Waipukurau School

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Findings

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

1 Background and Context

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

Waipukurau School caters for students in Years 1 to 8. Of the 321 students currently enrolled, 22% identify as Māori. The school is part of the Ruahine Kāhui Ako.

The May 2016 ERO external evaluation report identified that the school needed to develop or strengthen the following: leadership; curriculum; equity and excellence of outcomes for students; internal evaluation.

With assistance from an external provider the school developed an action plan focused on addressing these areas.

2 Review and Development

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

Priorities identified for review and development

Priorities for review and development in the previous ERO report included strengthening school leadership to:

  • enhance the focus on improving teaching and learning
  • guide the development of a curriculum to reflect The New Zealand Curriculum and the aspirations of the community
  • through internal evaluation, ensure a responsive curriculum to meet students' needs and promote equitable and excellent outcomes for all learners
  • manage and participate in professional learning and development.

Appraisal needed further development to:

  • include goals aligned with school priorities and achievement targets and linked to student outcomes
  • build and appraise teachers' cultural competence to better support Māori learners.
Progress
Leadership

At the beginning of 2019, the school restructured the leadership team. A new deputy principal was appointed and four team leader positions developed. This change has resulted in a more distributed leadership model. The senior leadership team is working through a process to establish clear roles and responsibilities and consistency of expectations.

Curriculum

The school curriculum remains a draft document as teams develop ways of working together. It provides good guidance and expectations for teaching and learning. Teachers have participated in a wide range of professional learning and development opportunities that assist them to implement, change and strengthen their teaching strategies to benefit children. Building a positive school culture is a major strategic goal and aim for the school. Several strategies to involve parents and whānau in their children’s education have been successful.

The draft curriculum includes expectations to strengthen te reo me ngā tikanga Māori. Respecting, supporting and celebrating identity, language and culture of Māori and other ethnic groups are valued by the board, to promote an inclusive culture.

Over the past three years, the school has moved to a flexible learning approach. This is still at an early stage of implementation. Teachers use a range of strategies to engage students in learning. They support learners through workshopping and flexible grouping. Teachers have identified some expected and desired outcomes related to the flexible learning approach and this provides a framework for evaluating effectiveness in relation to students’ learning and achievement outcomes.

Equity and excellence of outcomes for all students

The school has not achieved equity and excellence for all students. Reported achievement data at the end of 2018, indicates that most students achieved at or above expectation in reading and mathematics and the majority in writing. Māori students’ achievement is lower overall than their peers, with disparity in reading, writing and mathematics. There is disparity for boys in literacy.

There is a more deliberate approach to tracking and monitoring the progress of all students. The school has developed and is implementing systems and processes that support teachers and leaders to track and monitor the progress of students identified as achieving below expectations. Teachers share successful strategies and reflect on the effectiveness of their practice on selected target students in reading, writing and mathematics.

Achievement targets focus on accelerating progress of some, not all, students identified as achieving below expectation. There are no achievement targets for Years 1 to 3 students.

The 2019 achievement data, shows evidence of acceleration for some students in Years 7 and 8 in reading and mathematics and for many in Years 5 and 6 in reading. Teachers use an appropriate range of tools to make judgements about student progress and achievement.

Internal evaluation

Evaluating the impact of decisions about teaching on learner outcomes needs to be further progressed. An evaluation workshop was attended by trustees and the leadership team shortly after the previous ERO report was confirmed. Since that time there have been significant personnel changes on the board and within the school. Several new initiatives have been implemented or are in the process of implementation. Effective internal evaluation for improvement is not an embedded process.

Key next steps

Some progress is evident and areas identified for improvement in the previous ERO report require ongoing development. These include leadership, curriculum, equity and excellence of outcomes for students and internal evaluation for improvement. The school should have achievement targets for those students in Years 1 to 3 who are at risk of not achieving.

The school needs to consistently apply all aspects of the appraisal process. The process has been reviewed. Reflective practice is evident through teacher inquiries. The appraisal system aligns to the Standards for the Teaching Profession. The next step is to strengthen leadership understanding and use of appraisal to continue to build teacher capability and improve outcomes for students.

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 ability to sustain ongoing improvements to its performance.

Trustees demonstrate a growing understanding of their responsibilities as school stewards. They draw on their networks and expertise to strengthen organisational capacity and effectiveness. The board is in the process of change as newly elected trustees take on their roles shortly. The board represents and serves the school and community in its stewardship role.

Outcomes across learning, engagement, wellbeing and other areas are often good, but with some variation and inequity. There are opportunities for development of school conditions so that they work together in a coherent and integrated way to make and sustain improvements over time and lift school performance.

School leaders have developed systems to identify those students whose achievement needs accelerating. Teachers are developing learning programmes, identifying interventions and targeting resources. They are responsive to emerging issues.

The board, senior leaders and teachers should work through the key next steps outlined in this report to continue to improve leadership, teaching practices and student learning.

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.

In order to improve current practice, the board of trustees should:

  • set up and maintain a police vetting register of all non-teaching staff
  • report annually on how it meets the requirement on being a good employer.

Since the onsite stage of this evaluation the school has set up a police vetting register of all non-teaching staff.

Conclusion

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

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

Phil Cowie

Director Review and Improvement Services

Central Region

8 July 2019

About the School

Location

Waipukurau

Ministry of Education profile number

2725

School type

Full Primary (Years 1 to 8)

School roll

321

Gender composition

Female 52%, Male 48%

Ethnic composition

Māori
NZ European/Pākehā
Other ethnic groups

22%
71%
7%

Review team on site

May 2019

Date of this report

8 July 2019

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review
Education Review
Education Review

May 2016
April 2013
March 2010

1 Context

Waipukurau School is a full primary school catering for students in Year 1 to 8. Of the 266 students attending the school, 25% identify as Māori and a further 2% as Cook Island Māori. In Term 2, 2015 a new deputy principal was appointed.

Students have a range of opportunities for leadership in kapa haka, school houses and student council. Their views are sought and valued. Student success is acknowledged and celebrated.

Students engage in purposeful learning in well set up classrooms, and enjoy positive relationships with their peers and teachers. Aspects of te ao Māori are evident throughout the school. Leaders and teachers are very open and receptive to parents' and whānau input into their children's education.

Some trustees have a long association with the school.

2 Equity and excellence

The vision and valued outcomes defined by the school for all children are focused on: ‘Together the Best - building self-esteem and respect for ourselves and others'. They are clearly articulated and demonstrated by students.

The school's achievement information in 2014 shows that most students achieved at and above the National Standards in reading and writing. Māori students achieved at lower rates in mathematics. In 2015 there was an increase in the levels of achievement for writing and mathematics, particularly for Māori students. For all students there was a decline in reading rates of achievement.

The board has identified reading as an area where a significant number of students need their achievement to be accelerated.

Since the April 2013 ERO evaluation, teachers are identifying and targeting underachieving students. Close monitoring and specific teaching strategies are used for these children. Teachers have also worked positively to build stronger learning relationships with whānau and parents. Determining approaches that are working effectively for these students is an important next step.

Areas for further development identified in the previous ERO report have not been fully addressed. Some aspects have only recently been introduced. Leaders still need to:

  • develop and embed a process of ongoing schoolwide internal evaluation to know the impact of resourcing decisions on student outcomes
  • update the school curriculum document and provide better direction for its schoolwide delivery
  • effectively use appraisal to support teachers to develop and improve their practice.

3 Accelerating achievement

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

The school does not have a clear approach to evaluating how effectively it is responding to Māori children whose learning and achievement need acceleration.

Leaders and teachers use an appropriate range of assessments to identify underachieving students. Teachers use this information to ascertain students' strengths and needs and are beginning to reflect on the impact of their practice on students' achievement. In 2015, Māori student achievement in mathematics improved. In order to sustain this progress leaders and teachers should evaluate what practices made the difference.

Leaders and teachers should:

  • define accelerated progress and develop processes to monitor this
  • develop a clear plan for accelerating the achievement of identified Māori students
  • align planning with school priorities, teachers' appraisals and their professional learning
  • implement internal evaluation that shows what works and why.

The school has previously established communication with local iwi. Re-establishing this connection should enable staff to build a relationship that may lead to an effective learning partnership.

Three-way conferences are opportunities for parents to discuss their children's learning and progress. Parents and whānau receive informative reports about their child's progress and achievement in relation to the National Standards, including strategies to help at home.

The special education needs coordinator works with students whose needs are diverse. Conversations with families and teachers ensure these children are appropriately supported through individual needs-based programmes.

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

ERO's findings show that the school's response to other underachieving students is the same as the response to Māori learners.

Pacific and other groups of students are identified and included in target groups. They are provided with teaching programmes based on their needs. A next step is to also develop achievement plans for Pacific and other students focused on accelerating their learning and achievement.

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?

Trustees are aware of the students whose progress needs to improve. The board needs to ensure it receives reports that inform it of the impact of targeted programmes and resourcing on accelerating student learning and achievement. A 2015 parent survey provided the board with good information to improve schoolwide communication with the community.

School leadership needs strengthening to:

  • enhance the focus on improving teaching and learning
  • guide the development of a curriculum that reflects The New Zealand Curriculum and the aspirations of the community
  • ensure through internal evaluation that the curriculum responds well to students' needs and promotes equitable and excellent outcomes for all students
  • manage and participate in professional learning and development.

An appraisal process for the principal was introduced in 2015. It is clearly aligned with the strategic plan and outlines specific reporting milestones the principal must meet.

A newly developed teacher appraisal system has been introduced this year. It includes professional learning observation groups that are providing teachers with feedback from colleagues about their teaching practice. Including goals that align with school priorities and achievement targets should strengthen the process and ensure teachers' practices and professional learning are better linked with student outcomes. Building and appraising teachers' cultural competence to better support Māori learners is a next step.

Transitions to school are responsive to students' and families' needs. School visits ensure seamless transitions from early childhood centres. Students moving to college are able to find relevant information about a range of schools through open days and visits from college staff.

5 Going forward

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

Leaders and teachers:

  • have knowledge of the children whose learning and achievement need to be accelerated
  • have not yet adequately established necessary conditions to effectively accelerate learning and achievement
  • are not well placed to achieve and sustain equitable and excellent outcomes for all children.

ERO intends to carry out a process of ongoing evaluation to support development over the course of one-to-two 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.

During the review ERO identified an area of non-compliance. In order to address this the board of trustees must:

  • at least once every two years, and after consultation with the community, adopt a statement on the delivery of the health curriculum. [Section 60B Education Act 1989]

7 Recommendations

ERO recommends that leaders and teachers develop an action plan to address the key areas for improvement identified in this report, including developing or strengthening:

  • leadership
  • curriculum
  • equity and excellence of outcomes for students
  • internal evaluation.

Joyce Gebbie

Deputy Chief Review Officer Central

10 May 2016

About the school

Location

Waipukurau

Ministry of Education profile number

2725

School type

Full Primary (Years 1 to 8)

School roll

266

Gender composition

Female 54%, Male 46%

Ethnic composition

Māori

Pākehā

Cook Island Māori

Filipino

25%

72%

2%

1%

Review team on site

March 2016

Date of this report

10 May 2016

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

April 2013

March 2010

May 2007