schools

Sample of Education Review Office [ERO] comments

A sample of ERO comments on the Cornerstone Values approach to building character

ERO REPORT GEORGE STREET NORMAL SCHOOL – JULY 2008

George Street Normal School staff members have worked hard to build a positive and inclusive school culture.  This review found:

In the area of teaching and learning, ERO found that students receive a very good quality education.  The review team noted high levels of student engagement in each class.

School Culture

Background

Over the last three years, senior managers have implemented a character education programme.  This links into the school’s vision that students gain a strong sense of self worth and gain an understanding of and can demonstrate the values that are central to character education.  Last year, senior managers looked at how character education and key competencies fit together.  Each year, an aspect of the programme (for example, showing respect) is identified as a target and reported on.  The principal leads the character education programme.

Areas of good performance

Relationships.  Students benefit from respectful and supportive relationships.  ERO observed consistently respectful and caring interactions between teachers, support staff and students.  Teachers and support staff work closely together to best meet students’ needs.  Teachers listen carefully to students and value their ideas and opinions.  Teachers model respectful behaviour and constructive ways to resolve differences.  Students spoken with told ERO that teachers care about them and their learning.

School culture.  The positive and inclusive school culture promotes students’ learning and sense of wellbeing.  ERO observed students from diverse backgrounds working and playing effectively and happily together.  These students are valued members of the school community.

High-needs students are meaningfully included and supported in their classrooms and in whole-school activities.  For example, teachers and students learn and use sign language so that they can support a hearing impaired student.  At reading time, a classmate reads and signs the story.  Teacher aides, who work with high needs students, intentionally include other students in their learning.

Focus on values.  Throughout the school, there is a strong focus on values and character building.  The principal has taken a key role in implementing this.  ERO observed explicit teaching of positive values, attitudes and behaviours.  Teachers integrate related key competencies and skills, as outlined in the revised New Zealand curriculum.  They also maximise incidental opportunities to talk about values and the relevance of these to everyday situations.  Values and character education are highly visible in the school, for instance, in classroom displays and newsletters.

Partnership with parents.  The school has very effective processes for engaging parents as partners in their children’s learning.  There is regular communication between the school, teachers and parents.  The school operates an open-door policy that welcomes parents’ questions and ideas.  Parent-teacher interviews focus on developing and reviewing individual learning goals and how these may be achieved.  Newsletters and information/workshop evenings inform parents, for example, about learning initiatives.  Teachers provide parents with detailed information on classroom programmes and how they can support their child’s learning, for example, in reading and with homework.


ERO REPORT RANGITAIKI INDEPENDENT SCHOOL - AUGUST 2006

Cornerstone Values underpin teaching and learning.  These values which are practised during daily interactions and programme delivery, are promoting positive, healthy relationships and building a sense of community.


ERO REPORT TAUPO-NUI-A-TIA COLLEGE - NOVEMBER 2003/2008

Staff and students demonstrate pride in their school.  They articulate strong values of respect and consideration for others. Accreditation as a Cornerstone Values School has affirmed the established culture and provided a sound theoretical foundation for maintaining a positive and inclusive school climate.

School culture with an emphasis on cornerstone values (CSV)

Background

In March 2002 the board and senior advisory team identified that the existing school culture was sufficiently developed to work towards accreditation as a Cornerstone Values School.

The programme was adopted to emphasise and formalise the further development of a positive school culture and accreditation was achieved in March of 2003. The board requested ERO’s evaluation and recommendations for continued developments in school culture.

Areas of good performance

School-wide focus:  The school has adopted and applied a structured approach to the CSV programme. By introducing a chosen value each term and promoting the programme through year level and whole school assemblies, CSVs are being introduced into the school culture in an organised and focused way.

School climate:  The school climate is inclusive and valuing of all students.  They are proud of the school and able to articulate that they feel safe and well supported. Their strong sense of identity and ownership of school values is evident. A positive school spirit and culture is a significant feature of a school that is valued by students, staff, parents and whanau.

Student leadership:  There are significant opportunities for students to experience and develop leadership skills at all levels of the school. The well-structured and effective student government system allows students to be involved in making decisions, developing their ideas and making a meaningful contribution to the school. Many of these young leaders are highly appropriate role models for other students.

Pastoral care:  There is a well-developed network of programmes and personnel that effectively promotes student emotional safety and wellbeing. Student pastoral care needs are identified through timely monitoring allowing appropriate intervention strategies to be put in place. Teachers consistently respond to student requests resulting in high levels of mutual trust and a genuine belief that teachers care about their students.

Behaviour management:  Parents and teachers set high expectations for student learning and behaviour. There are many opportunities for positive, appropriate behaviour to be affirmed and celebrated. Behaviour management systems are structured, transparent and fairly implemented resulting in expectations being clearly understood by students.

Adult role models:  Staff members consistently model high standards of behaviour, presentation and attitudes that are in keeping with the qualities expounded in the CSV curriculum.

2008 UPDATE

Cornerstone values continue to be promoted throughout the school and are contributing to settled classroom environments, and a school culture where success, mutual respect and personal responsibility are acknowledged and valued.


ERO REPORT GATE PA SCHOOL - MAY 2007

Cornerstone virtues:  Students are developing a good understanding of the school’s philosophy related to the cornerstone virtues and their implementation.  These virtues are reinforced through initiatives, school programmes and behaviour management systems. Students are settled and have opportunities to learn within a supportive and positive learning climate.


ERO REPORT TE AWAMUTU PRIMARY SCHOOL – SEPT 2003/2007

A culture of care and concern permeates the school.  It has been accredited as a Cornerstone Values school in recognition of the values programme developed under the guidance and leadership of the principal. Staff, students and parents enjoy the positive, settled atmosphere that has been created.

2007 UPDATE

Areas of good performance

Interactions:  The positive and respectful relationships evident in the school effectively support the delivery of class writing programmes.  The school’s well-established Cornerstone Values programme consistently underpins teaching and learning across the school.  Students articulate their clear understanding of the expectations that arise from these values.  Students and teachers work in a settled environment that contributes to student progress in writing.

Areas of good performance

Parent partnership:  The school maintains a valuable partnership with parents. The open door policy encourages parents to establish close communication with classroom teachers and school management.  Regular sharing of the current value through newsletters supports parents to reinforce the value in out-of-school settings. The values orientation initiative is a ‘point of difference’ valued by parents and used as a criterion when choosing to enrol children at the school.


ERO REPORT KAHAROA SCHOOL - FEBRUARY 2008

The board has systems in place to provide a safe and supportive emotional environment that enhances student confidence and participation. As a ‘Cornerstone Values’ school, key values form the foundation for all aspects of school operations. School-wide systems, practices and strategies incorporate these values, which during 2007 include respect, honesty, responsibility and consideration. Students enjoy coming to school and care for one another. Maori students are well supported in their education and achieve at levels comparable to their non-Maori peers.

Values:  As a Cornerstone Values school eight key values form the foundation for all aspects of school operations.  School-wide systems, practices and strategies incorporate these values, which during 2007 include respect, honesty, responsibility and consideration. Students appreciate the positive interactions they have with their teachers and peers. They enjoy coming to school and show respect and genuine care for one another’s wellbeing. The school provides a safe and supportive emotional environment that enhances student confidence and participation.


ERO REPORT GREERTON VILLAGE SCHOOL - DECEMBER 2004

The school philosophy, based on cornerstone values, underpins all aspects of school life, teaching and learning.


ERO REPORT TE ATATU INTERMEDIATE SCHOOL - OCTOBER 2004

Positive behaviour management.  The board has a comprehensive and well articulated behaviour management system that incorporates the core values and beliefs of the school.  The effectiveness of the system is evident in the positive climate for learning that prevails in every classroom.  Because discipline is not an issue, teachers can focus on teaching.


ERO REPORT TONGARIRO SCHOOL - JANUARY 2006

Areas of good performance

Cornerstone values: Values exploration is a key component of the middle school social studies programme.  Teachers model and students learn about and practise values, including respect, responsibility, kindness, honesty and truthfulness.  The values of other societies are also explored and analysed.  Participating in this programme encourages students to learn in a mutually respectful environment and should assist them to participate positively in society.


ERO REPORT NGAKURU PRIMARY SCHOOL - JUNE 2005

Areas of good performance

Cornerstone values: The whole school community shares a commitment to supporting the school’s endeavour to instil a culture of responsible citizenship. A planned approach to developing the system has engaged students to take an increasing responsibility for their learning and behaviour in and out of the classroom.


ERO REPORT SPRING CREEK SCHOOL - FEBRUARY 2007

Students are challenged, motivated, engaged and focused on their learning. They are well mannered and articulate. The school’s focus on character and values education promotes the development of social skills and emphasises students taking responsibility for their own choices regarding learning and behaviour. This has been an important factor in creating a cooperative, supportive culture, based on respect. The positive tone and settled classroom environments support student learning.

The board and management acknowledge that bullying behaviour is a risk to be managed and have appropriate policies and procedures to support the creation of a safe learning environment. The principal and staff describe the school’s culture as being supportive, caring and friendly. There is a clear focus on encouraging respect and treating students as individuals. They are encouraged to take responsibility for their own behaviour. Positive interactions between staff and students and amongst the students themselves are a feature of the school.

The following strategies have been used to help prevent bullying in the past three years:


ERO REPORT SOLWAY PRIMARY SCHOOL - DECEMBER 2005

Cornerstone programme, which promotes key values such as respect and honesty, has been implemented, and this is reflected in the settled and friendly behaviour of the students.


ERO REPORT MAYFIELD SCHOOL - MAY 2007

The behaviour management plan promotes students taking greater responsibility for themselves and others and they are given a range of leadership opportunities. The recently introduced ‘cornerstone values’ programme is likely to strengthen this direction.


ERO REPORT MALFROY PRIMARY SCHOOL - AUGUST 2005

Areas of good performance

Interactions: The promotion of Cornerstone values together with a positive behaviour management programme have significantly improved interactions and relationships between students and teachers.


ERO REPORT WYNDHAM SCHOOL - APRIL 2007

The board, principal and teachers aim to create a positive learning environment. They recognise that effective relationships with each other, and parents/whanau and students are essential to achieving this. The principal and teachers have put in place programmes that support and encourage students to behave in positive ways towards each other. These programmes include:

Positive reinforcement and regular affirmation of students’ effort and achievement encourages students to strive for their personal best. As a result, students are meaningfully engaged in their studies and teachers are able to focus on the teaching task.


ERO REPORT FAIRFIELD SCHOOL - APRIL 2004

Areas of good performance

School culture. The board, principal and staff have established a school culture where the emphasis is on student learning. Students demonstrate respect and a warm appreciation of their teachers. Teachers establish positive relationships with their students and focus on meeting their physical, social, emotional and intellectual needs. The school motto of Independence through Responsibility underpins school activities and is meaningful to students. The Cornerstone Values programme permeates both staff and students’ thinking and actions.


WESTON SCHOOL – AUGUST 2003/2006

Weston School plays a lead role in the promotion and support of Cornerstone values education. Student learning is strongly supported by the explicit and purposeful teaching of values, both as a separate curriculum area and integrated into other learning areas. The principal and teachers consistently model a culture of mutual respect and the identified values are reinforced through the behavioural expectations of teachers. These values are evident in the positive relationships between students and between staff and students.

Areas of good performance

Classroom management practices.  A shared understanding of values and behavioural expectations among staff and students creates positive working relationships. Clear standards for behaviour are set and met. Most students demonstrate high levels of on-task behaviour and independent learning. The teachers’ appropriate management practices enable them to focus on learning rather than behaviour.

2006 UPDATE

Areas of good performance

Classroom management.  Most teachers have effective classroom management strategies. In their classrooms, ERO observed respectful and productive interactions between students and between students and teachers. Resources are well organised and accessible, and teachers are well prepared. Students know the classroom routines and their teacher’s expectations. Students make quick and orderly transitions between activities and learning areas.

The school has put in place the following to prevent bullying in the past three years:


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