Opawa School

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Education institution number:
3455
School type:
Full Primary
School gender:
Co-Educational
Definition:
Not Applicable
Total roll:
288
Telephone:
Address:

Ford Road, Opawa, Christchurch

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Summary

Opawa School is a full primary school. It has a roll of 342 children, with 74 children identifying as Māori.

The school has had significant changes in staffing since the 2014 ERO review. This includes a new principal. Most trustees are new to the board.

The school is a member of the Te Mana Raupo Kāhui Ako|Community of Learning.

The board of trustees, principal and teachers are continuing to be involved in the management of property damage and supporting children who have been emotionally impacted by the Christchurch earthquakes.

How well is the school achieving equitable outcomes for all children?

The school has introduced a number of effective processes to support teachers to achieve equitable outcomes for all children. The school’s 2014 to 2016 student achievement information shows a slight downward trend in reading, writing and mathematics against the National Standards.

The school responds well to those Māori and other children whose learning and achievement need acceleration.

At the time of this review, school achievement data showed little disparity in achievement for Māori students. Pacific students achieve well in relation to the National Standards.

Professional leadership and capability of the staff and board are strengths of the school. The valuing of te ao Māori and wellbeing of all children and staff are prioritised for the board and leadership team.

The board and senior leaders have identified their next steps are to:

  • develop a strategic plan to better reflect the school’s current strategic priorities

  • strengthen the appraisal process to support teachers to reflect more deeply on their practice

  • further build a shared understanding of robust internal evaluation – including curriculum review.

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

Equity and excellence

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

The school responds well to Māori and other children whose learning and achievement need acceleration.

Overall, the achievement data at the end of 2016 is lower than national expectations for reading, writing and mathematics. In response, teachers are currently involved in targeted professional learning (PLD) to raise student achievement in mathematics and writing. This PLD is increasing teachers’ understanding and use of current best practices.

School achievement data shows little disparity for Māori and Pacific children. The school has identified an increasing number of five-year old children arriving with significant oral language needs, which then impact on their progress in reading and writing. Well-planned and researched learning programmes are being used to address this. Student achievement information shows that by Year 4 many of these children have caught up with learning expectations.

Children who need additional learning support to succeed in their learning are identified early. Teachers know the needs of these children and provide a wide range of specialised programmes. They are closely tracked and monitored for progress. Māori children who need additional help with learning are mentored to succeed as Māori. Their culture, language and identity are highly valued and promoted in all aspects of the school.

The school has robust moderation processes in place to support teachers to make reliable judgements about student achievement. A broad range of assessments are used to provide teachers with a clear picture of children’s learning.

School conditions supporting equity and excellence

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

The school has a range of useful processes supporting teachers to help students achieve equity and excellence.

Trustees bring a variety of expertise to the board that contributes to the focus on raising achievement and equity. They are clear about their roles and responsibilities and are well informed about school operations.

The community has been consulted about the vision and values of the school and the Whānau Committee is actively involved in contributing to the school’s review of the charter and strategic plan.

Strong professional leadership recognises and uses staff strengths by building leadership capacity among staff. The new principal has developed professional networks with other educational providers to ensure she makes the most of opportunities to support children’s learning. There are effective links with external-support agencies and local organisations to enhance the learning and wellbeing of children and staff.

The school has an inclusive, welcoming culture. Positive relationships among staff are maintained by collaborative, supportive, relational trust. Since the Christchurch earthquakes, the board, leaders and teachers have placed high importance on the wellbeing of children and staff. This emphasis has resulted in a calm, safe environment, conducive to learning.

Children learn through a wide variety of learning experiences, including Māori perspectives and bicultural practices.

Teachers reflect on their practice and:

  • are improvement focused

  • adapt programmes to meet the needs of individual students

  • are open to changing their thinking and teaching approaches in order to better support children’s achievement.

Sustainable development for equity and excellence

What further developments are needed in school processes to achieve equity and excellence?

The board, principal and leaders are very well placed to make the changes for improvement shown below.

The board is well informed about school events and programmes. It would benefit from reports that are more evaluative so that it can be assured of the effectiveness of its decisions.

The school’s student achievement action plan to address the learning of children who need additional learning support, needs to clearly identify strategies teachers can use to make the difference for children’s learning. A further next step is for the leaders to develop a report that demonstrates to the board ‘how well’ these children are making accelerated progress.

The board and school leaders have identified their next steps are to:

  • develop a strategic plan to better reflect the school’s current strategic priorities

  • strengthen the appraisal process to support teachers to reflect more deeply on their practice

  • further build a shared understanding of robust internal evaluation – including curriculum review.

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

  • 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.

Going forward

How well placed is the school to accelerate the achievement of all children who need it?

Learners are achieving well. The school demonstrates strong progress towards achieving equity in educational outcomes, supported by effective, sustainable processes and practices.

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

Dr Lesley Patterson

Deputy Chief Review Officer Southern

Te Waipounamu - Southern Region

21 November 2017

About the school

Location

Christchurch

Ministry of Education profile number

3455

School type

Full Primary (Years 1-8)

School roll

342

Gender composition

Boys: 54%

Girls: 46%

Ethnic composition

Māori 22%

Pākehā 67%

Asian 6%

Pacific 3%

Other 2%

Provision of Māori medium education

No

Review team on site

September 2017

Date of this report

21 November 2017

Most recent ERO reports

Education Review: April 2014

Education Review: April 2011

Education Review: April 2007

1 Context

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

Ōpāwa School in eastern Christchurch provides education for students in Years 1 to 8. Student and family wellbeing is a prime focus of the school and evident in the high level of support provided. Relationships between students, staff and parents are respectful and caring.

The school is recognised as the centre of the community. The board and staff effectively engage with the diverse cultures of parents, whānau and the community.

The Canterbury earthquakes of 2010 and 2011 continue to have an impact on the emotional and social wellbeing of students, staff and parents. The school provides ongoing pastoral support and assistance to students and families from within its own resources. This includes a high level of collaboration with external support agencies.

The board and senior managers have addressed the recommendations made in the 2010 ERO report.

The use of student achievement information, consistent behaviour management practices and the quality of teaching has improved. There are some areas that ERO and the school have identified that could be further improved.

2 Learning

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

The school makes good use of student achievement data to identify the learning needs of students, track the progress of students, and to plan programmes of learning that will motivate and challenge them.

Many students are achieving at or above the National Standards in reading, writing and mathematics.

Māori students are achieving well in mathematics. Pacific student achievement in reading, writing and mathematics is consistently higher than all students nationally. Student achievement in writing is improving as a result of targeted professional development for teachers.

Programmes of learning for priority learners are well organised and managed. There are clear procedures in place to identify these students and the nature of the support required. Targeted assistance often includes external advisers and additional teaching. The provision of professional development for teachers to better support these students in class is helping to improve students’ learning.

Students with high needs make good progress towards meeting their goals. They have regular opportunities to learn alongside their peers. Parents are actively involved in the planning and the learning programme.

The school has a range of effective ways for reporting student progress and achievement to parents. Celebrations of learning, parent evenings and goal setting with students are good examples of the strategies used by the school to increase the active participation of parents in children’s learning.

Area for review and development

The school identified, and ERO agrees, that deeper analysis of achievement information is an area for improvement. This will enable senior leaders to:

  • identify achievement patterns and trends over time, for the school and for groups of students
  • monitor the effectiveness of teaching and learning outcomes for students.

3 Curriculum

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

The school curriculum is central to learning and is well understood by all. It has been developed in consultation with parents, students, staff and the community. Students have a good understanding of the school vision and how this helps them to develop skills and values for learning.

The school’s values and competencies are key elements of the daily learning programme. They are used by students in their interactions and relationships with peers, teachers and in their learning.

Teachers provide constructive feedback and praise, and acknowledge students' positive behaviour. The school has introduced a variety of effective approaches to build and maintain a student-centred learning environment. Students feel safe and supported to learn. They are encouraged to manage their own learning and to become confident learners.

Students are provided with a wide range of learning opportunities within, and outside the school environment. Teachers set clear expectations and use effective ways to engage students. Teachers frequently encourage students to make choices about their learning.

A variety of opportunities for senior students to develop leadership skills has contributed to the increased retention of numbers of Years 7 and 8 students. Senior students ably lead the school council and many other school events.

The principal and teachers recognise that te reo and tikanga Māori are an important part of learning for all students. An established specialist teacher position has provided access for all students and teachers to te reo and tikanga Māori. Teachers are provided with ongoing effective professional development. Many staff have successfully undertaken external te reo development to build their language skills.

Areas for review and development

ERO has identified, and the senior managers agree, that these next steps will contribute to improved teaching practice and positive outcomes for students. These steps include:

  • strengthening teachers' evaluation of the way they teach and the impact on students' learning
  • seeking parents’ aspirations for students and identifying contexts within the school’s curriculum that reflect Pacific Island identity, language and culture
  • teachers increasing the use of te reo and tikanga Māori in classrooms.

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

Parents and whānau of Māori students are well supported and encouraged to be meaningfully involved in the school. The whānau committee is a positive avenue for whānau to contribute to the school's strategic direction and the school’s curriculum as the Treaty partner. The variety of ways the school values and performs essential elements of Māori protocols reflects the genuine commitment the school has to biculturalism and the identity of Māori students.

Māori students and whānau aspirations for the language and culture are well respected by the board, principal and staff. Matariki, cultural events in the community and kapa haka are all contributing to building Māori students’ confidence in their language, identity and culture.

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 board has built meaningful and durable relationships with parents, whānau and the community.

Self review is becoming well established. The school and board have an ongoing cycle of self review that clearly identifies priorities for improvement. The school’s vision, values and strategic direction are clearly understood and agreed to by parents and whānau as part of the board’s own self review. There are clear links between the strategic goals and the annual priorities.

The principal provides useful reports to the board that are aligned to the annual and strategic goals. Trustees make appropriate decisions to allocate resources based on reports and other information to meet identified priorities and need.

The principal and senior managers are providing strong leadership and have high expectations for quality teaching and learning. Teachers have many opportunities to take up leadership roles, and research based investigations within teams.

Area for review and development

The school’s leaders acknowledge, and ERO agrees that management systems require further development. This includes leaders providing a stronger process that recognises effective teaching and learning practices.

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.

When is ERO likely to review the school again?

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

Graham Randell

National Manager Review Services Southern Region

11 April 2014

About the School

Location

Christchurch

Ministry of Education profile number

3455

School type

Full Primary (Years 1 to 8)

School roll

402

Gender composition

Boys 51%; Girls 49%

Ethnic composition

NZ European/Pākehā

Māori

Pacific

Asia

Other ethnicities

81%

12%

2%

1%

4%

Review team on site

February 2014

Date of this report

11 April 2014

Most recent ERO reports

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

April 2011

April 2007

August 2004