Whataroa School

Whataroa School - 13/08/2019

School Context

Whataroa School is a small rural primary school for students in Years 1-8, in South Westland. It has a current roll of 35 students from a diverse range of ethnicities. Students learn in two multi-level classrooms.

The school’s vision is to ‘Educate for the 21st Century’. Its mission is ‘To gift our children the passion to be the best they can be in all areas of learning’. This mission statement is underpinned by the values of Manaakitanga|Respect, Ako|Study and Advise, Titiro whakamua|Looking forward, and Ahuareka|Celebration.

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

  • reading, writing and mathematics in relation to the school’s expectations
  • wellbeing for success.

Since the 2014 ERO review the school has had several changes in teaching staff. The principal teaches full time. The board has had a number of changes through this period of time.

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?

Overtime the school is achieving equitable and excellent outcomes for many of its students

The school is effective in achieving positive outcomes in relation to school expectations for most students in reading and for the large majority of its students in writing and mathematics. There has been sustained improvement over time in reading and writing with a downward trend in overall achievement in mathematics. The school has developed a range of targeted responses to raise achievement in mathematics.

Disparity for boys in literacy from 2016 to 2017, has been eliminated in 2018.

The school is achieving equitable outcomes in the areas of student wellbeing for success.

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

The school is effective in accelerating the progress of those students who are achieving below school expectations. All students who need to make progress in their learning are identified, planned for and closely monitored within their class and by the principal.

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 principal builds relational trust and effective collaboration at every level of the school community to the achieve the school’s valued outcomes.

The principal ensures:

  • an orderly and supportive environment that is conducive to student learning and wellbeing
  • that community and cultural resources are integrated into relevant aspects of the school curriculum
  • that the school’s teaching programme is structured so that all students have maximum opportunity to learn and achieve at or above the appropriate standard.

The board actively serves and represents the school and community. The board’s relationship with the principal is positive and productive; this collaborative approach ensures that identified priorities are effectively resourced.

The school proactively identifies and draws on community resources and expertise to increase learning opportunities and enhance student achievement and wellbeing. Curriculum design and enactment is responsive to the aspirations of students, parents and whānau. Leaders and teachers recognise the importance of student and community voice and use it as a key resource when deciding priorities for inquiry and improvement. Opportunities are provided for students to participate in and experience learning opportunities outside their local community.

Students participate and learn in a strong, caring, collaborative, and inclusive learning community. The learning environment is managed in ways that support student participation, engagement and engagement in learning. Teachers and students construct challenging but realistic goals and success criteria. The school provides parents and whānau with information that encourages family participation in learning opportunities and enables them to constructively support their children’s learning.

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 identified and ERO’s evaluation confirms, that the school’s internal evaluation processes should be strengthened. Specifically analysing school-wide and group achievement and progress information should enable leaders and teachers to better know the impact of learning programmes and specific actions to raise achievement and accelerate students’ progress.

The school should continue to develop culturally responsive practices that increase school-wide understanding of te ao Māori, with particular reference to the use of tikanga and te reo Māori.

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 Whataroa School’s performance in achieving valued outcomes for its students is: Well placed.

ERO’s Framework: Overall School Performance 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:

  • a broad, localised curriculum that effectively uses the resources of the community
  • a strong collaborative and collegial culture and positive learning environment that supports students’ wellbeing and engagement.

Next steps

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

  • strengthening the rigour of internal evaluation to better know what is working and what is not
  • analysing and using student achievement and progress information to better know the impact of learning programmes and targeted actions to raise achievement
  • increasing school-wide understanding of te ao Māori and use of tikanga and te reo Māori.

Dr Lesley Patterson

Director Review and Improvement Services Southern

Southern Region

13 August 2019

About the school

Location

Whataroa

Ministry of Education profile number

3592

School type

Full Primary (Years 1-8)

School roll

35

Gender composition

Boys 16, Girls 19

Ethnic composition

Māori 5

NZ European/Pākehā 27

Other ethnicities 3

Students with Ongoing Resourcing Funding (ORS)

No

Provision of Māori medium education

No

Review team on site

May 2019

Date of this report

13 August 2019

Most recent ERO reports

Education Review November 2014

Education Review November 2011

Whataroa School - 14/11/2014

Findings

Students experience and enjoy a wide range of learning opportunities in and beyond the school. Students and adults are respectful and relate well to each other. Students requiring extra support benefit from additional one-to-one help. The school is well managed and governed.

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?

Whataroa School is small school located in a predominantly farming area in South Westland. The school provides education for students in Years 1 to 8. The board and teachers ensure that students experience opportunities beyond the school, so that the school’s isolation is not a barrier to the breadth of their learning. Although the roll number is similar to that of the previous review, some new students have enrolled. These students are made to feel very welcome.

The community places a high value on learning and expects students to support and respect each other. These qualities are reflected in the school’s curriculum and in what happens in the school. Students relate well to each other and take responsibility for their own behaviour. They are supported to develop a ‘passion to be the best they can be in all areas of their learning’.

Since the last ERO review, a multi-purpose room has been added to the school. At the time of this review the principal was supporting two teachers new in their roles. Early in 2014, Cyclone Ita had a significant impact on school property. Trustees and staff continue to manage the impact of this to ensure that students’ learning continues as smoothly as possible. The principal and teachers actively encourage parents to be a part of their child’s learning.

The board and principal have worked hard to address the areas identified for development in the 2011 ERO report. These include:

  • developing and documenting clear guidelines for the curriculum
  • updating and regularly reviewing policy and procedures
  • improving the quality of reporting to the board.

2 Learning

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

The school makes appropriate use of achievement information to make positive changes to students’ learning, progress and achievement.

Students are aware of the learning purpose of their work. At the beginning of the year, students set relevant goals with their parents and teachers. These are reviewed and reset at midyear. Students told ERO that this was a useful process. Through feedback from the teachers, their peers and assessing their own work students have a sound understanding of how well they are progressing with their learning. Some students were able to talk about their progress and achievement in relation to National Standards.

The principal is working with teachers to use learning information to ensure teaching is targeted and deliberate. There are explicit expectations in the curriculum plan for teachers to adapt their teaching to the needs and abilities of individuals and groups of students.

The principal makes effective use of learning information to report to the board on progress towards the annual targets and how well students are achieving and progressing.

The board is well informed about student achievement in reading, writing and mathematics, including the impact of new initiatives. Trustees use achievement information to make decisions about resourcing and planning. A reporting cycle has been put in place to ensure that trustees receive achievement information from all learning areas.

Area for review and development

The principal and teachers need to review reporting to students and their parents to ensure that progress and achievement in relation to the National Standards is clearly stated.

3 Curriculum

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

The school’s curriculum is effectively promoting students’ learning. A significant feature of the curriculum is how well the values, principles and key competencies have been developed and are enacted to support the vision ‘to gift the children the passion to be the best they can be’.

Other positive features of the curriculum include:

  • effective use of the local environment and resources
  • all students having the opportunities to learn te reo Māori and Latin
  • students having choice in what they want to learn about
  • joining with other local schools for cultural and sporting events
  • Years 7 and 8 students learning science and technology in specialist classrooms at a neighbouring area school
  • students having leadership roles of the school.

Students who need support with their learning benefit from additional one-to-one help from teacher aides. Teachers and the principal follow comprehensive action plans for identified students to make accelerated progress. They monitor the progress of these students and make changes to the plans as necessary.

Area for review and development

Teachers should regularly evaluate the impact of their teaching. This could include using achievement information as evidence to identify:

  • the strategies that are working well
  • specific learning needs to be further worked on
  • the changes teachers need to make to improve outcomes for students
  • next steps for professional development and learning.

Clear guidelines relating to expectations for teachers to evaluate their work should be included in curriculum guidelines for teachers.

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

The school is committed to providing a bicultural environment for all students. It has small numbers of Māori students attending. Recently this number has increased. All students have opportunities to hear and use te reo Māori and waiata throughout the school day.

The board acknowledges that it needs to find better ways of gathering the aspirations and ideas of Māori whānau. This would help the school to determine how it can fully support Māori students to succeed as Māori.

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 and principal are focused on improving outcomes for students and have high expectations for teaching and learning.

The principal is effectively leading and managing the school. She has high expectations for the professionalism of teachers. She has strengthened school documentation that supports the expectations for teaching and learning. The process for principal appraisal is effectively supporting her to continue to strengthen the professional leadership of the school.

The board is governing the school well. Trustees take part in regular training and have an increasing knowledge of their governance role. They are highly supportive of the principal. The board receives detailed information to show the achievement of identified goals.

Next steps

Trustees are now in a better position to set a more useful strategic plan that clearly identifies the key development priorities. The annual plan should provide the detail about how the key priorities are to be achieved for the current year.

The recently improved process for the appraisal of teachers will continue to be embedded to ensure that teachers meet the standards expected of their professional leader.

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 experience and enjoy a wide range of learning opportunities in and beyond the school. Students and adults are respectful and relate well to each other. Students requiring extra support benefit from additional one-to-one help. The school is well managed and governed.

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

Graham Randell

National Manager Review Services

Southern Region

14 November 2014

About the School

Location

Whataroa, South Westland

Ministry of Education profile number

3592

School type

Full Primary (Years 1 to 8)

School roll

30

Gender composition

Boys: 16 Girls: 14

Ethnic composition

NZ European/Pākehā

Māori

Other

21

8

1

Review team on site

September 2014

Date of this report

14 November 2014

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

November 2011

June 2008

February 2005