Ruawai Primary School

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Education institution number:
1095
School type:
Contributing
School gender:
Co-Educational
Definition:
Not Applicable
Total roll:
123
Telephone:
Address:

4376 State Highway 12, Ruawai

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Summary

Ruawai Primary School caters for Years 1 to 6 children and continues to provide good quality education. The school roll is just over 100. More than half of all children are Pākehā, slightly less than half are Māori.

Since the 2014 ERO evaluation there have been changes in leadership. The board appointed its third principal in July 2015. Teachers have participated in professional learning to strengthen teaching practice for children’s learning in writing. The board has responded very well to the next steps identified in ERO’s 2014 report.

How well is the school achieving equitable outcomes for all children?

Ruawai Primary School is becoming increasingly effective at responding to Māori and other children whose learning needs acceleration. The school’s processes and actions are mostly effective at helping to achieve equity and excellence for all children. Most notably:

  • stewardship is consultative and focused on improvement

  • leadership for equity and excellence is strategic and responsive

  • evaluation, inquiry and knowledge building is purposeful and useful

  • professional capability and collective capacity supports evidence-based decisions

  • the school’s curriculum is responsive and promotes effective teaching.

Children are achieving well. The school demonstrates strong progress toward achieving equity in educational outcomes, supported by effective, sustainable processes and practices.

Agreed next steps include curriculum development, refining achievement improvement plans, strengthening culturally responsive teaching strategies, and using evaluative critique to support ongoing improvement.

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

Equity and excellence

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

Ruawai Primary School is becoming increasingly effective at responding to Māori and other children whose learning and achievement need acceleration. Leaders and teachers are reviewing and strengthening the school’s assessment and moderation processes. Improved assessment processes are ensuring greater consistency and reliability of overall teacher judgements for children’s achievement in relation to the National Standards.

The school’s most recent data show that about three-quarters of all children achieve National Standards in reading, writing and mathematics. 2016 achievement data, when compared with 2015 data, show small in-school disparities for some groups. Data also show a remaining disparity in achievement for boys. In writing and mathematics the disparity for Māori children has slightly increased.

Leaders and teachers have the capability to address the inequity in achievement. They use action plans to achieve the school’s 2017 strategic target, which is aimed at improving writing achievement. Teachers identify and monitor the progress of those children at risk of not achieving. Some children make accelerated progress.

Children’s emotional and social competence is promoted, and their special educational needs are well catered for. Leaders and teachers work with parents/whānau and external agencies to support children with additional learning needs. The school’s inclusive practices support all learners to achieve more equitable outcomes.

School conditions supporting equity and excellence

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

The school’s processes and actions are mostly effective at helping to achieve equity and excellence for all children. Many initiatives are new and are yet to be embedded.

The board and school leaders successfully consult to seek input from the school community and local iwi. Recent consultation processes have included reviewing the school values and developing a student graduate profile. The new school values of Respect/Whakaute, Resilience/Manawaroa, and Responsibility/ Tokohanga are well understood by children.

Strategic leadership is evident. Distributed leadership roles, among staff, are promoting greater equity and excellence for children. The principal is collaborative, and is building relational trust, integrity and openness with the school community. Together they are working to build collective ownership of the school’s new direction.

Effective internal evaluation processes guide the school’s ongoing development. Evidence-based research and professional learning inform decision making and integrate theory and practice. A strong culture of refection and a willingness to improve is evident amongst the board and staff.

The graduate profile identifies valued outcomes for learners. These outcomes include success as lifelong learners; confidence in identity, language and culture; and being connected socially and emotionally. Children engage in a range of learning experiences that promote these valued outcomes.

Settled, well organised learning environments support children’s learning. Teachers use teaching strategies that engage learners. Learning assistants are an integral part of class programmes and life of the school. Children are confident users of digital technologies to support their learning.

Leaders, teachers and trustees are committed to fostering bicultural practices. A review of the school’s logo reflects the pepeha of the local areas. Children enjoy learning waiata and being involved in the school’s kapa haka. Parents value these learning experiences. Teachers are developing a school kawa, including processes that support whakatau.

Māori children are becoming more confident in their language, culture and identity. Teachers’ participation in professional learning is having a positive impact on the teaching of te reo Māori. Well-documented improvement plans and schoolwide learning progressions support the successful implementation of te reo in class programmes.

Ruawai Primary School sits adjacent to an early learning service and a secondary school. Leaders and staff continue to develop reciprocal relationships in this ‘learning hub’, and these connections are impacting positively on children’s transition through their education.

New initiatives such as play based discovery in the junior school and personalised learning opportunities in the senior school are providing children with greater choice in their learning. Skilful teaching supports these programmes. These experiences enable children to confidently make choices about their learning, be problem solvers and collaborate with others.

Sustainable development for equity and excellence

What further developments are needed in school processes to achieve equity and excellence?

The board, school leaders and teachers work collaboratively to improve school processes to help achieve children’s equity and excellence.

The school’s documented curriculum does not yet reflect the curriculum in action. Leaders are planning to refresh the curriculum, and to support children to have greater ownership of their progress and achievement.

Recently developed plans to improve reading, writing and mathematics could more specifically detail the deliberate action needed to reduce the disparity for some groups of learners. This could include how the school will work with parents and whānau so they can help their children at home.

In 2017 leaders and teachers plan to participate in professional learning on developing culturally responsive teaching practices. The Ministry of Education’s strategy Tātaiako: Cultural Competencies for teachers of Māori learners will underpin this learning. Gaining a better understanding of these competencies could help promote greater equity for Māori learners.

Internal evaluation processes are used well to support the school’s new direction. Leaders could make better use of evaluative critique to further strengthen evaluation, including measuring the impact of how new initiatives and programmes are improving equitable and excellent outcomes for children.

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

  • 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. 

To improve current practice, the board should strengthen risk analysis and management planning for excursions.

Going forward

How well placed is the school to accelerate the achievement of all children who need it?

Children are achieving well. The school demonstrates strong progress toward achieving equity in educational outcomes, supported by effective, sustainable processes and practices.

Agreed next steps are to:

  • document a school curriculum that promotes children’s ownership of their learning and achievement

  • refine improvement plans to sharpen the focus on reducing achievement disparity

  • develop culturally responsive teaching strategies that support Māori learners

  • use evaluative critique to support ongoing improvement.

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

Steffan Brough

Deputy Chief Review Officer Northern (Acting)

8 June 2017

About the school 

Location

Ruawai, Northland

Ministry of Education profile number

1095

School type

Contributing

School roll

103

Gender composition

Boys 59% Girls 41%

Ethnic composition

Pākehā

Māori

other

52%

40%

8%

Provision of Māori medium education

No

Review team on site

March 2017

Date of this report

8 June 2017

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

April 2014

June 2011

March 2008

 

1 Context

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

Ruawai Primary School in Northern Wairoa caters for students from Years 1 to 6. The school has a long history in the area with established rural traditions and community connections. Nearly half of the students identify as Māori. Many are not from the local iwi, Ngāti Whātua.

A new principal was appointed in October 2011. Most of the teaching and support staff are long serving at the school. Positive, caring interactions between teachers and students, and inclusive relationships with whānau and the wider community support student learning and wellbeing. Many tuakana/teina type leadership opportunities for students are actively promoted.

The school is well served by the board of trustees’ active commitment to the school's vision and direction. The RUAWAI attitudes and values (Respect, Understanding, Positive Attitude, Wonderment, Accuracy, and Interaction) are well promoted in the school and underpin decision making and interactions.

The school has responded positively to recommendations in the 2011 ERO report. This has included the implementation of National Standards.

2 Learning

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

The school uses achievement information well to make positive changes to learners’ engagement, progress and achievement.

Most students are achieving at or above the National Standards in reading, writing and mathematics. The school is strategic and systematic in responding to achievement information, including a focus on supporting the achievement of Māori students, particularly in reading and mathematics. Clear information about students’ achievement in relation to the National Standards is reported to the board. Trustees use this information well to make decisions related to achievement goals and resourcing.

Teachers have effective systems to track and monitor students’ progress and achievement. Student achievement information is used to inform programme planning for individuals and cohorts of students. The principal and teachers analyse achievement data well to set appropriate targets for improvement, and to identify strategies to respond to students’ needs and improve rates of progress. A number of interventions cater well for students with special learning needs. The effectiveness of these programmes is analysed, documented and reported to the board. Additional support from external agencies is accessed as needed.

Teachers are using a range of strategies to encourage students’ ownership of their own learning. These include supporting students in goal setting and making learning steps and progress more visible in classrooms. ERO and the school agree that teachers should continue to build on current good practice and to further develop students’ capability to take responsibility for managing their learning.

The school continues to strengthen opportunities for involving parents in their children’s learning. This includes further development of three-way conferences, and other meetings between teachers, students and parents to monitor and track progress. Student achievement and progress in relation to the National Standards is reported to parents appropriately.

Staff work collaboratively with other local schools and participate in a number of professional development programmes. They make good use of regional achievement data to support decision making in their own school.

The board and staff have reviewed and developed effective processes for ensuring smooth transitions for students into the school and onto the local college.

3 Curriculum

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

The school’s curriculum promotes and supports student learning well.

School curriculum programmes reflect all learning areas and key competencies of The New Zealand Curriculum (NZC). A current emphasis on literacy and mathematics supports the school’s focus on raising student achievement in these areas. The Ruawai School values are actively promoted and taught through the curriculum, contributing to the school’s positive learning environment.

Teachers continue to move towards an increasingly student-centred curriculum. They are developing strategies that support students to monitor their own learning and progress in literacy and mathematics. The school’s integrated inquiry-based learning approach encourages students to direct their own learning in other curriculum areas. It would be useful now for teachers to consider strengthening the inquiry learning model. This could include mechanisms to ensure coverage and balance in all learning areas, and exploring ways in which the curriculum could be more reflective of their local environment and community.

Recent development has seen an increasing emphasis on the inclusion of thinking skills and Information and Communication Technology (ICT) throughout the curriculum. The board is committed to continuing to resource the provision of ICT and to develop learning spaces to support a modern learning environment.

The school’s broad curriculum provides a variety of opportunities to cater for students’ interests and for students to work together in multi-level learning activities. A range of leadership opportunities is provided for senior students. Systems have also been put in place to enable students to express views about the effectiveness of teaching programmes and to be involved in changes to better engage learners.

There is a culture of high expectations for students and teachers. Quality teaching practices include consistent planning and teaching approaches and thorough tracking and monitoring of student achievement. Many opportunities are provided for teachers to be collaborative in their planning and practice. Teaching practices are well informed by current research and best practice. Teachers are supported by professional learning and development, which is well considered and aligned with the strategic direction of the school. These strategies effectively support teachers' ongoing development and promote student learning.

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

The school is making progress in developing ways to promote educational success for Māori, as Māori.

The school has employed a local expert to provide Māori language tuition throughout the school. Some Māori content is included in curriculum planning. The principal is highly committed to developing strong relationships with the Māori community so that school programmes truly reflect local aspirations. Teachers support students’ wellbeing and encourage them to be proud of their Māori heritage.

There is now a need to develop systematic and sequential approaches to teaching about local tribal history and Māori language programmes. A more formalised approach to planning these would support the sustainability of such programmes and initiatives.

4 Sustainable Performance

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

The school is well placed to sustain and improve its performance.

The board, principal and teachers are all committed to improving outcomes for students, with a particular focus on ensuring student wellbeing and raising their achievement.

The principal is a capable leader of teaching and learning. She has implemented effective systems and structures that support good practice and improved outcomes for students. She has a clear direction for the school, and is managing change processes well. The board and teachers are enthusiastic about ongoing changes and feel supported in these processes. The principal leads a culture of professional reflective practice to improve her own and teachers’ performance.

Professional development is linked to and supports school-wide goals. The recently developed system for teacher appraisal reflects the school’s strategic goals and includes systematic inquiry by teachers. The principal and ERO agree that this self-review process now needs to be embedded and strengthened in teacher practice.

The board governs the school effectively. There is a good range of expertise and experience among trustees. Trustees have planned for succession and induction processes that should sustain the board’s good performance. They access training and support in their governance role as required. Trustees receive good information about student achievement and school operations through improved reporting processes. Policies and procedures provide a useful framework for governance. The school’s well documented and clearly aligned charter, strategic and annual plans are used to guide programmes and practices across the school. The board has a goal to more formally review its own performance.

The principal and board use informal and formal communication to gain insight into community perspectives. Consultation with parents has been strengthened and informs strategic planning in a useful way. The board acknowledges the potential to develop this further.

Effective self review is evident in a number of areas, including:

  • strategic planning and monitoring processes
  • planned and responsive policy review
  • a newly formed triennial plan to support a more systematic approach to all areas of board governance.
  • The principal and board agree that they could continue to refine and strengthen review processes to support their commitment to ongoing improvement.

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.

In order to improve current practice the Board of Trustees should develop a system to monitor police vetting expiry dates.

When is ERO likely to review the school again?

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

Dale Bailey

National Manager Review Services Northern Region

28 April 2014

About the School

Location

Ruawai, Northland

Ministry of Education profile number

1095

School type

Contributing (Years 1 to 6)

School roll

86

Gender composition

Boys 44 Girls 42

Ethnic composition

Māori

NZ European / Pākehā

other

37

48

1

Review team on site

March 2014

Date of this report

28 April 2014

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

June 2011

March 2008

February 2005