends to carry out another review over the course of one-to-two years.
Deputy Chief Review Officer Southern (Acting)
2 September 2015