Ardgowan School

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Findings

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

1 Background and Context

What is the background and context for this school’s review?

Ardgowan School is a Year 1 to 8 school on the outskirts of Oamaru. This report evaluates the progress the school has made in addressing the areas for review and development identified in ERO’s June 2017 Education Review report.

Since the 2017 review, the school roll has grown and become more culturally and socially diverse. Over half of the teachers are new. Three trustees and the chairperson are experienced and two trustees are new.

The school has worked constructively with ERO and Ministry of Education advisors over the last two years. School leaders have made good progress in addressing ERO’s recommendations.

2 Review and Development

How effectively is the school addressing its priorities for review and development?

Priorities identified for review and development

The 2017 ERO report identified the need for the school to:

  • reduce the disparity in achievement for some groups of students

  • better analyse, report and use progress and achievement information

  • improve aspects of assessment

  • ensure specific targets and action planning to reduce disparities for boys and Māori students are in place

  • strengthen aspects of internal evaluation to better know the effectiveness of actions taken to reduce disparity.

At the time of ERO’s Midway Progress review, growth and changes in the student roll were impacting on the school. The Midway Progress report to the board identified the need to:

  • improve school culture and some students’ engagement

  • deepen trustees’, leaders’ and teachers’ understanding of culturally-responsive practice

  • strengthen the integration of te ao and te reo Māori in day-to-day learning.

Progress

ERO’s 2018 progress review found that the school had made good progress in addressing most of the 2017 recommendations. Despite significant staff changes in 2019, leaders have maintained and built on this progress.

Trustees, leaders and teachers are appropriately prioritising the progress and achievement of children at risk with their learning. They are looking more deeply at student outcomes and reflecting on what has worked, what has not, and what needs changing. There are improved systems to monitor the rates and sufficiency of progress of individual children and cohorts of concern. Leaders have strengthened their analysis and reporting of school-wide achievement and progress data.

Other improvements that have been sustained and built on include:

  • better assessment systems and practices, resulting in more robust teacher judgements

  • effective systems to assure leaders that schoolwide expectations for teaching and learning are implemented, and responsive mentoring and support given when needed

  • an appraisal process, including teachers’ inquiries, that has a stronger focus on children who are at risk with their learning

  • a focus on building teacher capability and school-wide consistency of teaching practices.

Improvements in relation to the additional next steps in the Midway Progress report to the board are also evident. Deliberate actions have been taken to improve school culture. Steps taken include: the review of behaviour management procedures and practices, and the implementation of a range of initiatives to promote positive behaviours. These have resulted in a more positive school culture and improved behaviour and engagement. However, further work is needed to build on and embed these improvements.

Leaders have begun to work constructively with external experts as to how the school will implement more culturally responsive practices. The school has made constructive steps towards better valuing te reo and te ao Māori. Core Māori concepts are now part of the Ardgowan learner vision and tikanga Māori is more visible. Leaders recognise this as an area of ongoing development.

Key next steps

ERO and school leaders agree that the school needs to continue to:

  • reduce disparities in achievement for different groups in the school, especially Māori

  • build trustees’, leaders’ and teachers’ understanding of culturally responsive practice

  • strengthen meaningful integration of te reo and te ao Māori in day-to-day learning.

Aspects of reporting to the board of trustees need improving. The board needs to receive:

  • better information about the rates and sufficiency of progress for students, especially subgroups identified in charter targets

  • regular and specific reports about student engagement and attendance.

3 Sustainable performance and self review

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

The school is well placed to sustain and continue to improve and review its performance. Trustees have a sound understanding of their governance role. They prioritise discussions about student progress and achievement and make sound resourcing decisions. School leaders are reflective and improvement focused. They are working constructively towards better meeting the needs of all students.

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
  • school policies in relation to meeting the requirements of the Children’s Act 2014.

Conclusion

On the basis of the findings of this review, ERO ‘s overall evaluation judgement of Ardgowan 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.

Dr Lesley Patterson

Director Review and Improvement Services Southern

Southern Region

21 November 2019

About the School

Location

Oamaru

Ministry of Education profile number

3704

School type

Full Primary (Years 1 to 8)

School roll

162

Gender composition

Female 50%, Male 50%

Ethnic composition

Māori
NZ European/Pākehā
South African
Australian
Chinese
Pacific
Other

10%
74%
4%
4%
2%
2%
4%

Review team on site

September 2019

Date of this report

21 November 2019

Most recent ERO reports

Education Review
Education Review
Education Review

June 2017
March 2013
September 2009

Summary

The school roll comprises 143 children. 16 children identify as Māori.

Since the last review a new board chair has been appointed. The school has participated in a Ministry of Education initiative, Accelerating Literacy Learning, and has received support from a Ministry Student Achievement Function practitioner to develop assessment and moderation practices.

Writing and mathematics achievement in relation to National Standards (NS) shows an improvement for some children during the period 2015 to 2016. There are some groups of learners whose needs are not well met in relation to writing and mathematics.

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

The school does not know how effectively it responds to Māori children whose learning and achievement need acceleration. Achievement information is not well analysed to show the amount of progress children make. The school’s achievement information shows that some year levels and groups of children do not achieve equitable outcomes.

At the time of this review, this school was not well placed to provide conditions for children to achieve educational excellence, or to address in-school disparities.

ERO intends to carry out a process of ongoing evaluation to support the school’s development over the course of one-to-two years.

Equity and excellence

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

The school does not respond effectively to Māori children whose learning and achievement need acceleration. The school has a system to identify Māori and other children whose learning and achievement need acceleration. However, the board, leaders and teachers do not identify whether the progress children make is sufficient, or which strategies are most effective in accelerating progress for these children.

Although most Māori children are achieving well in relation to National Standards (NS) for reading, the school is not meeting the needs of a significant number of Māori and other children in writing and mathematics. This pattern has persisted over a number of years. 

The procedures and processes that support teachers to assess and make judgements about achievement need to be applied consistently. In particular, school leaders need to consider the balance of assessments used to inform NS Overall Teacher Judgements. There was an over-reliance on summative, standardised and normed assessments.

School conditions supporting equity and excellence

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

The school has some processes in place which are effective in enabling achievement of equity and excellence.

Strategic planning and annual planning are well aligned and focused on some key developments to improve teaching and learning.

The school has made good use of professional learning and development to improve consistency of overall teacher judgements in relation to the NS.

School leaders are deliberately developing teachers’ capability for classroom planning to support children whose learning and achievement need accelerating. This includes providing useful feedback to teachers regarding the effectiveness of their planning.

Sustainable development for equity and excellence

There are several processes which are either not in place or require further development.

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

Progress and achievement information needs to be better analysed. The board cannot effectively evaluate the impact of learning programmes and practices in accelerating children’s progress.

Achievement targets need to be specifically linked to Māori and other children whose progress and achievement need acceleration. The board needs to evaluate its performance in relation to accelerating progress for Māori and other children.

Internal evaluation requires development. School leaders and the board need to identify how effectively processes and initiatives contribute to accelerated progress for identified students.

Action plans to raise achievement and appraisal goals needs to be better connected to accelerating progress for priority learners. More comprehensive action planning around accelerating progress will assist in targeting teacher professional learning.

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?

At the time of this review, this school was not well placed to provide conditions for children to achieve educational excellence, or to address in-school disparities. The main areas of concern are:

  • lack of internal evaluation of board and school processes
  • disparity in achievement for groups of children
  • lack of achievement data analysis, scrutiny and planning for next steps.

Leaders and teachers:

  • have not yet adequately built their knowledge of the children whose learning and achievement need to be accelerated
  • have not yet adequately established necessary conditions to effectively accelerate learning and achievement
  • are not well placed to achieve and sustain accelerated achievement for all children who need it.

ERO intends to carry out a process of ongoing evaluation to support development over the course of one-to-two years.

Recommendations

ERO recommends that the Ministry of Education and New Zealand School Trustees Association consider providing support for the school in order to bring about the following improvements:

  • raising achievement for groups of children

  • assessment processes and practices

  • internal evaluation.

Dr Lesley Patterson

Deputy Chief Review Officer Southern (Te Waipounamu)

12 June 2017

About the school 

Location

Oamaru

Ministry of Education profile number

3704

School type

Full primary 1 to 8

School roll

143

Gender composition

Boys: 76

Girls: 67

Ethnic composition

Māori: 16

European: 118

Pacific: 2

Asian: 5

Other: 2

Provision of Māori medium education

No

Review team on site

March 2017

Date of this report

12 June 2017

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education review: March 2013

Education review: September 2009