Waitara Central School

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Education institution number:
2260
School type:
Contributing
School gender:
Co-Educational
Definition:
Not Applicable
Total roll:
97
Telephone:
Address:

12 Cracroft Street, Waitara

View on map

Findings

Waitara Central School has made some positive progress in relation to aspects of school improvement. School leaders have worked collaboratively to review, develop and implement the localised curriculum.  Collaborative relationships are supporting teaching and learning programmes. To improve outcomes for students, sustained focus is needed on: building leadership capability as a leader of learning; growing effective governance processes and practices; and prioritising the understanding and use of internal evaluation.

On the basis of the findings of this review, ERO ‘s overall evaluation judgement of Waitara Central School’s performance in achieving valued outcomes for its students is: Needs development.

1 Background and Context

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

Waitara Central School, in Waitara , has a roll of 102 students in Years 1 to 6 and 66 identify as Māori. The school values of: ‘aroha, kōrero and ora’ continue to underpin teaching, learning and wellbeing. Over the past six months the school has undergone significant changes to leadership and teaching staff.

The 2018 ERO report identified significant areas for improvement and recommended that the school continue to seek assistance from the Ministry of Education to support improvements in the capacity of trustees and leaders to manage school resources; and to sustain and improve student learning and achievement. Over the past two years the school has participated in an ERO evaluation process to support improvement.

This ERO report evaluates the progress made and how well placed the school now is to sustain continuous improvement. 

2  Review and Development

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

Priorities identified for review and development

The overall goal was to improve governance, school practice and operation to promote positive learning outcomes and accelerate the progress of all students. Areas of focus to support this have included:

  • raising the achievement of Māori and other students whose learning needs acceleration
  • improving assessment practices, including moderation, and building deeper understanding, use and analysis of data
  • further reviewing and developing the school curriculum to reflect the intent of The New Zealand Curriculum
  • continuing to build trustees’ understanding of governance and increased scrutiny of information provided to them
  • further developing coherent school systems, processes and policies that appropriately guide school operation
  • developing processes and practices for shared understanding of effective internal evaluation to support sustainable improvement and decision-making.
Progress

An appropriate range of assessment tools supports teachers to make reliable judgements about student progress and learning. Term 4 2020 achievement information, shows that the majority of students are achieving at or above expectation in reading and writing and just under half in mathematics. The overall levels of achievement have declined in these areas since 2019. Disparity continues for Māori learners in mathematics. 

The school has started to build a more inclusive culture that better supports the language, culture and identity of the children at the school. Systems are in place to identify and support children who have behavioural and learning needs. As a result, there has been a decrease in the number of major behaviour incidents.

All staff know children and their whānau well. Teachers use a range of appropriate strategies to
engage students in learning. The provision of stimulating learning environments supports students to settle and work. Student learning and wellbeing is well supported by staff through suitable responses to observed needs. Staff are assisted to build their confidence and competence in the use of te reo and understanding of te ao Māori.

School leaders have worked collaboratively to review and develop the localised curriculum. They have consulted with whānau and the local community to explore learning opportunities linked to this region focusing on maunga, awa, whenua and moana. This is now documented and being implemented. The principal has identified, and ERO’s evaluation affirms, that the curriculum needs to more clearly state what, and how, teaching and learning approaches and expectations are enacted.

Useful systems and processes, including teacher inquiry, have been developed to support teachers to build their capability. These were not implemented in 2020. Fully and consistently implementing these is a priority for leaders and teachers.

The principal, trustees and ERO agree that staff need to:

  • continue to build collective capacity to accelerate learning for students at risk of not achieving and raise overall levels of achievement
  • use school processes and systems to deliberately plan for, track, monitor, record and report achievement and progress for identified students
  • support teachers to have a greater sense of urgency and higher expectations for student learning and progress
  • deliberately support students to know and understand their learning and next steps
  • understand and use internal evaluation to inquire into the effectiveness of teaching approaches to determine what is working well and who for and what improvements are needed. 

3 Sustainable performance and self review

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

The school needs to continue to grow its capacity to sustain, improve and review its performance. The newly appointed principal is rationalising and organising existing systems and processes to bring information together in a more coherent way.

Trustees receive useful information through the principal’s and Limited Statutory Manager’s reports to the board about a range of school practices and operation.

Trustees agree key next steps are to:

  • further develop coherent school systems, processes and policies that appropriately guide school practice and operation
  • build their capability to understand and undertake their roles, responsibilities and legislative obligations
  • more purposefully scrutinise information provided so that they understand their core business of student learning, progress, achievement and wellbeing.

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.

During the course of the review ERO identified several areas of non-compliance.  

In order to address these the board of trustees must:

  • in consultation with the school’s Māori community, develop and make known to the school’s community, policies, plans and targets for improving the achievement of Māori students
    [National Administration Guideline 1(e)]
  • comply with the requirement to adopt a statement on the delivery of the health curriculum, at least once in every two years, after consultation with the school community
    [Section 91 Education and Training Act 2020]
  • develop and document policies, practices and procedures on surrender and retention of property and searches of students by the principal, teachers and authorised staff members
    [Education and Training Act 2020]
  • obtain police vetting for all non-teaching staff employed
    [s104 of the Education and Training Act 2020]
  • ensure that the annual report is available to the public on an internet site maintained by or on behalf of the school
    [Section 136 Education and Training Act 2020]
  • annually assessed the principal against all the professional standards for principals.
    [NZ Ed Gazette: and relevant employment agreement]
To improve practice:

In order to improve current practice the board of trustees should strengthen the following aspects of policies and procedures:

  • full enactment of all requirements supporting physical restraint practices
  • workforce identity processes and checks
  • completing, recording and reporting earthquake, fire and lockdown drills
  • documentation of in-committee minutes
  • internet safety and security including cyber bullying
  • ensure that board meeting minutes accurately record detailed information of what is discussed and what has informed decision making
  • systematically follow a schedule to review policies and procedures giving priority to those that guide school practice and operation for personnel, health and safety.

4 Recommendations

Recommendations, including any to other agencies for ongoing or additional support.

ERO recommends that the Ministry of Education and New Zealand School Trustees Association provide ongoing support for the board in order to bring about the following improvements:

  • trustees undertaking their roles, responsibilities and statutory obligations
  • building leadership capability to support leading learning to sustain and improve student progress and  achievement. 

Conclusion

Waitara Central School has made some positive progress in relation to aspects of school improvement. School leaders have worked collaboratively to review, develop and implement the localised curriculum.  Collaborative relationships are supporting teaching and learning programmes. To improve outcomes for students, sustained focus is needed on: building leadership capability as a leader of learning; growing effective governance processes and practices; and prioritising the understanding and use of internal evaluation.

On the basis of the findings of this review, ERO ‘s overall evaluation judgement of Waitara Central School’s performance in achieving valued outcomes for its students is: Needs development. 

ERO will maintain an ongoing relationship with the school to build capacity and evaluate progress.

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.

Phil Cowie

Director Review and Improvement Services (Central)

Central Region - Te Tai Pūtahi Nui

18 January 2021

About the school

The Education Counts website provides further information about the school’s student population, student engagement and student achievement.

Findings

Some good progress has been made. Further progress is needed to address all areas for improvement identified in ERO's 2016 evaluation. An increasingly responsive curriculum, some improved systems and use of assessment information, supports better provision for learners. Further curriculum development, addressing compliance matters, implementing improved processes and further knowledge and use of internal evaluation are priorities.

ERO intends to carry out another review over the course of one-to-two years.

1 Background and Context

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

Waitara Central School is located in Waitara, North Taranaki. It caters for students in Years 1 to 6. At the time of this ERO review, the roll was 88 students and 67% identify as Māori.

The August 2016 ERO report identified areas for strengthening practice and recommended that the Ministry of Education (MoE) provide support to bring about improvements. Since that time, a MoE advisor and Student Achievement Function (SAF) practitioner have worked with the school.

Trustees have received training from the New Zealand School Trustees Association (NZSTA), and sought the services of a Limited Statutory Manager (LSM) with responsibility for finance, employment and curriculum functions. At the time of this review, the LSM remains in place.

Leaders and teachers have participated in professional learning and development (PLD) to strengthen systems, processes and practices to improve provision for learners. Additional PLD through the Māori Achievement Collaborative (MAC) has been ongoing. The school is also involved in the Ministry of Education Initiative, Positive Behaviour for Learning (PB4L).

ERO has undertaken ongoing evaluation of the school’s progress. 

2 Review and Development

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

Priorities identified for review and development

The August 2016 ERO report identified a number of key areas for ongoing development. These were for trustees and leaders to:

  • raise achievement of students at risk of not achieving and improve assessment practices
  • review and develop the school curriculum to reflect the intent of The New Zealand Curriculum
  • build the effectiveness of governance, leadership and teaching
  • develop coherent school systems, processes and policies that appropriately guide school operation, including internal evaluation
  • address a range of compliance matters, including those related to the Vulnerable Children Act 2014, appraisal and endorsement of teacher practising certificates.
Progress

The school has made some progress in addressing the priorities identified for improvement.

There is a more deliberate and focused response to learners at risk of underachieving. Development of useful systems for identifying, tracking, and monitoring individual learner needs supports improved provision in reading, writing and mathematics.

Better reporting of students’ achievement and progress to the board of trustees is evident. Reported data more clearly shows how targeted students are improving their progress in relation to curriculum expectations. Accelerated progress is evident for some of these learners. Reducing disparity for boys and Māori students continues to be a priority.

Moderation processes have been strengthened in writing and mathematics. This has improved the reliability of judgements about achievement and progress in relation to curriculum expectations.  Leaders continue to assist teachers to use assessment information more effectively to promote better outcomes for learners.

Leaders and teachers are working towards providing a more responsive and localised curriculum for their students. A deliberate focus on including te ao Māori contexts and valuing whānau Māori input is visible. Staff are working to further build relationships with whānau Māori to guide development and build understanding of Te Atiawatanga. This is supported by leaders’ involvement with the Māori Achievement Collaborative.

PLD is supporting teachers to establish a shared understanding of effective practices in literacy and mathematics to promote improved learner outcomes. Documenting clear expectations for curriculum delivery and teacher practice is ongoing. There is a growing focus on helping students understand and assess their own learning. Ongoing curriculum development should consider ways to promote innovative teaching to align with future-focused learning. 

Processes for teacher appraisal and attestation have been strengthened. This provides opportunities for teachers to reflect on and improve their practice in relation to the school’s strategic priorities. Improvements in teacher practice and increased consistency of schoolwide teaching and learning are evident. Teachers are beginning to inquire into the effectiveness of their practice. Further building evaluative knowledge should help them to know about the impact of teaching programmes, interventions and strategies on learner outcomes.

The principal’s appraisal has provided a framework to guide school development in key areas. A performance agreement and appointment of an appraiser for the current 2018 -2019 cycle, has yet to be actioned. This is a key priority for the LSM and the principal.

3 Sustainable performance and self review

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

The school is not yet well placed to sustain and improve its performance. Further development is needed to strengthen systems and processes for school operation and governance to support ongoing sustainability.

Trustees have engaged in appropriate training to increase understanding of their roles and responsibilities. A framework is in place to support policy review. Strategic planning is responsive to identified priorities and provides clear direction for ongoing improvement. Continuing to build trustees' understanding of governance and increased scrutiny of information should support more effective stewardship.

Leaders work collaboratively to build their capability and develop systems and processes to support improvement in priority areas. Continuing to implement and review newly established systems and processes is important for ongoing improvement.

The school works effectively with a range of support networks to respond respectfully to the wellbeing needs of children and their families. The positive participation of community and family members in the life of the school is welcomed and actively fostered.

Positive Behaviour for Learning is well established and provides a good basis for nurturing relationships and consistent schoolwide practices.

Developing processes and practices for shared understanding of internal evaluation is a next step. This should support sustainable improvement and decision-making.

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 Vulnerable Children Act 2014.
To improve current practice, trustees should ensure that:
  • procedures related to hazards and risks, are regularly reviewed, updated and recorded
  • all procedures align with the recently reviewed and updated policies
  • suitable human resource management practices are included in procedures and implemented appropriately, including those related to safety checking of the workforce.

4 Recommendations

Recommendations, including any to other agencies for ongoing or additional support.

ERO recommends that the school continues to seek assistance from the Ministry of Education in order to support improvements in the capacity of trustees and leaders to manage its resources, and to sustain and improve student learning and achievement.

Conclusion

Some good progress has been made. Further progress is needed to address all areas for improvement identified in ERO's 2016 evaluation. An increasingly responsive curriculum, some improved systems and use of assessment information, supports better provision for learners. Further curriculum development, addressing compliance matters, implementing improved processes and further knowledge and use of internal evaluation are priorities.

ERO intends to carry out another review over the course of one-to-two years.

Phil Cowie
Director Review and Improvement Services Central
Central Region

20 February 2019

About the School 

Location

Taranaki

Ministry of Education profile number

2260

School type

Contributing (Years 1 to 6)

School roll

88

Gender composition

Female 46, Male 42

Ethnic composition

Māori
Pākehā
Pacific

59
25
  4

Review team on site

November 2018

Date of this report

20 February 2019

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review
Education Review
Education Review

August 2016
June 2013
March 2010