Latest ERO Report

Devon Intermediate – 21/07/2016

Findings

Students are provided with a broad curriculum designed to motivate, challenge and engage. Improving achievement for Māori and Pacific students is a priority. Relationships are mutually respectful and sound. Transition into the school and to secondary education is well managed to minimise the effects of change. Parents and families are welcome at school.

ERO is likely to carry out the next review in three years.

1 Context

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

Devon Intermediate is located in central New Plymouth. The school caters for 270 students in Years 7 and 8, of whom 89 are Māori and 12 are Pacific. Students learn in a well-resourced, spacious environment, much of which is recently refurbished. A fire, caused by an electrical fault, resulted in disruption for the past 3 years. The board of trustees, senior leaders and staff have managed the situation to minimise disruption to students’ learning.

School values encompass diligence, integrity, service and respect. These, and the charter goals committing to: partnerships with parents; information technology as a learning tool; focus on mathematics and literacy; honouring the unique place of Māori; and a broad curriculum, contribute to a positive culture.

An acting principal leads the school pending the appointment of a new principal in Term 4, 2016.

2 Learning

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

Senior leaders and teachers use achievement information purposefully to:

  • identify students’ current learning levels, decide their next steps for improvement and plan programmes specific to need
  • decide whether an intervention programme is appropriate and which is most suitable
  • make overall teacher judgements about student achievement in relation to National Standards in reading, mathematics and writing
  • track and monitor progress during the year and across Years 7 and 8
  • determine trends and patterns of achievement for Māori and Pacific students, boys, girls and overall
  • make decisions about resourcing at board level.

The school reports that at the end of 2015, 76% of students achieved at or above the National Standard in reading. There were good gains across year levels for both Māori and non-Māori. Although there was improvement, writing achievement remains of concern, particularly for Māori and Pacific boys. In mathematics, 60% of students achieved at or above the National Standard. Given the large number of underachieving students entering at Year 7, teachers are making a significant difference by the end of Year 8. There is a sense of urgency to increase rates of progress for Māori and Pacific students. ERO supports the deliberate focus on addressing underachievement and the school’s efforts to work with contributing schools towards better outcomes.

Senior leaders and trustees set broad annual targets for student achievement. Targets should be strengthened to:

  • focus more specifically on the degree of acceleration required for groups of students
  • link directly to teachers’ class target groups
  • be part of teachers’ appraisal goals and schoolwide professional development.

Students whose progress is of concern, benefit from well-planned interventions and small group programmes. Grouping is flexible and compositions change according to their needs. Students talk confidently about their strengths and next steps. Teachers assess as they teach, addressing any lack of understanding observed in students.

Parents have sufficient opportunity to discuss their children’s progress and achievement. There is a particularly close relationship with families of children who have complex needs. These students are included in every aspect of school life. They have relevant goals, individual support from skilled teacher aides and access to specialists as required.

3 Curriculum

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

Students are provided with a broad curriculum designed to motivate, challenge and engage them in purposeful learning. Students are positive, confident and involved in the many activities offered.

An academy structure continues to provide interest and strength-based integrated teaching and learning in home rooms. Choices include academic, sport, science or creative contexts. These are enriched by other programmes including technology. Information from contributing schools is critical in grouping students for literacy and mathematics and making decisions about their preferred academy placement. Parents are involved in the process. Students are enthusiastic about learning that focuses on their experiences and passions.

The academy approach has been enhanced with greater emphasis on teachers planning and working collaboratively to accelerate student progress. There is collective responsibility for each student, development of best practice teaching and identification of successful strategies that achieve desired results. Literacy and mathematics learning occurs at prime time and there is commitment to sustained, uninterrupted teaching sessions. Students persevere and maximise their learning time.

A useful curriculum development model is evident in writing. A ‘curriculum director’ leads a review of writing including teaching strategies, assessment, and use of the wide range of available resources. Working with teachers to improve assessment practice should result in a more efficient and effective process. Teachers developing students’ understanding and ability to self-assess their work is an important aspect of the review. The next step is to embed new practice and continue to evaluate its impact on student progress. Extending this development model to other curriculum areas is appropriate.

The school has an agreed set of principles and expectations for quality teaching practice. Teachers know their students well and understand the holistic needs of the age group. Relationships are mutually respectful and sound, students are expected to do well and encouraged to take risks. The purpose of learning is shared and teachers provide useful feedback about tasks. Classrooms are settled and busy.

Expectations for acceptable behaviour are enacted across the school, creating positive conditions for teaching and learning. Students are proud of their achievements and support each other. There is a clear plan to move forward, sustaining the shared values and involving students in decision-making about their school.

Student leaders are respected role models, socially competent and promote the school’s values. Leadership development is integrated across the curriculum. Conversations with secondary school teachers at cluster meetings indicate that many students enrolling in Year 9 have the necessary personal skills to be self-managing and well organised.

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

National Standards data shows that the achievement profile for Māori is below that of other students in reading, mathematics and writing. There is evidence to indicate that many students make significant progress during their two years, with some making accelerated progress, particularly in reading. Senior leaders should continue to prioritise accelerated progress for Māori learners.

Te ao Māori is a valued and integral part of the curriculum. Kawa is strong. A trustee with links to local iwi advised the board and staff on appropriate cultural practice. Students stand proud in their language, culture and identity.

Senior students lead in cultural events and across the scope of curriculum. Kapa haka and noho marae add complexity to te reo Māori learning, which is part of all class programmes. There is a focus on ‘our place’ and the local environment. Teachers are familiar with and refer to Ka Hikitia – Accelerating Success 2013 – 2017 as a guide for planning and making decisions about teaching strategies. Revisiting Tātaiako: Cultural Competencies for Teachers of Māori Learners and including aspects in teaching practice and appraisal is an identified next step.

4 Sustainable Performance

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

Devon Intermediate is well placed to sustain and improve its performance. Trustees are experienced, representative of the school community and responsive to parents’ views and aspirations. The board has capably managed challenging property issues and changes in staffing levels due to a fluctuating roll. Trustees are proactive in seeking external support and guidance when required.

The school’s strategic and annual plans have been rolled over, pending the appointment of a new principal. Trustees continue to monitor progress towards achieving longer term goals. The board receives comprehensive reports that enable sound decision making and highlight priorities for resourcing. Further training in internal evaluation and stewardship is identified by trustees as a priority for the new board.

Senior leaders in acting positions have continued to promote agreed expectations for quality teaching and learning. Further professional leadership is distributed to teachers. The impact of this collaborative approach, using teachers’ strengths, is evident in improved outcomes for individuals and groups of students. Supporting these teachers to develop their leadership skills through specific professional development is likely to enhance their role.

Community partnerships, parent participation in school events and a focus on pastoral care, support students to successfully engage in a wide range of learning activities. Parents and families are welcome at school and actively contribute to the curriculum. Whānau and fono groups provide more formal opportunities for sharing and working together. The board is keen to extend family involvement, particularly partnerships for learning.

Students’ transition into the school and to secondary education is well managed to minimise the effects of change. Relationships with contributing schools are growing and information sharing is increasingly specific, enabling students to make a good start in Year 7. A school cluster group including primary schools and a secondary school is proving beneficial to students and teachers. Continuing to build the partnership is likely to result in greater continuity of learning for students.

Provision for international students

The school is a signatory to the Code of Practice for the Pastoral Care of International Students established under section 238F of the Education Act 1989.

No international students were enrolled at the time of the ERO review.

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.

Conclusion

Students are provided with a broad curriculum designed to motivate, challenge and engage. Improving achievement for Māori and Pacific students is a priority. Relationships are mutually respectful and sound. Transition into the school and to secondary education is well managed to minimise the effects of change. Parents and families are welcome at school.

ERO is likely to carry out the next review in three years.

Joyce Gebbie

Deputy Chief Review Officer Central

21 July 2016

About the School

Location New Plymouth
Ministry of Education profile number 2161
School type Intermediate (Years 7 to 8)
School roll 270
Gender composition Male 51%, Female 49%
Ethnic composition Pākehā

Māori

Pacific

Other ethnic groups

57%

33%

4%

6%

Special Features Attached technology centre
Review team on site May 2016
Date of this report 21 July 2016
Most recent ERO report(s) Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

May 2013

May 2010

October 2006