View Hill School

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School Context

View Hill School is a small, rural Years 1 to 8 primary school in Canterbury. It has a roll of 55 students from culturally diverse backgrounds.

The vision of the school is to be ‘A happy place to learn’. This is underpinned by the core values of excellence, caring, respect and individuality.

To achieve its valued outcomes, annual goals, actions and strategic aims focus on:

  • setting appropriate learning goals and pathways for students

  • fostering relationships with the community, partners in education and tangata whenua

  • providing stimulating learning environments and resources.

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

  • achievement in reading, writing and mathematics

  • progress and achievement in relation to identified targets

  • and wellbeing for student success.

The board has long-standing trustees. Teaching staff has been stable for a number of years. The school has made good progress with addressing the recommendations from its May 2016 ERO review.

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

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 for its students. Achievement trends have been consistently maintained over the last three years in reading, writing and mathematics.

End of year data from 2019 indicates that almost all students achieved at or above the expected curriculum level in reading and most were at or above in writing and mathematics.

Māori students continue to be well supported to achieve at or above the same levels as their non-Māori peers.

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

The school responds well to those Māori and other students who need to accelerate their learning. By the end of Year 8 greater proportions of all students achieve at or above the expected curriculum levels in reading, writing and mathematics than in previous year levels.

All students who need to make accelerated progress in their learning are identified, individually planned for and closely monitored. Good use is made of internal and external support such as teacher aides and the resource teacher of literacy.

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 learn in a caring, supportive and inclusive environment. The school’s values are evident in the collaborative interactions between them, teachers and the local community. Younger students benefit from a play-based programme which supports them to be self managing and lead their learning. There are opportunities for those across all year levels to show and develop their leadership skills.

Leaders and teachers have strong learning partnerships with students, parents and whānau. They work collaboratively to identify groups of students who need to accelerate their learning and resource specific interventions to further support their social and learning needs. As a result, students have a strong sense of belonging and identity to their school and show increasing levels of engagement in their learning.

Effective governance and management processes support coherent practices and learning across the school. Trustees represent and serve the school and its community well in their stewardship roles. Well-considered strategic priorities have been identified through regular consultation with parents and whānau. Leadership collaboratively develops and pursues the school’s vision, goals and identified targets for positive student outcomes. The school’s involvement in the CoL supports ongoing improvement in teacher practice.

Leaders have put in place effective schoolwide systems and processes. These provide teachers with clarity in relation to agreed teaching and learning expectations. Internal evaluation practices are established, and improvement focused. Teachers access relevant and purposeful professional learning. A useful appraisal process guides and promotes their capability and professionalism. Robust health and safety practices help to ensure the safety of the school environment.

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

The school has effective systems and processes for achieving equity and excellence, and acceleration of student learning. For sustained improvement:

  • leaders should continue to refine current processes for supporting staff including their wellbeing

  • leaders and teachers need to extend current assessment practices to enable them to evaluate the impact of their teaching, class and school programmes, and interventions, to find out what has worked well, what needs improving and what to do next

  • bicultural practices should be further embedded within school practices and processes.

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 Children’s Act 2014.

4 ERO’s Overall Judgement

On the basis of the findings of this review, ERO’s overall evaluation judgement of View Hill School’s performance in achieving valued outcomes for its students is: Well placed.

ERO’s Framework: Overall Findings and Judgement Tool derived from School Evaluation Indicators: Effective Practice for Improvement and Learner Success is available on ERO’s website.

5 Going forward

Key strengths of the school

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

  • systems, processes and practices that are focused on achieving equity and excellence, and accelerating students’ progress

  • a well-developed and responsive curriculum that effectively integrates students’ interests, teachers’ skills and knowledge, the environment and wider community to make learning engaging and relevant

  • processes and practices for internal evaluation that promote high quality learning and teaching.

Next steps

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

  • refining schoolwide practices and processes for supporting staff

  • extending schoolwide assessment processes to support evaluation of the impact of teaching and learning programmes

  • embedding bicultural practices within school systems and processes.

Dr Lesley Patterson

Director Review and Improvement Services Southern

Southern Region

19 February 2020

About the school

Location

Canterbury

Ministry of Education profile number

3565

School type

Full Primary (Years 1 to 8)

School roll

55

Gender composition

Female 33, Male 22

Ethnic composition

Māori 3

NZ European/Pākehā 46

Chinese 5

Other ethnic group 1

Review team on site

November 2019

Date of this report

19 February 2020

Most recent ERO reports

Education Review 2016

Education Review 2012

1 Context

View Hill is a small, rural school. Over recent years the roll has increased and now reaches its maximum number by December each year. An enrolment scheme has been put in place to limit the number of out-of-zone children attending. Children learn in multi-level classes.

Children benefit from effective trustee involvement in the school and strong parent and community support. Some families have had connections with the school over several generations.

The school has signed up to be part of the newly formed Rangiora Community of Learning and is also part of the Oxford-Eyre Learning Community Cluster.

2 Equity and excellence

The vision and valued outcomes defined by the school for all children are that school will be ‘a happy place to learn’ and that children will learn to be respectful, caring and live their lives with integrity. These newly adopted values are well described to show children what this means for them in their daily lives. Children are coming to know them through weekly assemblies. The school is exploring ways to visually show what is valued here. This is an opportunity for Māori perspectives and children’s voice to be included.

The school’s achievement information shows that nearly all children achieve highly in relation to the National Standards in reading, writing and mathematics. In 2015, five target students were selected to receive extra learning support with mathematics. The two children out of the five whose families remained in the area made accelerated progress. All Māori children achieve at or above the National Standards.

In 2016, a small group of children are receiving extra help to accelerate their learning in reading. The intention is that by the end of the year they will all have reached the National Standards.

Since the May 2012 ERO review, most staff and trustees are new. The board, principal and teachers have worked strategically to address the recommendations from the 2012 review. Some areas are work in progress while others have been successfully developed.

3 Accelerating achievement

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

The school responds very effectively to children whose learning and achievement need acceleration.

The board is committed to providing children with equitable opportunities to succeed. An extra teacher is employed to keep class sizes small and to provide specialist reading support to those children who have been identified as at risk of poor academic outcomes. Teachers know the children very well and quickly identify those with specific learning needs, particularly those who require extra support. They do this through the use of a range of assessments, their knowledge of the child and by engaging with parents.

Teachers are also aware of the importance of children’s sense of wellbeing if they are to learn well. This is mirrored in the board's mission statement of ‘View Hill School - a happy place to learn’.

The principal provides the board with interim progress reports about the targets set to accelerate children’s learning. These reports clearly show progress throughout the year against desired outcomes.

4 School conditions

How effectively do the school’s curriculum and other organisational processes and practices develop and enact the school’s vision, values, goals and priorities for equity and excellence?

The school’s curriculum, organisational processes and practices effectively develop and enact the school’s vision, values, goals and priorities.

Trustees bring a useful range of skills to their roles. The board has planned well for continuity of trustees to govern the school. Trustees have a strong focus on improving children’s achievement and wellbeing. They are kept regularly and well informed about children’s achievement and progress, and they make carefully considered decisions about the use of funds to support children’s learning.

Trustees have a good working relationship with the principal and with school staff. A next step for the board is to establish the practice of regularly surveying staff about professional matters.

The principal is an experienced, capable professional leader. The strategic direction of the school is well considered and guides planning and teaching.

Teachers take responsibility in specialist areas of the curriculum so that their strengths and passions are recognised and used to benefit children’s learning. Children like the way the school day is organised so that they have a variety of teachers who are specialists in their curriculum area.

The school’s curriculum is rich and broad. In their planning for learning, teachers make frequent use of local features, events and expertise. The school places strong emphasis on sports in the curriculum. This is in response to the wishes of children and parents. Māori perspectives are increasingly included. There is potential for teachers and the curriculum to become more culturally responsive. The school’s relationship with local Māori is developing, guided by a knowledgeable trustee.

The school’s writing and mathematics curriculum guidelines are detailed and support a consistent approach to planning and teaching. They provide a useful model to develop the reading guidelines. Improving children’s progress in reading has been identified as a priority for this year. The school has identified that there is a need to develop, document and implement guidelines for teaching reading across the school, and has initiated this process.

Children are able to talk about their learning. However there is room for them to be more involved in understanding and discussing their progress. This will help them take greater responsibility for developing their next steps and sharing these and their achievement with their parents.

Parents are kept well informed about their child's progress and achievement through regular, detailed reports and informal conversations. Teachers reflect on and develop their practice through collegial dialogue. They take part in professional development within the school, based on current research and theory. This professional learning is linked to the school’s strategic plan and increasingly to the teachers’ appraisal goals and their professional reflections.

There are examples of trustees and teachers considering the effect and outcomes of aspects of school operations. However, current evaluation practice tends to be informal and not always intentional or recorded. The impact on children and teachers of any significant changes and trials needs to be evaluated fully.

The board and senior leaders need to develop a process to guide and document ongoing robust evaluation of school operations and initiatives. Such a process would allow the board and teachers to better use evidence to make decisions and to consider how well these decisions contribute to what is best for children.

5 Going forward

How well placed is the school to achieve and sustain equitable and excellent outcomes for all children?

Leaders and teachers:

  • know the children whose learning and achievement need to be accelerated
  • respond effectively to the strengths, needs and interests of each child
  • regularly evaluate how well teaching is working for these children
  • act on what they know works well for each child
  • build teacher capability effectively to achieve equitable outcomes for all children
  • are well placed to achieve and sustain equitable and excellent outcomes for all children.

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

6 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 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
  • processes for appointing staff
  • stand down, suspensions, expulsions and exclusions
  • attendance
  • compliance with the provisions of the Vulnerable Children Act 2014.

Chris Rowe

Deputy Chief Review Officer Southern (Acting)

26 May 2016

About the school

Location

Oxford

Ministry of Education profile number

3565

School type

Full Primary (Years 1 to 8)

School roll

53

Gender composition

Girls: 29

Boys: 24

Ethnic composition

Pākehā

Māori

Other

44

6

3

Review team on site

March 2016

Date of this report

26 May 2016

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

May 2012

February 2009

October 2005