Outram School

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School Context

Outram School is a semi-rural, Years 1 to 8 primary school in Otago. There are 154 students, 14% of whom are Māori.

The school’s vision is to be a place: where children strive for excellence, love learning, develop their passions and reach their potential. The board and staff seek to provide a positive and inclusive environment where children demonstrate the school’s values of: respect, kindness, integrity and resilience. The school’s valued outcomes are for students to have strong foundations in core curriculum subjects and to be:

  • an effective communicator

  • optimistic, motivated and to make the most of opportunities

  • respectful of self, and others’ heritage and environment

  • resilient, confident and happy.

The school’s strategic priorities are related to these outcomes.

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

  • progress and achievement in reading, writing and mathematics

  • achievement in the key competencies of The New Zealand Curriculum

  • accelerated progress in reading, writing and mathematics

  • other valued outcomes related to the extension, challenge and enhancement of The New Zealand Curriculum.

The school has stable staff and board. Since the 2015 ERO review, the school has made good progress in responding to the recommendations in that report.

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 very effectively achieving equitable and excellent outcomes for all its students in literacy, mathematics and The New Zealand Curriculum key competencies.

Over the last three years, almost all students have achieved very well in reading, writing and mathematics. Levels of achievement are well maintained through to Years 6, 7 and 8. Māori students have very high achievement in reading, writing and mathematics.

Almost all students are achieving the school’s valued outcomes, as expressed in the vision statement.

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

The school is highly effective in its response to those students whose learning and achievement need acceleration.

All students who need to make accelerated progress are identified, planned for, supported and their progress is closely monitored. The school’s learning information shows that it is successful in accelerating the learning of almost all of these students in reading, writing and mathematics, including the progress of almost all boys identified as not yet meeting curriculum expectations in reading, writing and mathematics.

Children identified with additional learning needs are well supported through a range of specific, individualised programmes.

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 school’s processes are highly effective in enabling the achievement of equity and excellence.

A culture of ongoing reflection and review supports systematic and continuous improvement. Trustees are highly responsive in meeting the needs of all students, based on regular information from the principal. Trustees and leaders have created a high trust, caring culture that enables teachers to innovate and improve their practice.

Leadership capability is planned for and built at all levels of the school. Teachers and leaders demonstrate effective and adaptive expertise to better meet the needs of all students. Teacher practice is guided by high expectations, clear curriculum guidance, and a strong culture of mentoring and support.

The school’s design, organisation and innovation of the curriculum provides equitable and excellent opportunities for all children to access and succeed in learning. Students benefit from a broad, rich, localised curriculum. Their learning is enriched by access to specialist teaching and external expertise that provides for authentic, hands-on programmes.

There is a strong focus on the school’s valued outcomes and enabling students to see themselves as successful learners. The valued outcomes are well embedded and provide a solid base and coherence for learning across all areas of the curriculum.

Teachers, leaders and trustees show genuine care for individual students and their learning. They have a determination that all students will enjoy coming to school, love learning and experience success. They have developed a positive, inclusive culture. Their respectful, supportive approach to building an effective learning community results in a strong, stable team and trusting relationships.

Positive collaboration at all levels of the school includes strong collaboration between teachers and teacher aides that supports students who need extra help to succeed.

Staff know children and their families well. Teachers design responsive, individualised programmes that effectively cater to students’ needs, strengths and interests.

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

Leaders and teachers need to strengthen the use of students’ self-assessment and formative assessment practices so that students know how they can progress their own learning. They then need to embed consistent formative assessment practices across the school. This should better enable students to take increasing responsibility and ownership of their learning.

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 Vulnerable Children Act 2014.

4 ERO’s Overall Judgement

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

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:

  • consistently high levels of achievement over time

  • the ability to accelerate the progress of students who need this

  • the provision of a broad and rich curriculum

  • the provision of equitable and excellent learning opportunities.

Next steps

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

  • strengthening formative assessment practices, including students’ self-assessment, and embedding these practices consistently across the school.

Alan Wynyard

Director Review and Improvement Services Southern

Southern Region

2 May 2019

About the school

Location

Outram

Ministry of Education profile number

3795

School type

Full Primary (Years 1 to 8)

School roll

148

Gender composition

Boys 59%, Girls 41%

Ethnic composition

Māori 14%
NZ European/Pākehā 83%
Other ethnic groups 3%

Students with Ongoing Resourcing Funding (ORS)

No

Provision of Māori medium education

No

Review team on site

March 2018

Date of this report

2 May 2019

Most recent ERO reports

Education Review November 2015
Education Review August 2012

Findings

Students’ learning benefits from the positive, inclusive and supportive culture at the school. School leaders and teachers know their learners well and adapt learning programmes effectively to meet their needs. School programmes foster the values, attitudes and key competencies for students to be effective learners and citizens.

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?

Students at Outram School benefit from learning within an inclusive and supportive school culture. ERO observed high levels of student engagement in their learning and students enjoying being physically active in the school environment. Students are friendly and welcoming. They enjoy positive relationships among themselves and with their teachers.

The school is in a semi-rural location and caters for students in Years 1 to 8. Due to changing demographics, the school roll has decreased since the last ERO review in 2012. This roll change is being well managed by the board and principal.

Staffing is stable which has meant new learning and developments are more easily embedded to become established practice. All trustees are in their first term of serving on the board.

Parents and members of the local community are supportive of the school and contribute actively to school and class events, and learning programmes.

The school’s vision is for students to strive for excellence, love learning, develop their passions and reach their potential. These expectations are evident throughout the school, including in the library-based Allen Centre programme.

Since the last ERO review, the school has made significant progress with developing curriculum guidelines for teaching and learning. There is improved infrastructure for ICT and a classroom block has been redeveloped and refurbished.

2 Learning

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

The school is making effective use of achievement information to make positive changes to students’ learning.

Most students achieve at expected levels in relation to the National Standards in reading, writing and mathematics. The school has maintained these achievement levels since 2013. The school is focusing on raising the achievement levels for those who are not at the National Standards.

Teachers and leaders continue to increase their use of student achievement information, including supporting students to take a greater role in the learning process.

Students:

  • can talk confidently about their next learning steps
  • know what is expected of them in writing through the collaborative construction of success criteria, and use of exemplars and learning pathways
  • set goals for their learning and learning behaviours in collaboration with their teachers.

Teachers use learning information well to:

  • identify students in need of additional support with their learning
  • have learning conversations with students
  • evaluate the impact that their teaching is having and make relevant adjustments to learning programmes.

School leaders effectively analyse achievement data to:

  • identify areas of need for groups of students and/or school-wide
  • evaluate the effectiveness of interventions, and teaching and learning programmes
  • report some school-wide achievement information to the board.

School leaders and teachers know their learners well and align appropriate learning support to each student's individual needs. The progress of individual students is well tracked and monitored by leaders and teachers.

The board is well informed about student achievement and is using the information to make wise resourcing decisions.

Next step

ERO recommends the board and school leaders consider forming charter targets that focus more on accelerating the progress of all students not achieving at expected levels.

3 Curriculum

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

The school’s curriculum effectively promotes and supports students’ learning. It is responsive to students’ interests, needs and abilities. Senior students spoke enthusiastically about the variety of learning opportunities they have at their school.

The school’s curriculum is well designed and implemented to develop the whole child. There is an appropriate emphasis on students gaining high levels of achievement in literacy and mathematics. Learning in other subject areas is through an inquiry approach.

Topics of study are based on key concepts such as turangawaewae, interdependence, and enterprise, innovation and creativity.

School programmes foster the values, attitudes and key competencies for students to be effective learners and citizens. Students told ERO these programmes push them out of their comfort zone and encourage them to aim high.

The Allen Centre provides ongoing opportunities for students to extend and enrich their interests and learning across a wide range of curriculum areas. The Centre is popular and well used by students. Students told ERO it allows them to explore beyond the obvious.

Other features of the curriculum include:

  • students enjoying opportunities to teach and/or support other students’ learning
  • students developing and displaying their leadership abilities through a range of activities
  • the strategic use of knowledgeable and competent teacher aides to support students with learning needs
  • students with high needs, and their families, receiving high quality support and advocacy from specialist school staff.

Next steps

With the development of a comprehensive curriculum, school leaders and teachers are well placed to more critically evaluate how well the curriculum is contributing to students’ success. A summary of curriculum evaluations should show what is going well and what requires improvement.

School leaders recognise the need to review the effectiveness of the school’s provisions for students’ oral language development.

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

Māori students experience some aspects of their language and culture in school life and learning. Senior students can join the school kapa haka group. This is to be extended to all age groups in the near future. Teachers include Māori perspectives in units of study where relevant. Students have opportunities to speak, hear and sing te reo Māori and visit the local marae. The school has a plan for te reo and tikanga Māori learning across the school. It is timely to evaluate how well the expectations within the plan are being met.

The core concepts of manaakitanga and whanaungatanga are a natural and important part of life at Outram School.

Māori students progress and achieve well in literacy and mathematics in relation to the National Standards. They are well engaged in the life of the school.

The school’s strategic plan includes expectations about how things Māori are to be valued in the school. These are shared with whānau Māori and their responses are sought and acted upon where possible.

School leaders acknowledge their next step is to formally develop their vision for success as Māori. This should be developed in consultation with whānau Māori. This will help with curriculum and school-wide planning decisions. The progress towards achieving the vision needs to be evaluated and reported to whānau and to the board.

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 has developed a strategic plan that accurately reflects the school’s current priorities. The related plans and programmes are well aligned to these priorities, including:

  • targets to raise student achievement
  • professional learning to improve teaching practices.

The principal leads change in a considered and respectful way. There is a focus on building a whole-school culture. The principal and staff have worked constructively to develop a number of school-wide systems to support this. Strategic use of staffing benefits students’ learning.  

School leaders provide useful professional support to teachers, including lead teachers for literacy and mathematics.

Next steps

The school and ERO agree that the school could enhance school-wide communication and implementation of plans by:

reviewing the roles and responsibilities of leaders to ensure that they are clear and reflect current expectations

improving the documentation of key decisions made at leadership, staff and team meetings.

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’ learning benefits from the positive, inclusive and supportive culture at the school. School leaders and teachers know their learners well and adapt learning programmes effectively to meet their needs. School programmes foster the values, attitudes and key competencies for students to be effective learners and citizens.

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

Chris Rowe

DeputyChief Review Officer Southern (Acting)

5 November 2015

School Statistics

Location

Outram

Ministry of Education profile number

3795

School type

Full Primary (Years 1 to 8)

School roll

198

Gender composition

Boys: 56%

Girls: 44%

Ethnic composition

Pākehā

Māori

Other

89%

10%

1%

Review team on site

September 2015

Date of this report

5 November 2015

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

August 2012

May 2011

May 2008