Urenui School

Education institution number:
2256
School type:
Contributing
School gender:
Co-Educational
Definition:
Not Applicable
Total roll:
90
Telephone:
Address:

Takiroa Street, Urenui, New Plymouth

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Urenui School - 04/03/2020

School Context

Urenui School is located in the small rural community of Urenui, 30km north of New Plymouth. It caters for students in Years 1 to 6. The current roll of 101 includes 33 students who identify as Māori. A number of these whakapapa to the local iwi, Ngāti Mutunga.

The vision and valued outcomes defined by the school for all children are ‘to develop them into curious, motivated learners who will succeed in whatever they strive to do’. The school continues to promote the URENUI values of ‘uniqueness, respect, empowerment, nurturing, understanding and involvement’. A current key focus of the board is to respond appropriately to the increasing school roll.

The school continues to be led by an experienced principal and board chair. The board contains a mixture of new and experienced trustees. Most of the teaching staff is new since the February 2017 ERO report.

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

  • reading, writing and mathematics.

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 equity and excellence for nearly all its students in reading but is yet to achieve equity in writing and mathematics.

Almost all students were achieving at or above expectations in reading in 2019. A large majority were achieving at or above expectations in writing and mathematics. Achievement has improved significantly in reading since 2016, particularly for boys and Māori. There has been a small decline in achievement in both writing and mathematics between 2016 and 2019. Boys’ achievement is equivalent to that of girls in reading, but there is significant disparity for boys in writing and mathematics. Māori students are underachieving in relation to their New Zealand European peers in reading and writing. Māori students are achieving better than their New Zealand European peers in mathematics.

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

The school is accelerating learning for a large majority of Māori and other students who need this in reading but not yet in writing or mathematics.

The school can show that three quarters of those who were at risk of underachieving at the beginning of the year in reading made accelerated progress in 2019. Less than half made accelerated progress in mathematics and only a few made accelerated progress in writing.

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?

Leadership builds relational trust and strong relationships with all stakeholders. Leaders have established clear and consistent guidelines and expectations to guide teaching practice. There is a clear focus on equity and excellence across school systems and processes. A collaborative school culture empowers teachers to share and improve their practice. Leaders actively involve the community in the life of the school. Professional development is aligned to student needs and strategic priorities.

Students participate and learn in a caring, respectful and inclusive environment. Relationships between teachers and students are genuine and caring. Students have fun in class, leading to higher levels of engagement and motivation. There is a positive approach to behaviour management and school values are well-promoted which facilitates settled classrooms and a positive school tone. Students are regularly surveyed about their wellbeing and identified trends are addressed. Serious behaviour incidents are effectively managed by focusing on restoring relationships. Tikanga and te reo Māori are valued by teachers. This promotes a positive attitude to things Māori and pride in being Māori. Students with special needs are identified and their progress tracked. The school coordinates well with outside agencies to ensure their needs are responded to.

Teaching strategies aligned to current research about best practice is evident in the high levels of progress and achievement in reading.

The school draws on community resources to enhance student learning opportunities, achievement and wellbeing. Features include: collaborative partnerships with the local iwi to care for the estuary; the annual pet day; and the use of parent experts to enrich classroom programmes. Regular surveys ensure that parent and community aspirations are meaningfully included in strategic planning.

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

A priority area for further development for leaders and teachers is to strengthen the analysis, monitoring and reporting of rates of acceleration for groups of students, particularly in writing. Teaching practices that fully engage students in the learning process such as goal setting and strategies to help students identify and track their next steps in learning is also a key next step. Engaging parents in this process should also strengthen their role as partners in their children’s progress and development. The use of a consistent set of learning progressions should mean everyone shares a common language of learning.

Reviewing the current school curriculum documentation and developing a coherent local curriculum, that includes a sequential approach to the teaching of the history and traditions of Ngāti Mutunga and other local iwi, would support The New Zealand Curriculum, principles of The Treaty of Waitangi and cultural diversity.

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 Urenui School’s performance in achieving valued outcomes for its students is: Well placed.

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.

5 Going forward

Key strengths of the school

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

  • leadership which sets high expectations for teachers and students
  • high-quality teaching of reading that is having a positive impact on learning
  • a highly engaged local community that enriches the curriculum for students.

Next steps

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

  • strengthening assessment and planning processes and practices to accelerate learning in writing and mathematics
  • a local curriculum to respond to the aspirations of iwi and hapū in the local community.

Darcy Te Hau

Acting Director Review and Improvement Services

Central Region

4 March 2020

About the school

Location

North Taranaki

Ministry of Education profile number

2256

School type

Contributing Primary School (Years 1 to 6)

School roll

101

Gender composition

Male 50% Female 50%

Ethnic composition

Māori 33%
NZ European/Pākehā 67%

Students with Ongoing Resourcing Funding (ORS)

Yes

Provision of Māori medium education

No

Number of Māori medium classes

0

Total number of students in Māori medium (MME)

0

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

0

Number of students in Level 1 MME

0

Number of students in Level 2 MME

0

Review team on site

October 2019

Date of this report

4 March 2020

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review February 2017
Education Review May 2014
Education Review June 2012

Urenui School - 14/02/2017

1 Context

Urenui School is situated in North Taranaki and caters for 52 Year 1 to 6 students in three classes. Māori students make up 35% of the roll.

Most of the trustees, including the chair, are new to their roles. The board has funded additional staffing to reduce class sizes and respond to steady roll growth over the past two years.

The school belongs to the North Taranaki Cluster group of four rural schools who meet regularly for students' sporting, cultural and learning activities and staff interactions.

Teachers have participated in Ministry of Education funded professional learning and development (PLD) programmes to promote accelerated learning in mathematics (ALiM) in 2015 and 2016. Staff have also participated in other PLD to improve eLearning and literacy teaching practices.

The May 2014 ERO report, identified further development was needed to streamline assessment processes, strengthen moderation of teacher assessment judgements and to continue to build relationships with the community.

2 Equity and excellence

The vision and valued outcomes defined by the school for all children are to develop them into curious, motivated learners who will succeed in whatever they strive to do.

The school promotes the URENUI values of uniqueness, respect, empowerment, nurturing, understanding and involvement.

The school’s achievement information shows that since the 2014 ERO review, student achievement has improved significantly. School data in 2015, showed that most students achieved at or above in relation to National Standards in reading, writing and mathematics.Māori achievement has improved significantly,with increased levels of success in reading, mathematics and writing in 2015. As the roll increases,sustaining this improvement for Māori students and addressing ongoing disparity in achievement for Māori and boys is a focus for the school.

The school has a focus on improving teachers' understanding of assessment practices to make robust judgements in relation to National Standards. This process is supported through increased use of relevant tools, professional discussion and oversight by the principal. Next steps are to develop a systematic approach to moderating judgements within and beyond the school.

Since the previous ERO evaluation, the school has focused on strategies and resources aimed to improve learner outcomes and accelerate progress for those at risk of poor educational outcomes. 

These initiatives include: 

  • improving mathematics teaching and in-school support to raise achievement in writing, reading and to extend eLearning
  • increasing the use of student achievement information
  • planning more responsive action for groups of target students
  • increasing staffing and reducing class sizes
  • more targeted use of teacher aides
  • providing additional reading recovery resource. 

3 Accelerating achievement

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

The school has effectively accelerated the achievement of some Māori learners identified at risk of poor outcomes. In 2016, the school has increased its focus on addressing the needs of the greater number of Maori students enrolling in the school, with several of these students making accelerated progress.

Leaders and teachers have focused on building stronger relationships with whānau and iwi. Teachers and trustees demonstrate they value te ao Māori and whānau participation in the life of the school. Regular timetabled opportunities enable students to participate in te reo me ngā tikanga Māori to support their language, identity and culture and develop leadership skills.

To further improve outcomes for all Māori students, leaders and trustees should: 

  • set specific annual targets for those who need acceleration
  • closely monitor and more regularly report the progress of these learners
  • identify and promote strategies that are successful in accelerating achievement.

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

Leaders and staff know their students well and have clearly identified those students with additional learning needs. The board provides additional resourcing to target improvement. The school works collaboratively with external agencies to support these learners' success. Participation in the ALiM programme has accelerated the learning of a small group of students in mathematics. The Reading Together programme and recent introduction of electronic tools for sharing learning with parents, has increased whānau and families' involvement in their children's learning.

Trustees and teachers should continue to develop a shared understanding of acceleration and ensure deliberate actions and aligned processes are in place to make this happen, including:

  • setting clear expectations for each group
  • regular monitoring and reporting of progress in relation to expectations
  • deeper analysis of assessment information to better inform planning and teaching
  • ongoing inquiry into effectiveness of strategies on outcomes for learners
  • continuing to strengthen learning partnerships with parents and whānau.

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 targets for equity and excellence?

The school has made significant improvements in teaching programmes, leadership and governance practices to promote improved outcomes and opportunities for equity and excellence.

Trustees are improvement focused and involved in training for their roles, obligations and responsibilities. They have established appropriate systems for policy review and effective governance and are well informed by regular reports from the principal. Relationships with the community have been strengthened through consultation and input into strategic plans and priorities.

Students observed by ERO were well supported in their learning through:

  • clear expectations for learning in well-organised classrooms and structured lessons that align well to current teaching programme guidelines and procedures
  • provision of a wide range of learning opportunities across the learning areas
  • differentiated group work and deliberate acts of teaching with access to technology to support learning
  • positive respectful relationships and opportunities for students to work and learn collaboratively.

Recent consultation about the school motto provides a useful basis for reviewing the Urenui School curriculum to ensure it sufficiently and explicitly captures and represents:

  • the local context, and closely aligns to the school vision and values and aspirations for successful learners transitioning through and beyond school
  • Treaty of Waitangi partnerships and defines how all teachers support the language, culture and identity of Māori learners
  • students' ownership and participation in their learning.

Teachers are supported to develop their practice through regular professional discussion, collaborative planning and access to PLD to cater for individual needs and responsibilities. The appraisal process is aligned to school priorities and expectations.

To further enhance opportunities and processes to build teacher capability, leaders should:

  • continue to develop leadership across the school
  • ensure teachers' appraisal goals include more specific links to the acceleration of achievement of target students
  • further promote teaching as inquiry to assist with programme responsiveness and improved evaluation of what works and why.

A leadership focus on extending community relationships through effective communication and involvement has increased parent participation and confidence in the school over the past three years. Positive and supportive community relationships and learning partnerships are being strengthened with parents, whānau and links with Ngāti Mutunga iwi. Community involvement is more visible through increased participation and support for the school initiatives, processes and events.

ERO's evaluation affirms school efforts to further develop self-review and internal evaluation processes. Next steps are to develop a shared understanding of effective internal evaluation to inform ongoing improvement and better gauge the impact of initiatives on improving outcomes for learners.

5 Going forward

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

Leaders and teachers:

  • know the children whose learning and achievement need to be accelerated
  • need approaches that effectively meet the needs of each child
  • need to ensure the school is well placed to accelerate the achievement of all children who need it.

Leaders and teachers have used a range of effective strategies and tools to support the ongoing improvement in student achievement across the school. Further development of assessment, moderation and internal evaluation processes should strengthen trustees and leaders' planning and resourcing decisions.

Action: The board, principal and teachers should participate in an internal evaluation workshop. They should use this workshop, the Internal Evaluation: Good Practice exemplars and the School Evaluation Indicators to address the findings of this evaluation and develop more targeted planning that includes a significant focus on building teacher capability to accelerate learning and achievement.

As part of this review ERO will continue to monitor the school’s planning and the progress the school makes. ERO is likely to carry out the next full 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 and leaders agree that strengthening appraisal and further developing evaluation knowledge, assessment processes and teacher inquiry should help sustain and improve initiatives to promote equity and excellence for all learners. 

Joyce Gebbie

Deputy Chief Review Officer Central

14 February 2017

About the school 

Location

Urenui, North Taranaki

Ministry of Education profile number

2256

School type

Contributing (Years 1 to 6)

School roll

52

Gender composition

Male 27, Female 25

Ethnic composition

Māori

Pākehā

Other ethnic groups

18

30

4

Review team on site

December 2016

Date of this report

14 February 2017

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

May 2014

June 2012

April 2009