Riverview School

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1 Context

The school's semi-rural location supports children's access to environmental education and appropriately challenging physical activity. There are growing numbers of Māori children, and other children who speak languages other than English, attending the school. Parents, including whānau Māori are highly involved in the life of the school. Parents of children with special education needs are supportive of the school and have input into their children's learning and care needs.

The school has stable staffing and strong connections with families and their children. Many features of the school promote the wellbeing of children and staff, and provide them with a secure environment for learning and working.

Since the 2013 ERO report, building work has improved learning spaces and the school grounds. The school has a history of positive ERO reporting.

2 Equity and excellence

The vision and valued outcomes of the school are for all children to continue growing, discovering and learning for life. This vision and the school's HeartWise values align well with tikanga Māori. They outline high expectations for learning and behaviour, and are integrated into daily learning programmes and celebrations. In line with the school's focus on raising the bar and closing the gap, the board of trustees and staff have aspirations and plans for increasing children's achievement.

The school's achievement information shows that for the last three years over 90 percent of children who attend from Years 1 to 6 achieve at and above the National Standards in reading, writing and mathematics. Overall, children achieve very well in relation to the National Standards.

School achievement information also shows that outcomes for Māori children in 2013 and 2014 are consistently just below that of other children. Analysis shows that this disparity has reduced over time, especially in mathematics and writing. The school's 2015 data shows that more than 80 percent of all children achieved at and above the National Standard in reading, and around 75 percent achieved at and above in writing and mathematics.

Since the 2013 ERO review teachers have participated in professional learning in literacy, mathematics, science and digital technologies. As a result of their analysis of data, school leaders and teachers have identified the need to accelerate the progress and achievement of children in writing, and in reading, particularly for Year 3 and 4 boys.

3 Accelerating achievement

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

The effectiveness of strategies to respond to Māori children whose learning and achievement need acceleration has increased since 2013. School leaders promote a strong sense of urgency in accelerating Māori student achievement, including moving those achieving at, to above the National Standards.

The school's charter target for 2016 is to accelerate the achievement of Māori and other children whose achievement needs acceleration. Teacher professional development is strategically aligned to children's learning needs, and includes strengthening teachers' understanding and use of achievement information.

Teachers and leaders meet regularly to monitor and discuss children's learning. They share teaching and learning strategies, and design specific interventions for accelerating progress and lifting achievement. School leaders are increasing expectations for teachers to promote children's confidence in themselves as learners.

Many teachers use achievement and other information well to plan classroom programmes that are based on children's strengths and talents, as well as their learning needs. Children have an increasingly good understanding of their own learning and achievement and set learning goals with their parents and teachers. These school-wide approaches enhance the collective responsibility that teachers, leaders and support staff have for promoting student achievement.

Importantly, the school's increasing promotion of a school kawa and tikanga is strengthening Māori children's pride in their language, culture and identity. Collectively, these school approaches are having a good impact on accelerating Māori student achievement.

The school and board of trustees express their commitment to further strengthening Māori success and accelerating Māori student achievement.

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

Strategies to respond to other children whose learning and achievement need acceleration are well-coordinated and are steadily improving the progress of children with special education needs and children with high needs.

Children who speak languages other than English, including te reo Māori and Japanese, are very well supported to learn English and achieve at accelerated rates in reading, writing and mathematics. Achievement data is used well to identify, and plan appropriately to target and accelerate the progress of children in particular learning areas.

The school recognises the urgency necessary to accelerate the achievement of other children at risk of not achieving at expected levels. This is reflected in the 2016 charter targets.

4 School conditions

How effectively do the school’s curriculum and other organisational processes and practices develop and enact the school’s vision, values, goals and priorities for equity and excellence?

The school's vision, values and organisational processes support the curriculum and help to promote equity and excellence. There is a warm and welcoming school culture for children, staff, parents and whānau that is increasingly inclusive of Māori language, culture and identity. School conditions to support children's learning and well-being are effective.

Staff and the board of trustees are learning appropriate tikanga and are exploring how to best build meaningful relationships with their Māori community. All children participate enthusiastically in kapa haka and pōwhiri, and Māori children ably fulfil leadership roles in these cultural dimensions. These approaches and school values are supporting the strong ethos of care that children and staff have for each other throughout the school.

Children are settled in their learning spaces and have positive relationships with teachers and each other. Modern learning environments in the senior school provide older children with good opportunities to choose how and where they learn. These children have good access to digital devices that support their learning. Programmes are interesting and challenging, and engage and motivate children. Teachers throughout the school plan programmes that are well targeted to children's specific learning needs and that accelerate their achievement.

Teachers plan collaboratively and deliver learning programmes based strongly on reading, writing and mathematics. They provide good opportunities for children to use these core skills in other areas of the curriculum such as science, technology and inquiry.

Teachers of older children skilfully facilitate learning. These teachers challenge themselves and their children to think differently about teaching and learning. They promote good opportunities for children to take leadership of their own learning and support them to think critically and problem solve. These good student-centred teaching practices and approaches are enhanced by a new and effective teacher appraisal system and a professional learning focus.

School leaders promote a strengths-based approach to leadership that uses self-review information to plan strategically to improve teaching and accelerate children's learning and achievement. Using outcomes from their own self review, school leaders have identified that the school's curriculum requires review and redesign to promote greater school-wide cohesion.

School leaders value external critique and use it alongside their own good internal evaluation systems to promote improvements throughout the school. They would like learning programmes to be more responsive to children's interests and strengths, and for teachers to be more skilled in adapting teaching practices to meet children's changing learning preferences and requirements.

The board of trustees is well led. Trustees work in partnership with the principal to promote positive outcomes for Māori and other children. The board is currently using Hautū: Māori Cultural Responsiveness Self Review tool for Board of Trustees, a self-review tool designed by New Zealand School Trustees' Association to build culturally responsive understandings among school boards. School leaders and the board of trustees are keen to work with whānau to explore how to further promote te reo Māori throughout the school.

5 Going forward

How well placed is the school to achieve and sustain equitable and excellent outcomes for all children?

The school's vision for improvement, and charter goals, indicate the school is well placed to implement strategies to achieve equitable and excellent outcomes for all children.

Leaders and teachers:

  • know the children whose learning and achievement need to be accelerated
  • respond effectively to the strengths, needs and interests of each child
  • regularly evaluate how well teaching is working for these children
  • act on what they know works well for each child
  • build teacher capability effectively to achieve equitable outcomes for all children
  • are well placed to achieve and sustain equitable and excellent outcomes for all children.

The principal, board, school leaders and ERO agree that key next steps for the school include reviewing the school's curriculum in partnership with staff, children and parents. This review would help the school in:

  • designing a more unified curriculum that increasingly responds to children's interests, strengths and learning needs
  • partnering with whānau Māori to further enhance bicultural curriculum elements in the curriculum and explore ways to strengthen the learning of te reo Māori throughout the school
  • promoting teachers' capability as adaptive experts.

A collaborative review of the school's charter is timely. The board and senior leaders recognise that such a review has the potential to strengthen and sustain both accelerated Māori student achievement and Māori children's' success as Māori.

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

6 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 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
  • processes for appointing staff
  • stand down, suspensions, expulsions and exclusions
  • attendance
  • compliance with the provisions of the Vulnerable Children Act 2014. 

7 Recommendations

ERO recommends that the board give priority to the school plans and strategies discussed in this report and give urgency to lifting the achievement of Māori children. Priorities include the effective implementation of 2016 goals and targets and the continued improvement of outcomes for all children. The involvement of the board and whānau Māori in a review of the school curriculum, should benefit and enhance the bicultural elements of the curriculum. 

Graham Randell

Deputy Chief Review Officer Northern

1 June 2016 

About the school

Location

Kerikeri, Northland

Ministry of Education profile number

1594

School type

Contributing (Years 1 to 6)

School roll

352

Gender composition

Boys 55% Girls 45%

Ethnic composition

Māori

Pākehā

British/Irish

other

26%

67%

2%

5%

Review team on site

March 2016

Date of this report

1 June 2016

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

May 2013

March 2010

December 2006

1 Context

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

Riverview School in Kerikeri, Northland, provides education for students from Years 1 to 6. The school’s values provide a strong base for all school operations. Students, teachers and parents understand and are guided by the HEARTWISE values of honesty, excellence, aroha, respect, tolerance, whānau, inquiry, sustainability, and effort.

The school has a friendly and welcoming culture. Considerate pastoral care is extended to students and staff. The proportion of Māori students at the school continues to grow.

The Ministry of Education enrolment scheme for Riverview School was lifted in 2010, then reviewed and reinstated in 2011. A significant rebuild of the school to remedy leaky building issues is entering the final stages. This rebuild has meant considerable disruption to, and reorganisation of, the school over several years.

A new principal has been appointed since ERO’s last review in 2010, and the assistant principal’s position is currently being filled by a teacher working in an acting capacity. The school is organised into four teaching teams that are led by team leaders, who work collaboratively with the senior leadership team.

School leaders have responded positively to the 2010 ERO report. Areas of good performance identified have been sustained and further extended with significant developments in the quality of self-review processes, monitoring of student achievement, and consultation with parents and whānau.

2 Learning

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

Student achievement information is used well to make positive changes to students’ engagement, progress and achievement. Both teachers and school leaders share a sense of urgency and responsibility for promoting the achievement of all students.

Student achievement information gathered through the school’s schedule of standardised tests is used in purposeful ways. This information shows that, overall, most students achieve very well in relation to the National Standards in reading, writing and mathematics. Highest levels of achievement are those in reading, with very good achievement also evident in mathematics. Overall achievement in writing is generally good, with the school acknowledging further work needed to ensure boys and Māori students are achieving as well as other groups of students.

Teachers interpret this information to prioritise groups of students who need to make better progress. Senior leaders develop action plans to provide good opportunities for students to learn. School resources are used well to help students improve their achievement.

Senior leaders high expectations of teachers and students are shared through clear and concise documentation. Team leaders and teachers are able to implement these expectations in ways to suit their students.

Students focus well on their class work and interact in polite and respectful ways with their peers and teachers. They cooperate effectively and enact the school’s values. Teachers share achievement information with students in a variety of ways. Many students speak knowledgeably about their achievement and their next steps for learning. Parents of students in some teams are well informed through comprehensive systems for tracking student progress and achievement.

Students with special needs are well included and supported. The use of external agencies and resources complements the school’s internal capacity to meet the learning needs of these students.

Teachers complete formal reflections about individual students and programmes of work. These reflections contribute to professional conversations when teachers meet to analyse and discuss the progress of students.

School leaders should now ensure:

  • all teachers differentiate planning and programmes of work so that learning needs of all students are met
  • sharing progress and achievement information with students and parents is more coherent and consistent across teams.

3 Curriculum

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

The school’s curriculum promotes and supports student learning well. It is the result of consistent and considered development.

Teachers collaborate in teams to plan units of work. They use the local area and its rich history as contexts for teaching and learning. The school’s ‘foundation curriculum’ emphasises literacy, numeracy, physical education and health, and te reo Māori, while a ‘thinking curriculum’ component provides students with ways to understand and manage their learning. An inquiry model is used for other learning areas, such as science and social studies.

Classrooms are attractive learning environments that help students to become independent learners. The focus on developing independent learners could now be further promoted through strengthening teachers’ own understanding and implementation of inquiry-based learning.

Teacher professional development is supported by the board and targeted to meet school and individual teacher needs. ERO endorses the school’s commitment to prioritise professional development that increases the use of e-learning strategies by teachers and student use of information and communication technologies to enrich their learning.

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

School leaders have undertaken meaningful consultation with whānau. Information gathered is used to promote Māori success. The suggestion from Māori students, of having a focus group to promote success for Māori, as Māori, has also been well received by the board and school leaders.

Teachers identify Māori students in their class and track their achievement closely. Information gathered shows that the achievement of Māori students is comparable to that of other students in reading and mathematics. Where concerns are identified, strategies are put in place to support their learning.

The school has made a commitment to te ao Māori and is finding ways to include relevant contexts into programmes of work. The need to develop a progressive programme for the teaching of te reo Māori throughout the school has been recognised by the lead teacher of Māori. The development and use of this progression should help extend both students’ and teachers’ confidence and capability with the language. Study being undertaken by some teachers to increase their ability and confidence in integrating te reo Māori into their teaching practice should also be beneficial for promoting Māori language and culture across the school.

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 works collaboratively with senior leaders and provides effective governance. Trustees have undertaken training and have a sound understanding of school governance and management. They bring experience and expertise to their roles. Successive board chairs have provided effective leadership.

Trustees use the comprehensive and informative reports they receive to understand school operations and to make decisions. They have responded positively to challenges with property.

Ongoing self review is valued at all levels of the school. A significant re-visioning process involving students, teachers, parents and trustees has been undertaken. Reflective practice is well established. A new appraisal process that is being trialled could strengthen the management of teacher performance.

The experienced senior leaders have complementary skills and leadership styles. They are inclusive and work together well to distribute leadership effectively. Considered, detailed documentation supports them to implement the school’s strategic plan and curriculum.

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.

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

31 May 2013

About the School

Location

Kerikeri, Northland

Ministry of Education profile number

1594

School type

Contributing (Years 1 to 6)

School roll

339

Gender composition

Boys 51%

Girls 49%

Ethnic composition

NZ European/Pākehā

Māori

77%

23%

Review team on site

April 2013

Date of this report

31 May 2013

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

March 2010

December 2006

June 2003