Alfredton School

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School Context

Alfredton School is a small rural school in northern Wairarapa. Students from Years 1 to 8 attend from the local farming community. Currently there are 58 students, with 17 who identify as Māori.

The school’s vision and aspirational aims are to inspire learning for a lifetime and to grow students to be confident, broad-minded, innovative learners who are community orientated and culturally aware. Strategic goals are focused on ensuring the provision of quality teacher practice and opportunities for students to learn to support this vision and aspirational aim. The valued outcomes are for students to be: ‘motivated, imaginative, respectful, happy, adaptable and confident’.

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

  • progress and achievement in reading, writing and mathematics in relation to school/curriculum expectations

  • progress for those identified in school targets

  • progress and achievement of children with additional learning and/or wellbeing needs

  • the school’s values.

Since the July 2016 ERO report, there have been changes to staffing, with a new principal appointed mid-2018 and all teachers new to the school over the past year.

The school is a member of the Tararua Kāhui Ako.

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 working towards building capability to support the achievement of equitable and excellent outcomes for all students.

School reported data for 2018 indicates that overall, most students achieved at or above expectation in reading, writing and mathematics. Data for the beginning of 2019, using more consistent assessment practices, has indicated some inaccuracies in previous years’ data. There is significant disparity for Māori students, with just over half achieving at or above in literacy and the majority in mathematics.

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

Trustees, leaders and teachers need to further develop their capability to better respond to those students whose learning and achievement need acceleration. The principal and teachers have identified those students achieving below expectation and are beginning to implement strategies that focus on supporting their learning. Māori children remain over represented in the group of students needing acceleration.

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?

Strong relationships and positive interactions between students and staff contribute to good levels of engagement in learning. Teachers know the children and their families well and take a collaborative approach to supporting all learners.

The principal has been effective in the focus on providing an organised and supportive environment to promote student learning and wellbeing. She has deliberately established collaborative practices that enable teachers to have a shared responsibility for student learning and progress across the school.

Systems and processes are in place to gather information that more reliably shows the learning levels and needs of all students. In response to student achievement data, the principal and teachers have identified writing as the area of greatest need. They are participating in professional learning and development to improve their practice and promote enhanced outcomes for students.

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

Teachers, the principal and trustees should strengthen their focus on accelerating the progress of those Māori students and others achieving below expected levels. This includes the need for improved target setting by leaders to assist in relentlessly pursuing goals for accelerating the progress of target students.

Trustees need to make greater use of dependable achievement information to know what is working well, what is not and what needs to change. This should help those in stewardship positions to make evidence-based decisions and more strongly focus on their core role of raising student progress and achievement.

The development of a coherent and culturally responsive local curriculum that responds to students’ strengths, interests and needs is a key next step. This should encompass: students have challenging, purposeful and authentic learning opportunities well matched to identified strengths and needs; students receiving explicit instruction in strategies that enable them to take control of their learning and recognise their progress; and actively involving parents and whānau in learning-centred relationships.

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 Alfredton School’s performance in achieving valued outcomes for its students is: Developing.

ERO’s Framework: Overall School Performance 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:

  • environments that promote good levels of engagement in learning
  • collaborative practice amongst staff that supports teaching, learning and wellbeing.

Next steps

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

  • improving outcomes for students, to achieve equity for all students and raise levels of achievement overall
  • leadership in developing a school curriculum, to better respond to students’ strengths, needs and the local context
  • internal evaluation processes, using a wide range of data, to better identify what is working well for students’ learning and where improvements are needed.

Actions for compliance

ERO identified non-compliance in relation to:

  • health curriculum community consultation
  • child protection policy
  • search, surrender and retention
  • physical restraint
  • career education.

In order to address this, the board of trustees must:

  • 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 60B Education Act 1989]
  • document and provide career education and guidance for all students in Year 7 and above
    [NAG 1(f)]
  • develop and document the following:
    • policies, practices and procedures on surrender and retention of property and searches of students by the principal, teachers and authorised staff members under sections 139AAA to 139AAF of the Act
    • policy, procedures and guidelines for physical restraint
      [Education (Physical Restraint) Rules 2017- Download the rules [PDF, 847 KB]; updated Guidelines for Registered Schools in New Zealand on the Use of Physical Restraint]
    • a child protection policy outlining how suspected neglect and abuse will be identified and reported.
      [Reference sections 18 and 19Children’s Act 2014]

Since the onsite stage of review the principal has provided documented evidence that the following policies and procedures have been reviewed and developed to address the areas of: career education; child protection; physical restraint; and search, surrender and retention.

Areas for improved compliance practice

To improve current practice, the board of trustees should:

  • review the complaints policy to ensure that it more comprehensively documents the school’s processes
  • ensure that appraisal of all staff is fully and consistently implemented and completed each year.

Phillip Cowie

Director Review and Improvement Services

Central Region

13 June 2019

About the school

Location

Eketahuna

Ministry of Education profile number

2801

School type

Full Primary (Years 1 – 8)

School roll

58

Gender composition

Female 29, Male 29

Ethnic composition

Māori 17
NZ European/Pākehā 41

Students with Ongoing Resourcing Funding (ORS)

No

Provision of Māori medium education

No

Review team on site

April/May 2019

Date of this report

13 June 2019

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review July 2016
Education Review August 2013
Education Review August 2010

1 Context

Alfredton School is a small rural school in northern Wairarapa. Students from Years 1 to 8 attend from the local farming community. The school roll has shown a steady increase over the past five years. Currently there are 62 students, with 15 who identify as Māori. A new teacher has been appointed since the August 2013 ERO review.

2 Equity and excellence

The vision and valued outcomes defined by the school for all children are to 'grow students to be confident, broad-minded, innovative learners who are community oriented and culturally aware'. The school has developed a new vision statement after a well-considered process of consultation with the community. It connects to the established vision 'Inspiring learning for a lifetime - growing little acorns into MIGHTY oaks', associated with the heritage trees onsite. The board of trustees is focused on promoting equitable outcomes for all learners.

Achievement information shows that most students achieve well in relation to National Standards. The school recognises that Māori students continue to be over-represented in the group of learners who are at risk of not achieving in relation to the National Standards. Steps taken to address this disparity have been strengthened in 2016.

The school continues to consolidate its practices in making reliable and robust overall teacher judgements about student achievement in relation to the National Standards. This occurs through teacher discussion and internal moderation by the principal. Systems have been introduced to improve the quality of evidence used for these judgements. Further opportunities for moderation, including the use of external moderation, should continue to support consistency and reliability.

Since the last ERO evaluation the school has worked to address areas identified for improvement in the ERO report. Self review has been strengthened and 'initiative reporting' has been introduced to help trustees monitor progress towards strategic goals. This provides useful information about the success of actions taken. There has been wide-ranging consultation with community about the curriculum and to develop the charter. Assessment practice has been developed to better inform teaching and planning. The school has participated in the Accelerating Achievement in Mathematics project (ALIM) and is currently participating in mathematics professional learning and development (PLD) supported by an external provider.

3 Accelerating achievement

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

A new initiative has been developed in response to a recognised lack of effectiveness in promoting progress for Māori students, along with other students, at risk in their learning. This builds on the success of ALIM strategies and is successfully promoting progress and accelerating learning of identified 'focus students'. Positive aspects include teachers:

  • knowing more about the needs of the students who require acceleration
  • working with parents to develop understanding of learners’ strengths, interests and needs
  • collaboratively establishing goals with families
  • developing deliberate actions and strategies to respond to identified needs
  • regularly meeting to discuss students’ progress and share successful strategies
  • closely monitoring students’ progress.

Trustees are focused on improving the school's responsiveness to Māori students and their families, to raise students' pride in their language, culture and identities. They demonstrate a respectful approach to broadening their understanding of the aspirations held by the Māori community for students' learning. Aspects of school practice have been strengthened in response to input from whānau Māori. These include opportunities for students to participate regularly in kapahaka, weekly te reo Māori sessions for students and teachers, and promoting learning partnerships with families.

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?

There has been a considered approach to building a shared vision for equity and excellence. Decision-making and direction-setting are planned, systematic and inclusive of a wide range of perspectives. A strategic approach to implementing developments and monitoring the effectiveness of actions supports ongoing improvement.

The board demonstrates commitment to addressing disparity and promoting improvement. Trustees are respectful of their community, staff and students, and recognise the importance of effective communication and evaluation. They respond to information gathered to make evidence-based decisions. Regular reports to the board ensure they are well informed about school developments and progress in relation to established priorities. Continuing to refine data analysis and reporting for identified groups of learners should assist in further promoting accelerated achievement.

The principal shows good understanding of internal evaluation and builds the evaluative capability of teachers and trustees. She values staff and fosters relational trust.

The curriculum is reviewed for relevance and effectiveness. Recent consultation with families and students has resulted in well-considered changes to documents and teaching and learning practices. Regular, useful curriculum reports contribute to the evaluation of developments and provide some useful next steps for improvement. Currently the mathematics curriculum is being reviewed to ensure learning is meaningful and integrated to promote student engagement and success. Further alignment and clarity regarding expectations for teachers' cultural responsiveness,and provision for Māori learners and success as Māori,are next steps.

Student achievement data is well analysed to support evaluation and decision-making. Teachers are using student achievement data more purposefully. A new system for managing student achievement information helps them to share and monitor students' learning progress. Regular meetings about target students provide a forum for strengthening teacher judgments. Reports to parents provide useful information about achievement and progress.

Students are well supported to participate confidently in the classroom. Deliberate actions support students at risk in their learning. Teachers help students to work collaboratively and self-manage their learning. They respond positively to students' contributions and give time and support to explore their ideas. A range of tools support students to understand and talk about their learning.

Teachers demonstrate positive working relationships and share and adapt their practices. They are developing the ability to inquire into strategies that are effective in accelerating students' progress, and strengthening an evidence-based approach to planning for teaching and learning. Their development is supported by a useful appraisal process.

Teachers value, and are respectful of, students and their families. They are building their understanding and use of strategies to promote parents’ and families' roles in the learning process.

5 Going forward

How well placed is the school to achieve and sustain 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.

There is clear alignment of school processes around a shared vision for improvement. Staff and trustees are developing an evaluative approach to enacting priorities. Continuing to develop and embed effective assessment and responsive teaching practices, which support Māori learners and students at risk in their learning, should sustain and promote improvement.

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 Recommendation

The school should continue to focus on improving equitable outcomes for all students through targeted teaching and inquiry, development of learning partnerships with families and promotion of students' language, culture and identities. Embedding systems for evaluation and improvement is a next step. 

Joyce Gebbie

Deputy Chief Review Officer Central

28 July 2016

About the school

Location

Eketahuna

Ministry of Education profile number

2801

School type

Full Primary (Years 1 to 8)

School roll

62

Gender composition

Female 38, Male 24

Ethnic composition

Pākehā

Māori

Asian

45

15

2

Review team on site

June 2016

Date of this report

28 July 2016

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

August 2013

August 2010

June 2007

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