Arapohue School

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Education institution number:
1002
School type:
Full Primary
School gender:
Co-Educational
Definition:
Not Applicable
Total roll:
39
Telephone:
Address:

Mititai Road, Arapohue, Dargaville

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School Context

Arapohue School, a small rural school near Dargaville, caters for students in Years 1 to 8. The school has had steady roll growth with 32 children currently attending. Some families have generational connections with the school. Māori make up nine percent of the roll, and 16 percent of learners have Pacific heritage.

The school’s mission is ‘te ara ki mātauranga – together striving towards the pathway to knowledge’. This is underpinned by values of manaakitanga - respect and caring, ngākau tapatahi – integrity, and hiringa - excellence. The school aims for students to be independent and confident with a strong sense of belonging.

The school’s current strategic priorities support its focus on achieving quality outcomes for all learners. The school aims to empower learners to show care for themselves and others, to develop self-esteem and to exercise self-discipline.

Leaders and teachers regularly report to the board schoolwide information about outcomes for students in the following areas:

  • achievement in reading, writing and mathematics

  • progress and achievement in relation to school targets

  • curriculum areas that align with school strategic goals

  • learners’ wellbeing and success

  • progress for learners with additional learning needs.

The board is currently in the process of appointing a new principal to start at the beginning of 2019.

Staff have participated in professional learning and development (PLD) in culturally responsive digital technology, Understanding Behaviour Responding Safely (UBRS), and training in autism and reading recovery.

Evaluation Findings

1 Equity and excellence – achievement of valued outcomes for students

1.1 How well is the school achieving equitable and excellent outcomes for all its students?

The school is progressing towards achieving equitable and excellent outcomes for all its students. Achievement data fluctuates as a result of the small student population and a large number of transient families. The school is working very well to respond to this challenge.

School achievement information shows that a large majority of learners achieve at expected New Zealand Curriculum (NZC) levels in reading, writing and mathematics. Over time, the school has reduced in-school disparity for boys in reading, writing and mathematics. The progress and achievement of learners with additional learning needs is carefully monitored by staff.

Students achieve very well in relation to other valued outcomes. Most learners:

  • can demonstrate responsibility for their learning
  • have a belief in themselves as learners
  • show a good sense of self-esteem
  • display care for themselves and others
  • are confident to talk about their learning.

1.2 How well is the school accelerating learning for those Māori and other students who need this?

The school responds very well to Māori and other students whose learning and achievement need acceleration.

Leaders, teachers and trustees are very responsive to students who would benefit from having their learning progress accelerated. They ensure individualised strategies and resources are provided to support student development. There is good evidence to show accelerated progress for some of these learners.

The board’s strategic plan has a clear focus on improvement for Māori and Pacific learners. Māori, Samoan and Tongan learners achieve very well in reading, writing and mathematics.

2 School conditions for equity and excellence – processes and practices

2.1 What school processes and practices are effective in enabling achievement of equity and excellence, and acceleration of learning?

The board serves the school and community well in its stewardship role. There is a focus on growing the school roll and enhancing the positive school culture. Trustees offer stability and coherence to the school governance. They bring a variety of strengths to their roles and contribute effectively to school decision making. Trustees prioritise resource funding for individual learners who need additional support.

Effective leadership ensures an orderly and supportive environment that is beneficial to student learning and wellbeing. The principal and teachers promote equity and excellence for all learners. This is underpinned by a sound knowledge of each student, and the ongoing monitoring of all students’ learning and achievement.

Students benefit from a responsive curriculum that is supported by effective teaching. They have many chances to participate in a caring, collaborative and inclusive learning environment. Teachers support students to engage in cognitively challenging and purposeful learning opportunities that relate to real life contexts, issues, experiences and interests.

Leaders and teachers access relevant external expertise in order to build their skills and knowledge for ongoing improvement. This practice aligns with the strategic plan and focus on the specific needs of teachers and learners. The school’s appraisal process is meaningful and comprehensive and develops teachers’ capability.

2.2 What further developments are needed in school processes and practices for achievement of equity and excellence, and acceleration of learning?

The school has prioritised developments that promote equity, excellence and learning acceleration. The principal and teachers plan to continue exploring opportunities to enhance the integrated curriculum and support a play-based learning approach.

Leaders and teachers are also planning to extend the environmental sustainability focus in the curriculum. This would complement the school’s current and historical emphasis on the established gardens that students care for and incorporate into their learning experiences.

The board and principal recognise the importance of continuing to strengthen and embed bicultural practices, and deepening the school’s engagement with the local Māori community.

3 Board assurance on legal requirements

Before the review, the board 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 the following:

  • board administration

  • curriculum

  • management of health, safety and welfare

  • personnel management

  • finance

  • asset management.

During the review, ERO checked the following items because they have a potentially high impact on student safety and wellbeing:

  • emotional safety of students (including prevention of bullying and sexual harassment)

  • physical safety of students

  • teacher registration and certification

  • processes for appointing staff

  • stand down, suspension, expulsion and exclusion of students

  • attendance

  • school policies in relation to meeting the requirements of the Vulnerable Children Act 2014.

4 Going forward

Key strengths of the school

For sustained improvement and future learner success, the school can draw on existing strengths in:

  • stewardship practices that focus on improving outcomes for all learners

  • leadership that pursues organisational structures, processes and practices that support high expectations for equity and excellence

  • effective, responsive teaching practices

  • staff having a sound knowledge of learners that supports holistic development

  • well-resourced learning environments that promote challenge and exploration.

Next steps

For sustained improvement and future learner success, priorities for further development are in:

  • documenting internal evaluation and using evaluative reasoning across the school to inform the future direction of the school and to sustain ongoing improvements in outcomes for learners.

ERO’s next external evaluation process and timing

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

Violet Tu’uga Stevenson

Director Review and Improvement Services

Te Tai Raki - Northern Region

15 November 2018

About the school

Location

Arapohue, Dargaville

Ministry of Education profile number

1002

School type

Full Primary (Years 1 to 8)

School roll

32

Gender composition

Boys 16 Girls 16

Ethnic composition

Māori 3
Pākehā 24
other ethnic groups 5

Students with Ongoing Resourcing Funding (ORS)

Yes

Provision of Māori medium education

No

Review team on site

September 2018

Date of this report

15 November 2018

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review May 2015
Education Review June 2012
Supplementary Review 2009

1 Context

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

Arapohue School, near Dargaville, is a small rural primary school catering for students in Years 1 to 8. It is situated in attractive and very well-maintained grounds, which include a swimming pool that is well used by students and the community.

At the time of this ERO review 14 students were enrolled, three being of Māori descent. Since ERO’s 2012 review there have been significant changes in membership of the board of trustees and a new principal was appointed in 2013. The school has benefitted from the principal’s involvement in professional learning relating to behaviour management, school leadership and management, and in the Ministry of Education’s Learning Change Network.

2 Learning

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

Achievement information is used well to make appropriate decisions about students’ levels of achievement, next steps for individual student’s learning and to inform teaching approaches. The school’s student achievement information shows that students achieve very well in comparison to regional and national achievement data for 2013 and 2014.

The principal provides the board with timely, analysed and useful information about students’ achievement in literacy, mathematics and other aspects of the curriculum. This information enables trustees to make sound resourcing decisions to support teaching and learning, and to raise student achievement.

Students are highly engaged in individualised learning programmes. Timely assessment means that students’ learning needs are identified early, responded to and monitored so that they achieve success.

The principal agrees that she could more regularly document her observations of students’ learning. This would be useful evidence when making judgements about student achievement in relation to the National Standards.

ERO and the principal agree that next steps for development include:

  • identifying more specific achievement targets and actions to raise student achievement
  • supporting students to develop greater understanding of their learning, achievement and next steps in learning.

3 Curriculum

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

The school curriculum is effective in promoting and supporting student learning. Curriculum design is closely aligned to the principles and key competencies of The New Zealand Curriculum. It also reflects school and community values, and strategic priorities for childrens’ education.

Students benefit from a positive learning setting that features respectful relationships and well- resourced environments. Other curriculum features that contribute to student success include:

  • responsive, collaborative teaching that builds on students’ strengths, interests and experiences
  • high expectations for learning and behaviour
  • well-paced and interesting learning programmes
  • innovative, research-based approaches to teaching and learning.

Students have many opportunities to engage with students from other schools through interschool sports and cultural learning exchange programmes. They also have opportunities to learn about and connect with, people, places and events of significance for the local community.

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

The principal demonstrates genuine valuing of Māori culture and language. She uses te reo Māori in her teaching and social interactions.

Through her local knowledge and networks with other schools and marae, the principal is establishing meaningful connections to build students’ knowledge of te reo and tikanga Māori.

The school’s 2014 achievement information shows that Māori students achieve very well in relation to National Standards in reading, writing and mathematics.

4 Sustainable Performance

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

Arapohue School is well placed to sustain and improve its performance.

The school is well governed. Trustees are supportive of the principal and staff. The board chair brings in-depth knowledge of school governance to the board and provides responsive mentoring for new trustees. Trustees are committed to the values of rural education, and desire the best learning outcomes for all their students.

The principal is an effective educational leader. She is dedicated to enhancing educational outcomes for all students and to maintaining the school’s positive profile in the community. Her reflective practice is resulting in continued improvements to teaching and learning.

The principal also uses effective strategies to communicate, consult and engage with the parent community. She has an open-door policy that enables parents to share confidently and be supported by the school and staff. Parents are well informed about their children’s learning, school initiatives and events.

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

Arapohue School provides good quality, inclusive education for all students. Students achieve well, and individualised programmes cater for their interests and learning needs. Effective systems and practices monitor and promote students’ learning and wellbeing. There are productive and respectful relationships between board members, staff, students and parents.

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

Dale Bailey

Deputy Chief Review Officer Northern

22 May 2015

About the School

Location

Arapohue, near Dargaville

Ministry of Education profile number

1002

School type

Full Primary (Years 1 to 8)

School roll

14

Gender composition

Boys 8 Girls 6

Ethnic composition

Pākehā

Māori

Samoan

9

3

2

Review team on site

March 2015

Date of this report

22 May 2015

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Supplementary Review

June 2012

December 2009