Mossburn School

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Findings

The school’s curriculum is successfully engaging students and promoting their achievement. Students learn in a positive, inclusive, learning-focused environment. Effective leadership and governance practices mean the school is in a very good position to sustain and improve its performance. A positive school culture and a strong sense of community exist.

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?

This is a small rural school with three multi-level classes. It serves a wide-spread community with many students travelling to school by bus. Students attending the school come from an increasingly varied range of backgrounds and cultures.

The school has a long-serving principal and a stable, experienced teaching staff. This provides good continuity for students and in school practices. Involvement with other local schools extends learning opportunities for students and teachers.

A strong sense of community exists within the school and between the school and parents. Teachers make effective use of the local and regional environment to provide interesting learning opportunities for students. The board and leaders continue to make improvements to school facilities and resources.

Since the school’s May 2012 ERO review, the board, leaders and teachers have successfully retained the many positive features noted at that time. They have made good progress towards addressing areas that needed further development.

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 improve outcomes for students. This is most evident in the way leaders and teachers analyse and discuss assessment results and actively respond to emerging student strengths and needs.

Regular sharing of this achievement information with the board results in trustees being responsive to emerging trends, and making well-considered decisions about how to best further support students and teachers.

Regular feedback to students about their learning, and to parents about their progress, helps teachers, students and parents to work in partnership towards common goals to promote student progress.

The quality of the school’s achievement information has improved through the assessments teachers use and in the way that they discuss and moderate results. The overall judgements teachers make about student achievement and progress have become increasingly accurate.

Teachers make effective use of achievement information to refocus their teaching, adapt programmes and adjust teaching groups.

The school provides significant additional support for those students with the greatest learning needs. This support is well targeted, resourced and monitored. Good use is made of support staff and external expertise to support students and teachers.

3.Curriculum

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

The school’s curriculum successfully engages students and promotes their achievement. Leaders and teachers provide students with a broad and varied range of interesting and well-planned learning experiences. Students have very good opportunities to achieve success across the curriculum.

The effectiveness of the curriculum is most evident in student achievement levels in reading and maths where seventy five percent of students are achieving at or above the National Standards. Accelerated student progress is most evident in mathematics. Māori students achieve at similar levels to their peers.

Leaders and teachers are taking appropriate steps to raise student achievement in written language. Ongoing professional development and collaboration continue to foster improvements to programmes and practices.

The school’s curriculum gives appropriate emphasis to literacy and mathematics learning, developing the skills for life-long learning and promoting students’ sporting and cultural interests. Older students in particular have good opportunities to develop their leadership skills. The school’s curriculum guidelines for teaching reading, writing and mathematics are particularly useful.

All class teachers consistently use a range of effective teaching practices. For example, they have high expectations for students and are strongly committed to raising student achievement. Their teaching is clearly focused and well paced. They use a good range of resources, including the increasing use of a range of technologies to support their teaching and students’ learning.

Teachers regularly reflect on, and discuss together, their class programmes and student outcomes. Such reflection is successfully supporting ongoing improvements to the quality of education for students.

Students learn in a positive, inclusive, learning-focused environment. Leaders and teachers foster this environment through their active promotion of school values, the quality of relationships between them and students, and among students. A strong focus on celebrating success contributes to students being well motivated to learn.

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

The school promotes education success for Māori very well. Teachers actively affirm students' cultural identity. Māori students have opportunities to share and learn about things Māori. Leaders and teachers seek and respond well to the ideas of the parents of Māori students.

Māori students, along with all other students, have regular opportunities to learn about te reo and tikanga Māori. Recent changes to the nature of marae visits have increased their value to students.

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 performance.

The board is well led. A strong sense of partnership exists between the board, school leaders and staff. School priorities are clear and there is a strong focus on promoting ongoing improvement. Ongoing training helps the board to perform its responsibilities well. The board is very responsive to requests for resources that are directly linked to raising student achievement.

School leaders work in ways that foster a positive school culture. The principal makes effective use of staff strengths to benefit students and other staff.

The principal and deputy principal have high expectations and actively support students and staff to meet these. Leadership practices foster team work, collaboration and critical reflection on outcomes for students. Well targeted professional development along with recent changes to appraisal practices, are successfully supporting school improvement.

A strong sense of partnership exists between teachers and parents. This sense of partnership has been enhanced through improved communication practices. Interactions between parents and teachers are becoming increasingly focused on how best to support students' learning at home and school.

Area for review and development

The board, school leaders and teachers should build on the best of existing practices to enhance the quality of their evaluation and self review. Future developments should include:

  • extending guidelines for undertaking regular, robust self reviews
  • complementing the strong focus on evaluating student outcomes with further analysis of factors that may be helping or hindering student progress.
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’s curriculum is successfully engaging students and promoting their achievement. Students learn in a positive, inclusive, learning-focused environment. Effective leadership and governance practices mean the school is in a very good position to sustain and improve its performance. A positive school culture and a strong sense of community exist.

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

Chris Rowe

Deputy Chief Review Officer Southern (Acting)

13 August 2015

About the School

Location

Southland

Ministry of Education profile number

3990

School type

Contributing (Years 1 to 6)

School roll

61

Gender composition

Girls 30;

Boys 31

Ethnic composition

NZ European/Pākehā

Maori

Asian

41

15

5

Review team on site

June 2015

Date of this report

13 August 2015

Most recent ERO reports

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

May 2012

August 2008

June 2005

Education Review Report: Arotake Paerewa Mossburn School

The purpose of ERO’s reviews is to give parents and the wider school community assurance about the quality of education that schools provide and their children receive. An ERO school report answers the question “How effectively is this school’s curriculum promoting student learning - engagement, progress and achievement?” Under that overarching question ERO reports on the quality of education and learning outcomes for children and for specific groups of children including Māori students, Pacific students and students with special needs. ERO also reports on the quality of the school’s systems for sustaining and continuing improvements.

1. Context

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

Mossburn School is a small rural school. The school roll is lower than in previous years. This year there is one less classroom and class sizes have changed. Students continue to receive high levels of support for their learning.

There is a strong focus on learning and celebrating student success. Teachers and students have high expectations for students’ learning and behaviour. There are positive relationships between adults and students and among the students. Students told ERO that their school is a safe and friendly place for all students. Staff know the students well and work collegially to support their learning. Teachers receive effective support from the board and principal for their ongoing professional development and personal wellbeing.

Students enjoy participating in the many different sporting and cultural activities. Parents and the wider community support the school well. Parents coach sports, assist in classroom programmes and accompany students on outdoor education activities.

There have been recent changes in board membership. Trustees are still coming to terms with their governance role.

2. Learning

How well are students learning – engaging, progressing and achieving?

Students are highly engaged in their learning. Teachers carefully monitor students’ progress. The school’s achievement information from 2011 shows that in reading and mathematics, approximately three-quarters of the students achieved at or above the National Standards. In writing, nearly two-thirds of the students achieved at or above the National Standards. The board, with the principal and staff, has set a target for 2012 to raise achievement in writing.

Areas of strength

Student engagement. Students display high levels of interest and motivation in their learning. They can discuss what they are learning and why it is important. They talk confidently about their goals and next learning steps. Many students told ERO that they were particularly enjoying their writing programme.

Quality of teaching. All students benefit from high quality teaching. Teachers:

  • demonstrate the belief that all students can achieve
  • use a wide range of teaching strategies to engage students in purposeful learning
  • support students to achieve their learning goals.

Teachers effectively use achievement information to build on what students already know, and plan suitable learning experiences. The pace of learning is appropriate to students’ needs.

Support for learning. Students receive high levels of support to help them succeed. Teachers aim to meet students’ needs and interests through explicit teaching in whole-class, small-group and one-to-one interactions. Targeted assistance is given to students identified as not achieving. There are well planned enrichment opportunities for students who require extension. The purposeful use of teacher aides, parent help and community support enhances teaching and learning programmes.

Area for review and development

Implementation of National Standards. Teachers need to continue to build their confidence and knowledge in working with the National Standards. Teachers acknowledge, and ERO agrees, that they need to develop further practices related to:

  • making overall teacher judgements about student achievement in relation to the standards
  • using achievement information and observations from other learning areas to assist them in making these judgements.

How well does the school promote Māori student success and success as Māori?

Māori students are actively engaged in their learning. Their individual successes are recognised and celebrated. Māori students have shown leadership and contributed to the establishment of a whārenui space. Reports to the board indicate that Māori students are achieving as well as their non-Māori peers. Any students identified as not achieving as well as they could receive additional support. Māori whānau have been consulted for their views about aspects of te reo me ono tikanga Māori in the curriculum. The teacher who identifies as Māori is supporting staff and students in the delivery of te reo Māori programmes.

Area for development

The board and teachers, preferably in consultation with Māori whānau, should review how well current practices match the objectives of the school’s Treaty of Waitangi and Tikanga Māori policies.

3. Curriculum

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

Classroom programmes and effective teaching practices are promoting and supporting all students’ learning, particularly in literacy and mathematics. The curriculum begins with local issues and then extends this to look at global issues. The school motto of ‘Attitude is Everything’ guides teaching and learning practices. Students speak confidently about the place of the school’s values and how they impact on their learning and behaviour. Key competencies are well incorporated into the curriculum design. Teachers make effective use of the local environment and resources.

There are useful guidelines for teaching and learning. These include expectations for how teachers:

  • plan units of work to meet the needs and abilities of all students
  • deliver programmes for learning using a range of approaches
  • use a range of assessment strategies and tools.
Area for development and review

The school leaders need to make more explicit how teachers are to provide coverage and depth of learning in social sciences, technology and science.

4. Sustainable Performance

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

Area of strength

Leading the school. The principal has high expectations for staff and students. He is readily accessible to students, staff and parents. The principal provides opportunities for staff to develop leadership. He effectively uses their strengths and interests to lead school-wide developments. The principal gives the board well-analysed student achievement information to support it in its decision making.

Areas for development and review

Governance and management. The board has had several changes in membership over the last year. Not all trustees have yet taken up opportunities for training about their governance responsibilities. It is now timely for the board and management to review and clarify their respective roles and responsibilities so that all key people know and fulfil expectations and obligations.

Strengthening review. The school’s current self-review practices lack rigour. They do not yet effectively cover all aspects of the school’s operation, such as review of the board’s strategic direction and teaching and learning programmes. Some self-review reports tend to be descriptive rather than evaluative. The board needs to develop and implement an effective framework for self review that keeps it focused on continuous improvement.

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
  • stand-downs, suspensions, expulsions and exclusions
  • attendance.
  1. ERO identified an area of concern in relation to preserving people’s privacy in the board minutes. The board needs to develop a protocol for excluding the public from meetings when necessary. Practices need to reflect legal requirements. [Local Government Official Information and Meetings Act, Part 7, s48]
  2. The appraisal of the principal requires more rigour. In 2011 this was not completed. The principal and board did not receive a report on his performance against the school’s strategic goals and professional standards for principals. [s77C State Sector Act 1988 & National Administration Guideline 3 - 1993 National Education Guidelines].
Recommendations to other agencies

ERO recommends that the Ministry of Education consider providing support for the board in order to bring about the following improvements:

clarification of the respective roles and responsibilities of trustees and managers.

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

31 May 2012

About the School

Location

Mossburn

Ministry of Education profile number

3990

School type

Contributing (Years 1 to 6)

School roll

58

Gender composition

Girls 29 Boys 29

Ethnic composition

NZ European/Pākehā

Māori

48

10

Special Features

Host School for Resource Teacher of Learning and Behaviour

Review team on site

March 2012

Date of this report

31 May 2012

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

August 2008

June 2005

June 2002