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Education Review Report
This review is designed to support schools that were experiencing difficulties at the time of the last review. ERO provides ongoing evaluation over the course of one-to-two years as the school works to improve its overall performance and build its self-review capability.
This report answers key questions about the school’s background and the context for the review. The report also provides an evaluation of how effectively the school is addressing areas identified for review and development and the quality of its practices and systems for sustaining performance and ongoing improvement.
Background and Context
What is the background and context for this school’s review?
Granity School provides education for Years 1-8 students from rural areas north of Westport, Buller. It has a roll of 32 students, about 44 % of whom identify as Māori. Support for the school from 2019 included a Limited Statutory Manager (LSM) until May 2020, a Ministry of Education (MOE) Student Achievement Function (SAF) practitioner, and an MOE liaison manager.
A new junior class teacher joined the school at the beginning of 2021. There have been several changes to the board in the last year, including a new board chairperson.
The school’s mission is ‘to empower and prepare tamariki to value learning, identity, community and place’. The key values for realising the mission are: Manaakitanga (Respect), Kaitiakitanga (Sustainability), Whanaungatanga (Relationships), and Manawaroa (Resilience).
The board of trustees has set strategic priorities focused on student progress and achievement, an inclusive and relevant curriculum, and community connections.
Review and Development
How effectively is the school addressing its priorities for review and development?
Priorities identified for review and development
The February 2019 ERO report identified that improvements were required in:
- improving outcomes for students
- curriculum development
- improving school leadership that supports quality teaching and learning programmes
- governance capability building.
The school is developing effective systems to monitor and analyse student achievement and progress. Reporting is more comprehensive so that the board is better informed about schoolwide achievement information. Achievement data for 2021 shows that more than half of all students are achieving at or above expected curriculum levels in reading, writing and mathematics. Māori students are achieving at similar rates to non-Māori students. Approximately a third of students identified for targeted support are making accelerated progress towards expected levels of achievement. Efforts to strengthen connections with families and whānau are having a positive effect on student attendance and engagement in learning.
Progress on curriculum design has been underpinned by appropriate consultation of external experts and initial surveying of families and whānau. Ongoing professional learning is supporting leaders and teachers to create a collaborative, shared vision for the development of an authentic, integrated local curriculum. The school’s expectations for student learning and progress continue to develop, with a focus on individual learner pathways and profiles. Teacher interactions with students reflect and emphasise the school’s values. Students are encouraged and empowered to take increasing ownership of their own learning.
A culture of relational trust and effective collaboration at all levels of the school community enable leaders to work effectively with teachers to create conditions that support students’ learning and wellbeing. A professional growth cycle that supports teacher practices has been implemented and teacher professional inquiries promote useful dialogue about what best teaching and learning practice looks like. Teachers are encouraged to participate in professional learning that focuses on the identified priorities for schoolwide improvement.
The school has been strategic and deliberate in recruiting trustees with local community links and expertise, including iwi and whānau groups. Communications with the community have been strengthened and the board’s ability to focus on and inquire about priorities for school improvement, particularly student achievement and progress, has improved. A policy and procedures framework has been established and embedded that enables the board to fulfil its statutory responsibilities effectively. The principal’s strategic reports inform the board’s ability to question, challenge and resource appropriately to support improved outcomes for students. Long-term goals and strategic direction that prioritise valued school outcomes have been established.
Key next steps
Trustees, leaders and teachers must continue to develop and embed:
- data literacy capabilities to interpret achievement information and set next steps for learning to improve rates of progress and achievement for all learners
- a coherent, well-documented local curriculum framework that sets high expectations for learners and provides guidance for teachers to consistently deliver high-quality teaching and learning programmes across all learning areas of the New Zealand Curriculum
- the collective capacity to use systematic, collaborative inquiry processes, evaluation and knowledge building to clarify the effectiveness of teachers’ practices, and how they impact on student learning, to achieve the school’s valued outcomes.
Sustainable performance and self review
How well placed is the school to sustain and continue to improve and review its performance?
The school is better placed to continue improving and reviewing its performance. Progress towards consolidating systems, processes, practices and programmes identified for improvement continues to be made.
Leaders and teachers are monitoring, analysing and reporting student achievement information more effectively and schoolwide student progress has improved. Curriculum developments reflect a shared vision for teaching and learning that emphasises high expectations for learner success and alignment with the school’s values and valued outcomes. Collaborative practices promote the conditions to improve the quality of teaching practices and support students’ learning and wellbeing. The board is now more representative of school community groups and has established effective frameworks to govern the school in the best interests of families, whānau and their children. Strategic priorities are firmly focused on improving learning and wellbeing outcomes for all students.
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
- 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
- school policies in relation to meeting the requirements of the Children’s Act 2014.
Granity School has made sufficient progress in relation to the key next steps identified in ERO’s February 2019 report. The school will transition into ERO’s Evaluation for Improvement approach.
Dr Lesley Patterson
Director Review and Improvement Services (Southern)
Southern Region - Te Tai Tini
29 July 2022
About the school
Granity School - 11/02/2019
Granity School provides education for Year 1-8 students from a rural area north of Westport. At the time of the review the roll was 27 students.
The school’s mission statement is ‘All children at Granity School will be respected as individuals, their learning needs identified to ensure they reach their full potential as lifelong learners, fostered by competent staff, in a caring, co-operative environment, with the support of the community.’
The school’s belief statements are:
- we believe that all students are unique and they have the right to reach their full potential
- we believe that Granity school has a vital role in the community
- we believe learning is a journey of discovery
- we believe in providing high quality education
- we believe every child should be safe in our school environment
- we believe that learning should be an exciting and interesting process
- we believe Wahi/Place, Tikanga/Practices, Tangata/ People and Kaupapa Ako/Programmes is where the curriculum rests.
The current key curriculum goals are:
- continue to develop digital literacy capabilities for students in relation to skills and inquiry learning.
- continue to promote effective spelling teaching across the school.
- continue to promote effective reading teaching across the school.
Leaders and teachers regularly report to the board, schoolwide information in the following areas:
mathematics, reading, writing and spelling
Granity school is close to the beach and is the hub of the small community. Teachers use the local environment within the curriculum.
The school is a member of the Westport Kāhui Ako | Community of Learning.
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 providing equitable opportunities for its students. However, there is little evidence that this is leading to excellent outcomes.
Māori students are generally achieving at higher levels than other students, but still at levels lower than national expectations.
The majority of students are achieving at or above expected levels in reading. In mathematics, the majority of girls are achieving below expected levels. Less than half of all students are achieving at expected levels in writing.
1.2 How well is the school accelerating learning for those Māori and other students who need this?
The school does not have effective systems to track progress, analyse achievement and show acceleration for the target group of students. ERO was unable to identify any instances where accelerated achievement had occurred.
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?
Students take part in activities that make good use of local resources and provide relevant learning contexts. Teachers organise many excursions into the community. They make use of local people and places to enrich the curriculum. The current focus on the environment and using digital technologies provide interesting learning opportunities.
Students participate and learn in a caring, inclusive environment. There are opportunities for students to have a say about their learning. Teachers and students are respectful of one another. Older children help younger children in the small family-like atmosphere.
The school actively promotes community involvement. There is good attendance at school events. The school and community work together to provide opportunities for local gatherings, such as the recent night market. A parent group has recently been formed. The purchase of a school van has provided the opportunity for greater use of the local environment.
2.2 What further developments are needed in school processes and practices for achievement of equity and excellence, and acceleration of learning?
Leadership is not yet providing effective planning, coordination and evaluation of the school curriculum. There is a lack of cohesion and consistency in curriculum design and delivery across the school. It is unclear what the school’s expectations for students are, in terms of the valued learning outcomes they will achieve while at the school.
School attendance is low. Specific targets for attendance, engagement and the acceleration of students who need it, especially in mathematics and writing need to be developed.
Leaders and teachers have yet to engage in robust inquiry and evaluation to improve outcomes for students. Decision making around learning programmes and resources need to be based on rigorous analysis of a range of evidence. Current reports to the board are based on a single assessment of one aspect of mathematics or literacy.
There is no regular process of review of how well learning areas are being covered and how effectively the curriculum is meeting the needs, interests and abilities of the students. Trustees need a much more comprehensive picture of school-wide achievement, and what is working, or not, to raise achievement.
Trustees are not yet fully aware of, or carrying out their roles and responsibilities as stewards of the school. There is a lack of rigour in policy review. It is not clear when the school’s charter was last comprehensively reviewed by the key members of the school and its community to determine whether it is meeting current needs.
There have not been any recent anonymous surveys of staff, students and parents to monitor the wellbeing of children and staff. Trustees are not sufficiently well informed to take an active role in making resourcing decisions for the school.
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:
management of health, safety and welfare
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
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:
positive relationships between teachers, students and school/community
use of the local environment and people to provide meaningful contexts for learning.
For sustained improvement and future learner success, priorities for further development are in:
improving outcomes for students in terms of attendance, progress and achievement
curriculum development, so that the curriculum is based on clear school-wide expectations for learning and other valued outcomes for students
school leadership, so that the board and parents can be assured of the quality of teaching and learning programmes
board governance, to enable trustees to fully participate in their role as stewards of the school.
Recommendations to other agencies
ERO recommends that the Secretary for Education consider intervention under Part 7A of the Education Act 1989 in order to bring about improvement in:
school leadership and management
ERO recommends that the New Zealand School Trustees Association consider providing support for the school in order to bring about improvement in the governance of the school.
ERO’s next external evaluation process and timing
ERO intends to carry out a process of ongoing external evaluation to support development over the course of one-to-two years.
Director Review & Improvement Services
Te Waipounamu - Southern Region
11 February 2019
About the school
Ministry of Education profile number
Full primary (Years 1 to 8)
Boys 16 ; Girls 11
Students with Ongoing Resourcing Funding (ORS)
Provision of Māori medium education
Review team on site
Date of this report
11 February 2019
Most recent ERO reports
Education Review June 2017
Education review August 2015
Education Review May 2012