Oamaru Intermediate

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School Context

Oamaru Intermediate is a Year 7 to 8 school with a roll of 288, including 18% Māori and 21% Pacific heritage students. Since the 2016 ERO review, the number of Pacific students has increased.

The school’s vision states that: ‘Oamaru Intermediate School will be a place of positive energy.’ The whakataukī is ‘Ki te Taumata’| ‘Get there with Learning’. The school’s values, collectively known as ‘IDEAL’, are expressed as: ‘I Dare to succeed, Engage with mana, Act with respect, Learn with purpose’.

The school’s 2019 strategic direction is: ‘to increase engagement, wellbeing, equity and student achievement’. The 2019 strategic plan states that this overarching goal will be achieved through:

  • curriculum review

  • collaboratively pursuing the achievement goals of the Waitaki Ara Kāhui Ako

  • participation in tier two of the Ministry of Education funded Positive Behaviour for Learning (PB4L) programme

  • whānau sharing in achieving aspirations for the success of tamariki.

Teachers have participated in schoolwide professional learning and development in relation to te ao Māori and as part of the PB4L programme. The school hosts the ‘Power up’ initiative for Pacific community members. Teachers, senior leaders and the board participate in this initiative which aims to engage and inform Pacific parents about teaching and learning in New Zealand.

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

  • reading, writing and mathematics
  • student wellbeing.

The principal is the lead principal for the Waitaki Ara Kāhui Ako | Community of Learning.

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 working towards achieving equitable and excellent outcomes for its students.

Achievement information for Year 7 (2017 and 2018) shows that less than half of students achieved at or above curriculum expectations in writing and mathematics. Reading data for 2017 and 2018 shows this is an area of relative strength, with a small majority of Year 7 students achieving at or above curriculum expectations.

The school’s 2018 achievement information for Year 8 students reflects a pattern of significant improvement in reading, writing and mathematics between Years 7 and 8.

The school’s 2019 end of year achievement information indicates that the large majority of students in Year 8 achieved at or above curriculum expectations in reading and mathematics. A smaller majority of these students achieved this in writing. For Year 7 students at this time, a small majority achieved curriculum expectations in reading. Less than half Year 7 students achieved curriculum expectations in writing and mathematics.

Achievement data for 2017 and 2018 shows that:

  • achievement outcomes in reading for Māori students need to be significantly improved
  • Pacific students achieve less well than other groups of students in reading, writing and mathematics
  • boys achieve less well than girls in writing and mathematics
  • there has been a reduction in disparity for boys, compared with girls, in mathematics.

Achievement data for 2019 shows that the proportions of Māori students in Year 8 achieving at or above curriculum expectations in reading is similar to that of their non Māori peers. However, for Year 8 writing and mathematics and Year 7 reading, writing and mathematics, the proportions of Māori and Pacific students achieving at or above curriculum expectations is lower than other students.

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

The school is effective in accelerating learning for those Year 7 students who need this. It is less successful in accelerating learning for students in Year 8.

The school’s data for 2018 indicates that, for those students achieving below curriculum expectations:

  • the majority of Year 7 students made accelerated progress in reading, writing and mathematics

  • less than half of Year 8 students made accelerated progress in reading

  • there is limited acceleration of learning for Year 8 students in writing and mathematics.

Accelerated learning information for students in 2019 shows approximately half of the students who needed to make accelerated progress, did so in mathematics, with one third of these students making this progress in reading. Smaller proportions of these students accelerated their learning in writing.

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?

Student and whānau engagement and partnership in learning are highly valued. Learning environments are positive and socially and culturally inclusive. Students are empowered as learners through respectful interactions with teachers and students. They have learning choices and opportunities to voice opinions about aspects of learning and teaching. Student agency and knowledge about learning progress are supported through effective, encouraging verbal and written feedback.

The curriculum provides strong interest and challenge, with sufficient depth and breadth of coverage. Teachers are thoughtful about planning and implementing those strategies and learning opportunities which are most likely to engage students. Opportunities to learn in science are particularly well-led, engaging and challenging for students. Module options offer a selection of learning opportunities beyond the core curriculum, to meet the diverse interests and needs of students.

Transitions into, within the school and onto high school are well managed and considerate of students’ learning, social and cultural needs.

Students with additional needs are well supported and valued in the school. Useful systems are used to identify and monitor learning progress. Inter-agency support is used effectively to respond to students’ learning and pastoral needs. Teacher aides are valued and are an integral part of the school. They are involved in planning alongside teachers, and their skills in curriculum areas are valued and well utilised.

The senior leadership team effectively supports teachers to build teaching capability. Curriculum leaders model effective teaching practices, develop quality resources and provide specific and timely feedback to teachers about their planning and teaching. A culture of professional inquiry and reflection is developing, and is focused on improving learning and wellbeing outcomes for students.

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

Cultural responsiveness for Māori and Pacific students and their families is an area for further development. The existing Māori and Pacific action plans need to be refined to identify specific learning, wellbeing and cultural outcomes for teachers and students. Professional learning requirements for teachers and senior leaders should be aligned with the specific outcomes. Progress in relation to the identified outcomes should be monitored and reported to the board. More specific reporting to the board about outcomes for specific groups of students was identified as an area for further development in the July 2016 ERO report. This remains as an ongoing area for improvement.

Internal evaluation is not yet strategically or systematically used to identify those programmes and practices that have the most impact on learning. Senior leaders need to build evaluative knowledge and thinking, using a framework to guide the evaluation process. Evaluations should be informed by well-analysed data that identifies the progress and achievement of priority learners. Evaluation findings should be used to determine which practices are most effective in supporting students to achieve, reducing disparity for Māori and Pacific students, and providing feedback for teachers about the impact of their work.

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 Oamaru Intermediate’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:

  • an effective leadership model that values collaborative practice and utilises teacher skills for improving learning outcomes
  • an inclusive culture which provides opportunities for students to learn in a positive and engaging classroom environment
  • the sustained work on building meaningful learning partnerships for all families, with an emphasis on Māori and Pacific families.

Next steps

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

  • refining planning to support cultural responsiveness and improved learning and pastoral outcomes for those Māori, Pacific and other students who need this
  • developing internal evaluation capability across the school to identify and embed processes and practices that most effectively support positive outcomes for all learners.

Dr Lesley Patterson

Director Review and Improvement Services Te Tai Tini

Southern Region

4 June 2020

About the school

Location

Oamaru

Ministry of Education profile number

3784

School type

Year 7 to 8 Contributing Intermediate

School roll

288

Gender composition

Female 48%, Male 52%

Ethnic composition

Māori 18%

NZ European/Pākehā 51%

Pacific 21%

Other Ethnicities 10%

Students with Ongoing Resourcing Funding (ORS)

Yes

Provision of Māori medium education

No

Review team on site

November 2019

Date of this report

4 June 2020

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review July 2016

Education Review September 2012

Findings

The school has a respectful and caring culture. Students from different cultures and backgrounds are valued. Students learn in settled and well-managed classrooms. They enjoy a broad curriculum. The school is addressing with urgency the low achievement of some students. The school is capably 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?

This is the only intermediate school for Years 7 and 8 students in Oamaru and the surrounding area. Students come from diverse social and cultural backgrounds. In particular, there is a growing number of Māori, Pacific and English language learners (ELL). Many initiatives are in place to support these students.

The school has a strong culture of care. This includes a range of pastoral support. Staff and school leaders make students and parents feel welcome and valued. A strong commitment to all students having equitable access to learning and other opportunities is evident.

The school has a technology unit that is used by other Years 7 and 8 students from nearby schools. It also has a Learning Support Unit (LSU) that is used by students with medium and high needs. These students spend most of their time in ordinary classes.

In the last three years, four classrooms have been redesigned to create flexible-learning areas. A large garden area, with a hen house, has been developed and is especially used by LSU students. A significant investment in ICT has been made. The school has been part of a Ministry of Education (MOE) initiative to increase students’ interest and engagement in learning. It is also part of a MOE project to improve Pacific student achievement.

Since the 2013 ERO evaluation, there have been many staff changes, including a new deputy principal. Most trustees are beginning their second three-year term on the school’s board. The school is part of a newly formed cluster of primary and secondary schools. These schools are working together on shared interests and concerns.

The school has made good progress in addressing the recommendations in the 2013 ERO report.

2 Learning

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

School leaders and teachers make very good use of achievement and other information in order to best support their students.

Many students arrive at the school with poor literacy and mathematics knowledge and skills. Trends over the last three years show that over half of the students achieve at or above the National Standards in reading. Achievement in writing and mathematics is lower, especially for Pacific students and boys.

ERO found that school staff and trustees are working with determination to lift students’ achievement and build positive attitudes towards learning. Leaders have set targets in literacy and mathematics. They report to the board on progress towards meeting these, as well as progress towards the National Standards.

Teachers know their students very well as learners and as individuals. They use a range of information to make well-informed judgements about students’ progress and achievement and to target their teaching to best meet students’ needs. They talk frequently with students about their learning. As a result, ERO found that most students could talk confidently about their progress, achievement and their next learning steps.

Parents are also well informed about their child’s learning. Reports are written in plain language and clearly show students’ progress and achievement. Teachers frequently contact parents to share successes and to talk about how parents could support their child at home.

Teachers and school leaders have effective systems for identifying and monitoring students who are struggling with their learning. These students are very well supported by classroom teachers and skilful teacher aides. Some also benefit from additional intensive small-group teaching.

The wording of school targets to lift achievement could be improved. These could better emphasize the need for students to make accelerated progress in order to catch up.

Aspects and frequency of reports to the board about student progress and achievement could be improved. Some reports need to better show the amount of progress made by different groups. Some need to ensure that all important groups (such as gender, ethnic and year groups) are included. Fuller and more frequent information will help trustees and leaders when making resourcing decisions.

3 Curriculum

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

The school’s curriculum effectively engages and supports students in their learning.

Students spoke enthusiastically to ERO about the wide range of learning experiences. They enjoyed the variety offered through modules, technology classes, cultural and sporting activities. They also felt that their teachers cared about them as people and for their learning. They believed that their work in core subjects was set at the right level of challenge.

Classrooms are settled and well managed. ERO observed respectful interactions between teachers and students, and between students. Students frequently help each other with their learning. They know and can talk about the school’s stated values and desired attitudes and behaviours. Their views about learning and school in general are listened to and acted on.

Robust systems and guidelines to ensure consistency in planning, teaching and assessment are in place across the school. These systems and guidelines have provided important support for new teachers and lessened the impact of staff change on students.

Students with medium and high needs are very well supported. Staff work closely with parents, external experts and trained teacher aides to develop individualised learning plans. Students’ progress and support programmes are well monitored and managed.

School leaders and teachers have worked hard to inform and involve parents in their children’s learning. This includes regular evening workshops about aspects of literacy or mathematics learning.

There is increasing inclusion of Māori perspectives and language in students’ learning. Students and teachers use a range of technologies in innovative ways. Technology is also used well as a communication tool between teachers, students and parents.

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

School leaders and teachers are committed to improving the achievement of Māori students and valuing their cultural roots.

Māori students achieve at similar levels to their peers in reading, writing and mathematics. As with other groups, they spoke enthusiastically to ERO about their teachers and their school. They enjoyed the cultural and sporting opportunities.

A Cultural Responsiveness team is in place. This team has developed and begun to implement a detailed action plan. Initiatives include finding ways to better value students’ culture, language and identity and ways to excite students about their learning and lift their achievement.

The school regularly consults with Māori parents about what it could do better. The outcomes of these meetings are reported to the board. Parents’ views are valued and acted on.

Teachers have benefited from professional learning (PL) about core Māori concepts, including those related to learning. Core values, such as manaakitanga (care) and concepts, such as tuakana-teina relationships (confident helping less confident learners), are very evident through the school.

How effectively does the school promote educational success for Pacific?

Teachers and leaders are committed to providing the best for Pacific learners. This is evident in their involvement in the MOE Talanoa project and the work of the Cultural Responsiveness team. Pacific students were also very positive about their teachers, learning, and the range of cultural, sporting and leadership opportunities.

The comments in the Māori section above about the work of the Cultural Responsiveness team, consultation and work with parents is also true for Pacific.

Many Pacific students are ELL. These students benefit from small-group instruction from a capable and trained teacher aide. Overall, Pacific student achievement is low, especially in writing and mathematics. Staff and leaders see raising this achievement as an urgent priority. 

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. Ongoing review and improvement are very evident.

The school is capably led and managed. School leaders value and use the strengths of different teachers and encourage other staff to take on leadership roles. Staff feel well supported by their leaders and work well as a team.

Senior leaders have proven practices in place to build teachers’ capability. They have adapted and improved the appraisal system, so that there is greater focus on ongoing improvement. Teachers have ‘critical’ partners who they share ideas and resources with, observe and give each other feedback. Teachers also carry out inquiries into aspects of their teaching. These initiatives and professional learning are focused on raising student achievement in literacy and mathematics.

The school is governed by a committed and competent board of trustees. Trustees seek ongoing training and are very focused on what is best for students. With the school leaders, they have identified appropriate priorities for long-term development. Initiatives (such as teachers’ inquiries and appraisal goals) align well with these priorities.

Trustees receive regular reports about different curriculum areas, programmes and initiatives. They and school leaders regularly review school policies, and seek and respond to staff and parents’ views about the school and what could be done better.

The school has identified, and ERO agrees, that its key next step is to continue its focus on lifting student achievement in literacy and mathematics. Other next steps include:

  • adapting the three-year strategic plan so that it more clearly aligns with the school’s stated priorities
  • ensuring that the principal’s reports to the board and board minutes have sufficient detail, including regular updates about progress in implementing the annual plan
  • ensuring reports to the board are more evaluative and include clear next steps/actions
  • better monitoring of the impact of actions taken.

5 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

The school has a respectful and caring culture. Students from different cultures and backgrounds are valued. Students learn in settled and well-managed classrooms. They enjoy a broad curriculum. The school is addressing with urgency the low achievement of some students. The school is capably managed and governed.

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

Lesley Patterson

Deputy Chief Review Officer Southern

27 July 2016

About the School

Location

Oamaru

Ministry of Education profile number

3784

School type

Intermediate (Years 7 to 8)

School roll

280

Gender composition

Girls: 49% Boys: 51%

Ethnic composition

Pākehā

Māori

Pacific

Asian

Other

64%

18%

12%

3%

3%

Special Features

Technology and Learning Support Units

Review team on site

June 2016

Date of this report

27 July 2016

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

August 2012

June 2009

April 2006