Young principal turns school around

Stuff reports:

A young principal has been given the ticket to move a lower decile school away from close Government monitoring.

Reviewers from the Education Review Office (ERO) were visiting every one to two years.

But the Blockhouse Bay school will now likely have its next review in four to five years, according to its latest ERO review.

The report “identifies Glenavon School as a high performing school”.

Principal Phil Toomer, now 31, arrived at the school in 2014, when he was just 28-years-old.

He came from Redoubt North School in Manukau where he was a teacher, deputy principal and acting principal over seven years.

Back then, he had planned to build the Glenavon School in all areas, with student achievement a big focus.

“There is no excuse just because a school is low decile to underachieve,” Toomer says.

And with an attitude like that, he has succeeded.

The school has children of many ethnicities, with Pacifica students making up more than 60 per cent of the school’s roll and Maori students numbering 18 per cent of pupils.

“Our community around us is changing and so is the culture of the school,” Toomer says.

And 78% of students are now at or above the national standard in reading, 74% for writing and 84% for maths.

What is impressive is that when they get year 1 students only 45% are at the national standard for reading so they make a real difference. The proportion of students reaching the national standard increased 10 percentage points from 2013 to 2014.

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