Te Anau School

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School Context

Te Anau School is a rural school in Fiordland for students in Years 1 to 6. It has a roll of 265 students. The school’s vision of ‘climbing our way to the top’ is supported by the school’s valued outcomes for students. These are being connected to their world, living the Fiordland values, having a can do attitude, having an inquiring mind and being effective communicators.

The school’s strategic goals include excellence in learning, engaging with their community and connecting with their changing world.

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

  • achievement in reading, writing and mathematics
  • progress and achievement in relation to school targets for mathematics and in writing
  • achievement in health and science in relation to The New Zealand Curriculum
  • achievement in relation to aspects of their valued outcomes.

Since the 2015 ERO review, the school has experienced significant roll growth. Staff and teachers have been involved in school-wide professional development in mathematics and literacy.

The school is part of the FiNS Col Community of Learning | Kāhui Ako.

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 working positively towards achieving equitable outcomes for all students.

School information from 2016 to 2018 shows that most students achieved at or above the school’s expectations in reading, writing and mathematics. Māori students overall achieved at similar levels to NZ European students within the school in reading and mathematics.

In 2018

  • the majority of students achieved at or above the school’s expectations in health

  • most students achieved at or above the school’s expectations in science

  • the majority of students achieved at or above the school’s expectations in ‘connecting with the world’ and ‘having a can do attitude’.

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

The school has had some success in accelerating the progress of students in writing, reading and mathematics over the last three years.

Between 2016 and 2018 the disparity of achievement was closed between boys and girls in reading and writing, and NZ European and Māori students in mathematics.

In 2017, almost half of those students targeted to made accelerated progress in writing, did so.

In 2018, the majority of targeted students made accelerated progress in mathematics.

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?

Students experience a rich and responsive curriculum. The curriculum effectively incorporates the school’s valued outcomes for its learners. They benefit from a range of opportunities to learn within local and cultural contexts and increased opportunities to learn about tikanga and te reo Māori. Students are well engaged in their learning and support each other in meeting their own and other students learning goals. Tailored interventions and meaningful parent engagement are in place to effectively help students who need additional learning support. Students have equitable opportunities to learn.

Leaders are effectively building teachers’ professional capability and their collective capacity as a team. Teachers are well supported to continuously improve their teaching practice through relevant professional development, useful appraisal, and allocated time for reflective practice and professional dialogue. A range of effective teaching strategies are used by teachers to promote positive student learning. Teachers plan collaboratively to ensure cohesive learning across the school. Good systems ensure that leaning about quality teaching practice is sustained.

Trustees and school leaders are highly committed to enabling equitable and excellent outcomes for all students and accelerating learning for those students who need it. The school’s evaluation framework supports a focus on ongoing improvement and includes seeking the aspirations of parents/whānau and students. Trustees and leaders have high expectations for teachers and staff. Strategic resourcing from the board and the wider community ensure adequate resourcing for initiatives designed to raise student achievement. Leaders ensure sufficient systems are in place to maintain the focus on priority learners and to build a shared responsibility for their learning.

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

Some further developments are needed in school processes and practices for ensuring continued positive learning outcomes for all students.

The board should be better informed about the rates of progress and achievement of all students. School leaders need to draw on existing data to understand the sufficiency of progress and achievement of all students, including significant groups within the school, in relation to the school’s expectations for achievement across all curriculum areas and other valued outcomes the school has for its students.

Reporting schoolwide data on progress and achievement will support the board to allocate resources effectively to ensure equitable and excellent outcomes for students.

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 Children’s Act 2014.

4 ERO’s Overall Judgement

On the basis of the findings of this review, ERO’s overall evaluation judgement of Te Anau School’s performance in achieving valued outcomes for its students is: Well placed.

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:

  • providing equitable learning opportunities within a responsive, rich curriculum that engages learners
  • effectively building teachers’ professional capability and their collective capacity for well-coordinated and consistent teaching practices that support positive student learning outcomes
  • stewardship and leadership which is highly committed to enabling equitable and excellent outcomes for all students and accelerating learning for those students who need it.

Next steps

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

  • improving systems to monitor and report on the sufficiency of progress and achievement of all students that will inform the school’s internal evaluation
  • reporting on students’ progress and achievement in relation to the school’s other valued outcomes.

Lesley Patterson
Director Review and Improvement Services Southern
7 August 2019

About the school

Location

Te Anau

Ministry of Education profile number

4206

School type

Contributing Primary (Year 1- 6)

School roll

265

Gender composition

Boys 56%, Girls 44%

Ethnic composition

Māori 21%

NZ European/Pākeha 65%

Asian 6%

Other ethnicities 8%

Students with Ongoing Resourcing Funding (ORS)

No

Provision of Māori medium education

No

Review team on site

May 2019

Date of this report

7 August 2019

Most recent ERO reports

Education Review November 2015

Education Review July 2012

Education Review October 2008

1 Context

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

Te Anau School provides a positive and supportive environment for learning for students from Years 1 to 6 and its staff.

The school is located beside the renowned Fiordland National Park world heritage area, and within the remote rural farming area of Northern Southland. The school's vision for students is embodied by ORBELL the school character and the trekking mission of 'climbing our way to the top'.

The school plays a prominent role in the Te Anau township and students' activities and successes are widely publicised. The local population is growing and has become increasingly diverse. The school's roll has increased. Students benefit from the close support of local businesses. A feature of the school is the strong positive relationships between teachers, students, staff, trustees, parents and the community. The challenges of the school's isolation are well managed.

School leaders have built an environment that promotes innovation and collaboration. Teachers are well supported to develop their strengths and interests in teaching and learning. At the time of this ERO review a new principal was moving into his role as the school's leader.

Students benefit from a rich range of experiences of relevance to them and the lives of their families and community. Teachers use the local environment well to make learning engaging and interesting.

The school has strengthened many areas identified for development in the last ERO 2012 report. This report identifies some areas for continuing development.

2 Learning

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

The school uses information about students' achievement well. Students know how well they are achieving and their next steps for learning. As students move to the senior school they learn to take increasing responsibility for managing and assessing their own learning.

The school’s level of overall achievement in relation to the National Standards is comparable to that in similar schools locally and nationally. Achievement in reading, writing and mathematics has increased with some significant gains made in mathematics. Achievement is highest for reading. While achievement for writing is lower there is a trend upward.

Teachers use a range of assessments well to ensure that their judgements about how students are achieving and progressing are reliable. This includes comparing results of assessment with other teachers to ensure students experience continuity in their learning as they move through and/or between schools. Teachers are increasingly using learning information to make changes to their own teaching practice.

At the classroom level, teachers use the results of assessment to inform their planning for students' learning. As a result:

  • students are supported and challenged to extend their learning at their level of ability
  • students’ progress and achievement are closely monitored and reported on
  • students who need additional support with aspects of their learning and those who may need extra challenges to enhance learning are identified and provided for.

Senior leaders analyse information about students’ learning well. This helps them to:

  • make decisions about appropriate support for teaching and learning
  • show the impact of teaching and learning on student groups and year levels
  • show the progress students make in their learning as they move through the school
  • set, monitor and review the school’s strategic goals and targets.

Areas for review and development

The school has support in place to raise the achievement of individual and groups of students achieving below expected levels. However, some student groups have consistently made less progress than others. Therefore curriculum reports to the board should:

  • consistently show how well these students are achieving and progressing in their learning
  • comment on the strategies that make a positive difference in their learning
  • show how well all support programmes have impacted on students' learning and comment on what has worked and why.

3 Curriculum

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

The recent use of a school character has significantly increased understanding of the school’s curriculum for students, staff and parents. ‘Orbell the takahe’ represents a can-do attitude and a willingness to change, learn and grow and has been readily adopted. This is evident in students’ enthusiastic, motivated attitude to learning and the positive school culture. Students’ academic, sporting and other successes are celebrated.

Students experience a wide variety of beneficial learning connected to the local area. This includes:

  • a good balance of academic and physical learning
  • use of expertise in the community to add depth and interest to the learning
  • topics and activities of interest and relevance
  • participating in projects that care for and protect the local environment.

In the junior school students are well supported to build their oral language and other literacy learning. This is achieved through programmes designed to equip students with the skills for learning.

In the senior school students make good use of digital technology to enhance and increasingly manage their own learning. This is an area of ongoing development for teachers and students.

As students move through the year levels they increasingly develop their awareness of themselves as learners. This includes assessing their own work and determining the next steps in their learning. Teachers value students’ opinions. They provide them with regular opportunities to share their views about their learning. They use this information well to inform their planning.

The school is developing how biculturalism is promoted through the curriculum. Te reo Māori and waiata are included as part of whole school events and celebrations. A kapa haka group has been re-established. A better-planned approach is needed to build teachers’ confidence and competence to meaningfully use te reo and tikanga Māori as a natural part of all students’ learning within the daily programmes.

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

Māori students are encouraged to participate fully in the school programme and to see themselves as learners on a journey. They have opportunities to learn about their culture, for example through visits to marae and attending cultural events such as Polyfest. Teachers are enthusiastic about building their knowledge around Māori culture and working with Māori students. The school has begun to meet regularly with Māori whānau and rūnaka. Senior leaders are developing effective ways to build teachers’ capability to work in culturally appropriate ways with Māori students.

Area for review and development

School leaders and teachers need to ensure that the progress of Māori students identified as at risk of not achieving and the strategies identified to support them are effectively implemented, monitored, reviewed and reported on. They can then more thoroughly inquire into why support for some groups of students works better than for others at the class and school-wide level.

4 Sustainable Performance

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

The school’s culture for growth and self improvement and its shared vision for students effectively supports it to sustain and improve its own performance.

The board has a clear understanding of its role as governors and how to support school improvement. Trustees are well informed about how well students are engaging and achieving. They have worked to increase the clarity of the school’s strategic planning. This includes refining the number of strategic goals and improving reporting of the school’s progress in meeting these.

The principal has created a positive, collaborative and innovative environment for learning for teachers and students. Teachers feel well supported to improve their professional practice and develop as leaders. They are developing useful ways to inquire into the effectiveness of their teaching practices and improve the way they support students to learn.

There are many examples of useful self review that have had a positive impact on outcomes for students. The opinions of students, parents and the wider school community are sought to inform the school’s strategic direction and self review.

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 provides a positive environment for learning. Students and teachers have many opportunities to grow their strengths and interests. Good use is made of the rich local environment to make learning relevant and engaging. Students achieve well in literacy, mathematics and their wider learning. Support for some groups of students requires strengthening.

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

Chris Rowe

Deputy Chief Review Officer Southern (Acting)

4 November 2015

About the School

Location

Te Anau

Ministry of Education profile number

4026

School type

Contributing (Years 1 to 6)

School roll

217

Gender composition

Boys: 51%

Girls: 49%

Ethnic composition

Pākehā 80%

Māori 15%

Asian 4%

Pacific 1%

Review team on site

September 2015

Date of this report

4 November 2015

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review July 2012

Education Review October 2008

Education Review October 2005