Opoho School

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Education institution number:
3790
School type:
Contributing
School gender:
Co-Educational
Definition:
Not Applicable
Total roll:
144
Telephone:
Address:

96 Signal Hill Road, Opoho, Dunedin

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School Context

Opoho School provides education for students from Years 1 to 6 with a roll of 171 students. The school is located in a northern suburb of Dunedin.

The school states that its vision is for students to 'Develop as confident life-long learners and be at the heart of the community'. The school values learners who are kind, responsible and working to be the best they can be.

The current strategic goals are to:

  • implement collaborative learning and co-teaching in the new senior classes

  • complete the inquiry into teaching and learning in science and embed practices across Years 1-6

  • develop a plan for the digital technology curriculum

  • identify and target support for all learners not achieving expected levels in literacy and mathematics

  • maintain high quality teaching and learning while implementing researched assessment tools to determine learning progress.

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

  • engagement and wellbeing
  • achievement across the New Zealand Curriculum, particularly in literacy and mathematics
  • the progress and achievement of priority learners.

Since the 2015 ERO review, 2 assistant principals have been appointed.

In February 2019 a new building was completed, providing a modern, flexible learning space for the senior students. The school is a green-gold level Enviroschool.

Teachers have been involved in the Ministry of Education funded programmes supporting positive behaviour for learning, and science professional development.

The school belongs to the Ōtepoti ki te Raki, North Dunedin 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 achieving equitable and excellent outcomes for most of its students. Learning information shows most students are achieving at or above the curriculum expectations. Over time, achievement in reading and writing has improved, and mathematics has remained consistently high. Almost all Māori students achieve highly in reading and mathematics.

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

The school is effectively accelerating the progress of many students who need extra support to succeed. School progress and achievement information shows high levels of acceleration in a range of targeted programmes and interventions.

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 participate and learn in a positive, caring and inclusive learning community. The school culture embraces and celebrates diversity for the benefit of all. Teachers know and respond to the students’ and their families’ strengths, needs, interests and aspirations. Relationships are built with parents and whānau that focus on students’ learning, particularly for those students who need extra support to succeed.

Transitions into and through school are carefully managed. Students benefit from the way teachers work collaboratively and collegially to share high, clear and equitable expectations for their learners’ achievement and wellbeing. Teachers’ support for students’ emotional and social development forms the foundation for learning.

Students learn through a coherent curriculum that builds on their curiosity about the world around them and beyond. The breadth and depth of the New Zealand Curriculum is meaningfully taught through local contexts, teacher strengths and students’ interests. It is enriched by the engagement of local people and places and is supported by the use of external agencies and resources.

Students identify as kaitiaki of their environment. Learning about sustainable practices is interwoven throughout their curriculum. Māori perspectives are valued and integrated across all learning areas and within school life. The student is at the centre of curriculum design. Active engagement is encouraged and students develop understandings of themselves as learners. Students who need extra help to succeed are identified early and targeted programmes are provided to support them and accelerate their learning.

The board, principal and teachers make effective use of learning information to inform resourcing decisions and to provide equitable opportunities for learning. The board is well informed about all aspects of school operations. The board’s core focus is on student wellbeing and achievement. The evaluation, inquiry and knowledge-building processes are purposeful and focus on specific areas for improvement.

The effective professional leadership team has established a compelling vision for equity and excellence at this school. Their priority and improvement goals are grounded in analysis of learning information and current educational research. They support agreed strategies for improvement with a coherent approach to organisational change and building leader and teacher capability. This means that all students have the opportunity to experience high quality learning activities.

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

The next step is for the leaders and teachers to document the philosophies, practices and approaches that have created the culture of learning outcomes for success so that these can be sustained and continually improved for the ongoing benefit of students.

3 Other Matters

Provision for international students

The school is a signatory to theEducation (Pastoral Care of International Students) Code of Practice 2016(the Code) established under section 238F of the Education Act 1989. The school has attested that it complies with all aspects of the Code.

At the time of this review there were three international students attending the school.

International students and their families are well supported as they join the school, through the enrolment and welcome process. Students are provided with appropriate levels of learning support to foster their language skills. Their academic and pastoral progress is monitored by teachers and leaders.

4 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.

5 ERO’s Overall Judgement

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

ERO’s Framework: Overall School Performance is available on ERO’s website.

6 Going forward

Key strengths of the school

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

  • positive, collaborative, caring relationships at all levels that support students’ wellbeing and learning
  • the coherent, authentic curriculum that draws on students’ interests and identities, and parents’ aspirations
  • the boards’, leaders’ and teachers’ knowledge of, and responses to, individual needs that lead to excellent and equitable outcomes
  • the effective leadership team that builds shared understandings, across the learning community, of expectations for high quality teaching and learning.

Next step

For sustained improvement and future learner success, a priority for further development is for the leaders and teachers to evaluate and record what works best in their successful learning culture so that this can be sustained and continually improved.

Dr Lesley Patterson

Director Review and Improvement Services Southern

Southern Region

15 October 2019

About the school

Location

Dunedin

Ministry of Education profile number

3790

School type

Contributing Primary (Years 1-6)

School roll

171

Gender composition

Boys 55%, Girls 45%

Ethnic composition

Māori and Pacific 15%

Pākehā 77%

Asian 8%

Students with Ongoing Resourcing Funding (ORS)

Yes

Provision of Māori medium education

No

Review team on site

September 2019

Date of this report

15 October 2019

Most recent ERO reports

Education Review May 2015

Education Review September 2010

Education Review July 2007

Findings

Opoho continues to be a high performing school. Students enjoy an interesting and diverse curriculum. Overall they achieve well against the National Standards. School programmes make very good use of local resources. All students are very well supported to learn and achieve success. The board and principal ensure there is a continual focus on improvement.

ERO is likely to carry out the next review in four-to-five years.

1 Context

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

Opoho School is a Year 1 to 6 suburban school in North Dunedin. Parents are very supportive of the school and are actively involved in learning programmes.

Older students ERO spoke with described their school as caring, fun and safe. Whānau and buddy-group systems promote older students caring for and supporting the learning of younger students (tuakana-teina). There are very caring and positive relationships between teachers and students. High quality support is provided for students who have special educational needs. Staff focus on supporting the whole child. ERO observed good to high levels of student engagement in their learning.

The staff work well together. They are very effectively led by an experienced and long-serving principal. There have been some recent staff changes. Capable trustees govern the school with the best interests of students and the school in mind.

Students’ learning is supported by resources that are well managed and include a good range of technologies. Some classrooms have been upgraded. This is partly because the school is moving towards students learning in open-plan and flexible learning spaces.

The school received a very positive ERO review in September 2010. Since then the principal and board have continued to review and improve the school’s performance. There has been a focus on providing a more bicultural curriculum and an increased focus on students taking responsibility for their own learning. The school and ERO agree these are ongoing priorities.

2 Learning

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

This school uses student achievement information very effectively to make positive changes to learners’ engagement, progress and achievement.

School-wide achievement information shows that a large proportion of students achieve at or above the National Standards in reading, writing and mathematics. This is higher than national and regional comparisons. There has been a significant increase in the proportion of students who are achieving at or above the national standards in writing in 2014. The principal and teachers have a good understanding of the concept of accelerated progress.

Students have opportunities to assess their own work and the work of their peers. Senior students could talk confidently about their next learning steps in writing, but not so for mathematics.

Teachers have a good understanding of their students and how they learn. There are rigorous processes for identifying and supporting students who are at risk of not achieving. ERO noted the high quality and frequency of written feedback most teachers provide students with in written language.

The principal and other leaders are making very good use of student achievement information to:

  • identify and focus on students who are below or well below the national standards, or who need to make accelerated progress
  • provide comprehensive school-wide student achievement information to the board, including the impact of intervention programmes.

The principal closely scrutinises student achievement information, analyses and interprets it and is fully aware of the factors that impact on students’ progress and achievement.

The board is very well informed about students’ achievement. Trustees use this information to make well-informed resourcing decisions. They prioritise resourcing students who are at risk of not achieving.

Key next steps

Students could take a greater role in some assessment and reporting processes. It is timely for staff to review the school’s assessment guidelines. The principal and board have identified, and ERO agrees, that the board would benefit from regular updates on the progress of targeted students.

3 Curriculum

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

This school’s curriculum promotes and supports student learning very effectively. Senior students who spoke with ERO talked enthusiastically about their learning and felt well supported by their teachers.

Students experience a broad, well-resourced and thoughtfully integrated curriculum. There is a strong focus on respect of self, others and the environment and students taking responsibility for their learning and behaviour. Students also benefit from:

  • a wide range of authentic and ‘hands on’ learning and frequent use of local places and experts to enrich their learning
  • an ongoing focus on caring for the environment within and beyond the school
  • planned times, such as the school’s Discovery Time, when students can choose and explore an area of personal interest
  • a range of well-planned and successful interventions to support students at risk with their learning
  • a strong focus on values and key competencies, especially taking responsibility.

The principal and teachers make very effective use of local agencies, organisations and expertise to support students’ learning needs and enrich school programmes. In each school-wide inquiry topic, teachers consider carefully how a Māori perspective could be included.

The principal and teachers regularly report on and review aspects of the curriculum. Students’ views and ideas feed into these. Reviews and reports include relevant student achievement information and lead to ongoing changes and improvement. Some recent reviews showed particularly good use of gathering different perspectives, were more evaluative and clearly identified strengths, concerns and next steps.

Key Next Steps

School leaders and teachers should:

  • develop expectations for best teaching practice related to the school’s emerging priorities for learning, such as ‘self-directed learners’ and ‘modern/flexible learning’
  • review how well teachers’ expectations for regular inclusion of te reo Māori and Māori perspectives are in place.

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

Māori students are well engaged in their learning and are positive about their learning experiences. Overall they achieve as well as their peers against the National Standards in reading, writing and mathematics. Teachers have high expectations for Māori student achievement and there is a strong commitment to supporting each Māori student's wellbeing and learning.

Since last ERO review in 2010, the school has established a kapahaka performing group, introduced Matariki celebrations, more regular teaching of te reo Māori and appointed a lead teacher of Māori. Tuakana-teina relationships are purposely fostered.

The next step is for the board and staff to explore what success as Māori will look like at this school.

4 Sustainable Performance

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

The school is very well placed to sustain and improve its performance.

Trustees have a very good understanding of their governance role. They are well informed about the school curriculum and student achievement and make wise resourcing decisions. The board and senior leaders are clear about the school’s priorities for future development and are focused on ensuring that all students succeed in their learning.

The principal is a strong professional leader. This is evident in the:

  • high expectations she has of her staff
  • comprehensive and targeted support given to teachers
  • regular gathering of staff, student and parent opinions/ideas in ongoing review
  • research-informed, reflective and improvement-focused leadership.

Teachers benefit from significant, ongoing and targeted professional learning and work well as a team. The principal actively participates in and leads much of the professional development.

Provision for international students

The school is a signatory to the Code of Practice for the Pastoral Care of International Students established under section 238F of the Education Act 1989. No international students were enrolled at the time of the ERO review.

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

Opoho continues to be a high performing school. Students enjoy an interesting and diverse curriculum. Overall they achieve well against the National Standards. School programmes make very good use of local resources. All students are very well supported to learn and achieve success. The board and principal ensure there is a continual focus on improvement.

ERO is likely to carry out the next review in four-to-five years.

Graham Randell

Deputy Chief Review Officer Southern

8 May 2015

About the School

Location

North Dunedin

Ministry of Education profile number

3790

School type

Contributing (Years 1 to 6)

School roll

129

Number of international students

0

Gender composition

Boys 56%

Girls 44%

Ethnic composition

Pākeha

Māori

Pacific

Asian

79%

14%

2%

5%

Review team on site

March 2015

Date of this report

8 May 2015

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

September 2010

July 2007

August 2004