Raglan Area School

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Findings

Raglan Area School has made significant progress addressing the requirements of the 2017 ERO report. The experienced principal, senior leaders, trustees and teaching staff demonstrate a sense of urgency and commitment to address and improve the learning outcomes for students. The school is developing useful systems to sustain and continue to improve its performance.

On the basis of the findings of this review, ERO ‘s overall evaluation judgement of Raglan Area School’s performance in achieving valued outcomes for its students is: Developing.

1 Background and Context

What is the background and context for this school’s review?

Raglan Area School caters for students in Years 1 to 14 in Raglan township 50 kilometres west of Hamilton. The roll has grown over time to 578 students of which 277 are Māori. Most Māori affiliate to Ngaati Maahanga and Tainui. There are opportunities for students in Years 1 to 10 to learn through the medium of te reo Māori in the Te Roopu Aroha ki Te Reo.

The previous ERO review in July 2017 identified several areas of school operation that required improvement. Since the 2017 review a new deputy principal has been appointed in Term 2 2018 and a new principal was appointed Term 1 2019. Recent board of trustees elections have seen three new members elected to the board.

2 Review and Development

How effectively is the school addressing its priorities for review and development?

Priorities identified for review and development
  • developing a schoolwide curriculum, dependable assessment practices and an understanding about accelerated progress to support students not yet at expectations
  • developing a robust governance policy and procedure framework to guide school operation
  • strengthening annual improvement targets, supporting action planning and monitoring and evaluation of accelerated achievement
  • building professional capacity and leadership schoolwide through embedding professional learning and development and robust implementation of appraisal and teacher inquiry
  • developing internal evaluation capacity to determine the impact of teaching programmes and interventions.
Progress

Through this review process the school has developed an action plan to address the priorities identified for review and development in the 2017 ERO report through three focus areas. These areas have supported the school to build a sustainable approach to change.

Building professional governance and leadership capacity to improve outcomes for all learners

The newly formed senior leadership team has worked collaboratively with the board of trustees to implement a well-considered, strategic approach to change. The processes that have been implemented are transparent and the rationale for change has been effectively communicated with all stakeholders. Leaders have provided opportunities for teachers to build collaborative practice across the school through targeted and school-wide professional learning and development. Recently developed processes and the centralisation of appraisal documentation is providing a foundation for improvement. There are clear systems in place that support teachers to explore and improve their practice. Teachers undertake inquiry focused on outcomes for students at risk of not achieving. A cohesive approach to teaching and learning is developing.

Create a robust governance policy and procedural framework

Relationships between trustees and leaders are based on trust, integrity and openness. Newly elected trustees bring a range of skills and expertise that complement existing trustees. Trustees have participated in an induction processes and sought external guidance to strengthen their governance role. They are gaining a deeper knowledge of student achievement and progress through improved reporting from middle and senior leaders. Compliance issues have been addressed and useful self-review processes have been established. The board are representative of the community and have undertaken comprehensive consultation with the whanau and the wider community.

Develop and implement a comprehensive school wide curriculum to guide effective teaching and learning to raise student achievement

Improvements have been made to the recording, analysing and reporting of student achievement in the junior school. Leaders and teachers have a focus on progress and acceleration. The recent collaborative curriculum review process has strengthened teacher’s knowledge of learning across the school.

Teachers are building their knowledge and understanding of student achievement. The tracking and monitoring of achievement contribute to board reports and supports trustees to make informed strategic decisions.

There are clear guidelines and expectations for student behaviour. The introduction of the Positive Behaviour for Learning (PB4L) initiative has focused teachers on growing a learning culture. The school values have been reviewed and provide a strong foundation for whole school community. Special education needs coordinators (SENCOs) have developed systems to monitor student wellbeing and the completion of a wellbeing at school survey has provided benchmark data for the school to use in the future.

Key next steps

The key next steps for the school are to:

  • strengthen systems and processes to effectively track and monitor Year 11 to 13 students’ progress and achievement throughout the year
  • evaluate the effectiveness of senior programmes and practices to better align student pathways through and beyond school
  • consolidate and embed initiatives to build sustainable practices
  • build deeper knowledge and effective analysis of achievement information.

3 Sustainable performance and self review

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

Raglan Area School is in a good position to sustain and continue to improve its performance.

The school’s data shows accelerated progress for students in reading, writing and mathematics in Years 1 to 6. There has been a slight improvement over time for students in National Certificate of Educational Achievement (NCEA) qualifications.

Trustees and senior leaders understand the importance of strengthening and refining internal evaluation to measure the impact and effectiveness of initiatives. They have prioritised building middle leaders’ and teachers’ understanding and accountability for implementing the school’s appraisal system.

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

Conclusion

Raglan Area School has made significant progress addressing the requirements of the 2017 ERO report. The experienced principal, senior leaders, trustees and teaching staff demonstrate a sense of urgency and commitment to address and improve the learning outcomes for students. The school is developing useful systems to sustain and continue to improve its performance.

On the basis of the findings of this review, ERO ‘s overall evaluation judgement of Raglan Area School’s performance in achieving valued outcomes for its students is: Developing.

ERO’s Framework: Overall Findings and Judgement Tool derived from School Evaluation Indicators: Effective Practice for Improvement and Learner Success is available on ERO’s website.

Darcy Te Hau
Acting Director Review and Improvement Services (Central)
Central Region - Te Tai Pūtahi Nui

1 April 2020

About the School

Location

Raglan

Ministry of Education profile number

125

School type

Composite (Years 1 to 13)

School roll

578

Gender composition

Male 51% Female 49%

Ethnic composition

Māori
NZ European/Pākehā
Other ethnic groups

39%
48%
13%

Review team on site

November 2019

Date of this report

1 April 2020

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review
Education Review
Education Review

July 2017
April 2014
June 2011

Summary

Raglan Area School caters for Years 1 to 15 students in a coastal area 50 kilometres west of Hamilton. The roll has grown over time to 486 students and 292 are Māori. Most affiliate to hapū Ngaati Maahanga and the iwi Waikato-Tainui. Te Roopu Aroha Ki Te Reo syndicate provides rumaki immersion education for students in Years 1 to 10.

Teachers have participated in some schoolwide professional learning and development since 2014. This includes mathematics in 2015 and aspects of using restorative practice for managing behaviour in 2016. External expertise has just begun to support kaiako in rumaki, in tuhituhi and pāngarau.

The school is taking the lead in forming a local Community of Learning| Kāhui Ako in consultation with the Ministry of Education.

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

A sense of urgency is needed by trustees, leaders and teachers to improve equity and excellence in outcomes, particularly for students in Years 1 to 8. The school is at an early stage of developing a clear understanding of the importance of accelerating the achievement of learners not yet at the expected Standard for their year level. Improved analysis, reporting and evaluation of the impact of teaching programme and interventions is required.

Continuity in school leadership, staffing and governance is evident since the April 2014 ERO report. Regular participation in governance professional development is focused on developing sustainable practices.

A positive, inclusive and bicultural learning environment, with a clear focus on supporting community-based initiatives, provides a valuable platform for developments. Sustained good practice is evident in supporting student wellbeing. Some progress in implementing teacher inquiry has occurred and needs to include all teachers.

Most of the next steps for improvement identified in the previous ERO report have yet to be sufficiently addressed. Developing and implementing a comprehensive schoolwide curriculum to guide effective teaching and learning is required to lift achievement. Increasing leadership and governance capacity and raising teachers’ capability to improve learning should underpin developments.

ERO intends to carry out a process of ongoing evaluation to support development over the course of one-to-two years. 

Equity and excellence

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

A sense of urgency is required by trustees, leaders and teachers to improve equity and excellence in outcomes for Years 1 to 8 students. The school is at early stages of developing an understanding of the importance of accelerating the progress of students who are not yet at expected Standards. This includes defining accelerated progress and developing systems and processes to track, monitor, report and evaluate the impact of teaching strategies and interventions.

Although some students in the primary area made accelerated progress during 2016, raising achievement remains the key priority. Data for 2016, showed better achievement in reading and mathematics in relation to National Standards and in pānui in relation to Ngā Whanaketanga Rumaki Māori. The school recognises that a significant number of students are not yet at the Standard in writing, pāngarau, tuhituhi and korēro. Overall, limited progress is evident since 2014, in lifting
Years 1 to 8 achievement.

Comparisons between Māori and other students and between females and males, indicate there is significant disparity between groups within the school and in relation to other students, regionally and nationally.

Assessment practices for Years 1 to 8 require further development to ensure that data is reliable and dependable. General school guidelines support teaching teams to make and moderate judgements about achievement. Further strengthening assessment practices should include in-school and external moderation in all areas of National Standards and Ngā Whanaketanga Rumaki Māori.

A range of assessment practices in Years 9 and 10 inform teaching. Trustees have yet to receive useful information about the progress of Year 9 and 10 learners. Using consistent assessment tools shouldenable teachers to evaluate progress and assist trustees to set appropriate improvement targets that focus on accelerating learning when required.

End of 2016, roll-based National Certificate of Educational Achievement (NCEA) Level 1 data for Year 11 learners, continues to remain considerably lower than similar schools. Students often achieve this qualification in Year 12.

The percentage of Māori learners achieving Year 12 NCEA Level 2 qualifications has increased over time, to be just under the Better Public Service target of 85%. Overall, 80% of Year 12 learners attained NCEA Level 2 in Year 12. However, the proportion of students who leave school with at least NCEA Level 2 is lower than for similar schools nationally. Results for NCEA Level 3 improved markedly in 2016.

Learners’ achievement of University Entrance and Vocational Pathway Awards remain significantly below similar schools when compared regionally and nationally. In recognition of this, trustees set an improvement target for 2017, to increase the quality of school leaver qualifications in literacy and students’ access to future learning pathways. 

School conditions supporting equity and excellence

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

An inclusive and bicultural learning environment, with a clear focus on supporting community-based initiatives, provides a valuable platform for future developments.

Positive, warm and respectful relationships between students and staff contribute to a supportive learning environment. A sense of belonging and shared responsibility is evident. The school uses a range of data, external information and local input to plan in-school initiatives and community-based programmes to support individuals and group of learners.

The value placed on bicultural learning through the four key school values of poutama, manaakitanga, whakawhanaungatanga and kaitiakitanga, continues to be evident in schoolwide practices. This has been further enhanced with the carving and blessing of Te Waharoa o te Kura a rohe o Whaingaroa in September 2016.

Progress is evident with reports to parents clearly referenced to the National Standards and Ngā Whanaketanga Rumaki Māori. Some useful guidance is provided to support parents and whānau to support their child’s learning at home.

The school sustains its focus on providing students with responsive pastoral care and learning support. Individuals requiring specific assistance are identified and provided with programmes, including students with individual education plans. A Special Education Needs Coordinator (SENCO) for Years 11 to 15, has been appointed with the aim of strengthening support for senior learners.

Year 9 and 10 learners involved in alternative education remain included in school activities and supported by their peers and teachers. Their higher attendance, participation and involvement in meaningful leadership opportunities increases their engagement as senior students.

Many teachers have improved their understanding of effective teaching strategies through a cycle of teacher inquiry. Teachers report the benefits of their sharing of good practice and professional collaboration. This process is more focused on improving learning in 2017. Increased monitoring of teacher completion of this process should support improved teaching practices.

Students in Te Roopu Aroha Ki Te Reo immersion classrooms benefit from kaupapa Māori strategies that increasingly reflect Tainuitanga. There are plans to further strengthen iwi links and school readiness to engage with the Tainui Education Plan across the whole school.

Inclusive and innovative curriculum approaches in Years 7 to 15 encourage more learners to follow individual pathways. Some programmes build on their culture, identity and interests. Over time, this should support senior learners to leave school with qualifications and readiness to enter tertiary training or employment. 

Sustainable development for equity and excellence

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

Developing a comprehensive school curriculum and improving the governance framework are matters of urgency. Building teacher capability and professional leadership are central to these developments. Staff and trustees have appropriately identified areas they need to address and improve.

The process for school curriculum development should include consultation with the school’s students, parents, whānau, trustees and wider community, to reconfirm the vision, values and explore the key competencies and principles of The New Zealand Curriculum. The role and place of the Tainui Education Plan and the newly established parent group should be clarified.

Other areas for action include developing:

  • schoolwide expectations for learning, assessment practices and how students will lead their learning for Years 1 to 15
  • learning area implementation plans, giving priority to literacy and mathematics and focused on providing learners with seamless programmes, based on te ao Māori and bicultural and other local learning opportunities
  • a planned approach to monitoring, reporting and evaluating of the impact of teaching
  • reporting to the board and parents on the impact of special programmes and interventions on student learning and other valued outcomes.

Trustees are clear that growing their capacity to govern by developing sustainable practices is a priority. A coherent, robust governance policy and procedure framework is required. The board have taken some initial steps to address this and completing this work is necessary.

The board should revisit 2017 annual improvement targets to focus on accelerated progress. More regularly monitoring the progress made by targeted groups of students should assist trustees to sharpen their focus on raising student achievement and promoting wellbeing.

Building teaching capacity and professional leadership schoolwide are key next steps. Since 2014, the impact from participation in schoolwide professional development has been limited. Trustees should ensure that the school appraisal system is robustly implemented and completed for all staff, including school leaders. This should support them to better meet the Education Council requirements, including collecting sufficient evidence in relation to each of the Practising Teacher Criteria and benchmarking teacher improvement.

Developing an understanding of the use of internal evaluation should assist trustees, school leaders and teachers to consider the impact of teaching, innovative curriculum approaches and resourcing decisions on student outcomes. 

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. 

Actions required

ERO identified non-compliance in relation to appraisal. Appraisals for many teacher and school leaders are incomplete and not of a sufficient standard to meet Education Council requirements.

In order to address these the board must:

  • implement procedures for completing the appraisal of teaching staff and school leaders.
    [Section 77C State Sector Act 1988]

To improve current practice, the board of trustees should:

  • ensure that the child protection policy is disseminated and shared with the school’s community
  • urgently complete their ongoing review of the governance policy and procedure framework to ensure that it is robust and appropriately guides school operation
  • strengthen school knowledge about student wellbeing through collecting reliable evidence
  • complete the development of schoolwide expectations for positive learning behaviours, particularly considering Years 1 to 4 and support for learners with severe behavioural needs.

Going forward

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

At the time of this review, this school was not well placed to provide conditions for learners to achieve educational excellence, or to address in-school disparities. The main areas of concern are:

  • developing a schoolwide curriculum, dependable assessment practices and an understanding about accelerated progress to support students not yet at expectations
  • developing a robust governance policy and procedure framework to guide school operation
  • strengthening annual improvement targets, supporting action planning and monitoring and evaluation of accelerated achievement
  • building professional capacity and leadership schoolwide through embedding professional learning and development and robust implementation of appraisal and teacher inquiry
  • developing internal evaluation capacity to determine the impact of teaching programmes and interventions.

Leaders and teachers:

  • have not yet adequately built their knowledge of the children whose learning and achievement need to be accelerated
  • have not yet adequately established necessary conditions to effectively accelerate learning and achievement
  • are not well placed to achieve and sustain accelerated achievement for all children who need it.

ERO intends to carry out a process of ongoing evaluation to support development over the course of one-to-two years. 

Alan Wynyard
Deputy Chief Review Officer Central (Acting)

25 July 2017

About the school

Location

Raglan

Ministry of Education profile number

125

School type

Composite (Year 1 – 15)

School roll

497

Gender composition

Male 51%, Female 49%

Ethnic composition

Māori                                  60%
Pākehā                               35%                         
Other ethnic groups        5%

Provision of Māori medium education

Yes

Number of Māori medium classes

3

Total number of students in Māori medium (MME)

68

Total number of students in Māori language in English medium (MLE)

279

Number of students in Level 1 MME

42

Number of students in Level 2 MME

-

Number of students in Level 3 MLE

-

Number of students in Level 4a MLE

14

Number of students in Level 4b MLE

12

Number of students in Level 5 MLE

-

Review team on site

May 2017

Date of this report

25 July 2017

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review         April 2014
Education Review         June 2011
Education Review         September 2008