Collingwood Area School

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1. Context

What are the important features of this school that have an impact on student learning?

Collingwood Area School has a long history in education and plays an important role in its local rural community. The school’s location in Golden Bay provides a wide range of rich and meaningful opportunities for students to learn in and enjoy. As an enviro school, there is a focus on ways students can learn about and preserve the local environment.

Changes at the school since the 2012 ERO review include the appointment of a new principal and senior leadership team. They are helping to reinvigorate practices and systems that are likely to benefit students’ learning, achievement and wellbeing.

The school shares some facilities with the local community and values the support that many community members provide.

As an active member of local and area school learning clusters, the school is well placed to share and learn further ways of continuing to improve student achievement and wellbeing in this region.

2. Learning

How well does this school use achievement information to make positive changes to learners’ engagement, progress and achievement?

The school is continuing to improve the way achievement and other information is collected, analysed and used. Leaders are aware that ongoing development in this area must be sustained, embedded and regularly evaluated so that all students benefit.

Recent achievement information developments include:

  • reviewing and increasing the range and use of national assessment tools in Years 7-10
  • improvements to overall teacher judgement processes
  • beginning to promote effective use of achievement information in teacher inquiry and professional learning programmes.

Overall, students achieve well against the National Standards. Achievement information for 2014 shows that the majority of students are at or above the standard. Achievement is highest in reading. Initiatives have been put in place to continue to raise achievement in writing and mathematics.

Achievement in the National Certificate of Educational Achievement (NCEA) has generally increased over time. Recent data shows an increased number of NCEA endorsements.

Students who are at risk of not achieving benefit from the effective school-wide support systems that the senior leader with responsibility has put in place. This includes early identification of learning needs, the good range of student support in classrooms and the way external support is actively sought for identified students.

Areas for review and development

The principal recognises that considerable progress has yet to be made to ensure that achievement information is used in a robust, reliable and strategic way. The school’s next steps are to:

  • establish clear expectations and guidelines for the use, monitoring and reporting of achievement information at all year levels, especially for Years 9 and 10
  • improve the use of the school’s student management system to ensure consistent and effective practice
  • continue to refine the way student achievement charter targets are set so that improvement goals are appropriately challenging
  • increase opportunities for teachers to build high quality use of achievement information.

4. Curriculum

How effectively does this school’s curriculum promote and support student learning?

The curriculum is currently under review with significant work being collaboratively undertaken across learning areas. Learning programmes are becoming increasingly responsive to the needs, interests and aspirations of students. Distance education is used to expand curriculum choices for students.

The school’s extensive and varied local environment is used to expand learning and achievement opportunities for senior students. This may be developed further. Some innovative and interesting approaches to outdoor programmes are evident where students learn in a practical, hands-on way.

Students benefit from the support they get to be involved in work experience and other career-related programmes. Senior leaders are focused on continuing to personalise learning programmes for individual students, especially at senior levels.

Students receive very good support from their teachers. Whānau groups help to build a sense of belonging for students. Staff continue to be very supportive of students’ wellbeing.

Areas for review and development

School leaders are aware that curriculum review needs to be completed in a manageable and effective way. This should include:

  • identifying and documenting the uniqueness of the school’s curriculum and linking it clearly to the New Zealand Curriculum
  • definitions of successful learning and teaching in the 21st century at the school
  • documenting and providing clear guidelines and expectations for learning progressions across year levels, and for teaching and learning at this school
  • embedding bicultural perspectives across the curriculum
  • ensuring that there is an effective careers programme in place that is included in the curriculum review schedule.

School leaders and teachers should ensure that reports clearly and usefully inform parents about student progress and achievement over time at junior and senior levels.

How effectively does the school promote educational success for Māori, as Māori?

The school has been making some progress promoting educational success for Māori, as Māori. Students have increasing opportunities to learn about te reo and tikanga Māori, be involved in cultural events and demonstrate their skills in kapa haka.

The board provides the whānau of Māori students with opportunities to discuss matters of importance to them.

In collaboration with Māori students and their whānau, it is now timely for the board and school leaders to develop a more planned and formalised approach to:

  • identifying priorities and goals for improvement, including extending the use of te reo across classrooms
  • evaluating and reporting annual progress against these goals.

4. Sustainable Performance

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

A number of improvements and new initiatives have been introduced at the school and have been led by the new principal. This is placing the school in a better position to sustain and improve its performance.

Since the 2012 ERO review, a new board chairperson and some new trustees have been appointed. Board members value opportunities for governance training and use a range of useful reports to make decisions and allocate resources. Board practices are guided by a recently-developed governance handbook.

The board has made some useful improvements to the way it consults with its community. This includes holding meetings in various locations so that parents can more easily attend. Increasing collaboration is helping to build active ownership of the charter as a document that is integral to ongoing school improvement. Staff members are positive and supportive of the direction the board is taking in this area.

Self review is beginning to play a more strategic role in promoting school improvement. Teacher appraisal has been improved by the strongly research-based approach introduced by the principal.

Teachers value the improved professional development, the focus on inquiry teaching and the strengthening of collaborative practices to support students’ learning. They are keen to develop stronger relationships with the board and to continue to build a positive school culture focused on students’ learning, achievement and wellbeing.

Areas for review and development

The board and school leaders agree that continuing to improve internal evaluation is a key priority. This should include:

  • strengthening the understanding, purpose and practice of internal evaluation across the school
  • developing an identified, shared and used framework/process for internal evaluation
  • evaluation of board and senior leadership effectiveness in the school’s self-review schedule, including the effectiveness of communication.

Senior leaders should continue to build on the work already started to align the school vision, school goals, appraisal, professional learning and internal evaluation so that outcomes for students continue to improve.

ERO recommends that strategic planning better identifies and guides the development of a range of technologies across the school. This could include further consideration of modern learning spaces and practices.

Provision for international students

The school is a signatory to the Code of Practice for the Pastoral Care of International Students (the Code) established under section 238F of the Education Act 1989.

There was one international student attending the school at the time of the onsite stage of the review. This is the first time that the school has had an international student.

The school has attested that it complies with all aspects of the code. ERO’s investigations identified that:

  • appropriate documentation is kept by staff about student progress and wellbeing over time

  • the school’s self-review process for international students needs further development in order to meet requirements

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.

Conclusion

Students at Collingwood Area School benefit from positive relationships across the school. Teachers provide very good support for students’ learning and wellbeing. Overall, the achievement of junior and senior students is continuing to improve. The new school leaders are building on previous developments and supporting useful initiatives to improve student learning and achievement.

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

Chris Rowe

Deputy Chief Review Officer Southern (Acting)

8 September 2015

About the School

Location

Collingwood

Ministry of Education profile number

290

School type

Composite (Years 1 to 13)

School roll

117

Number of international students

1

Gender composition

Boys 52%;

Girls 48%

Ethnic composition

NZ European/Pākehā 87%

Māori 10%

Asian 3%

Review team on site

July 2015

Date of this report

8 September 2015

Most recent ERO reports

Education Review June 2012

Education Review May 2009

Education Review June 2006

1. Context

What are the important features of this school that have an impact on student learning?

Collingwood Area School is situated in rural Golden Bay and provides education for students from Years 1 to 13. It has 122 students enrolled, of whom approximately 25% identify as Māori. Most students travel to school by bus.

The school’s whakataukī, ‘Ka eke ngatahi tātou i te ngaru o te angitu’, or ‘Together we ride the wave of lifelong success’ is expressed graphically as a koru-shaped wave. This is prominent throughout the environment and stands for commitment to each other as whānau, to learning in and beyond school, and acknowledges the bicultural nature of the community.

The board and senior leaders maintain a clear focus on meeting individual students’ needs to promote their success and learning. Since ERO’s 2009 review, extensive building development has provided new learning areas, including a library resource centre. These spaces reflect school expectations for flexible teaching practice that caters effectively for individual learners.

Students learn in a well equipped, well maintained, family-like environment. Staff, students, parents and whānau know each other well. The school is generally regarded as the hub of the community.

2. Learning

How well are students learning – engaging, progressing and achieving?

Students are engaged in learning and participate with enthusiasm in a broad range of sporting and cultural activities. They benefit from the seamless nature of their progression from new entrants to school leavers.

The principal regularly reports student achievement to the board. Analysed assessment results are used to identify strategic priorities and to develop annual goals and targets.

Parents receive information about student progress and achievement through written reports, student-led conferences, portfolios of work and informal discussions. ERO recommends that future reports for primary students include suggestions from teachers about how parents can help students learn at home.

Years 1 to 10

The school reported that most Years 1 to 8 students, including Māori, were at or above in relation to the National Standards for reading, writing and mathematics at the end of 2011.

Assessment data is gathered from a range of reliable sources to inform teachers’ judgements about student progress and achievement. Students who need additional learning support or extension are identified and appropriate programmes implemented to accelerate their progress. The school’s 2012 targets focus on raising the achievement of students who are below or well below National Standards expectations.

To promote continued improvement in learning outcomes for students, school leaders recognise that the next steps are to strengthen assessment practices by:

  • developing and refining moderation processes
  • supporting teachers to make full use of achievement data when designing learning programmes, so that identified student needs are met
  • formalising and documenting processes for monitoring and reporting student progress, particularly of students in Years 9 and 10 and those who receive additional support.

Years 11 to 13

Students in Years 11 to 13 gain credits towards National Certificates of Educational Achievement (NCEA) and other certificates on the national qualifications framework. In 2010, all students succeeded in achieving the relevant NCEA Level, and in 2011 96% gained an NCEA qualification.

A higher percentage of students remain at school to Year 13 than the national average. Most senior students move away from the area after leaving school. In 2011, all school leavers went on to employment or further education.

3. Curriculum

How effectively does this school’s curriculum promote and support student learning?

The school curriculum is well aligned to The New Zealand Curriculum and is highly responsive to the local community, the needs of students and staff expertise. Teachers recognise that students enjoy both advantages and disadvantages from living in a locality that is some distance from the nearest urban centre. The curriculum reflects the local context and embraces the wide range of outdoor education opportunities available in the region.

The overarching framework for curriculum design and implementation is the result of consultation and careful consideration over time. It provides sound guidelines for the ongoing development of statements for each of the different learning areas.

Strengths

The school climate is positive and calm. School-wide values and expectations for work and behaviour are clearly articulated and understood. Relationships among students and between students and teachers are respectful, relaxed and comfortable.

The curriculum offers a wide variety of learning experiences within and beyond the immediate environment, particularly those related to outdoor education and environmental studies. A key aim of the curriculum is to equip students with the necessary self-management skills for successful, independent living and study away from home.

The board and senior leaders minimise any barriers to students’ continuing education to enable them to follow their preferred learning pathways. Senior timetables and course structures are flexible to personalise learning programmes. Some senior students study through distance-learning facilities, assisted by information and communication technologies. Many receive financial help to pursue learning in other parts of New Zealand.

A positive, professional culture is evolving among staff, demonstrated by conversations focused on improving practice and annual appraisal goals that are linked to school-wide development areas. Teachers have a shared understanding of teaching strategies that promote learning and progress. They work cooperatively to ensure that there is continuity for each student from one year to the next through sharing academic and pastoral care information.

The overall quality of teaching in the school is good. Literacy and numeracy are priority areas. Teachers use a range of strategies to engage students, encourage them to become independent learners and take increasing responsibility for their own progress and achievement.

Area for review and development

Teachers have begun to inquire into the effectiveness of the strategies they use to promote learning. This usually occurs as informal discussion and reflection, rather than as a planned process that incorporates research and careful analysis of the impact of teaching on students. It is timely that formal, documented inquiry, including peer observations and feedback, is embedded in the professional culture. Integration of these processes is likely to support teachers’ continuing focus on making the best use of assessment information to plan and implement classroom programmes that meet the diverse needs of learners.

How effectively does the school promote educational success for Māori, as Māori?

Māori parents and whānau are highly visible in the school. The board held a well-attended whānau hui in 2011, and school leaders have started to act on feedback and suggestions received. Senior leaders and trustees are aware of the need to continue to increase the engagement of Māori parents in decision-making and in students’ learning.

The school takes a measured approach to raising the profile of te reo me ngā tikanga Māori. The charter includes a goal to identify the needs of Māori students to raise their achievement. Changes to the school curriculum, environment and culture are carefully managed, allowing students and staff to gradually build their knowledge and awareness of te ao Māori. Continued professional development is needed to support staff learning and increase capacity for cultural responsiveness.

Students learn te reo Māori and kapa haka through a school-wide programme of instruction from a highly respected and valued tutor. Well supported by the board and principal, the tutor is strengthening links between the school and the local Māori community. She is taking a leadership role in upholding school kawa and the mana of associated iwi and hapū.

Māori students told ERO that they are proud to be Māori and they appreciate the opportunities to further their knowledge of their cultural heritage. They regard kapa haka as an important part of their school life.

4. Sustainable Performance

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

The school is well placed to sustain and improve its performance.

Strengths

The climate is warm and positive, with a strong sense of family and shared purpose. Parents’ regular involvement in the life of the school demonstrates their sense of belonging and commitment. Their opinions and ideas are actively sought and their contributions valued. Links with the local community are a significant factor in the school’s ability to provide relevant, meaningful learning experiences for students. The school and community enjoy reciprocal benefits from the partnership.

Members of the board are highly engaged in the life of the school. Most are experienced trustees, and all show a sound understanding of their governance responsibilities. They take a keen interest in student achievement patterns and seek assurance about actions taken to address results that are below expected levels. Resourcing decisions are firmly based on the data received. Professional development for teachers is generously budgeted for, in recognition of the additional cost of distances travelled. The collaborative relationship between the board and principal contributes to continuous improvement in outcomes for students.

The principal is committed to providing high quality education to meet the particular needs of young people in this rural community. He manages change effectively and works collegially with senior leaders, who have well-defined complementary roles. Leadership responsibilities are distributed across the school, giving teachers opportunities to develop their capabilities and build on strengths.

Area for review and development

The purpose and value of self review is well understood by trustees and school leaders. In order to strengthen the findings of school reviews and enhance their usefulness, the board and school leaders recognise that they need to formally document evaluation processes. Indicators of effectiveness or success should be discussed and recorded, so that the results of investigations can be assessed against agreed criteria. Changes or strategies that are implemented in response to review should then be evaluated to establish the extent to which the desired improvements have occurred.

Further development and refinement of self review is likely to increase the effectiveness of planning and ensure that resources are directed to where they bring maximum benefit.

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
  • stand-downs, suspensions, expulsions and exclusions
  • attendance.
When is ERO likely to review the school again?

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

Joyce Gebbie National Manager Review Services Central Region (Acting)

20 June 2012

About the School

Location

Collingwood

Ministry of Education profile number

290

School type

Composite (Years 1 to 15)

Decile1

6

School roll

122

Gender composition

Females 51%, Males 49%

Ethnic composition

NZ European/Pākehā

Māori

Other ethnic groups

74%

25%

1%

Review team on site

May 2012

Date of this report

20 June 2012

Most recent ERO reports

Education Review Education Review Education Review

May 2009 June 2006 August 2003