Lower Moutere School

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School Context

Lower Moutere School is a semi-rural Years 1-8 school located close to Motueka. The roll at the time of this review was 169 students.

The school states that its overarching vision is ‘To be the best that we can be!’ The school’s valued outcomes include respect for self, others, the school environment and property. The valued learner attributes are for students to be Self-motivated, Achieving, Focused and Engaged (SAFE). The valued outcomes also include a concept of learning partnership in terms of ‘We are learners together.’

The 2018 -2020 strategic goals for improving student outcomes are:

  1. ‘To provide the best possible learning environment for all our students’

  2. ‘To ensure our students are achieving success in all areas of the curriculum’

  3. ‘We will maintain positive and effective relationships with students, parents, preschools and the wider community’.

School targets related to these strategic goals are:

  1. to accelerate the rate of progress for identified students in mathematics

  2. to accelerate the rate of progress for identified students in writing

  3. to accelerate the progress for identified students in reading in Years 1-3.

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

  • mid and end of year progress and achievement information in reading, writing and mathematics

  • aspects of physical education.

The school is a member of the Motueka Kāhui Ako|Community of Learning (CoL).

Since the 2014 ERO evaluation the school has undergone significant change, including:

  • extensive redevelopment of buildings and facilities

  • the appointment of a new principal and school leadership team

  • several changes in board chair

  • multiple changes to trustees, including a co-opted trustee to provide Māori representation on the board.

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 effective in achieving equitable and excellent outcomes.

According to the school’s achievement data, reading is an area of excellence. Consistently high achievement is evident for most students during 2014 -2017.

The majority of children also achieve ‘at’ or ‘above’ expectations in writing and mathematics. This pattern has remained relatively consistent in mathematics during 2014-2017.

Most Māori children are achieving well against the school’s expectations.

The school monitors progress for individual students and responds well to children requiring additional support with learning.

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

There is insufficient analysed evidence for ERO to evaluate how well the school is accelerating learning for Māori and other students. At the time of this review, the school was collating data but not routinely analysing it in a range of learning contexts to identify whether or not learning has been accelerated.

ERO identified that the school’s data for writing (2017) shows that 17 of 21 targeted students made accelerated progress in writing. Additional information provided by the school after the onsite stage of the review shows that the majority of students receiving extra support made good progress in reading in 2017, and that some students made good progress in mathematics.

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?

Curriculum documentation provides comprehensive guidelines for teaching and learning. Since the 2014 ERO review, school leaders, teachers, and the community have completed a significant amount of work on curriculum redevelopment. This work includes developing:

  • curriculum support documents which detail expectations for effective teaching practice and learning partnerships

  • clearly described instructional strategies and practices which link to the valued outcomes of self-motivated and engaged learners

  • curriculum innovations which are research-based and, in relation to writing in particular, are well supported by external professional learning and development

  • reports to parents which clearly show achievement in relation to learning expectations, and include student voice and next steps for learning

  • teaching as inquiry practices which clearly link to identified student need.

This curriculum is providing a sound basis for supporting the sustainability of equity and excellence in this school.

The board and leaders are focused on providing a supportive environment that is fostering student learning and wellbeing. They are building relational trust at all levels of the school. Student and staff wellbeing are considered a priority for the school. Leaders are building a collaborative learning environment. During the review, many staff told ERO that the positive school culture contributes to a collaborative, inclusive and supportive learning environment.

Professional development opportunities for leaders and teachers are well planned and linked to identified student need. Opportunities for teachers to discuss their practice are provided in the form of Professional Learning Groups. Further professional learning is planned for mathematics during 2018. There is a strong focus on building teacher capability, and attention is given to embedding and sustaining new practices.

Bicultural practices in the school are being strengthened. Children have increasing opportunities to learn about and build a deeper understanding of Māori culture, identity and local history.

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

In order to support and sustain equity and excellence for all students, board capability needs to continue to be strengthened. Trustees now need to:

  • review how well strategic and annual planning processes are contributing to progress against school goals and priorities

  • develop knowledge of internal evaluation in order to understand the impact of change and practices on student outcomes.

As part of the board’s commitment to continuous improvement, the board and leadership would benefit from evaluating how well they are engaging parents/whānau in their children’s learning, and how well they are responding to the aspirations and needs of the school community. Evaluations over time to identify community perceptions about school strengths and areas for development, would maximise opportunities to continue to build on the way the board actively represents and serves the community in its governance role.

Some aspects of data management require strengthening. These include:

  • collecting, collating and analysing data to routinely identify if target students are making sufficient or accelerated progress

  • reporting to the board on progress and teaching practices that are having the greatest impact on learning improvement for target students

  • continuing to strengthen school-wide guidelines and expectations for overall teacher judgements about progress and achievement.

Internal evaluation requires further development across all levels of the school. In particular:

  • the board, leaders’ and teacher knowledge of effective evaluation practice needs to be extended

  • a common framework should be used to guide evaluations across the school and to assist the rigour, consistency, and usefulness of evaluations.

Effective internal evaluation practices will help the board, leaders and teachers to identify those teaching and learning practices which are most significant in contributing to accelerated progress and achievement.

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.

Areas for improved compliance practice

To improve current practice, the board of trustees should ensure that all aspects of policy and procedure review are completed.

4 Going forward

Key strengths of the school

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

  • curriculum innovations that are focused on developing independent, confident self- managing learners

  • strongly supportive relationships between the board, teachers and leaders that are focused on learning partnerships

  • a positive school environment and an improvement-focused board, leadership and staff who willingly engage in new learning.

Next steps

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

  • managing data to identify how well students are progressing and the impact of teaching and learning practices

  • extending reporting to the board so they can make informed decisions on resourcing and better understand the school’s achievement picture in relation to strategic goals

  • extending internal evaluation practices
  • continuing to explore ways of increasing community voice and participation in ongoing school improvement.

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

Te Waipounamu - Southern Region

19 June 2018

About the school

Location

Lower Moutere

Ministry of Education profile number

3200

School type

Year 1-8

School roll

169

Gender composition

Boys 50% : Girls 50%

Ethnic composition

Māori: 19%

Pākehā: 73%

Pacific: 3%

Other ethnicities: 5%

Review team on site

April 2018

Date of this report

19 June 2018

Most recent ERO reports

Education Review December 2014

Education Review May 2011

Findings

Students are well supported to improve their achievement levels. Their progress and achievement is closely monitored. Recent initiatives should increasingly support students' ability to evaluate and lead their own learning, and parents' understanding of how they can assist in the learning process. The board and leaders work collaboratively. They are currently reviewing the school’s charter, goals and values to ensure they best support successful learning. Parents are encouraged to be involved in school activities.

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?

Lower Moutere is a rural school with a substantial history. There is an inclusive school culture for students with a focus on developing positive relationships. The school is well supported by parents and the community. Most trustees are new to the board and staffing is stable.

2 Learning

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

The school has a successful focus on lifting students’ achievement levels, and closely monitoring their progress over time. Assessment practices have been reviewed and a comprehensive assessment programme has been put in place. Achievement data gathered is effectively used to identify each student’s learning needs. Students’ learning benefits from group and individual teaching within class programmes.

Reported achievement information shows there have been positive improvements from 2013 to 2014 in reading and writing and that most students achieve above expected levels. There is more variability in achievement for some year levels in mathematics.

The board has used well-analysed school-wide achievement information to develop appropriate targets for students who do not achieve National Standards. Teachers have improved the approaches they use to accelerate achievement levels. The progress of priority learners is very closely monitored.

Students with special learning needs have individualised plans for learning and well-targeted support from outside agencies. Guidelines for these students have been recently reviewed. Parents are involved in preparing individual learning plans. Special needs students are well included in class programmes. Their progress show very good levels of improvement.

Teachers in the junior and middle school effectively assist students to identify learning goals that help them to progress in reading, writing and mathematics. These teachers provide feedback to students that help them to evaluate their learning successes and to identify their next learning steps.

Senior leaders and ERO have identified that the next steps to better engage all students as self-managing learners include:

  • extending goal setting for all students, and providing them with specific feedback that will help them identify their next learning steps
  • providing students in the senior school with more specific feedback about their learning progress and achievement levels so they can better evaluate and lead their own learning
  • extending reports to students and their parents to include next learning steps and ways that parents can support their children to improve.

3 Curriculum

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

The school’s curriculum design has been developed in response to the analysis of student achievement information. The review of teaching and learning in literacy has assisted teachers to improve levels of student engagement, progress and achievement in these areas.

Students have good opportunities to participate in a range of experiences beyond the classroom that include sport and outdoor pursuits and leadership responsibilities. The school council and school assemblies are led by students. Senior students are able to be peer mediators and buddies with younger learners. These activities contribute to supporting positive student relationships.

The school has identified, and ERO agrees, the next steps for curriculum development include:

  • trustees completing the board review of the school’s vision and values that will help teachers to further develop these aspects in the school’s curriculum
  • extending teaching approaches that help students develop appropriate learning attitudes and values, and key learning competencies from the New Zealand Curriculum
  • completing the development of the learning and assessment model for curriculum areas other than literacy and mathematics
  • responding to the school’s analysed achievement information in mathematics to improve learning outcomes for priority learners
  • reviewing the use of technologies and developing a plan for future improvements.

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

Leaders have recently reviewed the school’s approaches to better support Māori students to succeed as Māori. This is enabling the school to identify ways to work more effectively with parents, build staff capability and confidence, improve teaching and language development resources, and to more effectively include students’ opinions and ideas. The next step for the board is to develop a vision and goals to promote ongoing support for Māori students to succeed as Māori.

4 Sustainable Performance

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

Sound governance and leadership enable the school to sustain and improve its performance.

Most trustees are new to the board. They have undertaken training to better understand and implement their governance roles and responsibilities. Trustees are reviewing the strategic plan to better reflect the community’s expectations for the school, and to develop appropriate goals that will guide the work of the principal and teachers. They work collaboratively with the principal.

The principal fosters a professional approach to leadership, school development and improvements in learning and teaching. She provides the board with well-analysed achievement information that helps trustees make appropriate resourcing decisions. The principal supports staff development through an improved, rigorous appraisal process and appropriate professional development opportunities. The school has strong and productive professional development links with other local schools.

School-wide reflection and review has enabled important improvements to be made to learning and teaching. Teachers are making increasing use of review and reflection guidelines to improve their practice.

The board has consulted regularly with the community to guide review and development. Parents are made to feel welcome and actively participate in school activities.

The next steps for improving sustainable performance include:

  • using the board’s strategic goals to better guide review and reporting at board, principal and teacher levels
  • further developing annual planning to identify board priorities that the principal can report on at each board meeting
  • developing a process for review that will give greater consistency
  • documenting the outcomes from review better so improvements made can be monitored and evaluated.

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 are well supported to improve their achievement levels. Their progress and achievement is closely monitored. Recent initiatives should increasingly support students' ability to evaluate and lead their own learning, and parents' understanding of how they can assist in the learning process. The board and leaders work collaboratively. They are currently reviewing the school’s charter, goals and values to ensure they best support successful learning. Parents are encouraged to be involved in school activities.

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

Graham Randell

National Manager Review Services

Southern Region

18 December 2014

About the School

Location

Upper Moutere, Tasman

Ministry of Education profile number

3200

School type

Full Primary (Years 1 to 8)

School roll

136

Gender composition

Girls 47%

Boys 53%

Ethnic composition

NZ European/Pākehā

Māori

Other ethnicities

82%

15%

3%

Review team on site

September 2014

Date of this report

18 December 2014

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

March 2011

May 2008

May 2005