Fox Glacier School

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Education institution number:
3342
School type:
Full Primary
School gender:
Co-Educational
Definition:
Not Applicable
Total roll:
14
Telephone:
Address:

Cook Flat Road, Fox Glacier

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School Context

Fox Glacier School is a full primary with a roll of 9 children from Years 1 to 8. The school is located in the small West Coast township of Fox Glacier. It caters for a diverse, transient community.

The school’s overarching vision is to be a community of caring, confident, successful learners who respect themselves, others and the environment. The valued outcomes are for children to:

  • enjoy learning and develop strategies to be life-long learners

  • succeed, develop knowledge and acquire skills

  • be able to relate well to others.

The board and teachers’ key aims and goals are to improve children’s achievement in literacy and mathematics. They want children to enjoy learning and be able to transition confidently between school and the wider community.

The school’s 2018 targets are to improve the standard of reading, and provide opportunities for senior students to participate in programmes beyond the school, including online learning networks.

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

  • strategic and annual goals and targets

  • children’s learning and progress in all areas of learning, particularly literacy and mathematics

  • the impact of teaching practices to support children’s learning, achievement and progress

  • broader curriculum within and beyond the school.

Since the 2015 ERO review, there have been a number of changes in staffing, including a new principal. There have also been changes in numbers of children enrolled.

The school is a member of the Westland Kāhui Ako|Commuity 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 being more effective in achieving equitable and excellent outcomes for children. Achievement information over time shows that the majority of children achieve well.

Most children achieve best in mathematics and writing. There were overall significant increases in the achievement of writing and mathematics for all children in 2017. Achievement in reading has remained at similar levels to 2016 achievement data. The school has identified that some children achieve less well in reading and this is an area of focus for 2018.

The small number of children at the school enables a strong focus on individual needs, progress, achievement and wellbeing.

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

The school has made some good progress in accelerating the learning for those children who need it. There are some children with additional needs that have not yet made expected levels of progress. These children’s needs are clearly identified and plans are in place to support them to achieve and make sufficient progress.

Children are provided with high levels of student-to-trained staff ratios. Individual student achievement information shows that some children have made good progress as a result of intentional one-on-one teaching practices and this is helping to ensure and sustain their learning success.

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’s values are well known and enacted. There is a warm, welcoming and inclusive culture. Older children are highly supportive of younger children and are given specific leadership opportunities. The small class size ensures that all children are very well supported and teachers proactively respond to their individual learning needs and interests.

The local community and unique environment are highly influential in the school programme. Children are provided with a wide range of broad and meaningful learning opportunities that offer rich experiences within and beyond the school. Teachers deliberately plan for children to engage and socialise with others beyond the school to extend their learning.

There is a strong focus on improvement and provision for quality teaching and learning. Clearly defined priorities and expectations for teaching and learning have been developed. Teachers use well considered, targeted and deliberate teaching strategies to support and extend children’s learning and progress.

The experienced board and teaching staff work collaboratively. The board is highly supportive and ensures that teaching staff are able to access relevant professional learning. Trustees are kept well informed about children’s achievement and learning within and beyond the school. The school has been responsive to the findings of the previous review. This includes improved strategic planning, newly-introduced policy and procedures and better reporting of progress to the board and parents.

The school has strong links to its local community and has a combined approach to supporting children’s learning and wellbeing. Good use is made of local expertise within the local and wider community. There are also close links with other schools and education providers that provide teachers and children with other views and ways of working.

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

The board and principal need to develop a shared understanding and planned process for internal evaluation. An effective internal evaluation process will enable them to be better informed about the impact of initiatives and how well teaching and learning is supporting children to achieve the valued outcomes for learning.

Aspects of the school’s strategic plan could be further strengthened by defining priorities over time. In addition to this, student achievement targets should be more specific and focused on those children who are not progressing as expected.

The principal has identified, and ERO confirms, that the documentation of the localised curriculum needs to be completed. This includes:

  • clearly documenting all learning areas

  • reflecting the localised context

  • representing children’s language, culture and identity.

The school’s appraisal process needs to consistently align to the 2017 Education Council Code of Standards. This includes ensuring that all teaching staff set clear annual goals and are provided with useful feedback.

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:

  • the responsive approach to individual learning needs and interests that support one-on-one learning at appropriate levels

  • the strong collaborative community links that provide children with rich and meaningful learning opportunities that reflect their local context

  • clear expectations and provision for quality teaching and learning, through connections with other educational providers and appropriate professional learning opportunities for teachers.

Next steps

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

  • developing an increased and shared understanding of internal evaluation to support board decision making and provide clarity about how well the school’s valued outcomes are being achieved

  • further strengthening and embedding bicultural practices within the localised curriculum so that all children learn about New Zealand’s bicultural heritage.

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

12 June 2018

About the school

Location

Fox Glacier

Ministry of Education profile number

3342

School type

Full Primary

School roll

9

Gender composition

Boys 2 : Girls 7

Ethnic composition

Pākehā 8

Asian 1

Provision of Māori medium education

No

Review team on site

April 2018

Date of this report

12 June 2018

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review February 2015

Education Review February 2012

Education Review June 2008

Findings

Students benefit from very good quality teaching. They are actively involved and take responsibility for their own learning. There are positive and supportive relationships within the school. The next step is for the board to improve aspects of its governance.

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?

Fox Glacier School is a small school situated in South Westland. The roll is stable at 24 students.

The school has maintained its current staffing of two teachers for 2015. Since the last ERO review in 2011, there have been changes of staff. Currently a relieving principal is in place. At the time of this review the board was in the process of appointing a principal.

The school’s values are highly evident in the school. Students speak confidently about the school’s values. They told ERO, “we show respect, we focus on excellence, we are curious, we want to learn and we have a great sense of community”. There are positive relationships between students and teachers, and amongst students.

The community is very supportive of the school. Adults share their knowledge and expertise to enhance students’ learning and help maintain the school’s attractive environment.

The school has responded to some of the identified areas for review and development in the 2011 ERO report. Further work is needed in:

  • developing processes to better evaluate what is going well in the school and what could be improved
  • evaluating the board’s performance against expectations for good governance.

The board is committed to ensuring that students receive a range of experiences beyond the school, despite its isolation. The board has identified two financial challenges due to the school’s location:

  • resourcing professional learning development that meets the needs of teachers
  • matching the available financial resources with the actual cost of providing a modern learning environment.

2 Learning

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

Overall, the school makes very good use of achievement information to support students’ learning. Most students are achieving well in relation to the National Standards in reading, writing and mathematics.

Students are actively involved in assessing their own learning. They are well supported to understand what the National Standards expectations mean for them and how to aim for excellence. Students know:

  • these goals and how they help their learning
  • what they need to do to improve
  • how well they are achieving.

Teachers make effective use of achievement information to:

  • monitor student achievement and progress
  • plan their next steps for teaching
  • evaluate the impact of their teaching on student learning
  • share with students what they have achieved and the next steps for learning.

The acting principal is making effective use of achievement information to set achievement targets.

Trustees make good use of achievement information to make decisions about how best to resource and allocate funds for teaching and learning.

Areas for review and development

The principal and teachers need to:

  • ensure that mid-year reporting to parents clearly identifies how well students are progressing towards the end of year National Standards
  • continue to report student achievement in curriculum areas other than reading, writing and mathematics
  • report progress in relation to the achievement targets so that the board can be assured that the school is on track to achieve these.

3 Curriculum

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

The school’s curriculum effectively supports students’ learning.

There are explicit guidelines for guiding teaching and learning. These guidelines identify how students are to be involved in their learning and how the key competencies and each of the New Zealand Curriculum principles are enacted in this school. Programmes meaningfully incorporate the local environment and resources.

Other key strengths of the curriculum include:

  • the well planned literacy, mathematics and topic programmes
  • the emphasis placed on the school values that support students’ learning and interactions
  • the opportunities students have to learn about Māori culture and language
  • the extensive use of information and communication technologies (ICT) to support students’ learning.

ERO observed quality teaching practice. Students are well supported by skilful teacher aides. Students told ERO that they appreciate and value the extra support they receive. Support programmes for priority learners are well planned. The student with high needs is actively included in the daily classroom programme.

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

The school is effectively promoting educational success for their Māori students. There are some good examples of Māori students having success as Māori. Teachers know their Māori students well as learners and individuals.

The board intends to consult with parents. Trustees acknowledge that the next step is to put these intentions into practice and respond appropriately to the information gathered.

4 Sustainable Performance

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

Trustees are building their knowledge and awareness of their roles. The school will be better placed to sustain and improve its performance when it addresses the areas identified for review and development in this report.

Areas for review and development

The board needs to refine strategic planning to a manageable number of priorities. The strategic plan should include:

  • relevant links to the annual plan
  • annual targets with indicators of what success would look like
  • regular reporting about success in achieving against these indicators
  • an analysis of variance that leads to priorities for the following year.

The school has a schedule for undertaking reviews. The board now needs to develop a process for undertaking self review. Reviews should include:

  • evaluating the impact initiatives and programmes are having on students’ learning
  • a number of sources for gathering information
  • recommendations and actions that lead to improvement in students’ progress and achievement.

The board acknowledges that the principal and teacher appraisal process needs more rigour. The process needs to be better documented. Improvements should include more detail as to how well professional standards and registered teacher criteria have been met. The report should outline the evidence that supports the appraiser’s judgements.

The policies and procedures that guide school-wide practices need a thorough review. The recent work on refining the complaints policy and procedure provides a good model for further reviews.

The board sees the benefits of receiving external support to help it address the areas for review and development in this section of the report.

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 benefit from very good quality teaching. They are actively involved and take responsibility for their own learning. There are positive and supportive relationships within the school. The next step is for the board to improve aspects of its governance.

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

Graham Randell

Deputy Chief Review Officer Southern

2 February 2015

About the School

Location

Fox Glacier, South Westland

Ministry of Education profile number

3342

School type

Full Primary (Years 1 to 8)

School roll

24

Gender composition

Girls: 13 Boys: 11

Ethnic composition

Pākehā

Māori

Other

17

6

1

Review team on site

October 2014

Date of this report

2 February 2015

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

February 2012

June 2008

February 2005