Waitaki Valley School

Waitaki Valley School

Te Ara Huarau | School Profile Report

Background

This Profile Report was written within twelve months of the Education Review Office and Waitaki Valley School working in Te Ara Huarau, an improvement evaluation approach used in most English Medium State and State Integrated Schools. For more information about Te Ara Huarau see ERO’s website. www.ero.govt.nz

Context 

Waitaki Valley School is a Years 1 to 8 school located in the rural town of Kurow in North Otago.

Waitaki Valley School’s strategic priorities for improving outcomes for learners are to:

  • inspire and engage our community to be an integral part of our students’ learning

  • lay the foundation enabling all children to realise their potential as life-long learners in our ever-changing world

  • fully utilize the local environment to enhance teaching and learning.

You can find a copy of the school’s strategic and annual plan on Waitaki Valley School’s website. ERO and the school are working together to evaluate to what extent changes in the approaches to teaching reading, writing and mathematics lead to accelerated achievement for target students and equity and excellence for all students. 

The rationale for selecting this evaluation is:

  • a range of interventions to respond to learners at risk have been tried but have not resulted in the accelerated progress intended

  • to raise the achievement of boys in the three main learning areas of reading, writing and mathematics.

The school expects to see ongoing improvement in excellence and equity of student achievement in reading, writing and mathematics.

Strengths

The school can draw from the following strengths to support the school in its goal to enhance student and staff wellbeing:

  • teachers effectively use research, different teaching approaches and regular evaluation to identify what initiatives have the greatest impact for students whose progress needs to be accelerated

  • there is a commitment to growing the capability of staff to support and promote student achievement and engagement.

Where to next?

Moving forward, the school will prioritise:

  • all students receiving high quality programmes which enable them to progress and achieve excellent and equitable outcomes

  • teachers receiving high-quality PLD to support classroom practice. 

ERO’s role will be to support the school in its evaluation for improvement cycle to improve outcomes for all learners. ERO will support the school in reporting their progress to the community. The next public report on ERO’s website will be a Te Ara Huarau | School Evaluation Report and is due within three years.

Dr Lesley Patterson
Director Review and Improvement Services (Southern)
Southern Region | Te Tai Tini

25 July 2022 

About the School

The Education Counts website provides further information about the school’s student population, student engagement and student achievement.  educationcounts.govt.nz/home

Waitaki Valley School

Board Assurance with Regulatory and Legislative Requirements Report 2022 to 2025

As of March 2022, the Waitaki Valley School Board of Trustees has attested to the following regulatory and legislative requirements:

Board Administration

Yes

Curriculum

Yes

Management of Health, Safety and Welfare

Yes

Personnel Management

Yes

Finance

Yes

Assets

Yes

Further Information

For further information please contact Waitaki Valley School Board of Trustees.

The next Board of Trustees assurance that it is meeting regulatory and legislative requirements will be reported, along with the Te Ara Huarau | School Evaluation Report, within three years.

Information on ERO’s role and process in this review can be found on the Education Review Office website.

Dr Lesley Patterson
Director Review and Improvement Services (Southern)
Southern Region | Te Tai Tini

25 July 2022 

About the School

The Education Counts website provides further information about the school’s student population, student engagement and student achievement. educationcounts.govt.nz/home

Waitaki Valley School - 17/02/2017

1 Context

Children from Years 1 to 8 attend Waitaki Valley School, located in the rural town of Kurow. The school is an integral part of the wider community. The school facilities include the adjacent community library, swimming pool and sports centre. The local early childhood centre is also located on the same site.

Children learn in five multi-age classes. This includes a large shared area adjoining the classrooms. The classes form two ‘hubs’, the tuakana hub for older children and teina hub for younger children. The school roll is becoming increasingly diverse.

The principal and most of the school trustees are new to their role. Staffing is currently stable.

The school has participated in the Ministry of Education's Accelerated Literacy Learning professional development programme and has received regular support from a facilitator in relation to curriculum development.

2 Equity and excellence

The vision and valued outcomes defined by the school for all children are for them to 'belong, learn, and achieve in their place'. The school has redefined its values as 'GREAT - good friends, respectful, engaged, aiming high and team work'.

The school's achievement information from 2013 to 2015 shows 66% to 72% of all children achieved at or above the National Standard in reading. The overall achievement in writing over the same period decreased from 70% to 55% achieving at or above. Achievement in mathematics over the same period was over 70%. End of 2016 information shows greater proportions of all children achieving at or above the National Standards.

Overall boys were not achieving as well as girls in relation to National Standards in reading, writing and mathematics between 2013 and 2015.

The school's 2013 to 2015 achievement information for Māori children shows that approximately 65% are achieving at or above the standard in reading. Over the same time period, over 50% of Māori children were achieving at, or above this level in writing. The proportion of children achieving at or above the National Standards in mathematics had decreased. End of 2016 information indicates increased proportions of Māori children are achieving at or above the National Standards, particularly in writing.

Since the last ERO evaluation, the school has focused on improving teaching and learning in reading and writing. Children whose progress needs to be accelerated have participated in targeted learning programmes in literacy. There has also been a deliberate focus on increasing children's collaborative learning opportunities. 

In response to ERO's last report in 2013:

  • there are increased opportunities for children to learn about New Zealand's bicultural heritage, including te reo Māori
  • guidelines and a process for curriculum reporting have been developed and are beginning to be used
  • parents' and children's views have been sought and used in recent curriculum developments.

3 Accelerating achievement

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

The school is effectively accelerating the achievement and learning of its Māori learners who need to make extra progress. There is good evidence that almost all these children made accelerated progress in relation to the National Standards in either literacy or mathematics in 2016.

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

The school has some evidence to show accelerated progress for other learners whose learning and achievement need acceleration. The progress of all of these learners has been a deliberate focus for school staff.

Leaders, teachers and the board have increased and deepened their analysis of children's achievement and progress with their learning. This has been done through:

  • greater use and wider knowledge of the school's achievement targets for learners
  • a deliberate and targeted approach to accelerating children's achievement
  • teachers inquiring deeply into what works and what does not work for learners
  • useful systems, including guidelines and frameworks, to support teachers
  • improved use of the school's system to manage children's learning information.

The school has made a very good start in its deliberate focus to accelerate children's achievement. Leaders, teachers and the board are well aware of the need to continue this and fully evaluate the impact of their actions. This should include:

  • ongoing curriculum development, including teaching and acceleration guidelines
  • planning for a curriculum reflecting New Zealand's bicultural heritage, as learning builds through the school
  • extending the analysis and reporting of accelerated progress for groups of children, particularly where this has been identified as a priority.

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 targets for equity and excellence?

School leadership is building professional capability and collective capacity to strengthen teaching, learning and acceleration for learners. The principal has used a considered, consultative and collaborative approach to school development.

This approach has made good use of current educational research findings and other professional learning. Greater use is being made of ICT for teaching, learning, information sharing and communication.

Leaders and teachers have deliberately strengthened the home-school partnership focused around children's learning. This has included consultation with Māori whānau.

The school's charter is being redeveloped, after appropriate consultation. This should provide a useful basis for ongoing annual planning, monitoring and evaluation of progress towards meeting goals. Bicultural perspectives should be included in this planning.

Trustees have worked effectively together to build their collective capacity and knowledge of school governance. They have made a good start in reviewing the school's policies and procedures.

The school's internal-evaluation practices are improvement focused. A next step is to develop a framework to guide evaluations.

Staff have been focusing on increasing children's engagement with their learning. As a result, teachers know their learners and their needs well. To extend this, teachers should ensure that all children clearly understand how well they are learning, their learning goals and what they need to do to achieve these.

Teachers are working effectively together to moderate assessment judgements in relation to the National Standards. Provision for moderation of these beyond the school has been set up for 2017. ERO has identified and the principal agrees, it would also be useful for the school to have written guidelines and expectations for making overall-teacher judgements in reading, writing and mathematics.

5 Going forward

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

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.

Strong leadership, a committed board, focused professional learning and a collective desire to do the best for children are supporting improvement at Waitaki Valley School. Teachers acknowledge they have changed some of their teaching approaches that have improved learning outcomes for the children.

More systematic evaluation practices, and a continued focus on targeted teaching and learning, data analysis, charter and curriculum development will help progress the school to achieve its vision for its learners.

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. 

ERO discussed with the board the need for the school to strengthen its behaviour-management guidelines and procedures for staff appointments and appraisal attestation.

7 Recommendation

The school should continue to focus on the areas for development described in this report.

Dr Lesley Patterson

Deputy Chief Review Officer Southern (Te Waipounamu)

17 February 2017

About the school 

Location

Kurow

Ministry of Education profile number

363

School type

Full Primary (Years 1 to 8)

School roll

108

Gender composition

Girls: 51%, Boys: 49%

Ethnic composition

Pākehā

Māori

Pacific

Asian

Other

69%

16%

4%

6%

5%

Review team on site

November 2016

Date of this report

17 February 2017

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Supplementary Review

November 2013

October 2010

June 2007

 

Waitaki Valley School - 06/11/2013

1 Context

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

Waitaki Valley School is located in a rural district where most students travel by bus from a wide catchment area. Students’ learning is supported by local expertise and skills within the community where relevant. Students have many learning opportunities beyond the school, including interactions with other schools, camps and sporting and cultural activities.

The modern learning environment includes a large well-resourced, central, open space used for individual student and group work and whole school activities. The open structure of the learning environment supports students to access and use the wide range of available resources.

The school is well supported by an active and committed board and a parent fund raising group. The school and community share the adjacent community library, swimming pool and sports centre. The local preschool is also on the same site, which aids children’s transition to this school.

Students benefit from the respectful, caring relationships among students of all ages and between students and adults. The school’s focus on “expanding horizons” is a focus of daily programmes and practices in daily programmes.

Trustees and teachers expect students to achieve and that teachers will find ways to enhance the learning of all students. Trustees understand their role in ensuring teachers have the resources they need to bring about improvements in learning.

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 learners’ engagement, progress and achievement. Many students are achieving at or above the National Standards in reading, writing and mathematics. Most students are highly engaged in their learning and have a positive attitude.

Students benefit from the way the learning information is used to:

  • engage them in meaningful learning experiences
  • identify specific aspects of learning that need to be improved
  • assist them in managing their learning through challenging and purposeful activities
  • give them specific and useful feedback about their learning.

Students are able to maintain high levels of engagement for extended periods of time without the need for teacher intervention. They know their goals and can talk about next steps in their learning.

Teachers effectively use learning information to:

  • identify and respond to the needs, interests and abilities of all students
  • inform students’ next learning steps and to set class goals
  • provide support and extension for individuals and groups of students
  • inform parents and the board about students’ progress and achievement.

Teachers keep detailed information on the progress of students who require support in their learning. Student’s change groups as they make progress or have different needs.

The board uses learning information to plan for the future direction of the school. This includes setting targets to raise the achievement of groups of students. These targets focus on increasing the levels of achievement for specific groups of students.

3 Curriculum

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

The school’s curriculum effectively promotes and supports students’ learning.

The school has recently reviewed its curriculum document to guide teachers in implementing the New Zealand Curriculum (NZC) in a way that is most relevant to this school's community. The curriculum is linked to the school's charter, strategic and annual plans. Teachers use this document to plan relevant programmes that challenge the students’ thinking and understandings. Teachers’ planning includes how the key competencies and principles of the NZC and how the school’s values will be emphasised in programmes and practices.

An innovative teaching and learning approach is successfully used in the two junior rooms. This approach has focused on increasing levels of student interest and engagement.

Year 8 students engage in leadership and social activities with students from neighbouring schools in order to prepare them for secondary education. They have opportunities to lead school activities and take responsibility for younger students. Teachers work together to make effective use of their combined strengths to meet the learning needs of all students.

ERO observed good-quality teaching across the school. Teachers model new learning, they effectively plan, teach and evaluate learning programmes. They trust that students are self motivated, independent learners. Students respond to this level of trust in their use of the central learning space and in the way they are able to work independently without direct supervision. Teachers make purposeful and relevant use of a range of technologies to engage students and promote their progress at all levels of the school.

Area for review and development

Students sing waiata each morning and can respond to a few simple commands in te reo Māori. Teachers need to continue to use and further develop the use te reo Māori in the classroom and look for ways to increase students’ understanding of New Zealand's bicultural heritage.

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

The school is in the early stages of developing an awareness of te Ao Māori. Students have opportunities to share waiata at morning assemblies and there is a greater focus on te reo Maori and tikanga Māori in classroom programmes. The principal and teachers encourage the families of Māori students to talk about what they want for their children.

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 school charter and strategic and annual plan all provide a clear sense of direction. The professionalism of the principal, teachers and support staff ensures the ongoing success of the school’s development. Trustees are committed to students having success especially in reading, writing and mathematics.

The board has developed and uses an effective self review of the school’s policies and procedures.

Area for review and development

The principal and teachers need to strengthen the review of the school’s curriculum. For example, they need to ensure that:

  • guidelines and a structured process are developed
  • review is against the goals and objectives of the area under review
  • parent and student views are included where this is appropriate.

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

6 November 2013

About the School

Location

Kurow, North Otago

Ministry of Education profile number

363

School type

Full Primary (Years 1 to 8)

School roll

109

Gender composition

Girls: 57 Boys: 52

Ethnic composition

NZ European/Pākehā

Māori

Cook Island

Other

83

17

2

7

Review team on site

September 2013

Date of this report

6 November 2013

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Supplementary Review

Supplementary Review

October 2010

June 2007

June 2006