Harrisville School

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School Context

Harrisville School is located on the outskirts of Tuakau in North Waikato and caters for students in Years 1 to 6. The current roll of 194 includes 54 students who identify as Māori. The school values of respect, responsibility and resilience are designed to build student confidence and to work in cooperative, collaborative situations. Strategic goals are to:

  • provide high-quality teaching and learning programmes

  • create a safe, supportive, happy learning environment

  • increase the level of collaboration with parents, iwi, other schools and community.

Since the 2015 ERO review a new principal has been appointed and several new staff were employed in 2017. The board chairperson and some trustees are new to their governance roles. Recent teacher professional development has focused on culturally responsive pedagogy and continuing to embed best practice in mathematics teaching.

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

  • reading, writing, mathematics,
  • outcomes for special needs students
  • attendance.

Harrisville school is part of the Kāhui Ako o te Puuaha o Waikato Community of Learning.

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 achieving equitable and excellent outcomes for most of its students.

School data for 2018 shows that:

  • most students are achieving within or beyond expected curriculum levels for their age in reading, writing and mathematics

  • Māori students are achieving slightly better than their peers in mathematics and below in reading and writing

  • boys and girls are achieving at similar levels in mathematics however, girls are outperforming boys in reading and writing.

Student achievement information over the last three years show that there is significant improvement in reading and writing and consistent levels of achievement in mathematics. Information about outcomes for students with additional learning needs shows that these students make good progress within individualised programmes.

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

The school is effectively accelerating the learning for those Māori and other students who need this. Student achievement information for 2018 shows that most of these students made accelerated progress in mathematics and a majority of students made accelerated progress in reading and writing. The information also shows effective accelerated progress for most Māori students in reading, writing and mathematics. One of the reasons these rates are comparatively high is that there has been a strategically aligned process to closely focus on acceleration for at-risk learners.

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 board of trustees provides effective governance. Trustees are well informed about student achievement, progress and acceleration for at-risk learners. They use this information to make well informed decisions about school priorities, special programme provision and overall strategic direction. Board leadership is experienced and appropriate training about school governance has been accessed. Internal review systems have an appropriate focus on communication, consultation and continual school improvement.

Leadership has successfully created an environment that is inclusive, promotes student wellbeing and is focused on improving student achievement. There is a collaborative approach to identifying, monitoring and reflecting on the progress of students whose progress needs accelerating. Leaders ensure a consistent approach to building teacher capability through teacher professional learning aligned with school-wide strategic developments and ongoing curriculum review. Leaders continually seek multiple perspectives including parent aspirations and student voice. This approach contributes to effective day-to-day school management and positive relationships across the school community.

The Harrisville School curriculum effectively promotes high, clear and equitable expectations for student learning, achievement, progress and wellbeing. The values that underpin the school curriculum are evident in classrooms and the playground. There are multiple initiatives to promote Māori success and a sense of belonging. The school curriculum makes connections to prior understandings, out-of-school experiences and real-world contexts.

Teachers make good use of achievement information to plan programmes that are responsive to students’ learning needs. They closely monitor individual student’s progress with a focus on acceleration. There is a thorough and well managed approach to learning support for students with special needs. This approach is enabling these students to access the curriculum at an appropriate level and make good progress with their learning.

A range of appropriate and effective strategies is used to communicate with and engage parents, whānau and community. School and community are engaged in reciprocal, learning-centred relationships. Parents have many opportunities to be well informed about their child’s achievement, progress and well-being. They feel welcome in the school and involved in their child’s education.

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

ERO and the school agree on the following priorities for ongoing development:

  • a consistent approach to the natural integration of te reo and tikanga Māori in classroom programmes

  • embedding teacher and student use of leaning progressions to support student’s knowledge and understanding of their own learning and progress

  • ensuring annual targets in school charter are more sharply focused on the number of students whose progress needs acceleration.

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 Children’s Act 2014.

4 ERO’s Overall Judgement

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

ERO’s Framework: Overall School Performance is available on ERO’s website.

5 Going forward

Key strengths of the school

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

  • governance that is providing clarity of direction and ongoing school improvement
  • leadership that is inclusive, promotes student wellbeing and is focused on improving student achievement
  • the local curriculum that is designed to enable all students to experience success
  • a school community that is engaged in reciprocal, learning-centred relationships.

Next steps

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

  • culturally responsive pedagogy to further improve outcomes for Māori learners
  • strengthening student agency to improve student knowledge of their own learning
  • annual targets to focus more specifically on acceleration for at risk learners.

Phil Cowie

Director Review and Improvement Services

Central Region

28 May 2019

About the school

Location

Tuakau

Ministry of Education profile number

1303

School type

Contributing (Years 1 to 6)

School roll

194

Gender composition

Male 53% Female 47%

Ethnic composition

Māori 28%
NZ European/Pākehā 52%
Indian 7%
Other 13%

Students with Ongoing Resourcing Funding (ORS)

No

Provision of Māori medium education

No

Review team on site

April 2019

Date of this report

28 May 2019

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review December 2015
Education Review October 2012
Education Review September 2009

Findings

Harrisville School has a “town and country” character, and a strong community focus. The school has a capable board and an experienced, knowledgeable principal. Teachers are learning about how to implement modern teaching approaches. Students benefit from a positive school environment and settled classrooms. Their National Standard achievement levels are high.

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?

Harrisville School is a contributing (Year 1 to 6) school in Tuakau in northern Waikato. The school has long established links with its local neighbourhood and is a focal point for its community. It has maintained a “town and country” character and a noticeably family feel for many years. The school roll is 57 percent Pākehā and 31 percent Māori. Children with Indian and Pacific Island heritages also attend.

The school has a stable staffing profile. New staff join others who are well known in the school and the community. Careful management of changes in membership on the board of trustees further promotes the school’s sense of continuity and of connection with its setting.

Over the past two years, classrooms have been restructured into four teaching and learning hubs, with two teachers in each hub. The physical changes to classrooms have opened up opportunities for the introduction of new and improved approaches to teaching and learning.

2 Learning

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

The school monitors student achievement and progress very well. The principal’s comprehensive reports about student achievement feature well analysed data for year levels, gender and ethnicities. The reports enable school leaders to identify where the attention of teachers and of school resources need to be focussed. They provide useful information to inform the board’s strategic targets, the principal’s annual plans, and the good range of special learning support programmes. Teachers are now using student achievement data to cater for student learning levels in more flexible and responsive ways.

School data show that a high percentage of students achieve at or above National Standards in reading, writing and mathematics. These results are positive when compared with those from similar schools, and with other schools within the region and nationally. The achievement of Māori students also compares very well with similar, regional and other national schools. It was particularly high for mathematics in 2014. The achievement of the school’s small number of Pacific students is well monitored on a more individual basis.

Teachers could now focus more specifically on using achievement information to increase students’ understanding of their next learning steps. Improved implementation of formative teaching approaches would support students to gain the knowledge, skills and attitudes that promote effective, self-monitored and self-managed learning.

3 Curriculum

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

The design of the school’s curriculum promotes and supports student learning well. The curriculum has been thoughtfully developed using collaborative and cooperative team approaches. It is very well researched and documented, and has a strong student focus. Curriculum documents demonstrate the goal of providing integrated, relevant and high quality learning opportunities for students.

The school’s curriculum continues to make good use of the local environments. It includes specialist teaching in physical education, and features te reo and tikanga Māori sessions. The addition of financial literacy and science to the core curriculum links programmes to real life contexts. The emphasis placed on citizenship and on inquiry learning set sound foundations for well balanced programmes.

The school provides strong support for student wellbeing. Teachers have made good progress in promoting a positive environment for students’ learning. Classrooms are settled and students are focused on the tasks they undertake. The challenge now is for teachers to ensure that the tasks they set for students are stimulating, thought provoking and considerably more inspiring.

Teachers have had valuable opportunities to learn about shared teaching approaches and ways of maximising the advantages of their new teaching hubs. These spaces have enabled increased student involvement and active participation in their learning. Although all teachers have made some adaptations in their teaching, the overall adoption of modern learning approaches is not yet evident. Faster teacher uptake is needed if students are to benefit from modern and future-focused programmes that promote their critical thinking.

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

Previous ERO reports have encouraged school leaders to promote wider acknowledgement and use of the cultural heritage of Māori students within the school. Meaningful progress has been made in this regard. The curriculum has increased links to Māori topics and to tikanga Māori and the school environment reflects the Māori side of New Zealand’s bicultural heritage more directly. Māori students stand proud when promoting Māori culture and identity.

The board has responded positively to information about how it can promote educational success for Māori, as Māori. Trustees review Māori student achievement well. The board acknowledges that although Māori students are achieving well in National Standards, they are not yet matching “whole school” results. The board is monitoring this discrepancy and ensuring that support is put in place for students who need it.

The school is now well placed to provide a graduated te reo Māori programme that includes extension for Māori students who are more fluent in te reo Māori.

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 has knowledgeable trustees who understand the school, its setting and its operational requirements. The principal continues to promote teaching and learning approaches that reflect best practices and that are closely focused on what is best for students. Senior leaders are supportive, resilient and prepared to consider new ways of thinking about and implementing appropriate change.

The board and school leaders are committed to meeting the school’s obligations and legal undertakings. Management procedures are well developed and well implemented. Appraisal processes have been updated to reflect current expectations and to support ongoing staff development. The school’s participation in a local network of educational services promotes the collaboration and professional decision-making that support a smooth transition for students.

The principal and trustees are aware of the need for ongoing improvement in the school. Through the school’s charter, they have relevant major strategic goals of:

  • transforming teaching and learning
  • providing students with more future-focused learning opportunities
  • designing a curriculum that provides high quality learning opportunities.

Although progress has been made in each of the areas, particularly the last one, development needs to be faster and more effective if the school’s goals are to be met within a reasonable timeframe.

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.

Conclusion

Harrisville School has a “town and country” character, and a strong community focus. The school has a capable board and an experienced, knowledgeable principal. Teachers are learning about how to implement modern teaching approaches. Students benefit from a positive school environment and settled classrooms. Their National Standard achievement levels are high.

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

Graham Randell

Deputy Chief Review Officer Northern

24 December 2015

School Statistics

Location

Tuakau, Waikato

Ministry of Education profile number

1303

School type

Contributing (Years 1 to 6)

School roll

188

Gender composition

Boys 50% Girls 50%

Ethnic composition

Māori

Pākehā

Fijian

Indian

Tongan

other

31%

57%

4%

3%

3%

2%

Review team on site

November 2015

Date of this report

24 December 2015

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

October 2012

August 2009

June 2006