Waiau Area School

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Education institution number:
402
School type:
Composite
School gender:
Co-Educational
Definition:
Not Applicable
Total roll:
134
Telephone:
Address:

47 Orawia Road, Tuatapere

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Findings

On the basis of the findings of this review, ERO’s overall evaluation judgement is that the school has made very good progress in relation to the priorities identified in this report and will now transition into ERO’s Evaluation for Improvement approach.

1 Background and Context

What is the background and context for this school’s review?

Waiau Area School is located in Tuatapere, Southland. The school caters for 134 students in Years 1 to 15, approximately 35 percent of whom identify as Māori.

The 2020 ERO report acknowledged the progress the school had made in addressing many areas identified in the 2016 ERO external evaluation. In 2016, the concerns were significant and related to assessment, curriculum design, teaching and learning, school governance and leadership. In addition, the school’s property and environment also required significant remediation.

Between 2016 and 2021, the roll has continued to steadily increase. Stronger links with the community are in place, and the board has several long-term, experienced trustees. The tumuaki, recruited using the Principal Recruitment Allowance (PRA), and a number of new and existing staff have continued to make key strategic improvements.

The Ministry of Education (MoE) has provided ongoing support to the school including a regional School Improvement Team (SIT). The MoE has also provided targeted professional learning and development opportunities in mathematics, literacy and curriculum design. Key property improvements have been completed to enhance school learning facilities and environments.

Since 2017, ERO has worked closely with Waiau Area School, providing ongoing monitoring of school progress and evaluations for school improvement. Regular visits, classroom observations, and meetings with the board, leaders, teachers, students, parents and external support agencies have occurred as part of a working partnership between the school and agencies.

2 Review and Development

How effectively is the school addressing its priorities for review and development?

Priorities identified for review and development

The school is effectively addressing its areas for review and development. ERO had identified ongoing long-term priorities for improving student outcomes including:

  • student achievement and other valued learner outcomes
  • responsive curriculum and teaching effectiveness
  • leadership and governance effectiveness.
Student achievement and other valued student outcomes

Attendance has improved over time. The school has improved its tracking and monitoring systems. Attendance data is analysed, and staff work positively with students and their whānau to facilitate more regular attendance and engagement.

Leaders and teachers have developed better systems and processes to assess, record, track and use student learning information across the school. There is a commitment to further strengthen the collective capacity of leaders and teachers to use in-depth analysis of outcomes information for programme planning.

In the senior school improved tracking, assessment practices and external moderation ensure students are monitored and supported. The school meets the requirements of the New Zealand Qualifications Authority (NZQA) and has strengthened its processes.

Over time, student achievement has steadily improved in several areas. School information shows that Māori students, across all years, achieve at similar, or better levels than other students. This is a key area of school success.

An increasing number of senior students are achieving their literacy and numeracy requirements to attain National Certificates of Educational Achievement (NCEA) at Levels 1 and 2. More students are progressing to success in Level 3, and some students have achieved subject endorsements. This is an area for ongoing development to meet individual learning pathways.

The school has clearly identified those students whose learning requires extra support. School data shows that an increasing number of these students are accelerating their learning progress. Teachers use suitable assessment tools and are making better use of achievement information to inform planning that meets students’ individual learning requirements.

Students in Years 1 to 10 are achieving well in reading, with over 80 percent reading at or above their expected curriculum level. Specific mathematics intervention programmes have led to improved engagement and learning outcomes in mathematics. As a result, 73 percent of the students are working at or above their expected level in this subject. Writing is an area where fewer students are at the expected level, and the school has interventions in place to address this.

The school actively encourages and supports a wide range of valued student outcomes. Teachers work with students to develop meaningful and successful pathways towards industry and tertiary studies. Students increasingly display an understanding of their own learning, a sense of purpose and confidence to achieve goals. They are supported to pursue and succeed in their areas of interest.

Responsive curriculum and teaching effectiveness

Since 2016, leaders and teachers have worked systematically to provide opportunities for students to experience rich and more relevant learning contexts. These contexts reflect their individual needs, interests and reflect the local curriculum. The increased roll has enabled the school to provide more specialist teachers in the senior school.

Leaders and teachers work closely with students and their families to provide programmes that cater for students’ individual aspirations and pathways. Students are increasingly well supported to access a broad range of meaningful opportunities outside of the school, including tertiary courses, work experience and education outside the classroom.

The school has accessed useful targeted external expertise to support teachers. Combined with school-led strategies to grow teaching capability, this is resulting in:

  • a more student-centred approach to classroom teaching practice and curriculum development
  • significant progress in meeting the needs of learners requiring extra support
  • the establishment of a foundation for greater understanding and development of culturally responsive practices within and beyond the classroom
  • staff working more collaboratively and engaging in professional activities and reflective conversations about their teaching practice to ensure continuous improvement.
Leadership and governance effectiveness

Leaders, teachers, staff and trustees are strongly committed to the ongoing improvement to the conditions, environment and school capacity to improve student outcomes. Leaders have benefited from external support and continue to show a well-considered, student-centred approach to change for improvement. The growth of leadership capacity and capability is a key success in this school.

Leaders model inclusivity and respect. They intentionally build the capacity of teachers to meet the needs of students. A deliberate policy of distributed leadership has supported and encouraged teachers to engage in professional learning and to develop their own leadership skills. Leaders have shown strategic approaches, care and commitment to form stronger links with the community.

Students and their families are made to feel welcome and valued. Importance is given to students being known and understood by the staff. Student success is celebrated, and surveys show that they feel positive about their school and appreciate that they have a voice in decision making. Students benefit from the school’s supportive reciprocal relationships with the community.

Trustees scrutinise school data and work with the leaders to ensure ongoing improvement. The board receives detailed information and evidence about student progress, achievement and other outcomes, through mid and end-of-year reporting. This is now used purposefully to inform strategic decision-making for resourcing and targeted planning. With MoE support, the board and school leaders, have overseen substantial improvements to the school’s physical environment to support student learning and wellbeing.

3 Sustainable performance and self review

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

Waiau Area School is well placed to sustain and continue to improve and review its performance. The school has made significant progress in improving the conditions for student learning and wellbeing. Through the 2020 and 2021 pandemic, the school demonstrated a strong response and commitment to meeting the needs of students and whānau and contributing to support the wider Tuatapere community.

By establishing an inclusive and welcoming environment, leaders and staff have considerably broadened and improved conditions for student success, learning and wellbeing. The school has a very settled learning climate. ‘The Waiau Way’ is a well understood set of expectations and values that underpin positive, respectful relationships across the school. The school strongly reflects and embodies its values of ‘Respect Ourselves, Respect Others and Respect the Environment’.

Committed leadership has ensured a consistent focus on effective teaching and learning for equity and excellence. There is a planned approach to building internal capacity and capability to ensure continuous improvement. The support provided by the MoE has enabled leaders to improve the school’s performance. School leaders worked collaboratively with ERO to build their evaluation capacity over time.

School leaders and trustees are developing a greater shared understanding of the importance of internal evaluation to inform decision making. Ongoing development of a range of tools to support the evaluation of programmes, initiatives and systems will enable leaders and teachers to understand better what is working and what is not, and why, and this will facilitate further improvement.

Key priorities for future development

The key areas for ongoing improvement are to:

  • continue to build a coherent school curriculum that includes culturally responsive, bicultural approaches, contexts and practices that promote further success for Māori, and as Māori
  • create and implement a long-term plan to build the school’s capacity to enact bicultural practices to meet Te Tiriti o Waitangi requirements, as outlined in the Education and Training Act 2020
  • continue to develop collaborative, needs-based, student-centred teaching and learning approaches, and extend teacher capability to use appropriate data and other evidence to consistently inform decision-making and programme planning
  • continue to build a schoolwide understanding of, and effective use of, internal evaluation to increase shared sense-making and internal monitoring practice
  • continue work on building future board sustainability and trustee leadership, including current diverse community representation, and planning for induction and board training.

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
  • school policies in relation to meeting the requirements of the Children’s Act 2014.

Conclusion

Waiau Area School has made significant improvement in its overall performance.

On the basis of the findings of this review, ERO’s overall evaluation judgement is that the school has made very good progress in relation to the priorities identified in this report and will now transition into ERO’s Evaluation for Improvement approach.

Dr Lesley Patterson
Director Review and Improvement Services (Southern)
Southern Region - Te Tai Tini

9 December 2021

About the school

The Education Counts website provides further information about the school’s student population, student engagement and student achievement.

Findings

1 Background and Context

What is the background and context for this school’s review?

Waiau Area School caters for 130 students in Years 1 to 15, 27 percent of whom identify as Māori. The May 2016 ERO report identified significant concerns regarding assessment, curriculum design, teaching and learning, school governance, and leadership. The school’s property and environment required significant remediation.

Since 2016, a new principal has been recruited using the Principal Recruitment Allowance (PRA). Several new staff have joined the school. The board has several trustees continuing in their role from the 2019 elections and some key property improvements have been completed. The roll is steadily increasing and the school is building stronger links with the community.

The Ministry of Education (MoE) provided support to the school through the local MoE School Improvement Team (SIT). The MoE also provided targeted professional learning opportunities in mathematics and support for property matters.

In the past two years, ERO has worked closely with the school. This has included regular monitoring and evaluation visits, classroom observations and meetings with students, the board, leaders, staff and external support agencies.

2 Review and Development

How effectively is the school addressing its priorities for review and development?

Priorities identified for review and development

In 2016, ERO identified priorities for improvement to evaluate the school’s progress and performance in relation to improving student outcomes. These were:

  • student achievement and other valued student outcomes

  • responsive curriculum and teaching effectiveness

  • leadership and governance effectiveness.

Waiau Area School is working to address the key areas identified in 2016 for review and development. The school continues to improve the conditions for student learning as it builds its internal capacity and capability. Strengthening professional educational leadership schoolwide and further promoting effective teaching and learning are the school’s main priorities.

Student achievement and other valued student outcomes

Student achievement in mathematics is improving and the school is successfully accelerating the progress of groups of students receiving targeted support. Leaders have developed better systems to use student learning information to monitor students’ progress and achievement. Assessment practices, including the use of data, require ongoing action strengthening the curriculum.

The school’s achievement information indicates that most Years 1 to 10 students achieve at or above the expected curriculum levels in reading, writing and mathematics. Recent school information shows that Māori students achieve at similar levels, or better, than other students. Boys are not yet achieving at the same level as girls and the school should ensure strategies to address this are developed and key targets set.

The school has effective systems for identifying Years 9 and 10 students who need additional learning support in literacy, numeracy and science. These students are closely monitored and provided with appropriate, targeted support programmes in literacy and numeracy. This is an area of significant progress.

Over the past two years, more Years 11 to 13 students achieved their literacy and numeracy requirements to attain National Certificates of Educational Achievement (NCEA). Through individual mentoring and close tracking, students monitor their own progress towards gaining NCEA and teachers are providing more individualised support.

The school is promoting a wider range of valued student outcomes. A recent school survey showed that most students are positive about their school, and this reflects the overall school climate. More students are attending regularly. However, school data show overall rates of attendance still require significant improvement.

Since 2016, the board has been better informed about student achievement through mid and end of year reporting. The next stage of reporting development includes more in-depth schoolwide and classroom data analysis and evaluation to inform the board’s decision making and priorities for ongoing improvement.

Responsive curriculum and teaching effectiveness

The school is providing a broader curriculum. Students have increased opportunities to experience a wider range of learning areas. Some learning experiences are culturally responsive and this is an area for further improvement.

Students have increased access to specialist teachers and educational experiences beyond the classroom. Senior students benefit from a wider range of subject choices and a curriculum better designed to meet their needs, interests and pathways.

Considerable external input, and internal professional learning, is resulting in:

  • increasing professional capability and collaboration of teachers and leaders

  • developing students’ skills and confidence to succeed in mathematics

  • a more student-centred approach to curriculum development and learning opportunities.

There has been significant progress overall in meeting the needs of learners requiring extra support. There is a clearly allocated leadership role to support these students, their teachers and whānau. The coordinator of this role has developed and improved systems, processes and practices to ensure that these students are identified and better supported.

Improved mathematics teaching through targeted teaching for mixed ability groups has resulted in positive outcomes for students. The planned junior school change now requires careful consideration of effective teaching practices informed by research, evidence and school data to build on what is working well for students in the school. Careful use of the school evaluation indicators would support decision making.

Leadership and governance effectiveness

Leaders, teachers and trustees are improving the conditions, environment and school capacity to improve student outcomes. The new senior leadership team is working respectfully with students, staff, the community and external agencies. Leaders are open to receiving external support and making changes to benefit students. The school is more collaborative and improvement focused.

School leaders and the board, with MoE support, have substantially improved the school property and environment. The school hall and gym have been upgraded. Classrooms have been improved to provide teachers and students with more choice in the layout and use of learning environments.

Other key improvements include:

  • school values (the Waiau Way) that support more consistent and positive behaviour for learning

  • increased resourcing and environments for student learning and physical play

  • a school culture that celebrates student success

  • NCEA external moderation and assessment practices

  • strengthened appraisal processes using external advice and support.

3 Sustainable performance and self review

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

The school is developing its capacity to continue to improve and review its performance. Some areas of improvement, such as positive behaviour expectations and relationships, are developing into schoolwide practices. This focus is having a positive impact on outcomes for student wellbeing and learning.

Over the past two years, the school has been well supported by the MoE. It has benefitted from ongoing external support and professional learning. This partnership has enabled leaders to build internal capacity and improve the school’s performance and the school environment. Significant progress is evident in community relationships. The school roll has increased and retention is improving.

School leaders have recently established regular cycles of reporting schoolwide student progress and achievement information to the board of trustees. A stronger focus on data evaluation and use would strengthen the collective capacity of leaders and teachers to use in-depth analysis of outcomes information to accelerate student learning.

As part of sustaining improvement, it is timely for leaders to strengthen their internal evaluation processes. This includes developing a shared understanding of internal evaluation, its purpose and application, and the creation of clear processes and planned approaches to guide the implementation of effective evaluation across the school. The development of a plan for sustainability is the next step for trustees and leaders.

Key priority

The key priority is to develop a school-led approach for sustainable improvement to reduce the need for external support. Strengthened professional, educational leadership is now required to:

  • plan and coordinate a coherent school curriculum that includes culturally responsive, bicultural practices that promote further success for Māori and as Māori

  • further develop student-centred teaching and learning approaches, using mathematics as a model

  • strengthen moderation and assessment practices for Years 1 to 10

  • use data to regularly inform decision making, including the design and evaluation of special learning programmes

  • use a systematic, schoolwide approach using internal evaluation to determine the impact of decision making on student outcomes.

4 Board assurance and 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
  • school policies in relation to meeting the requirements of the Children’s Act 2014.

5 Recommendations

Recommendations, including any to other agencies for ongoing or additional support

ERO recommends that the Ministry of Education continues to support the school to implement a Waiau Area School curriculum to offer students meaningful pathways. The school also requires external professional development in the teaching of literacy.

Conclusion

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

Developing

ERO will maintain an ongoing relationship with the school to build its evaluative capacity to improve student outcomes and monitor progress towards sustainable school improvement.

ERO’s Framework: Overall Findings and Judgement Tool derived from School Evaluation Indicators: Effective Practice for Improvement and Learner Success is available on ERO’s website.

Dr Lesley Patterson

Director Review and Improvement Services (Southern)

Southern Region - Te Tai Tini

14 February 2020

About the School

Location

Tuatapere, Southland

Ministry of Education profile number

402

School type

Composite (Years 1 to 15)

School roll

130

Gender composition

Girls 55% Boys 45%

Ethnic composition

Māori

NZ European/Pākehā

27%

73%

Review team on site

November 2019

Date of this report

14 February 2020

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

July 2019

May 2016

February 2014