Rimu School

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Education institution number:
4006
School type:
Full Primary
School gender:
Co-Educational
Definition:
Not Applicable
Total roll:
108
Telephone:
Address:

442 Rimu Road, Rimu, Invercargill

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1 Context

This school is a rural school where children learn in five multi-level classes. The school has a growing roll and is attended by children from diverse backgrounds. There is an enrolment scheme in place.

At the time of this evaluation, the principal was about to leave and the board was in the process of appointing a new principal. There is a mix of experienced and beginning teachers. An experienced board governs the school.

In recent years the school has participated in the Ministry of Education's Accelerating Learning in Mathematics professional development programme.

2 Equity and excellence

The school's vision is 'enriching education with country values'. It aims to provide the highest standard of education for students by providing enriching experiences which create connected, confident, life-long learners striving for their personal best.

The school’s achievement information shows that from 2013 to 2015 most children achieved at or above the National Standards in reading. The proportion of children achieving National Standards in writing has varied. At the end of 2015, 75% of children were at or above the National Standards in writing. A smaller percentage of children achieved at or above the National Standards in mathematics. The percentage of Māori children achieving at or above the National Standards in reading, writing and mathematics reflects the same trends.

The school has continued to strengthen its moderation processes to support reliable teacher judgements about children's achievement. The school has reviewed and strengthened its guidelines for teaching writing and the way it makes judgements about children's achievement levels in writing. The focus of professional development for teachers is the teaching of writing.

Since the 2013 ERO evaluation, the school has made very good progress in the areas identified for development. These include:

  • students being more involved in setting goals for their learning and knowing about their progress and achievement
  • the completion of the school's curriculum guidelines and development of ongoing and formal review processes
  • good processes for ensuring the school's high expectations for assessment, planning and teaching are being implemented
  • more useful long and short-term board planning which is regularly monitored and reported against.

In addition there has been considerable development in positive relationships and communication with parents, whānau and community.

3 Accelerating achievement

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

This school effectively responds to children whose learning and achievement need acceleration.

Teachers make good use of a wide range of assessment tools and practices to get to know children's learning needs and identify those needing extra support. They use learning information to plan specific teaching to accelerate children's progress and achievement. Teachers work collaboratively with external specialists to develop their capability to respond to individual children's learning needs. Leaders and teachers regularly review and monitor how children are progressing. A next step is to ensure teachers make good use of information about children's progress to critically evaluate the effectiveness of their teaching strategies.

Parents/whānau are well informed about how teachers plan to support their child's learning and are actively involved in reinforcing learning at home. Children, teachers and parents/whānau together set specific learning goals for children and regularly discuss children's progress towards these.

Teachers actively engage children in their learning by:

  • linking learning to authentic contexts and experiences
  • making the purpose of learning clear
  • providing children with criteria for assessing their own and other's learning.

In addition to the verbal feedback they receive, children would benefit from more regular, specific written feedback about what they are doing well and their next learning steps.

Leaders and teachers analyse school achievement information and use it to identify:

  • groups of children needing additional support
  • aspects of the curriculum that need to be focused on to further lift children's engagement and achievement.

Trustees fund a range of additional learning support for those children who are at risk of not achieving the National Standards.

4 School conditions

How effectively do the school’s curriculum and other organisational processes and practices develop and enact the school’s vision, values, goals and targets for equity and excellence?

This school's curriculum and other organisational processes and practices effectively develop and enact the school's vision, values, goals and targets for equity and excellence.

Children's learning benefits from an inclusive, caring environment. Positive, respectful relationships are highly evident at all levels of the school. This reflects the work the school community has done to identify its `country values' and integrate these in all aspects of school life.

Children experience a well-designed curriculum that makes good use of the local environment and expertise in the community. The curriculum has a strong focus on literacy and numeracy, and encouraging children to care for the environment. The principal, with teachers, has developed comprehensive, high quality guidelines for teaching and learning at the school. They now need to ensure that planned, regular curriculum reviews focus on `'how well' the curriculum design and delivery support children's learning.

Parents of Māori and Pacific children spoken to by ERO expressed high levels of satisfaction with the teaching and support for their children. They value the way teachers respond to the individual needs of their children. Parents are welcomed and included in the school. Children experience aspects of te reo and te ao Māori in learning activities. The school needs to continue to strengthen the teaching of te reo Māori and integration of Māori perspectives across the curriculum.

Teachers participate in well-planned, relevant professional development that is clearly linked to school goals and children's needs. Appraisal processes effectively foster teachers' professional practice. Beginning teachers receive high quality mentoring. Teachers collaborate effectively to:

  • build shared understandings of effective practice
  • provide continuity of learning through the levels of the school
  • share responsibility for all children's success in learning.

Leadership has high expectations for quality teaching and learning, and student outcomes. Leadership ensures effective planning. Teachers are empowered to use their strengths and develop their leadership capability. The principal has intentionally worked alongside a senior teacher to plan for the sustainability of these.

The principal and board make good use of feedback from students and families/whānau to inform improvement.

The board receives regular reports on children's achievement and uses these to make strategic resourcing decisions. These reports need to consistently identify the rate of progress children are making and whether or not this meets expectations. This will help trustees to better know what is working and for whom.

The board has very good policies, procedures and guidelines in place to ensure sustainable, effective governance.

5 Going forward

How well placed is the school to accelerate the achievement of all children who need it?

This school is well placed to accelerate the achievement of all children who need it.

Leaders and teachers:

  • know the children whose learning and achievement need to be accelerated
  • respond effectively to the strengths, needs and interests of each child
  • regularly evaluate how well teaching is working for these children
  • act on what they know works well for each child
  • build teacher capability effectively to achieve equitable outcomes for all children
  • are well placed to achieve and sustain equitable and excellent outcomes for all children.

This school has many effective practices to accelerate the learning of children who need to do so. With the upcoming change of school leadership, the board recognises the need to ensure these practices are sustained.

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

6 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 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

  • processes for appointing staff

  • stand down, suspensions, expulsions and exclusions

  • attendance

  • compliance with the provisions of the Vulnerable Children Act 2014.

7 Recommendation

ERO recommends that the school implement the next steps identified in this report, which are to:

  • report on the rate of progress children are making in their learning
  • ensure internal evaluations are more evaluative than descriptive
  • continue to develop the rigour and quality of teachers' investigations into the effectiveness of their teaching
  • continue to strengthen teachers' capability to teach aspects of te reo and tikanga Māori.

Lesley Patterson

Deputy Chief Review Officer Southern

14 November 2016

About the school

Location

Invercargill

Ministry of Education profile number

4006

School type

Full Primary (Years 1 to 8)

School roll

117

Gender composition

Girls: 48%

Boys: 52%

Ethnic composition

Māori

Pākehā

Samoan

Other

27%

61%

3%

9%

Review team on site

September 2016

Date of this report

14 November 2016

Most recent ERO reports

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

August 2013

March 2010

December 2006

1 Context

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

This is a small semi-rural school, where Years 1 to 8 students learn in four multi-level classrooms.

Most students come from the local area but some travel from the city. Since the 2010 ERO review, the roll has decreased.

In 2011 a new principal was appointed. All of the present teachers began during 2011 or at the beginning of 2012. As a result, the school has gone through a period of significant change.

Older students spoke enthusiastically to ERO about their school, what they learn, and their teachers. They believe that their teachers care about them and their learning and make learning interesting.

The school has an open-door philosophy. Parents are often in the school for special events and celebrations, and to talk with teachers. The principal keeps parents very well informed about learning programmes. Parents’ views are often gathered.

In 2012, a Ministry of Education (MOE) advisor worked with the school to further strengthen the quality of its achievement information and to lift the achievement of particular groups of students. The final MOE report shows that the school is making progress in these areas. ERO also found that the school had made progress in addressing the recommendations and actions in its 2010 ERO report.

2 Learning

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

The teachers, principal and trustees make effective use of achievement information when making decisions about how to support students’ learning.

Findings

Students are beginning to take a more active role in the assessment of their learning. This includes sometimes assessing their own and their friends’ learning and beginning to take responsibility in reporting their progress and achievement to their parents.

Teachers gather a wide range of assessment information to support their judgements about students’ progress and achievement. Some teachers show special skill in how they analyse individual students’ learning to identify next teaching steps.

Students at risk with their learning and those with special abilities are quickly identified. These students benefit from high quality and intensive small-group instruction with an additional teacher. Their progress is carefully monitored.

Parents are well informed about their children’s progress and achievement. Teachers often talk with parents about their children’s successes and learning needs.

The principal has developed clear expectations and systems to ensure that assessment information is reliable and valid. She regularly provides the board with useful information about students’ achievement in reading, writing and mathematics.

The board, with staff input, has set useful targets to lift the achievement of groups of students who need extra support to succeed. At the end of 2012, school information showed that 72% of students were at or above the National Standards for reading, 64% for writing and 66% for mathematics.

Areas for review and development

In some classes, students would benefit from having more knowledge about their learning goals and next learning steps. Students could have more opportunities to assess their own and their peers’ work against clear indicators and would benefit from more frequent written feedback about their learning.

Senior students are ready to take more responsibility for their learning in class and for the planning and organisation of school events.

3 Curriculum

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

Students benefit from a broad curriculum and express enthusiasm about their learning. Most students make good progress during their time at the school.

Findings

The principal has led the recent review of the school’s curriculum. This has involved extensive consultation with the board, teachers and parents to clarify the school’s values and vision. The curriculum now includes:

  • detailed guidelines for assessment, planning and teaching
  • clear expectations for achievement in most learning areas
  • clear expectations about desired learning attitudes and behaviours.

Students told ERO that they appreciated the way that their learning was relevant to their interests and their local environment. They frequently go on interesting trips beyond the school. These trips have a strong learning focus. Older students told ERO that their work was set at the right level of challenge.

Students benefit from:

  • teaching that is specific to their individual learning needs
  • some interesting inquiry-learning studies
  • learning in settled and well-managed classrooms.

Some teachers show special skill in how they reflect on their teaching strategies, adapt these, and try innovative approaches to improve students’ learning.

Area for review and development

The school has identified, and ERO agrees, that the next steps are to complete and formalise its review of the school’s curriculum. In the future, the school should regularly review how well:

  • each curriculum area is resourced and implemented
  • the school’s high expectations for assessment, planning and teaching are implemented.
How effectively does the school promote educational success for Māori, as Māori?

The school is successfully supporting Māori students to be successful in their learning and to feel pride in their culture.

Findings

The principal and teachers are determined that Māori students and their families feel valued. Since the last ERO review, an increased percentage of students identify as Māori on the school roll. Māori students represent about 27% of the roll.

Māori students who spoke to ERO said that they are achieving as well as other groups of students in the school. Any student, who is below expected levels, is very well supported. Māori students told ERO that they like their teachers and enjoy their learning. They felt that their language and culture is valued.

The principal and some teachers meet with Māori parents each term. At this meeting, they share what the school is doing to support Māori children and seek parents’ views about what else the school could do.

All teachers have benefitted from ongoing learning about effective teaching strategies when working with Māori students.

4 Sustainable Performance

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

ERO believes that the principal and trustees have the capacity to continue to improve and sustain the school’s performance.

Since the 2010 ERO review, the school has undergone considerable change and some challenges. The principal and trustees have worked hard to address these challenges. Staffing has been consistent for 18 months and the school roll is now increasing.

This ERO review occurred at the time when new trustees are elected. Half of the new board of trustees were on the previous board. The three new trustees have experience in school decision making. Two worked with the MOE advisor in 2012 and have a good understanding of the school’s priorities.

Findings

The board has a new and detailed governance manual to guide it in its work. The outgoing board had effective governance systems and kept detailed records. It prioritised funds for students’ benefit, including professional development for teachers.

The principal provides the board with useful information about school programmes, initiatives and student progress and achievement. As a new principal, she has been well supported by the board.

Some recent improvements include:

  • regular surveying of different groups within the school
  • making good use of the information they gather from surveys and consultation
  • more rigorous appraisal of the principal and teachers.

The new principal has high expectations for student achievement and teacher performance. Anonymous surveys show that the present staff feel well supported in their work and are well led by the principal.

Areas for review and development

The next steps are to:

  • further develop trustees’ understanding and use of self review
  • develop resources to support the use of effective self review in the school
  • improve the usefulness of the school’s long and short-term plans so that these better reflect the school’s identified priorities.

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.
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

19 August 2013

About the School

Location

Invercargill, Southland

Ministry of Education profile number

4006

School type

Full Primary (Years 1-8)

School roll

74

Gender composition

Boys: 43 Girls: 31

Ethnic composition

NZ European/Pākehā

Māori

European

Other

49

20

3

2

Review team on site

May 2013

Date of this report

19 August 2013

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

March 2010

December 2006

November 2003