Elgin School

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Findings

The school has made good progress in addressing areas identified for improvement following ERO’s 2015 review. A more coherent approach to strategic planning, school operation and improving teacher capability is evident. Continuing to improve schoolwide processes and teacher capability for raising student achievement is a priority.

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

1 Background and Context

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

Elgin School is a small urban Gisborne school catering for students in Years 1 to 6. At the time of this review, of the 52 students on the roll, 50 identify as Māori. Many students whakapapa to Ngāti Porou.

In response to the areas for review and development identified in the June 2015 ERO report, the school sought a range of external advice and guidance to raise student achievement and increase teacher knowledge and capability.

Through ongoing professional development, and in consultation with whānau, the school has reframed the strategic plan. ‘Whakarewa ki runga rawa, te akoranga o ngā tamariki katoa, ngā tamariki Māori ake - to improve achievement of all students, especially Māori’ is the guiding whakatauki of the school. This kaupapa supports tamariki to be:

  • at the centre of teaching and learning
  • engaged and challenged
  • forward thinking and inclusive
  • affirming of New Zealand’s unique identity.

The overarching goals of the school are to develop self-confident and successful learners, improve teacher capability and enhance the mana of whānau. The annual aim is to raise student achievement in numeracy and literacy, with each learner exceeding a year’s progress annually.

Since the previous ERO evaluation there have been several changes to staffing and the board of trustees.

2 Review and Development

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

Priorities identified for review and development

Priorities identified for improvement in the 2015 ERO evaluation were to raise student achievement, ensure a responsive curriculum, and build sustainability and stewardship capabilities.

Progress
Student achievement

Learners with additional needs experience a collaborative wrap-around approach that effectively supports their progress and wellbeing. Strong connections with external agencies are evident. Individual learning programmes identify next steps in the student’s learning journey and progress is regularly monitored.

Teachers collaboratively inquire into their practice to support improvements and strengthen high quality outcomes. They are now beginning to explore the impact of strategies and programmes. Enhancing the inquiry process to include deeper critical thinking and reasoning about those strategies most effective in raising achievement, is a key next step.

The school offers many events and initiatives for parents to engage in the life of the school. Continuing to explore opportunities to strengthen and build learning partnerships with whānau is a priority.

More robust tracking and monitoring of progress and achievement is needed. Building trustees’, leaders’ and teachers’ scrutiny of data should better support accuracy and consistency in achievement judgements.

Key next steps are to:

  • extend the leader’s and teachers’ understanding of the effective use of achievement information to accelerate learners’ progress
  • build leadership capability schoolwide to support sustainability and improvement.
Curriculum

The documented curriculum, ‘Erekana Tuturu’, is responsive to the school’s context. This framework provides useful guidance for teaching and learning and assessment practice. Professional learning and development has had a significant impact on improving programmes for learning, teacher knowledge and capability. This is clearly reflected throughout the learning environment.

Leaders and teachers continue to support students to develop shared understandings of learning expectations. Students know the expectations and behaviour for learning well. It is timely to review and evaluate the school’s curriculum guidelines to strengthen planning and assessment processes to better inform and respond to student achievement. This should enhance identification of innovations and improvements to best meet the learning needs of every child.

Learning is fostered in a culturally inclusive environment. Children’s language, culture and identity are supported and nurtured. Purposeful experiences build students’ competence and confidence in te ao Māori.

The principal actively leads and supports the development of school conditions to promote equity. High expectations for a culturally responsive community of learners are highly evident. Teachers are proactive in learning and extending their use of te reo Māori. Students have a strong sense of belonging in the school whānau and take pride in their learning.

Stewardship

Clear processes support building teachers' capability. A robust appraisal process is developed and implemented well. Strategic goals for raising student achievement are aligned throughout schoolwide processes. Useful feedback is provided for teachers to reflect on and improve their knowledge and understanding of quality practice.

Trustees, leaders and teachers have responded well to professional learning and development. A robust framework for review and evaluation is established. Through implementation they are beginning to identify issues, and extend ideas and strategies to better inform change and ongoing improvements.

Strengthening trustees’ understanding of their roles and responsibilities for effective governance is an ongoing priority. This should include:

  • regular review of policies and procedures to ensure they reflect the current practice of the school and legislative changes
  • robust reporting and documenting of progress in relation to strategic aims and priorities, targets for improving equity and excellence and acceleration of learners.

3 Sustainable performance and self review

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

Elgin School is now better placed to sustain and continue to improve and review its performance. Factors contributing to sustainability are:

  • a new strategic approach
  • the improving quality of teaching practice
  • the positive impact of professional development on change and improvement
  • a culturally inclusive learning environment
  • the strengthening of evaluative practice.

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.

To improve practice the board of trustees should the review and strengthen the implementation of policies and procedures in line with changes to legislation and current best practice. Priority should be given to health and safety requirements and developing physical restraint guidelines.

4 Recommendations

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

ERO recommends that the school seek support from the New Zealand Schools Trustees Association (NZSTA) in order to bring about improvements in:

  • trustees’ understanding of stewardship roles and responsibilities
  • policy review and development
  • evaluation for improvement.

ERO recommends that the board and senior leaders, with teachers:

  • develop targeted planning to raise student achievement through acceleration of learning, and send this planning to ERO
  • Monitor and evaluate progress against the targeted planning, and discuss progress with ERO.

Conclusion

The school has made good progress in addressing areas identified for improvement following ERO’s 2015 review. A more coherent approach to strategic planning, school operation and improving teacher capability is evident. Continuing to improve schoolwide processes and teacher capability for raising student achievement is a priority.

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

Alan Wynyard

Deputy Chief Review Officer Central (Acting)

Te Tai Pokapū - Central Region

8 August 2018

About the School

Location

Gisborne

Ministry of Education profile number

2555

School type

Contributing (Years 1 to 6)

School roll

52

Gender composition

Girls 29, Boys 23

Ethnic composition

Māori
Pacific

50
2

Review team on site

June 2018

Date of this report

8 August 2018

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review
Education Review
Education Review

June 2015
June 2013
June 2010

Findings

The areas identified for review and improvement in the 2013 ERO report have been the focus for ongoing development. Students experience a curriculum that reflects te ao Māori. Some positive shifts in student achievement are occurring and need to be extended and sustained. A commitment to ongoing school improvement is imperative.

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?

Elgin is a small urban Gisborne school that caters for students in Years 1 to 6. The high majority of students are Māori.

The June 2013 ERO report identified significant areas where improvement was required. Since that time, the school has participated in an ongoing ERO evaluation process. During this period, school leaders and teachers have been involved in professional development with the support of external facilitators.

The Ministry of Education will provide further support to the school through the work of a Student Achievement Function practitioner from Term 3, 2015.

The board of trustees, principal and staff should seek to maximise professional learning and positive change from this support, for sustainable improvement in student progress and achievement.

2 Review and Development

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

Priorities identified for review and development

The previous ERO review identified the following areas as requiring improvement and development:

  • raising student achievement
  • assessment practice
  • reporting to parents
  • a curriculum responsive to the school’s context
  • teaching as inquiry
  • development of sustainable practices
  • self review
  • appraisal
  • partnership with whanau.
Progress

Raising student achievement. Student achievement is beginning to rise, particularly in writing. Teachers identify target students whose achievement requires accelerating. Systems are now in place to closely monitor the progress of these students who are achieving below National Standards expectations.

Identifying explicit teaching strategies to deliberately promote acceleration of students' learning progress is likely to promote higher levels of student success.

Assessment practice. Formative assessment has a greater focus. Students are supported to understand the purpose of their learning and what they need to do to be successful. Teachers are increasingly helping and encouraging students to self assess.

A next step is to continue to help students to develop shared understandings of learning expectations and to embed practices that have been proved to work for Elgin students.

Reporting to parents. Parents receive reports that clearly outline their child’s progress and achievement in relation to National Standards. These reports include useful suggestions for how whānau can further support their child’s learning.

Curriculum. Considerable work has been undertaken to develop the Elgin School curriculum, Erekana Tuturu. The curriculum suitably reflects the school context. Consideration and reflection of te ao Māori is highly evident. Aspects of the school’s vision and underlying principles are reflected visually in the wider school environment. The curriculum outlines core beliefs and high expectations for all students to succeed. It aligns appropriately with The New Zealand Curriculum.

Next steps are to develop supporting documents to guide teaching and assessment practices. These documents should outline expectations for making judgements about students' achievement in relation to the National Standards.

Supporting documents should reflect the learning from recent professional development to promote sustainability. This should assist the school to embed the new teaching practices that work for Elgin students.

Teaching as inquiry Teachers are at the initial stages of developing individual inquiry and research into their teaching practice. This is being supported, in 2015, through external professional development.

An ongoing focus is needed to strengthen this development and to make it robust and useful. It needs a greater emphasis on improving teaching practice in relation to specific, well-identified student learning needs.

Partnership with whānau. The value of two-way partnerships with whānau is acknowledged. While informal relationships with whānau are positive, strengthening these to have an increased focus on learning outcomes for students is an ongoing challenge.

Key next steps

ERO and school leaders agree that the key next steps are to:

  • continue to focus on raising student achievement. This includes developing shared understandings of what accelerating student progress means in the Elgin School context
  • develop clear curriculum guidelines for the essential learning areas that embed learning from professional development
  • continue to build and act on understandings of teaching as inquiry.

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 developing its capacity to sustain and continue to improve and review its performance.

Self review Steps have been taken to develop shared understandings of self review with staff and trustees. The need for formal review of policies is understood and needs to occur systematically. Using self review as an evaluative tool to inform ongoing improvements is developing and requires a continued focus that impacts on outcomes for students.

Appraisal Appraisal goals for teachers and leaders align to school priorities. Teachers' classroom practice is regularly observed, both formally and informally, and they receive oral feedback to support their professional growth and development in assessment for learning.

Appraisal processes need to be fully implemented in a timely fashion. The accountability and improvement functions of appraisal need to be fully documented within appropriate timeframes. Practice does not currently meet the school’s appraisal guidelines. Processes for attestation against professional standards for teachers need to be appropriately implemented.

Teachers are gathering evidence in relation to the Registered Teacher Criteria. This is organised under the cultural competencies of Tātaiako: Cultural Competencies for Teachers of Māori Learners.

Development of sustainable practices School systems, including documentation, need to actively reflect and support recent developments, evaluate and sustain positive impacts on students. This includes refining policies and associated procedures.

Key next steps
  • Continue to build understanding of self review through evaluation practices that inform ongoing improvement.
  • Ensure school documents clearly reflect practices.

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.

To improve current practice, the board of trustees should ensure that appraisal and attestation systems are fully implemented.

Conclusion

The areas identified for review and improvement in the 2013 ERO report have been the focus for ongoing development. Students experience a curriculum that reflects te ao Māori. Some positive shifts in student achievement are occurring and need to be extended and sustained. A commitment to ongoing school improvement is imperative.

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

Joyce Gebbie

Deputy Chief Review Officer Central

21 July 2015

About the School

Location

Gisborne

Ministry of Education profile number

2555

School type

Contributing (Years 1 to 6)

School roll

68

Gender composition

Female 36, Male 32

Ethnic composition

Māori

Pacific

66

2

Review team on site

June 2015

Date of this report

21 July 2015

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

June 2013

June 2010

June 2007