Peria School

Peria School - 29/11/2018

School Context

Peria School caters for students from Years 1 to 8. Half of the school’s 44 students are Māori. The semi-rural school sits within the rohe and acknowledges the tikanga of Ngāti Kahu.

The school’s vision, “each child working in harmony to learn, create and grow”, aims to promote an environment where inclusiveness and celebration of diversity of learners is woven through the school culture. The school values of “I care - Kaitiakitanga, I have courage - Whakamanawanui, We work together - Manaakitanga/Ako”, underpin the school’s vision and mission.

Since ERO’s 2015 evaluation the board and staff have successfully managed the school through a period of change. There has been change in personnel, including new leadership, teaching staff, trustees and a new board chairperson. The new principal was permanently appointed in Term 3, 2018 after being in an acting role during Terms 1 and 2.

ERO’s 2015 evaluation identified that there were significant school-wide improvements necessary. These included establishing more effective and reliable assurance systems for student achievement, improving teacher capability, and developing a more responsive curriculum. All of these continue to be areas for improvement.

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

  • achievement in reading, writing and mathematics in relation to curriculum levels

  • progress, trends and patterns over time including ethnicity and gender data

  • curriculum development that aligns to the school’s strategic plan

  • student engagement, attendance and wellbeing.

Peria School is part of Te Kāhui Tai Kura o Te Hiku |Community of Learning (CoL).

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 working towards achieving equitable and excellent academic outcomes for its students. The school’s achievement information shows the majority of students achieve at or above the expected levels of The New Zealand Curriculum (NZC) in reading, writing and mathematics. Almost all students achieve at the expected levels in reading, writing and mathematics by the time they leave Year 8.

There is a variable picture of achievement over the past three years for some groups of students. The principal has established school-wide plans and clear expectations to increase the reliability of achievement data. In response to the school’s analysis of achievement, 2018 data show improved parity in mathematics for Māori boys.

Students achieve well in relation to other valued outcomes. Students:

  • show a strong sense of belonging
  • demonstrate school values that support positive interactions and respect for others
  • are learners, leaders and helpers within the school community.

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

The school is developing good processes and greater urgency in relation to accelerating learning in reading, writing and mathematics for many of its students. The principal has established new frameworks to support targeted planning and actions to support these students.

Teachers and whānau work collaboratively to design individual student plans to support progress and achievement. These plans continue to be strengthened through more reliable data and increasingly evaluative use of information.

Since the last ERO evaluation, the school has engaged in Ministry of Education professional development initiatives. These have supported some changes in teaching practices and improved outcomes for some learners in literacy and mathematics. New processes, systems and practices continue to be developed, refined and embedded to ensure effective initiatives are sustained.

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?

There is now a strong focus on the school values. These are evident in the everyday life of the school and are celebrated in respectful ways. The values are supporting an improved school culture and a more positive environment for learning. Learners are motivated to engage with and contribute to their learning.

The board, principal and staff continue to strengthen connections and relationships with the local and wider community. These connections are enriching the school curriculum and ensuring the community’s ‘voice’ is part of ongoing school development.

Students learn about the history of Peria School, and the people of the area. Relationships with local Māori and Te Kauhanga Marae enable Māori learners to develop a stronger sense of identity as Māori. These experiences also provide opportunities for all students to learn about Aotearoa New Zealand’s bicultural heritage.

Students have access to a range of learning opportunities that recognise their strengths and interests, including music, kapa haka, environmental projects and leadership activities. Students are developing an increased sense of pride in themselves and their learning.

The principal’s leadership is focused on enhancing the potential of each learner. She is establishing high expectations, supported by more robust performance management systems and opportunities for teachers to reflect on their practice. This is continuing to build teacher capability to support students’ learning, progress and achievement.

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

The board receives good information about student achievement. Teachers could make better use of student achievement information to inform their teaching practices.

Teachers could also continue to build students’ knowledge of themselves as learners so they can take greater ownership of their learning. Teachers could further promote students’ development as self-directed, creative and collaborative learners. The school curriculum document is beginning to reflect these approaches.

To support the school’s new strategic direction, the board, principal and staff should prioritise and strategically plan for internal evaluation. Establishing clear guidelines and processes for internal evaluation should help teachers and learners monitor the impact of teaching practices and professional development initiatives on improved outcomes for all learners.

Trustees agree that engaging with the New Zealand School Trustees Association (NZSTA) to increase their understanding of governance roles and responsibilities would help them to meet their obligations and legislative requirements.

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:

  • strategic leadership that has a clear purpose, high expectations and future focused direction

  • a positive school culture that is being created through deliberate enactment of the school values, vision and mission

  • strengthened connections and relationships with parents, whānau and the wider community

  • increasing partnerships with the Māori community and local marae.

Next steps

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

  • developing teacher capability to improve student achievement and accelerate learning

  • developing robust internal evaluation processes at all levels of the school

  • accessing training to improve the board’s capability in its stewardship role.

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

29 November 2018

About the school

Location

Kaitaia, Northland

Ministry of Education profile number

1081

School type

Full Primary (Years 1 to 8)

School roll

44

Gender composition

Girls 26 Boys 18

Ethnic composition

Māori 21
Pākehā 23

Students with Ongoing Resourcing Funding (ORS)

Yes

Provision of Māori medium education

No

Review team on site

October 2018

Date of this report

29 November 2018

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review August 2015
Education Review February 2012
Education Review August 2008

Peria School - 07/08/2015

Findings

Peria School board of trustees is capable, committed to improvement and well supported by the school’s community. Changes is school staffing over recent years have, however, resulted in a lack of evaluation and self review of school systems and operations. Ongoing appropriate external support is essential to support and sustain school leadership and 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?

Peria School is a small rural primary school situated in the Doubtless Bay area of Northland. The school provides education for students from Years 1 to 8. Fifty-one percent of the school’s students identify as Māori. The school roll has fluctuated over the past few years as families have moved into and out of the area.

Peria School has a positive and inclusive atmosphere. Whānau and community are welcomed. Relationships between the school, family and children are valued and seen as an important part of children’s education.

There has been continuity in the leadership of the board of trustees. However, there has been significant turnover of teaching staff. A new principal was appointed in 2009 and left for a new position at the end of 2014. School staff now consist of a new principal and two new teachers. With the school roll increasing in 2015, it is likely that an additional teacher will be appointed for the beginning of term three.

External advisors and the Ministry of Education (MoE) continue to support the school. They are providing professional development and learning for teachers and the board of trustees. Current initiatives include Accelerating Learning in Maths (ALIM), Accelerating literacy learning (ALL), and board training from the New Zealand School Trustees Association (NZSTA).

The 2012 ERO report recommended that the school’s curriculum be aligned with The New Zealand Curriculum (NZC). ERO’s report also signalled the need to improve formative assessment practices to give children a deeper understanding of their individual learning processes and next steps.

This review finds that curriculum development, assessment practices and student ownership of learning remain areas that require considerable improvement.

2 Learning

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

The teaching staff of Peria School use achievement information to some extent to make positive changes to learners’ progress and achievement.

The school’s information shows that there has been some improvement in students’ performance against the National Standards during the 2014 year. During the last three years the school’s midterm and end-of-year reports have been improved. These now provide better information for parents and whānau about student progress and achievement against the National Standards.

Currently, teachers are overly reliant on test data to assess students’ learning progress. They should now establish more effective and reliable systems drawing on a wider range of information, to assess and monitor students’ progress and form overall judgements about their achievement. The principal could take a stronger leadership role in the analysis and use of achievement data. Improving the assessment and analysis of students’ progress and achievement should:

  • help teachers to plan more effectively for the learning needs of individuals and groups of students
  • increase students’ use and understanding of their own assessment information.
  • improve the reporting of achievement information to the board and community
  • help school leaders and the board to set more relevant and meaningful targets for improving student achievement.

Strengthening teachers’ understanding of the impact of their teaching on students’ learning is a priority for teacher development. This could help teachers to evaluate learning programmes and modify and adapt their teaching practice appropriately.

Students with special needs are identified and supported through a range of interventions and agencies. The principal has the role of coordinating support for students with special learning needs at present.

3 Curriculum

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

The principal and teachers are beginning to redesign the Peria curriculum. Currently, it is only partially aligned to The New Zealand Curriculum (NZC). Teachers are trialling a new inquiry learning approach during 2015. They are also reviewing the school programmes in the eight curriculum learning areas.

Student strengths, prior knowledge, interests and aspirations should be considerations in building the inquiry-based curriculum. Leadership opportunities for students could feature more prominently in teacher and student curriculum planning. Students are likely to engage more readily in their learning if they had greater choice and better opportunities to contribute to decisions about the curriculum.

The foundation subjects of learning, namely reading, writing and mathematics, are given high priority and cover two morning blocks of time. Inquiry learning topics are usually timetabled for the afternoon and are linked into the foundation subjects where possible. This practice could make reading, writing and mathematics more connected and meaningful for children.

Some aspects of the Peria curriculum promote and support students’ holistic learning. The school’s vision and values are significant to the Peria community. Whānau want care and nurturing for their children. A positive environment with purposeful partnerships between the school and families is a feature of the school’s curriculum.

Student stand downs and suspensions are declining. However, there are some concerns about how well the school maintains a positive school culture to promote the wellbeing of all children.

The board of trustees and the principal agree, that in order to develop a high quality school curriculum:

  • the new curriculum plan should ensure there is good coverage and balance of the principles, key competencies and learning areas of the NZC
  • the content of the learning areas needs to be deepened, particularly for senior students in subjects such as science
  • critical thinking and problem solving activities should be a more prominent feature of curriculum planning.

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

School information indicates that, overall, teaching approaches have not successfully accelerated Māori student progress and achievement.

The 2012 ERO report noted some developing strengths to promote students’ success as Māori. The school had strengthened its links with the local marae, Te Kauhanga. Students had opportunities to participate in marae events and to complete some of their studies in the whare nui. This practice should be continued as the current curriculum unit about the local area progresses.

Teachers are ensuring that te reo Māori is both heard and seen as part of classroom programmes.

ERO recommends that the board and principal:

  • develop a strategic Māori Education Plan to promote better teaching practices and improve educational outcomes for Māori students
  • report to the Māori community about the progress and achievement of Māori students
  • continue to explore ways to include Māori perspectives and the bi-cultural heritage of Aotearoa New Zealand throughout the curriculum.

4 Sustainable Performance

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

ERO has confidence in the capability of the board of trustees. The board chair has worked hard to deepen trustees’ knowledge of their governance obligations and responsibilities. Trustees are given ongoing encouragement to access board training opportunities. Teachers and the community continue to support each other. This is fostering a collegial and supportive work culture in the school.

The charter is a clear document that sets out strategic goals for the school’s future direction. The community has recently been consulted about changes to the charter. This will assist with the next phase of school development. Strategic action is now required to ensure that progress towards achieving charter goals and meeting targets is measured. This should be done in a way that enables the board and teaching staff to be accountable to students and the community for improving learning outcomes.

The appointment of a new principal has provided the impetus for school development. Thoughtful and incremental planning will be needed for the next phase of that development. ERO recommends that the principal makes it an urgent priority to lead and embed high quality professional teaching practice aimed at improving educational outcomes for students. A good first step would be to ensure that teacher appraisal includes more purposeful annual goal-setting and makes links between student progress and achievement and teacher practice. The principal also needs to develop her capability to lead and undertake school self 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.

ERO identified three areas of non-compliance. To address these, the board and school leaders must:

  • maintain an ongoing programme of self review relating to policies, plans and programmes
    [National Administration Guideline 1993 (NAG) 2(b)]
  • provide all students with opportunities to achieve success in all areas of the National Curriculum
    [National Administration Guideline 1 a]
  • provide appropriate career education and guidance for all students in Year 7 and 8
    [National Administration Guideline 1 f].

Recommendations to other agencies

ERO recommends that the Ministry of Education (MoE) provides external support through a Student Achievement Function practitioner (SAF) to consolidate and establish quality assessment systems and teaching practice across the school.

Conclusion

Peria School board of trustees is capable, committed to improvement and well supported by the school’s community. Changes is school staffing over recent years have, however, resulted in a lack of evaluation and self review of school systems and operations. Ongoing appropriate external support is essential to support and sustain school leadership and improvement.

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

Graham Randell

Deputy Chief Review Officer Northern (Acting)

7 August 2015

About the School

Location

Kaitaia, Northland

Ministry of Education profile number

1081

School type

Full Primary (Years 1 to 8)

School roll

51

Gender composition

Girls 27 Boys 24

Ethnic composition

Māori

Pākehā

Pacific

British

26

22

2

1

Review team on site

June 2015

Date of this report

7 August 2015

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review
Education Review
Education Review

February 2012
August 2008
August 2005