Opua School

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Education institution number:
1063
School type:
Full Primary
School gender:
Co-Educational
Definition:
Not Applicable
Total roll:
102
Telephone:
Address:

2 Franklin Street, Opua

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School Context 

Opua School, in the Bay of Islands, provides education for students from Years 1 to 8. Approximately 116 children are on the school roll, and 33 percent have Māori heritage.

The school’s motto and vision, ‘manaakitanga me te awhina - sharing and caring’, is to educate and equip children for life. The values of achievement, curiosity, hauora and community underpin the school’s mission. Current school goals focus on developing children’s literacy and numeracy skills so that they can access all aspects of the curriculum. Ongoing professional development for teachers in mathematics and learning with digital technologies is supporting them to achieve the school’s goals.

Leaders and teachers regularly report to the board schoolwide information about outcomes for children in relation to:

  • overall achievement in reading, writing and mathematics

  • progress towards and achievement of school targets for reading, writing and mathematics

  • wellbeing for success

  • progress and success for those with additional learning needs.

Since ERO’s last review in 2015, some new trustees have been elected to the board. Trustees have made good use of external support to help them grow their stewardship role. School leaders and teachers have responded well to the recommendations in ERO’s 2015 report, and have successfully maintained and built upon the strengths identified in that report.

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?

Children are positively supported to achieve well in relation to the school’s valued outcomes. They are proud of their school, have a strong sense of belonging, and demonstrate the values of manaakitanga me te awhina in their interactions with each other and adults. Children know that they have a role to play in supporting each other. They are learning to value diversity and difference. Teachers encourage children to develop their self-management skills. As a result, children’s sense of self-efficacy is growing.

School data show that over the last three years the large majority of children achieved at or above expected levels in reading, writing and mathematics. The 2018 school data show that:

  • most children, including Māori and girls, achieve at or above expected curriculum levels
  • there has been a significant improvement for all groups of children in mathematics, with Māori and Pacific learners achieving slightly better than other groups
  • while there is improved parity of achievement for Māori children in writing, a disparity continues to be evident between boys and girls.

Most children, including Māori, achieve at or above expected curriculum levels in reading. However, boys’ achievement in reading fluctuates over time, with recent data showing some disparity between boys and girls.

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

The school is accelerating learning for Māori and other learners, where necessary. The board receives a range of good quality achievement information and other data. This includes the perspectives of children and parents. Trustees scrutinise information for trends, patterns and progress. This helps them to make strategic decisions, identify priorities, and set appropriate school goals and targets.

Leaders and teachers identify children whose progress requires acceleration. Individual learning plans are developed for ‘target’ children that focus on teaching strategies to lift their achievement. Close monitoring of these children shows that overall, most make good, and in some cases accelerated progress.

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 school vision is well lived. Children participate and learn in caring, collaborative and inclusive learning environments. Relationships are respectful and productive. There are positive reciprocal relationships within the school and with the community. These positive community relationships enable children, teachers, staff and parents to enthusiastically contribute to the school’s success.

Children learn, achieve and progress in the breadth and depth of the New Zealand Curriculum (NZC). They also benefit from the NZC key competencies being well integrated into learning programmes throughout the school. Classroom learning environments strongly reflect children’s learning and are well-resourced. Within classes and across the school, children’s learning is celebrated and appreciated. As a result, children demonstrate high levels of engagement in learning.

The board actively represents and serves the school community. One of the board’s important goals is to encourage and sustain relational trust with the school community. To achieve this, trustees offer a range of opportunities to communicate and regularly seek input from staff, children, parents and families/whānau. These strategies are encouraging the school community to have increasing input into school decisions.

Leadership promotes an orderly and supportive environment that is conducive to children’s learning and wellbeing. Leaders have established clear and consistent expectations to support teaching and learning. Leaders and teachers have a deep focus on professional learning and development. This has had a positive impact on children’s achievement.

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

Several well-established and effective strategies are supporting Māori learners to achieve success as Māori. These strategies include successful whole-school kapa haka and teachers who use te reo Māori with children. It would be appropriate for the board to develop a Māori education plan to establish further goals to build on these successes. Having a plan would help the board to monitor progress towards achieving its goals for Māori learner success.

School leaders identify the need to review and strengthen the school’s documented curriculum. Implementing the digital technologies and environmental education programmes is a priority. Leaders agree a key next step is to develop an inquiry model. This should be designed to enable children to become self-regulated learners. This would mean that they would be able to plan, set goals, organise self-monitor and evaluate while building their knowledge and skills.

The principal and teaching staff have established good teaching practices that support their focus on those learners at risk of not achieving well. Strengthening ‘teaching as inquiry’ processes is likely to help leaders and teachers to build their knowledge about how best to accelerate children’s learning.

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.

Provision for international students

The school is a signatory to the Education (Pastoral Care of International Students) Code of Practice 2016 (the Code) established under section 238F of the Education Act 1989. The school has attested that it complies with all aspects of the Code.

At the time of this review there were four international students attending the school. International students are provided with good quality support for their education and wellbeing in classrooms. Appropriate monitoring systems and some internal evaluation processes help the school to continue meeting its obligations under the Code.

4 Going forward

Key strengths of the school

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

  • positive reciprocal relationships within the school community that enable children, teachers, staff and parents to enthusiastically contribute to the school’s success

  • board stewardship that is collaborative with staff, children, and families/whānau and enables trusting relationships to continue to develop

  • respect for difference and diversity that promotes learning environments where children can participate and learn in a climate that is collaborative and inclusive

  • orderly and supportive classrooms conducive to children’s learning and wellbeing

  • children who are highly engaged in learning, and are achieving and progressing in a broad curriculum that has a positive impact on their achievement.

Next steps

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

  • develop a Māori education plan to assist the board to monitor its progress in relation to its goals for positive outcomes for Māori learners

  • review the school’s curriculum plan to include an inquiry model to strengthen opportunities for children to become self-regulated learners

  • strengthen ‘teaching as inquiry’ processes that help teachers to build their knowledge about the most effective strategies for promoting and accelerating children’s learning.

ERO’s next external evaluation process and timing

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

Steve Tanner

Director Review and Improvement Services Northern

Northern

28 February 2019

About the school

Location

Opua, Northland

Ministry of Education profile number

1063

School type

Full Primary (Year 1 – 8)

School roll

116

Gender composition

Boys 53% Girls 47%

Ethnic composition

Māori 33%
Pākehā 50%
other European 10%
other Asian 4%
other ethnic groups 3%

Students with Ongoing Resourcing Funding (ORS)

No

Provision of Māori medium education

No

Review team on site

December 2018

Date of this report

28 February 2019

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review November 2015
Education Review February 2012
Education Review June 2008

1 Context

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

Opua School provides education for students in Years 1 to 8 and operates five classrooms. The roll of 109 includes 40 students of Māori descent, most of whom whakapapa to the local iwi, Ngati Hine. There have been significant structural renovations to the buildings and grounds.

Since the ERO review in June 2012 there have been some changes to the staffing and leadership of the school. A new principal was appointed in February 2013. Some trustees, including the chairperson, are new to their positions.

Teachers have been involved in professional learning and development in the areas of literacy, ICT and assessment practices.

During the review ERO observed settled classrooms and high levels of student engagement. A particular strength of the school is the strong tuakana/teina relationships evident in older students supporting their younger peers.

2 Learning

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

The school is making good use of student achievement information to bring about positive changes for students.

Trustees receive relevant information about student achievement which they use to inform long-term planning and make decisions about resourcing. School leaders use achievement data to monitor the progress of students, particularly in reading, writing and mathematics. They also use this information to identify students who require additional support.

Teachers collect an appropriate range of student achievement information that they use to group students for instruction. Some teachers make very good use of achievement information to implement specific teaching and learning programmes for groups and individual students. Priority should be given to ensuring that this good practice is implemented consistently throughout the school.

Parents are well informed about the children’s progress and achievement through twice yearly comprehensive written reports, parent teacher conferences and informal contact with their children’s teachers.

The school reports that, at the end of 2014, a significant majority of students, including Māori, achieved at or above the National Standards in reading, writing and mathematics. These results indicate that the school is meeting the Government’s target of having 85% of students achieving at or above the National Standards.

However, there is a need for the school to implement more robust processes to support teachers to make reliable judgements in relation to the National Standards. The principal has recently accessed professional development for teachers to support their understanding of moderation of assessment in relation to the National Standards.

3 Curriculum

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

The school provides a broad curriculum that places appropriate priority on literacy and mathematics.

Particular features of the school’s curriculum include:

  • the use of real-life learning contexts
  • opportunities for students to develop their leadership skills
  • a meaningful focus on the environment and sustainability.

Recent consultation with parents of children at the school has resulted in the development of a leavers’ profile that identifies the key characteristics of a successful learner at Opua School.

Students enjoy many opportunities to develop their creativity in music, visual arts and dance. Classrooms are attractive and well resourced. The school supports students to experience safe physical challenge in playground activities and education outside the classroom programmes.

To further develop the school’s curriculum consideration should be given to the development and implementation of learning progressions in oral language, reading and writing to support teachers and students to identify achievement and next learning steps.

Students have access to an appropriate range of resources including computer technology. ERO observed teachers using a wide range of strategies that promote student engagement in learning.

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

Māori students’ sense of culture and identity is promoted by:

  • active involvement of a respected kaumatua who teaches te reo Māori in each class and acts as a resource person for the principal and teachers
  • regular visits to the local marae and celebration of events that are important for Māori
  • active participation of whānau and members of the wider Māori community in sharing their knowledge and expertise with students
  • inclusion of some aspects of tikanga Māori in school ceremonies and events.

The next step for the school is to strengthen its connection with Ngati Hine by incorporating the history, traditions, and places of significance for Ngati Hine into the school’s curriculum.

4 Sustainable Performance

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

Trustees have an increasing focus on positive student learning outcomes. The board is continuing to develop useful self-review processes including regular consultation with parents and students. Trustees are continuing to strengthen their understanding of their governance roles. Ongoing external mentoring will also be valuable for the principal as he continues to develop his role as leader of learning in the school.

The principal is committed to ongoing school improvement and works with teachers, parents and families. He provides regular feedback to teachers about their teaching practice as part of the school’s appraisal process. It is important that the school reviews and strengthens this process to meet the new requirements of the Education Council.

The board and principal have reviewed school values, and school guidelines and processes to promote student safety and wellbeing.

The school will be able to sustain and improve its performance, with the good use of available ongoing support.

Provision for international students

The school is a signatory of the Code of Practice for the Pastoral Care of International Students (the Code) established under section 238F of the Education Act 1989. No international students were enrolled at the time of this ERO review.

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 meet its agreed accountabilities, the board of trustees must consult with the school’s Māori community to develop and make known to the school’s community, policies, plans, and targets for improving the achievement of Māori students.

National Administration Guideline 1e

Conclusion

Students at Opua School receive a broad curriculum that places appropriate priority on literacy and numeracy. Students spoken to by ERO said that they enjoy school and the wide range of learning experiences available. Trustees are committed to continuing the positive development of the school.

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

Graham Randell
Deputy Chief Review Officer Northern

About the School

Location

Opua, Bay of Islands

Ministry of Education profile number

1063

School type

Full Primary (Years 1 to 8)

School roll

109

Number of international students

0

Gender composition

Boys      61%
Girls       39%

Ethnic composition

Pākehā
Māori
Fijian
other

57%
37%
  4%
  3%

Review team on site

August 2015

Date of this report

19 November 2015

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review
Education Review
Education Review

February 2012
June 2008
June 2005