Riversdale School

We maintain a regular review programme to evaluate and report on the education and care of young people in schools.

We are in the process of shifting from event-based external reviews to supporting each school in a process of continuous improvement.

There may be delays between reviews for some schools and kura due to Covid-19 and while we transition to our new way of reviewing.

Read more about our new processes and why we changed the way we review schools and kura.

Find out which schools have upcoming reviews.

School Context

Riversdale School is a rural Year 1-8 school near Gore with a roll of 100 children.

The school states its vision is inspiring excellence, kairangi fakalaumālie and its mission is today’s learners tomorrow’s leaders, Akonga o teie mahana, te feia faatere o te apopo. The school’s valued outcomes are for all children to work well together, to aim high and to have good self-esteem. The school’s aims and goals focus on all children being engaged and experiencing success, and for 80-85% of children to reach the school’s expectations for achievement in literacy and mathematics.

Leaders and teachers regularly report to the board, school-wide information about outcomes for students in the following area:

  • progress and achievement in relation to school expectations and targets in reading, writing and mathematics. 

The school has an experienced principal and a stable board. There have been some changes in staff since the 2014 ERO review. The school roll has declined in the previous three years, partly due to changes in the dairy industry. A number of children also move schools during the year due to changing conditions in the dairy industry.

Riversdale School is a member of the Eastern Southland Kāhui Ako |Community of Learning (CoL)

Evaluation Findings

Equity and excellence – valued outcomes for students

1.1 How well is the school achieving equitable and excellent outcomes for all its students?

The school is taking all reasonable steps to achieve equitable and excellent outcomes for all its students.

Most children achieve well in reading, writing and mathematics and the majority achieve well in writing.

There is disparity for Māori in reading, writing and mathematics and for boys in writing. The school has identified this and is actively working to address these disparities.

1.2 How effectively does this school respond to those Māori and other students whose learning and achievement need acceleration?

The school is responding well to those Māori and other students whose learning and achievement need acceleration.

The majority of children and most Māori children make accelerated progress in reading.

2 School conditions for equity and excellence

2.1 What school processes and practices are effective in enabling achievement of equity and excellence?

The board, principal and staff consistently maintain strong communication and respectful relationships with children, families and whānau. Communication is open and reciprocal.  It is strongly focused on children’s wellbeing, interests and supporting their achievement in all aspects of their lives.  Children new to the school and often attending for only a short time are also very well supported in their learning and wellbeing. They are valued as unique individuals, who bring special qualities to be treasured and enhanced within the school environment.

Leaders and teachers work collaboratively to ensure a rich and varied curriculum. Children’s interests are well integrated to engage them in meaningful learning. Good use is made of local expertise and the environment to enhance their learning. All children have opportunities to succeed, to be leaders and share their interests, skills and knowledge with the whole school.

Te ao Māori is valued and skilfully interwoven throughout the curriculum. Māori children have a growing pride in their identity and culture. They are encouraged to succeed as Māori.

Children are taking increasing responsibility for their learning. Teachers actively involve them in decisions about their learning goals and monitoring their progress. Children are also able to make choices about what, how and when they will learn. They are engaged and learning is purposeful.

The capable professional leadership team effectively helps all teachers to improve their performance. They use the staff appraisal process and application of professional learning to improve the quality of teaching, particularly for children at risk of not succeeding. Professional learning is valued and well used to challenge teachers’ thinking and perceptions. This is building strong professional practice based on current research to improve outcomes for all children.

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

A few of the school’s processes and practices need to be improved to increase their effectiveness in achieving equity and excellence. The board and leaders need to:

  • extend internal-evaluation processes to focus more on the outcome for children’s achievement
  • ensure the school targets focus on children who have yet to reach school achievement expectations.

Leaders and teachers need to strengthen aspects of the curriculum and reporting by:

  • reviewing the school curriculum design to ensure it reflects current teaching practices
  • extending the depth of analysis and evaluative summary in student achievement reports to the board.

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 Going forward

Key strengths of the school

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

  • providing an inclusive and supportive school culture for all children and families
  • ensuring a rich and varied curriculum that engages children in meaningful learning
  • making effective use of professional learning to improve learning and teaching.

Next steps

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

  • strengthening the evaluative aspects of internal evaluation to focus more on what the school is doing well and having the best impact for learners.

ERO’s next external evaluation process and timing

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

Dr Lesley Patterson
Deputy Chief Review Officer Southern

Te Waipounamu - Southern Region

1 February 2018

About the school 

Location

Riversdale

Ministry of Education profile number

4007

School type

Full Primary (Years 1 to 8)

School roll

100

Gender composition

Boys: 55%

Girls: 45%

Ethnic composition

Māori 19%

Pākehā  71%

Asian: 7%

Other 3%

Provision of Māori medium education

No

Review team on site

November 2017

Date of this report

1 February 2018

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review   July 2014

Education Review  August 2009

Education Review  November 2006

Findings

Students experience a rich learning environment that effectively supports the school’s vision for students to ‘strive for excellence’. Teachers are dedicated to meeting the individual needs of all students. ERO observed examples of very good teaching practice. Most students achieve well. The board and principal have high expectations for students and teachers.

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?

Riversdale School is situated in rural Southland. Students who attend the school are increasingly from different cultural backgrounds. A growing number of students enter or leave the school during the school year.

The school’s vision of ‘inspiring excellence’ is highly evident across the school and is resulting in a culture of high expectations for students and teachers. There is extensive community interest and support for the school. Parents have high expectations and aspirations for their children’s learning.

Teachers know their students well. They make a point of getting to know students’ interests and abilities. Teachers are dedicated to meeting the individual needs of all students.

The school has experienced high staff turnover over recent years. Many teachers are new to the school for 2014 and the deputy and assistant principal are in acting roles.

The board has taken well-considered steps to address the recommendations in the 2009 ERO report in relation to supporting staff and managing their workloads. This reflects the high expectations the principal and board have for teaching and learning.

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 use student achievement information well to support students’ learning.

Most students are achieving well in reading, writing and mathematics in relation to the National Standards. Students who are achieving below the school’s high expectations are identified and receive extra help to improve.

The school has useful systems for tracking and monitoring student achievement and progress. Teachers use achievement information to ensure they are teaching what is needed to cover any gaps in students’ learning and to challenge students appropriately with new learning. Students spoken to by ERO said that “teachers push us to do our best.”

Teachers know their students well as individuals and as learners. They set meaningful goals which the students know about and are working towards. Students benefit from the specific written feedback teachers provide about their learning. Students with special learning needs are identified and provided for within their classrooms. The growing numbers of students who have English as a second language receive extra support, within and apart from their classes, from a teacher aide.

The board receives detailed, well-analysed reports about student achievement and progress. Reports include what teachers will do to support students who need extra help to succeed. Trustees use reports to make decisions about resources, suitable professional development and the skill gap they need to fill when appointing new teachers. It would be beneficial for the board to receive mid-year reporting on student achievement in relation to the National Standards.

Next steps

There is potential for students to take more responsibility for their learning. They could be made more aware of the purpose of their learning and be more involved in the assessment process. This will allow for students to have a say in their next learning steps and goal development.

Reports to parents about their child’s learning could be improved. Information needs to:

  • be in plain language
  • clearly identify the students’ next learning steps
  • suggest ways parents can support their child’s learning
  • clearly show their achievement against the National Standards.

3 Curriculum

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

The school provides a rich learning environment that effectively promotes and supports the school’s vision for students to ‘strive for excellence’.

Teachers maintain a strong focus on broad learning experiences in local contexts where appropriate. The board ensures the school is well resourced, reflecting the high value they place on teaching and learning.

The principal:

  • ensures detailed guidelines support all aspects of planning, teaching and learning
  • provides teachers with specific feedback to ensure they meet the school’s high expectations.

Beginning teachers and those new to the school receive extensive support in line with the school’s vision.

Students’ work is valued and carefully displayed to celebrate achievement and inspire improvement. Teachers support students to become successful learners after they leave Year 8. In most classrooms ERO observed a settled learning environment with good to very good quality teaching.

Students enjoy a wide variety of sporting and other outdoor activities. The high level of student participation in physical activity is valued by the school’s community.

Students who spoke to ERO said:

  • teachers care about them and their learning
  • the work is challenging and set at the right level.
Next steps:

The principal and teachers need to:

  • refine planning requirements and clarify achievement level decision making
  • strengthen the inclusion of Māori language and perspectives in learning programmes.

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

Generally, Māori students are achieving at or above National Standards in reading, writing and mathematics. Achievement reports for 2013 showed that some students who received extra support had made accelerated progress in their learning.

Teachers know their Māori students as learners and as individuals. They analyse the progress and achievement of Māori students separately. They identify students who need extra support to make faster progress to be achieving at expected levels. The school gathers and responds to the ideas, opinions and ambitions Māori students and their whānau have for their learning.

The principal acknowledges that working with the Māori community to define success as Māori is a next step. The school would then be able to find more ways to value the identity, language and culture of Māori students.

4 Sustainable Performance

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

The school is well placed to sustain its current level of performance. ERO has some concerns about ongoing staff turnover and how this is impacting on embedding desired practices and maintaining improvements to teaching. The board is aware of this and acknowledges that this is a challenge for the school.

The board and principal are highly focused on students’ achievement and progress. The board receives regular and detailed information in relation to student achievement and school operations.

The board regularly surveys different groups in the school. These surveys are well analysed and lead to positive change.

The principal is a knowledgeable professional leader who has high expectations of herself and staff. Trustees place a significant value on professional learning and development for all staff. The purposeful professional development links to the school’s strategic priorities with an aim to raise student achievement and progress.

There are very good processes for appraising the performance of the principal and teachers. The appraisal process:

  • strongly links to the Registered Teacher Criteria and professional standards
  • closely link to the school’s strategic goals and priorities
  • includes in-depth observations of classroom practice.
Next steps

The board and teachers need to strengthen the evaluative aspect of curriculum reviews.

Trustees need to more explicitly monitor how parts of the principal’s monthly reports can clearly show progress towards achieving the targets in the annual plan.

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 experience a rich learning environment that effectively supports the school’s vision for students to ‘strive for excellence’. Teachers are dedicated to meeting the individual needs of all students. ERO observed examples of very good teaching practice. Most students achieve well. The board and principal have high expectations for students and teachers.

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

Graham Randell

National Manager Review Services Southern Region

26 August 2014

About the School

Location

Riversdale, Southland

Ministry of Education profile number

4007

School type

Full Primary (Years 1 to 8)

School roll

146

Gender composition

Boys: 152

Girls: 48%

Ethnic composition

NZ European/Pākehā

Māori

Other

83%

12%

5%

Review team on site

June 2014

Date of this report

26 August 2014

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

August 2009

November 2006

October 2003