Awanui School

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School Context

Awanui School has a roll of 36 students, from Years 1 to 6. The school was established in 1872 as a Native School and has been at the present site since 1915.

The school culture is driven by its values of manaakitanga, whanaungatanga, ngāwari and tū tangata. The outcomes the school promotes through its curriculum are for children to be proud, confident, capable of meeting challenges, and successful in each area of their development.

Nearly all children are of Māori descent. The school has close partnerships with the local iwi, Ngai Takoto. The school has three full-time staff including the principal. There are a number of teacher aides who support children with their learning.

The school has been part of the accelerating literacy for learning (ALL) programme. It is also a member of the Far North Community of Learning (CoL).

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

  • achievement in reading, writing, and mathematics

  • specific areas of the curriculum.

Evaluation Findings

1 Equity and excellence – valued outcomes for students

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

The school continues to work towards achieving equitable and excellent outcomes for all its children.

There has been a strong commitment and collaborative approach to improving the teaching of writing through professional development. This has resulted in significant improvement in writing achievement since 2015. In addition, because of improvements in reading, approximately 73 percent of children achieved at or above their expected level by the end of 2017. There has also been a slight overall lift in mathematics achievement.

The disparity between boys’ and girls’ achievement has almost been eliminated in writing and considerably reduced in reading. However, results since 2015 show a trend of increasing achievement for boys, but decreasing progress and achievement for girls.

1.2 How effectively does this school respond to those Māori and other students whose learning and achievement need acceleration?

The school continues to develop its effectiveness in responding to Māori and other children whose learning and achievement need acceleration.

At the end of 2016, all children in Years 4 to 6 were below their expected levels of achievement. During 2017 some children made accelerated progress in writing. The school also reports that children have become more confident and are more able to articulate their learning and processes for writing.

The school has some useful information about students who have made accelerated progress in reading and mathematics. This indicates that students on the Reading Recovery programme had their progress accelerated and have maintained this progress over time. However, students who made accelerated progress through focused support in mathematics have not sustained this progress. Teachers are inquiring into the reasons behind these results.

2 School conditions for equity and excellence

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

The school has a strong commitment to aligning documentation and teaching and learning practices. Teachers have implemented a new mathematics programme that better reflects all mathematics strands of the curriculum. This new programme is likely to engage students better in their learning.

A ‘teaching as inquiry’ model has been developed recently and is now beginning to be implemented. Aspects of this collaborative inquiry process and professional learning opportunities for teachers align with the school’s vision, values, goals and targets.

Approaches to developing student agency have begun to empower children more in their learning. The broadening of the curriculum is beginning to help equip students with life skills and offer additional learning experiences. The school has increased the sharing of learning information with students and their parents through student-led conferences. Parents are welcomed and their contributions are valued.

Teachers know children well as individuals and as learners, and have high levels of awareness of their needs. Students are highly engaged in learning programmes.

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

Aligning documentation regarding organisational structures, processes and goals is a priority for the school. As part of this, it would be useful to develop a clear curriculum framework for the school that covers all of the essential learning areas and states the school’s expectations for teaching and learning. This would help build teachers’ knowledge and use of teaching as inquiry. In addition, assessment expectations in all areas of the curriculum should be specifically documented, aligned to the New Zealand Curriculum, and regularly reported to the board.

Further strengthening the implementation of the Positive Behaviour for Learning (PB4L) approach, including a bullying prevention programme, would increase its effectiveness and alignment with school values. The impact and outcomes of PB4L strategies could be ascertained through wellbeing surveys and this information could be reported to the board.

Growing internal evaluation at the leadership, governance and teacher levels is a priority. The focus for internal evaluation should be on progress towards developing and improving systems and practices for achieving equity and excellence across the school. Ongoing work to evaluate the effectiveness of teachers’ planning and strategies for accelerating children’s learning progress could help teachers develop and embed specific strategies for improving achievement writing and other areas.

The principal and teachers have recently developed achievement plans for reading, writing and mathematics which identify children whose learning needs to be accelerated. These plans, once embedded, will assist teachers and the principal to more frequently report to the board about the effectiveness of strategies and interventions to lift achievement. This information would help the board with its strategic decision making.

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.

Appraisal audit

The principal’s annual performance agreement and appraisal documentation should show systematic processes and clear steps for progression and development. The process should include regular, documented discussions in relation to school goals and the Standards for the Teaching Profession and the Professional Standards for Primary Principals.

Actions for compliance

ERO identified non-compliance in relation to the principal’s appraisal. In order to address this, the board of trustees must:

  1. ensure the principal is appraised annually in relation to the Standards for the Teaching Profession
    State Sector Act 1988, s77C; Education Act 1989, 31.

Areas for improved compliance practice

To improve current practice, the board of trustees should:

  • document a systematic policy and procedure review process as a part of building more effective internal evaluation across the school

  • ensure that stand-down and suspension documentation and practices reflect Ministry of Education guidelines

  • ensure that the board uses its in-committee procedures and accurately minutes board discussion in the event of dealing with confidential and personnel matters

  • develop and implement a bullying prevention programme and a wellbeing survey for students and adults

  • ensure hazards in the school environment are promptly addressed.

4 Going forward

Key strengths of the school

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

  • its determination to improve learning outcomes for students

  • collaborative relationships between staff and a commitment to the school’s vision, goals, and targets for learning

  • approaches to building student agency in making progress in learning and achieving valued outcomes.

Next steps

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

  • continuing to increase student ownership of their learning progress and achievement

  • board evaluation of the school’s performance, particularly how well children’s learning is being accelerated and valued outcomes are being achieved for all learners

  • increasing the rigour of internal evaluation across all school operations [ERO will provide an internal evaluation workshop for trustees and senior leaders]

  • embedding specific, targeted planning to accelerate learning and improve outcomes for students [ERO will monitor and discuss progress with the school].

Recommendations to other agencies

ERO recommends that the New Zealand School Trustees Association provide support for the school in order to bring about improvement in governance roles and responsibilities, including using internal evaluation to inform decision making.

ERO’s next external evaluation process and timing

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

Julie Foley

Deputy Chief Review Officer Northern (Acting)

Te Tai Raki - Northern Region

29 June 2018

About the school

Location

Awanui

Ministry of Education profile number

1004

School type

Contributing Years 1 -6

School roll

36

Gender composition

Boys 20 Girls 16

Ethnic composition

Māori 34
Pākeha 2

Provision of Māori medium education

No

Review team on site

April 2018

Date of this report

29 June 2018

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review March 2015
Education Review February 2012
Education Review June 2008

Findings

Awanui School promotes student learning and engagement well. In January 2015 a new principal was employed and together with the board is focused on strengthening teaching and learning. The board is confidently led by an experienced board chair. Self review has been identified as a priority to support school improvement.

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

1 Context

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

Awanui School, near Kaitaia in the Far North, is a small and long-established school for students in Years 1-6. Several generations of some families have attended the school and continue with their support. Ninety five percent of students are Māori. The board of trustees has good Māori representation and the school enjoys close relationships with Ngai Takoto, the local iwi.

2014 was a challenging year for the school. The principal took sick leave for most of the first half of the year and then resigned in July 2014. The board of trustees and the acting principal ensured that the school continued to function. A new principal was appointed in January 2015.

The school employs three fulltime staff including the teaching principal and a teacher aide. External agencies support the transient school population. The roll numbers are maintained around 50 students.

2 Learning

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

Awanui School uses student achievement information well to make positive changes to learners' engagement, progress and achievement. Teachers monitor students’ progress over the year in reading and mathematics.

Publicly available information suggests that half of all students are achieving at or above the National Standards in reading, writing and mathematics. This implies that there has been a decrease in achievement compared with the 2013 results. The principal has begun to review the accuracy of student achievement information reported to the board and parents. She has identified the next step is to develop a shared understanding with teachers and parents and whānau of the National Standards levels and expectations for reporting. It could be useful for the principal to report information about students’ progress with National Standards over their time at school to the board. This could enable them to make more targeted resourcing decisions.

Students are confident and articulate and they enjoy positive relationships with adults and their classmates. They are well engaged at their tasks in class. Teachers have high expectations for students’ learning and use data from the previous year to begin the new year in a timely manner. Teachers share progress and achievement information with the students and together they set individual achievement targets. These strategies help students to work purposefully towards achieving expectations.

The principal and the board of trustees place high importance on students attending school each day. The principal reports rates of attendance to the board and to parents and whānau. The board is considering further strategies to continue increasing the number of days that students are at school.

Students have positive tuakana teina relationships with each other. Good outcomes from teachers participation in professional development focused on positive behaviours for learning are apparent. Parents and whānau appreciate the good relationships that they and their children have with teachers and feel that this helps their children’s learning to progress.

The community has responded positively to the board’s initiatives to increase parent participation in their child’s learning. They have strongly supported teachers and their children, whose achievement has been identified in the school’s goals.

Parents and whānau, teachers and students talk about students' progress with their goals as a way of further strengthening parent partnerships with the school. Parents and whānau receive two written reports per year. The principal has begun to review these to improve their accuracy and readability for whānau.

3 Curriculum

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

The curriculum is somewhat effective in promoting and supporting student learning.

Awanui School’s curriculum is aligned with The New Zealand Curriculum. It is planned by teachers with a little input from students. The principal recognises that the next step is to design and implement an Awanui School Inquiry Learning model so students will be able to have greater ownership of and contribute to the school’s curriculum.

The board has an increased emphasis on providing information and communication technologies (ICT) for students. Teachers demonstrate an understanding of the place of ICT tools in enriching and enhancing teaching and learning programmes.

Teachers have access to a wide range of appropriate professional learning opportunities. Many programmes available for 2014 were unable to be implemented due to interruptions that were beyond the school’s control. The school will be encouraging teachers to critically review the effectiveness of their teaching practices on students’ progress and achievement to strengthen teaching and learning school-wide.

The school’s special educational needs coordinator (SENCO) promotes many opportunities to support the progress of students requiring extra support. Through the SENCO’s regular reports, the board is able to provide appropriate resourcing to support her work.

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

While some existing practices support Māori student achievement and progress, the school is yet to establish plans to strengthen the provision for Māori success as Māori. The school has a partnership with Ngai Takoto to deliver te reo Māori in class but this initiative is yet to begin due to the 2014 circumstances.

Students are developing skills in powhiri and waiata. The board has a strategic intent to reinstate kapa haka learning and practice at the school.

Teachers are slowly developing their confidence with implementing te reo Māori into daily class practice. Teachers could consider using Tau Mai Te Reo, The Ministry of Education (MoE) Māori Language in Education Strategy 2013 – 2017, in curriculum planning.

Parents and whānau surveyed by the school asked for more te reo Māori and cultural awareness in the school curriculum. The board is considering implementing the MoE document Tātaiako, Cultural Competencies for Teachers of Māori Students, into the school’s appraisal system. This could support teachers to increasing their knowledge of te ao Māori and gain confidence to integrate tikanga Māori into the school curriculum.

The implementation of these strategies could support increased success for Māori students as Māori.

4 Sustainable Performance

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

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

Board members are relatively new to their board role and are led by an experienced board chair. Members have undertaken some board training and would benefit from participating in more training as it is made available. Trustees are developing a board manual to guide effective governance practices. They could also revise the board code of conduct and align it to the manual.

Trustees receive student achievement information twice per year. This information could be more useful to them if it had accompanying comment as to the impact of specific strategies on student’s progress towards National Standards. Board decision making could also be better informed through regular reporting from the principal on progress towards the school’s strategic goals.

Regular self review undertaken by the board has focused on reviewing board policies and procedures. These practices could now be extended to include an in-depth analysis of the effectiveness of curriculum decisions on improving outcomes for students learning.

The principal’s monitoring of staff practices for ongoing improvement is effective. All staff, including ancillary staff, are regularly appraised. The principal is appraised by the board chair and an external appraiser on a two-yearly cycle. The appraisal process aligns well with the registered teacher criteria. Aligning the principal’s appraisal with the school’s strategic goals would enhance this performance management process and promote strategic development.

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.

To improve current practice, the board of trustees should be assured of and attest to the rigour of the risk analysis and management for all overnight excursions.

Conclusion

Awanui School promotes student learning and engagement well. In January 2015 a new principal was employed and together with the board is focused on strengthening teaching and learning. The board is confidently led by an experienced board chair. Self review has been identified as a priority to support school improvement.

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

Dale Bailey

Deputy Chief Review Officer Northern

30 March 2015

About the School

Location

Awanui, Northland

Ministry of Education profile number

1004

School type

Contributing (Years 1 to 6)

School roll

40

Gender composition

Boys 22 Girls 18

Ethnic composition

Māori

Pākehā

Samoan

38

1

1

Special Features

Base School for SWIS

Review team on site

February 2015

Date of this report

30 March 2015

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

February 2012

June 2008

June 2007