Ward School

We maintain a regular review programme to evaluate and report on the education and care of young people in schools.

We are in the process of shifting from event-based external reviews to supporting each school in a process of continuous improvement.

There may be delays between reviews for some schools and kura due to Covid-19 and while we transition to our new way of reviewing.

Read more about our new processes and why we changed the way we review schools and kura.

Find out which schools have upcoming reviews.

Education institution number:
3067
School type:
Full Primary
School gender:
Co-Educational
Definition:
Not Applicable
Total roll:
44
Telephone:
Address:

Duncan Street, Ward

View on map

School Context

Ward School is a small, rural Years 1 to 8 school situated in Ward, Marlborough. It has a roll of 42 students, 14 of whom identify as Maori. There are two multilevel classrooms and a teaching principal. At the time of ERO’s review the school had extra Ministry of Education staffing in response to the November 2016 earthquakes. Since the 2014 ERO review there has been a new principal and some teaching staff. At the time of the onsite stage of the review, the board was in the process of appointing a new principal.

The school’s vision is, ‘Leading our learning together for our future’. Its valued outcomes are for all students to be respectful, resilient, innovative and visionary. The board aims for students to develop as well-rounded individuals who are confident, connected learners. The school’s strategic priorities focus on five key goals. They are to:

  • raise student achievement
  • develop excellent teaching practice
  • raise Māori student achievement
  • provide effective governance and leadership
  • provide a safe and nurturing learning environment.

The board’s annual achievement targets are for all students who achieve well below, below or at the expected standard to make more than one year’s progress towards the appropriate National Standard.

The school belongs to the Piritahi Kāhui Ako|Community of Learning (CoL).

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

  • achievement in reading, writing and mathematics in relation to the National Standards

  • progress and accelerated progress in reading, writing and mathematics in relation to the National Standards

  • information regarding students’ wellbeing.

Evaluation Findings

1 Equity and excellence – valued outcomes for students

1.1 How well is the school achieving equitable and excellent outcomes for all its students?

The school is effective in achieving equitable and excellent outcomes for its students.

Almost 90% of students achieve at or above expectations in reading and writing. Mathematics achievement is lower at 83%. This data is analysed to indicate how many students make more than a year’s progress in a year, those who are making the expected progress of a year’s learning within a year, and those who are making insufficient progress. The school’s data at the end of 2016 shows many students made accelerated progress. Interim reports for 2017 show this trend is continuing.

Following the 2016 earthquakes, the school received good support enabling positive and useful provision to support students’ wellbeing and a continued focus on students’ learning.

1.2 How effectively does this school respond to those Māori and other students whose learning and achievement need acceleration?

The school is effectively responding to those Māori and other students whose learning and achievement need acceleration.

The school is strengthening its culturally responsive practices so that it is better placed to enable Māori students to be confident in their language, culture and identity and to succeed as Māori. The majority of Māori and other students whose learning needed additional support made accelerated progress in writing and maths. In reading, where many Māori students achieve highly, just under half of those targeted for accelerated progress reached this goal.

Rates of progress for Māori and other students whose learning needs to be accelerated are very good.

2 School conditions for equity and excellence

2.1 What school processes and practices are effective in enabling achievement of equity and excellence?

School processes and practices are mostly effective in supporting equitable and excellent outcomes for students.

Leaders and teachers engage in systematic, evidence-informed professional inquiry to improve outcomes for students. Inquiry is closely aligned to the school’s vision, strategic goals and annual targets. Leaders and teachers appropriately use evidence of students’ learning and outcomes to monitor if sufficient progress is being made or if further changes to programme provision are needed.

Students benefit from a wide, rich curriculum. Teachers are very aware of the importance of ensuring the curriculum makes connections to students’ lives, draws on students’ prior understandings and represents real world contexts. They effectively build on students’ strengths and ably link learning contexts to students’ interests. A strong foundation is built in students’ early years, providing a useful basis for further learning.

Students’ views and opinions are valued and contribute to curriculum decisions. They are well supported to think reflectively, set meaningful goals, try out their ideas and problem solve. Teachers use a variety of effective teaching strategies to increase students’ motivation, engagement and success.

The board and school leadership worked collaboratively with the community to update the school’s vision and values. Together they remain focused on accelerating students’ learning outcomes and set specific targets to promote acceleration. The board makes sound strategic decisions about resourcing to enhance teaching and learning provision and student wellbeing.

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

Processes and practices to achieve equity and excellence for all students are effective. The following actions would further enhance outcomes for students.

Trustees need to ensure that they receive more frequent reports on progress towards annual achievement targets. Action plans that underpin annual achievement targets need to be more specific. This will enable the board, principal and teachers to more effectively identify strategies that are making the most difference in accelerating students’ learning.

The principal and teachers have introduced new approaches to strengthen learning partnerships with parents. It would be useful to continue to embed current practice and further explore other options. This would ensure equitable and effective opportunities for all parents to develop learning partnerships with the school. Internal evaluation that measures satisfaction with approaches used would further contribute to effective learning partnerships.

The school has engaged in a range of strategies to build culturally responsive practices and views into curriculum provision and have made steady progress in this area. The school has recently engaged in an opportunity provided by the CoL to significantly enhance cultural understandings. The board and school leaders need to ensure good traction occurs to benefit Māori and all learners.

Curriculum guidelines need to be more explicit about expectations for teaching and learning in essential learning areas to ensure students’ learning pathways are consistent and coherent over time.

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 Vulnerable Children Act 2014.

4 Going forward

Key strengths of the school

For sustained improvement and future learner success, the school can draw on existing strengths in:

  • high quality professional inquiry into accelerating outcomes for students

  • teaching that identifies learning contexts that are well connected to students’ interests and strengths

  • a strong focus on accelerating students’ learning and rates of progress.

Next steps

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

  • more regular reporting and development of specific action plans to underpin the board’s annual achievement targets

  • continuing to build powerful learning connections with parents, family and whānau

  • further developing culturally responsive understandings and practice.

ERO’s next external evaluation process and timing

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

Dr Lesley Patterson

Deputy Chief Review Officer Southern

Te Waipounamu - Southern Region

19 December 2017

About the school

Location

Ward

Ministry of Education profile number

3067

School type

Full primary, Year 1 to 8

School roll

42

Gender composition

Girls 27, boys 15

Ethnic composition

Māori 14

Pākehā 28

Review team on site

November 2017

Date of this report

19 December 2017

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education ReviewJuly 2014

Education ReviewApril 2011

Education Review November 2007

Findings

Ward School provides high quality learning and teaching within a safe and inclusive learning environment. Students are central to developing the school’s culture and improving their learning opportunities. The school’s curriculum ensures students focus well on improving their learning in literacy and mathematics. They experience a wide range of learning experiences within and beyond the school. The school is well led by trustees and the principal who support a culture of reflection and improvement. There is strong support from parents and the community.

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

1 Context

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

Ward School caters for students in Years 1 to 8. Students are central to developing the school’s culture and improving students’ learning and wellbeing. This reflects a collaborative and reflective approach to school improvement for the benefit of students.

Ward is a farming community with a well established history. The school has strong links with the community and there is a family atmosphere within the school. A new principal was appointed in July 2013. The board chair and most trustees are new to the board. The school is attractively maintained and well resourced. It hosts the community library and a swimming pool.

2 Learning

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

Teachers effectively support students to learn and progress at their own level. Teachers use a good range of assessment tools to accurately identify students’ learning needs, and to design programmes that will meet individual learning needs. They use a good range of assessment tests. The annual assessment plan makes sure there is thorough coverage of assessment in literacy and mathematics. Professional development has helped teachers improve their understanding and use of assessment practices.

Students set goals for their learning and teachers help them to monitor their progress and achievement through regular feedback. Teachers help students to make decisions about their learning and to learn at their own pace. Students are supported to take increasing responsibility for their learning. Students with special needs are well supported and included in class programmes.

Parents can be involved in a learning partnership with their children through conferences. They are kept well informed about the progress their children are making and how they can better support learning at home.

Achievement information reported to the board shows that most students, including Māori students, achieve above National Standards when compared with other students nationally, especially in reading.

The principal and teachers have identified the next step to make sure their judgements for National Standards are accurate is to develop guidelines that will help teachers increase consistency over time, and with teachers in other schools.

3 Curriculum

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

The school’s curriculum effectively provides students with a wide range of learning opportunities within and beyond the school. Teachers give strong emphasis to learning in literacy and mathematics. Students said they particularly like their involvement in visual arts and drama programmes. All students have access to specialist teaching in music. A strength of the wider curriculum is the range of opportunities that students have to participate in sporting and cultural events, and excursions.

Curriculum documents give teachers clear guidance about learning expectations for students in each curriculum area, and the most appropriate teaching methods teachers can use to achieve these expectations.

Teachers have actively changed the environment to better support students’ learning needs. This is helping students to make better use of learning spaces for group and individual learning activities. Students have increased access to information and communication technologies that is enhancing their learning. There are many learning prompts around classrooms that help students increase their independence in learning.

Students have many opportunities to improve their leadership skills and to contribute to improving the learning environment for all students. Students’ opinions are frequently gathered through meetings and surveys. They work with each other, and with teachers to set appropriate behaviour guidelines. The student council contributes significantly to school operations, school events, and to achieving a positive school culture. Older students support younger students in a collaborative environment.

The principal and teachers have identified next steps to improve the school’s curriculum. These include:

  • deciding what they will assess in the inquiry learning programme, and how they will monitor and evaluate students' progress and achievement across learning areas
  • extending bicultural perspectives across the school’s curriculum.

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

The board and principal have developed an education plan that is improving the support for Māori students to achieve as Māori. The plan gives school-wide direction that is linked to the school’s vision. There is increased use of te reo Māori by students and teachers and there are more opportunities for all students to learn about and value tikanga and te reo Māori.

The kapa haka group is active and students perform at the local cultural festival.

Teachers are well supported by professional development and the services of outside expertise. Good use has been made of Ministry of Education resources.

The Māori education plan identifies the next step is to further consult with Māori whānau to seek feedback on the development plan and to determine aspirations for their children.

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.

The new board chairperson and trustees work effectively together and with the principal and staff. Trustees have surveyed the community to inform future directions for the school. They are seeking further training to improve their understanding of governance roles and responsibilities.

The new principal has capably managed change to important areas of school operations that impact positively on students’ learning and wellbeing. He works collaboratively with and supports teachers well to achieve high quality learning and teaching. Teachers are given many opportunities to grow their leadership skills that benefit students and their learning.

The principal and teachers have established a clear process for review that is being effectively used to improve learning and teaching. Review is regular and inclusive of all teachers. Teachers use student feedback and achievement information to review and improve their teaching. The outcomes of review are used to make improvements for students’ learning and wellbeing.

Recent changes to teachers’ appraisal processes are helping teachers to improve outcomes for students. Teachers are supported to extend their range of teaching approaches. They are frequently observed and receive specific feedback about their teaching. This helps them to set appropriate personal goals for improvement.

ERO and the board have agreed that it is appropriate for the new board and principal to now review the school’s charter to make sure it provides clear strategic direction for the school’s future. This should include:

  • simplifying the vision and values to help students better understand how school values can support their learning
  • improving the ways that school goals and values are linked to students’ achievement and wellbeing.
  • changing the way the principal reports to the board so that progress against board goals can be better monitored and evaluated.

The principal and teachers have recently completed important and necessary reviews. The next steps to extend self review are to:

  • prioritise long-term and short-term reviews
  • develop a plan that will make self-review manageable
  • develop a sound research base for self review.

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

Ward School provides high quality learning and teaching within a safe and inclusive learning environment. Students are central to developing the school’s culture and improving their learning opportunities. The school’s curriculum ensures students focus well on improving their learning in literacy and mathematics. They experience a wide range of learning experiences within and beyond the school. The school is well led by trustees and the principal who support a culture of reflection and improvement. There is strong support from parents and the community.

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

Graham Randell

National Manager Review Services Southern Region

3 July 2014

About the School

Location

Ward, Marlborough

Ministry of Education profile number

3067

School type

Full Primary (Years 1 to 8)

School roll

33

Gender composition

Boys 18; Girls 15

Ethnic composition

NZ European/Pākehā

Māori

22

11

Review team on site

May 2014

Date of this report

3 July 2014

Most recent ERO reports

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

April 2011

November 2007

May 2005