ERO Report


Education Review Report Waiuku Primary School September 2015

The purpose of ERO’s reviews is to give parents and the wider school community assurance about the quality of education that schools provide and their children receive. An ERO school report answers the question “How effectively is this school’s curriculum promoting student learning - engagement, progress and achievement?” Under that overarching question ERO reports on the quality of education and learning outcomes for children and for specific groups of children including Māori students, Pacific students and students with special needs. ERO also reports on the quality of the school’s systems for sustaining and continuing improvements. The report answers four key questions about the school

 

Findings 1

1. Context

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

Waiuku Primary School in Waiuku, Franklin is a full primary school providing education for students in Years 1 to 8. The school buildings are spread across expansive, well maintained grounds. The school culture is inclusive and respectful.

The 2012 ERO report identified the positive school culture as a strength of the school. In addition ERO identified assessment processes, provision for Māori students and relationships with teachers as areas for development. Good progress has been made in these areas.

Since the last ERO review there have been a number of changes on the staff. An acting principal now leads the new leadership team and leadership opportunities have been created to support professional growth for teachers. The board of trustees have appointed an experienced principal to begin in term 4 2015.

Over the past 2 years the board of trustees has managed significant personnel challenges. Support from the Ministry of Education was sought and a Limited Statutory Manager (L.S.M) with responsibility for student achievement, personnel and communication was appointed to the school. The L.S.M, trustees and teachers have collaborated to ensure that students and learning are the focus of school operations. After a downturn in student enrolments, the roll is now steadily growing.

2 Learning

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

Waiuku Primary School uses student achievement information well to make positive changes to learners’ engagement, progress and achievement.

Senior leaders report confidence in the robustness of teachers’ judgments about student progress and achievement since the review of school assessment and moderation processes. A purposeful programme of assessments now provides good information to support teachers’ judgments. Reporting student achievement to parents in relation to National Standards has been refined. Good Education Review Office Waiuku Primary School – PN1559 Confirmed Education Review Report September 2015 2 communication and improvements in the learning environment have helped the implementation of new assessment and moderation processes.

Teachers identify students within their class who need to make better progress in reading, writing and mathematics. Students identified in school achievement targets are included in this wider group of students. Teachers participate in professional learning and development to build their knowledge and understanding in accelerating student progress in reading, writing and mathematics. They have professional discussions about their students’ progress and achievement regularly during team meetings. This good practice is helping teachers to cater well for the learning needs of students.

Achievement levels for reading, writing and mathematics are lower in comparison to other schools in the region and nationally. However teachers’ significant efforts to address student achievement are having a positive impact on results.

Students talk confidently about their learning. Most have a good understanding of their progress and achievement in reading, writing and mathematics. Older students make decisions about their learning and work collaboratively to achieve their goals.

Senior leaders promote an inclusive culture that supports students well. The board prioritises necessary support to ensure students attend school regularly and are appropriately prepared to succeed in class. Staff with expertise in meeting the needs of diverse students are well supported in their roles by external agencies. Inclusive and supportive approaches to student behaviour management help students to engage in their learning.

3 Curriculum

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

The school’s curriculum is being reviewed and developed. Student and teacher voice contributes to the review process. The curriculum is increasingly effective in promoting and supporting student learning.

Senior leaders work collaboratively with teachers to review the curriculum and teaching practice. They emphasise the role of content knowledge and specific teaching and learning approaches appropriate to each learning area. Senior leaders encourage teachers to consider how they need to work with students to ensure high quality learning opportunities. This sharing of practice is likely to contribute to greater clarity of expectations for teachers and more consistency across the school.

Teachers collaborate well to develop shared understandings about teaching and learning. They appreciate the opportunities to talk about their practice and highlight important education practices at their school. Senior leaders encourage teachers to think innovatively when they consider ways to engage their students.

Teachers know their students very well. Students have warm and caring relationships with their class teachers and in many cases with other teachers within the school. Teacher leadership is promoted well through curriculum teams.

Teachers willingly engage with and support each other. This collaborative and collegial approach is particularly evident where teachers are acting in non-permanent leadership roles.

Students in Years 7 and 8 learn about technology with specialist teachers at a nearby school. They have good opportunities to consider possible career pathways and the steps they need to take to achieve their goals.

Years 7 and 8 students learn Spanish as an additional language. This language learning is helpful for students transitioning to the local secondary school where Spanish is also taught.

 In order to continue improvements in teaching and learning practices ERO and school leaders agree that next steps include:

  •          continuing to develop consistency of teaching practices aimed at promoting student ownership of their learning and inquiry approaches to learning
  •          ongoing review of the school’s curriculum to clarify expectations of teaching practices and to promote coherence and consistency across the school.


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

The school has good capacity to further promote educational success for Māori as Māori.

The school is in a phase of rekindling positive relationships with whānau. Experienced and new teacher leaders are optimistic about future partnerships. They plan to encourage whānau to collaborate in supporting their children’s learning.

Māori students spoken to by ERO were articulate and confident in sharing their ideas. They bring with them strong connections to Te Ao Māori through te reo me ona tikanga. They have good capacity to provide leadership for other learners within the school. ERO endorses the students’ suggestion that more lessons in te reo Māori and bilingual signage would further raise the visibility of tangata whenua.

The school is establishing a partnership with the local secondary school. This connection could provide tuakana/teina opportunities for current and former students through kapa haka.

ERO and school leaders agree that the school should continue to strengthen teaching and learning programmes that support Māori students in their language, culture and identity and that promote bicultural practice for all students.

 

4 Sustainable Performance

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

The board of trustees with the acting principal and LSM is working well to sustain and improve school performance. Good use has been made of external support and training to increase board effectiveness and a collaborative and transparent governance approach has been developed.

Trustees show a strong commitment to the school and wider community. They are improvement focused. Trustees are deliberately rebuilding community trust in the school and respect for the work of their teachers. The positive tone of the school and the increasing roll are cause for optimism about the future.

The senior leadership team has been well led by the acting principal. They model collaboration, and open communication. Considerable work has been undertaken to create a positive culture for all learners and respect for teachers as professionals. Self-review has been used to identify areas for change and to ensure the school is staying current. This good work provides a sound foundation from which the new principal can build.

A review of performance management systems has resulted in a robust teacher appraisal process that meets Education Council requirements and builds teacher practice. Many spontaneous and planned reviews have been undertaken recently. Formalising self-review will strengthen the effectiveness of processes and outcomes.

 In order to improve governance and leadership practices ERO and the board agree that next steps include:

  •          developing documentation to reflect current effective practice in governance and to guide future decision making and directions
  •          ensuring regulatory requirements for board meetings are followed
  •          formalising self-review processes and becoming more evaluative in inquiry and reporting.

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

Waiuku Primary School provides good education opportunities for students in Years 1 to 8. Students experience positive relationships with teachers and with each other. Teachers collaborate and support each other well. Trustees are committed to maintaining community trust in the school and are well supported by an external specialist 

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

 

Graham Randell

Deputy Chief Review Officer Northern (Acting)

10 September 2015

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