ERO Report

Somerville Intermediate School 11/10/2018

The Purpose of an ERO Report

The purpose of ERO’s external evaluations is to give parents, whānau and the wider school community assurance about the quality of education children and young people receive. ERO reports on the equity and excellence of learning outcomes for all students and for specific groups including Māori students, Pacific students and students with additional learning needs. This includes a focus on accelerating learning for students. ERO also reports on the quality and effectiveness of the school’s processes and practices for continuing and sustaining improvement. The report gives evaluation findings that answer four key questions about the school’s performance.

School Context

Somerville Intermediate School in Howick caters for learners in Years 7 and 8 learners. The school roll of approximately 930 students includes four percent Māori students and three percent of Pacific heritage. Chinese and Indian children make up a third of the roll and there are also small groups from other ethnic backgrounds.

 

The school’s overarching vision is for staff and students to be “the best you can be”. Values of care, kindness and collaboration support a focus on the holistic growth, safety and wellbeing of students and staff. The school places value on character traits of excellence, positive attitude, perseverance, integrity and respect.

 

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

  • progress, achievement and acceleration in reading, writing and mathematics
  • the engagement, participation and achievement of Māori and Pacific students
  • support for students with additional needs and special abilities
  • the wider curriculum and specialist teaching
  • the safety and wellbeing of students and staff
  • pastoral care, including transition into, through and out of the school.

The school is part of the Waipaparoa Community of Learning|Kāhui Ako.

 

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 successful in promoting consistently equitable and excellent outcomes for students.

 

School achievement information from the past four years shows that most students achieve at or above curriculum expectations in reading, writing and mathematics.

 

Māori students now achieve at comparable levels to other students in the school. Parity for Māori students in reading and writing achievement has been increased over time. Pacific students’ achievement is closely monitored. School data show that Pacific students have made very good accelerated progress in reading and writing. The school is successfully reducing disparity in achievement between boys and girls.

 

Students demonstrate other valued outcomes, which include:

  • connectedness
  • creativity
  • positive self-worth
  • resilience
  • compassion
  • social responsibility.

 

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

The school is effectively accelerating learning for Māori and other students who need this. Student achievement information shows good examples of accelerated progress over time in reading, writing and mathematics, as well as in English as a second language.

 

Curriculum and syndicate leaders provide effective support for teachers to engage students in their learning and accelerate their progress. Teachers use clear benchmarks and expectations to measure students’ learning. Students are carefully monitored and supported to achieve their potential.

 

Leaders and teachers personalise programmes to support individual learning needs. They work collaboratively with a strong focus on the whole child and their learning and wellbeing. Students needing additional assistance are well supported through effective intervention programmes. Additional support includes a focus on improving students’ oral language to ensure a good foundation for ongoing learning. 

 

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 is well led. The principal fosters an environment of professional collaboration through distributed leadership opportunities. Staff are respected and empowered to develop their expertise and leadership skills.

 

Student leadership is valued and promoted. Learners are well supported to develop self-esteem, confidence and social skills.

 

Leaders and teachers demonstrate professionalism and high expectations. They value continuous improvement. The leadership team strongly promotes equity and excellence for all students. Leaders are solution focused and grounded in theory. They are open to new learning and enjoy new challenges. Teachers inquire into the impact of their teaching practices and are encouraged to trial new and innovative approaches. Professional learning and development supports school goals and individual initiatives. Peer coaching is promoted. Leaders and teachers make considered decisions and implement improvements through planned change processes.

 

Students have access to the breadth and depth of the New Zealand Curriculum in an environment where they feel safe. The school’s vision, mission and values are embedded and well enacted in the school culture. Student engagement is high. Enthusiastic and knowledgeable teachers facilitate learning that is relevant to students’ interests and ignites a passion for learning in many students.

 

Student wellbeing is a school priority. Student outcomes are at the centre of all decision making. Leaders and teachers know their students and whānau well and are advocates for students. Intentional programmes support smooth transitions from primary school and into secondary schools. A culture of collective responsibility for students is promoted, including strong parent partnerships and trusting relationships. Students demonstrate caring attitudes with each other.

 

The experienced board provides capable governance. Committed trustees have a strong focus on students’ holistic development and the wellbeing of staff and students. Trustees make considered decisions based on comprehensive reporting about student achievement and curriculum initiatives.

 

 

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

Trustees, leaders and teachers recognise the benefits of developing greater understanding of bicultural practices and increasing shared leadership in this area. It is timely to review the integration and sustainability of bicultural practices and Treaty of Waitangi principles across the school.

 

Leaders and teachers acknowledge that they could further investigate and extend students’ agency. This would further develop teachers as facilitators of learning, and increase students’ opportunities to guide their own learning choices and pathways.

 

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.

Provision for international students
The school is a signatory to the Education (Pastoral Care of International Students) Code of Practice 2016 (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 26 international students attending the school, including 12 exchange students.

 

International students progress and achieve very well in a welcoming and inclusive environment. High standards of pastoral care support their wellbeing. The school offers very good quality English language provision for students. International students are integrated well into the school’s learning programmes and are immersed in all aspects of school and community life.

 

4 Going forward

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

  • highly effective leadership that promotes students’ learning and wellbeing
  • a relevant and responsive curriculum that engages students and ignites their passions
  • continuous improvement that is deliberate and future focused
  • an inclusive school culture that values collaboration, respect and innovation.

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

  • extending bicultural practices so that te ao Māori is an embedded feature of the school
  • further developing student agency so that learners have greater influence in their learning pathways.

ERO’s next external evaluation process and timing

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

 

 

 

Violet Tu’uga Stevenson

Director Review and Improvement Services
Te Tai Raki - Northern Region

 

11 October 2018