Cannington School

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School Context

Cannington School is a Years 1 to 8 full primary school which provides education for 19 students.

The school’s vision is to educate and develop confident, connected and committed learners who positively contribute to society through authentic learning experiences. The school motto ‘We Can and We Do’ is supported by values of diversity, respect, excellence, active involvement and motivation.

The school states that its current priorities are providing a curriculum that supports student progress, enhancing the learning environment, fostering positive relationships in the wider community and developing internal evaluation.

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

  • achievement information in reading, writing and mathematics

  • some information about science

  • student wellbeing.

Since the previous 2015 ERO report, there has been stable staffing at the school. Leaders and teachers have been involved in a Ministry of Education Accelerated Learning in Mathematics (ALiM) project.

The school is part of the North Timaru Kāhui Ako |Community of Learning.

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 making good progress with achieving equitable and excellent outcomes for its students. Students are achieving very well in reading, writing and mathematics. This has been sustained since the 2015 ERO review.

The school has high expectations that every student will achieve success.

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

Leaders and teachers demonstrate an ability to address underachievement. They identify and respond to students whose learning needs to be accelerated. The school’s achievement information shows that most students make good progress in their learning over time.

The school now needs to report clearly to the board on the extent to which all students are making sufficient and/or accelerated progress.

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?

The school has a number of processes and practices that are effective in enabling the achievement of equity. Teachers at Cannington School know the students and their families well. The low teacher student ratios, a strategy supported by the board, enables students to receive a more individualised learning programme.

The curriculum is well resourced, wide and varied. There is a strong focus on the mathematics and science curriculums. Opportunities are provided for students to revisit their learning. Teachers work collaboratively to teach to their strengths and use resources and outside expertise to make the curriculum accessible to all students.

Students’ learning is promoted through some well-considered teacher strategies which connect with students’ lives. There is a focus in the school to develop quality questioning and extend children’s critical thinking. Education and learning opportunities outside the classroom enhance children’s understanding of the local community and the world beyond. Children have a variety of opportunities to excel in outdoor activities. This supports the enacting of the school values, and is recognised as beneficial for all students.

Teachers work collaboratively to develop a shared understanding of teaching and learning. The newly-introduced internal evaluation tool contributes to teacher reflection and aspects of curriculum improvement. Leaders and teachers, along with the board, should now embed effective internal evaluation practices at all levels of the school.

The board and staff are actively fostering relationships and connections with the local community to better support student learning opportunities. The board actively seeks and responds to survey feedback from the wider school community, and community opinions are sought and used to inform decision making.

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

The school curriculum needs to be reviewed to better reflect current teaching and learning practices and programmes. A more specific plan should be developed to show how leaders and teachers can further develop bicultural understandings and practices. Teachers need to formulate and implement plans to develop and embed bicultural perspectives in the curriculum.

Reporting to the board should be further developed to show sufficiency of progress for targeted students and all students. Teachers need to develop more specific planning and monitoring of targeted students.

School leaders and teachers must continue to strengthen internal evaluation to clearly demonstrate the impact that curriculum programmes and practices have on outcomes for children’s learning and wellbeing.

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:

  • implement appropriate in-committee processes, including recording of in-committee minutes

  • strengthen the management of the complaints process to ensure that robust processes are in place and are followed.

4 Going forward

Key strengths of the school

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

  • a learning environment that maintains consistently good student achievement

  • a range of education-outside-the-classroom opportunities for students

  • the board’s focus on strengthening connections with the local community to increase opportunities for students.

Next steps

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

  • reviewing and updating the school’s curriculum to reflect current programmes and practices

  • developing a culturally responsive pedagogy and curriculum to reflect the bicultural nature of New Zealand

  • developing further opportunities for children to set goals and reflect upon their learning and progress.

Recommendations to other agencies

ERO recommends that the New Zealand School Trustees Association consider providing support for the school in order to bring about improvement in:

  • strengthening board capability and effectiveness

  • developing a framework to support and implement robust internal evaluation at governance level.

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

6 July 2018

About the school

Location

Cannington, South Canterbury

Ministry of Education profile number

3307

School type

Full Primary

School roll

19

Gender composition

Boys 8 ; Girls 11

Ethnic composition

Māori 3

Pākehā 15

Other ethnicities 1

Review team on site

May 2018

Date of this report

6 July 2018

Most recent ERO reports

Education Review June 2015

Education Review June 2012

Findings

Students have caring and positive relationships with each other and their teachers. They learn through a well-designed curriculum, with a priority placed on relevant and authentic learning. The principal and teachers make careful use of achievement information to best meet the needs of all students.

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?

Cannington School is a very small rural school providing education for students in Years 1 to 8. It has a wide farming catchment area and most students travel to school by bus. The end of the dairying year can lead to a change of approximately one third of the school roll. New students and their families are quickly included in the school community.

Students in their play and learning make full use of the school’s attractive and spacious grounds. The school’s facilities provide plenty of scope for students to have a variety of authentic learning experiences and to be physically challenged.

Students show a strong sense of belonging to their school. They have caring and positive relationships with each other and their teachers. Parents are confident that their children are well supported in their learning. They feel welcome to discuss with the teachers any concerns they may have about their child’s learning.

The school is an integral part of the wider community and it values the support it receives from parents and other community members.

The school vision is for students to:

  • be confident and committed learners
  • be able to use knowledge and skills learned
  • contribute positively to society.

The 2014 end-of-year report to the board showed that all students were at or above the National Standards for reading. Nearly all students were achieving at or above in writing and mathematics.

Since the 2012 ERO report there have been two changes of principal. The current principal started at the beginning of 2015.

The school has made some progress in the areas identified to develop further in the last ERO report. The school’s vision and values are now very evident in school and class programmes. The principal and teachers are currently strengthening assessment practices and the use of student achievement data.

2 Learning

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

The school makes effective use of achievement information to make positive changes to learning.

Findings to support this judgement

Students have a useful awareness of their achievement. They are able to talk about what they need to do to improve their learning.

Teachers make careful use of learning information to:

  • identify what individual students and groups of students need to learn next
  • monitor the learning of all students, especially students currently being targeted to lift their achievement.

The principal is using student achievement information well to:

  • identify common areas of learning need across the school and for groups of students
  • monitor school-wide student progress, including the progress of students needing to make the most gains in their learning
  • supplement the teaching for some students needing to make greater progress
  • build the capability within the teaching team to better meet students’ needs.

Trustees have an appropriate knowledge of school-wide achievement levels. They use this information purposefully to:

  • inform the school’s strategic direction, including setting suitable targets that focus attention and resources on lifting students’ achievement levels
  • ensure that their policies support improved student outcomes
  • allocate resources appropriately.

Next steps

The principal and teachers need to:

  • use student progress and achievement information to help evaluate the effectiveness of curriculum and class programmes
  • review their reporting procedures to ensure that all students and their parents receive at least two written reports each year on students’ progress and achievement in relation to the National Standards.

3 Curriculum

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

The school’s curriculum is very effectively promoting and supporting students’ learning.

Findings to support this judgement

The principal has placed a priority on developing consistent and high-quality teaching to raise student achievement. Teachers are working collaboratively to support those students at risk of poor educational outcomes.

Consistency of practice and collaboration are being effectively developed through weekly meetings to discuss and closely monitor students’ progress. Teachers are strengthening the home-school relationship to better support students’ learning. The principal provides explicit expectations, especially for the teaching of reading, writing and mathematics.

Students demonstrate an ownership of, and pride in, their school. They benefit from:

  • a variety of authentic learning experiences, where they are given the end-product idea and they have to research and plan how they will achieve the set product
  • learning experiences that make the most of extending their understanding of, and interest in, a topical and/or current subject
  • well-planned linking of learning between subject areas.

The board and principal recognise the need to revise all of the school’s curriculum documentation. Specific teaching expectations are being developed across and school. They are being documented to reflect:

  • recent developments in the school’s vision and values
  • current expectations for teaching, including assessment, use of achievement information and planning.

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

Māori students experience aspects of their identity, language and culture in school life and learning.

At the time of the review there were five Māori students at the school. These students were achieving well in relation to the National Standards.

Values prized by Māori are highly evident within the school. These include manaakitanga/caring and whanaungatanga/relationships. The principal and teachers are developing a bi-cultural curriculum.

The board and principal are gathering the views of the school’s whānau Māori and building a relationship with the local marae. They are working with whānau to define what succeeding as Māori looks like at Cannington School. This definition will provide the board with direction for its planning and resource allocation.

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.

Findings to support this judgement

The school has a very strategic approach to establish its main focus areas. The board has high expectations that all students will achieve well. Trustees seek well-chosen advice, guidance and training to enable them to carry out their governance responsibilities.

Since commencing at the school the principal has appropriately prioritised the actions needing to be taken. These decisions are soundly based on raising student achievement levels and ensuring students enjoy their learning.

The board and principal are guided by a well-designed school charter. This can be seen through the:

  • careful use of parent, teacher and student input to determine the strategic and curriculum direction of the school
  • strategic and annual planning supporting each other well to achieve the school vision
  • alignment from charter planning to school and classroom programmes.

The board and principal are using useful performance management systems. Performance expectations are well linked to school priorities, charter targets and school-wide learning needs. Professional learning and development is carefully chosen to support the school’s main concerns.

Next steps

The principal and trustees are reflective and are improvement focused. The principal has identified

  • the need to be more evaluative and less descriptive when reviewing curriculum areas.

The board needs to more formally evaluate how well it is progressing to achieve the goals set out in its strategic and annual plans.

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 have caring and positive relationships with each other and their teachers. They learn through a well-designed curriculum, with a priority placed on relevant and authentic learning. The principal and teachers make careful use of achievement information to best meet the needs of all students.

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

Graham Randell

Deputy Chief Review Officer Southern

29 June 2015

About the School

Location

Cave

Ministry of Education profile number

3307

School type

Full Primary (Years 1 to 8)

School roll

26

Gender composition

Girls 17

Boys 9

Ethnic composition

Pākehā

Māori

21

5

Review team on site

May 2015

Date of this report

29 June 2015

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review
Education Review
Education Review

June 2012
April 2009
May 2006