Sumner School Board Talk
5 February 2015
Welcome to the latest edition of the Sumner School Board of Trustees' Board Talk.
Welcome back to all our current families and a warm welcome to all those new families who have joined Sumner School this year. It’s great to have you as part of our engaged and happy school community.
The year starts off with a hiss and a roar with the Education Review Office visiting Sumner School from 13 February 2015. This review focuses mainly on how effectively our school’s curriculum promotes student learning and achievement and how to build on existing processes of self-review. ERO’s role is to work with schools to identify strengths and areas for improvement.
In our last ERO review the areas of strength of Sumner School were listed as:
· it’s relationships;
· student achievement;
· quality of the teachers;
· leadership; and
The areas identified that Sumner School leaders and teachers needed to further develop in relation to the school’s curriculum were:
• providing more opportunities for students to have ownership of their learning;
• reflecting more consistently on the impact of teaching practices and identifying next steps to improve outcomes for students; and
• integrating te reo and tikanga Māori more effectively into every day practices and programmes.
When we reflect on how far we have come since the last review in 2010 in relation to those identified areas of improvement, we feel very proud of the effort and commitment of the leadership and staff at Sumner. As you will see from the 2014 National Standards results set out below, Sumner School is a great place to learn and is continuously improving.
Strategic Plan and Consultation
The Board and some members of staff met on Saturday 31 January 2015 to set our course for the year and beyond. It is always great to have that time and space to think strategically and it shows the calibre and commitment of the Board and staff that they are willing to give up such precious family time.
One of the outcomes from that day is our plan to co-ordinate some more parent education opportunities about the future shape of education. Later in the year we will conduct some community consultation to get feedback and input into the future shape and focus of Sumner School. The last time we did an extensive community consultation was 2008, followed by a parent survey in June 2012 so it’s time we heard the parent and community voice again. Watch this space….
National Standards Results 2014
At the end of each year, achievement data related to the reading, writing and mathematics National Standards is collected and analysed closely by the teaching staff. Once again we are delighted to share some very positive results in all three areas:
In 2014, 94% of our students were reading at or above the National Standard. In comparison to 2013 data there has also been a significant upward shift in the number of children achieving above the National Standard ie 56% of our children are now reading above the Standard in comparison to 45% in 2013.
In 2014, 92% of our students were achieving at or above the National Standard for mathematics. Again, there has been an upward shift in the number of students moving from at to above the standard – 39% in 2014 up from 30% the previous year.
In writing, 90% of our students achieved at or above the National Standard. In 2014, 29% of our students achieved above the National Standard compared to 23% in 2013.
In addition to the school-wide achievement data we were also very pleased with the improvements made by groups of students that were targeted for acceleration during the year. A highlight of this was the significant improvements made by our students who identify as Maori (particularly in reading and writing); a group of boys in writing; a large group of Year 1 readers; and a group of Year 7 writers.
We believe our success in achieving these results is due to the effective teaching and learning practices we have in place at Sumner School and the strong relationship between our staff and parent community. Differentiation of learning to accommodate each child’s learning needs and a strong focus on literacy and numeracy being integrated throughout teaching programmes is of high importance. We ensure that targeted groups also include accelerating children (moving them from “at” to “above” the standard). We have in place an enrichment programme for children needing extension in literacy and numeracy and provide many opportunities for children to compete against other schools in literacy and numeracy competitions.
We also have a strong learning support programme for children needing extra help. Our BOT sees the learning needs of our children as imperative to raising student achievement and ensures that funding is available for our children most in need.
Another strength of Sumner School is the in-depth analysis of school-wide assessment data that takes place to help raise student achievement. For 2014, each team leader along with their teachers analysed the 2013 end of year assessment results for the children in their team. They then chose a group of children in all three areas (reading, writing and maths) that needed learning support or that they wished to be extended. They set targets for these children, put interventions in place and reflected on how these children were going throughout the year.
This meant that for 2014 we had 12 groups of children receiving special interventions to raise their achievement. Analysis of Variance against set learning goals were completed by Team Leaders for each targeted group. This approach gives our team leaders and teachers a greater understanding of the learning needs across their team. It also allows for children to be picked up and catered for early in the year.
Areas for improvement
In 2015 we will again be focusing on raising achievement in specific areas namely accelerating writing results for a select group of boys and continuing to shift a greater number of students from at to above in reading, writing and mathematics across the school.
You will have noticed a number of property projects have taken place over the holidays. A new AstroTurf court was installed thanks to some funding from the Canterbury Community Trust and The Southern Trust. Our wonderful PTA have kindly offered to target their fundraising this year to help pay off the remaining costs.
Due to health and safety concerns, the old basketball court was also removed. This is part of a wider project that will see the entire back half of the field grassed when the old school hall is eventually removed.
In a joint project with the local netball club, floodlights were installed on the junior netball courts. These lights will allow netball training to take place at school during the winter months.
Finally, as part of the Board’s on-going commitment to modernising our learning spaces, the wall between Rooms 1&2 was removed in the holidays and new carpet installed throughout. Some new furniture was purchased for this space along with new furniture and equipment for the entire Years 5&6 Team. If you don’t have children in these parts of the school, please feel free to pop in and have a look at these changes. We are excited about the future and think you will be too.
Policies and Procedures
Recently, our school has been working with SchoolDocs to create a website for our policies and procedures. We are excited to announce that the site is now live and available to our school community. The school works on a subscription basis with SchoolDocs to maintain, update, and review our policies.
SchoolDocs provides us with a comprehensive core set of policies that have been well researched and follow the Ministry of Education National Administration Guidelines. The policies and procedures are tailored to our school, and the school supplies specific information such as our charter, and procedures for behaviour management, reporting to parents, etc. Policies are monitored by SchoolDocs and updated, modified, or created in response to changes in legislation, significant events, Ministry guidelines, reviews/requests from schools, and regular reviewing from the SchoolDocs team.
Our Board of Trustees has the opportunity to view changes and additions and comment on them before they are implemented. We will advise you when policies are up for review and how you can take part in the review.
We invite you to visit the site at
http://sumner.schooldocs.co.nz/ (note that there's no "www"!). Our user name is “sumner” and password “wakefield”.
Finally, as you will be aware, Tracey Mora our Associate Principal, leaves Sumner School part-way through this term to take up an exciting opportunity at Banks Avenue School. Tracey has made the most amazing contribution to Sumner that many of you will not even realise - her influence and leadership in relation to the school exchange programme to Melbourne and Samoa for the senior school; the upgraded website; the extended and revised GATE programme; the analysis and continuous improvements made as a result of our National Standards data….the list goes on. We have been very fortunate to have Tracey with us and whilst we wish her all the very best for her next adventure, she will be greatly missed.