Waianiwa School

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School Context

Waianiwa is a small, rural Years 1 to 8 school in Central Southland. The school has a roll of 40 students. A significant number of students arrive and leave during the school year, many in connection to seasonal changes in the local agricultural industry. Some students have English as a second language (ESOL).

The school’s vision is that students will be confident, actively involved learners with the necessary skills to succeed in a global environment. The values of responsibility, perseverance, cooperation, friendship, kindness, honesty and respect are promoted.

To achieve its vision the board has set strategic goals focused on promoting all students’ progress and achievement in reading, writing and mathematics (particularly those not yet at expected levels), effective teaching, and parental and community involvement in students’ learning.

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

  • students’ achievement and progress against New Zealand Curriculum (NZC) levels in reading, writing and mathematics
  • aspects of student wellbeing and engagement.

Since the 2017 ERO review the school has been recapitated from a Years 1 to 6 to a Years 1 to 8 school.

Teachers have participated in professional development about the teaching of reading and mathematics.

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 largely effective in achieving equitable and excellent outcomes for its students. The significant proportion of students arriving and leaving during the school year makes trends and patterns over time difficult to interpret.

School achievement information for 2017 to 2019 shows that:

  • most students achieved at the school’s curriculum expectations in reading, writing and mathematics
  • an increasing proportion of students have achieved at or above these expectations in reading over time
  • nearly all ESOL students achieved at curriculum expectations in reading and writing in 2019
  • a similar proportion of boys and girls achieved at curriculum expectations in all areas in 2019
  • most students report that the school provides well for their emotional wellbeing.

The school is not yet reporting on students’ achievement and progress in other areas of the curriculum.

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

The school is effective in accelerating learning for those students who need this. This is particularly apparent in curriculum areas such as reading and mathematics that have been the focus of teachers’ professional development.

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 participate and learn in a caring, collaborative and inclusive learning community. The school’s values are consistently and deliberately fostered by adults and children. These are effectively supporting students to develop respectful relationships and to value difference and diversity. The cultures and languages of students and their families are known, valued and visible in the school environment and aspects of the curriculum. Together with a strong ethos of pastoral care for children and families, this promotes a sense of belonging.

Students needing additional support are quickly identified and appropriately supported to make progress. Parents have regular, well-considered opportunities to learn about and be involved in their children’s learning.

There is a strategic, coherent approach to building teacher capability and promoting effective teaching. Trustees and leaders ensure teachers have multiple opportunities to learn, apply new knowledge and reflect on effective practice within and across schools. Professional development, appraisal, curriculum review and development processes are well aligned and support the school’s strategic and achievement goals.

School leadership effectively and consistently promotes the conditions for effective teaching and student learning and wellbeing. The principal fosters relational trust, collaboration and a culture of critical reflection focused on improving outcomes for students. As a result, teachers are reflective and collaborate well to review and document shared understandings of effective practice.

There are clear and consistent expectations for behaviour, teaching and learning. Student, parent and whānau perspectives are regularly sought to inform decisions and curriculum planning.

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

School leaders are aware, and ERO confirms, that aspects of curriculum development and design are a work in progress. It is timely for the school to evaluate and develop its curriculum to ensure that:

  • students experience the breadth and depth of NZC beyond literacy and mathematics

  • teachers find meaningful ways to assess and report students’ progress and achievement in the wider curriculum

  • there is a consistent and coordinated approach which empowers students to lead and be knowledgeable about their learning

  • bicultural perspectives are planned and have prominence in learning areas.

Aspects of internal evaluation could be strengthened to better understand the effectiveness and quality of curriculum, programmes and teaching/learning practices. This should include use of a systematic internal evaluation process to evaluate key school priorities and valued outcomes for learners.

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 Waianiwa School’s performance in achieving valued outcomes for its students is: Well placed.

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.

5 Going forward

Key strengths of the school

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

  • provision of a caring, collaborative and inclusive school culture that supports all students’ wellbeing and sense of belonging
  • ongoing, well-planned support for teacher development that promotes effective teaching
  • effective school leadership that builds relational trust across the school community and collective action to improve outcomes for students.

Next steps

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

  • completion of curriculum design and development to ensure depth and breadth of curriculum coverage in all learning areas
  • developing internal evaluation knowledge and capability at all levels of the school to understand the impact of teaching programmes and practices on outcomes for students.

Areas for improved compliance practice

To improve current practice, the board of trustees should:

  • review and strengthen risk assessment and management planning for excursions.

Dr Lesley Patterson

Director Review and Improvement Services (Southern)

Southern Region - Te Tai Tini

10 June 2020

About the school

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

1 Context

Waianiwa School is a rural school close to Invercargill city. Children learn in three multilevel classes. Most children are from local farming families and travel by bus to attend the school. Children come from many different cultural backgrounds.

A new principal has been leading the school since 2015. There have also been changes in the teaching staff.

Staff have participated in Ministry of Education (MoE) professional development programmes focused on lifting children's achievement in writing and promoting positive behaviour. The school has made a commitment to work with a student achievement MoE advisor in 2017 to further support effective teaching.

2 Equity and excellence

The school's vision is for students to be `confident, actively involved learners with the necessary skills to succeed in a global environment'. The school community, including parents, children and teachers, has recently revised its values which are now: respect, responsibility, cooperation, perseverance, friendship, kindness and honesty.

The school’s achievement information shows that more than 70% of children achieve the National Standards in reading. Achievement in writing and mathematics has improved over recent years with more than 66% achieving the National Standards in writing and fewer achieving them in mathematics. Children with high needs make good progress against individual goals.

Achievement trends for groups of children, such as Māori learners and English language learners have fluctuated over the last three years. This is in part due to small numbers and children moving into and on from the school.

The new principal and board are aware of the need to lift achievement levels in writing and mathematics. The school has had a focus on lifting achievement in writing over the last two years and there is evidence to show this has been effective in accelerating the achievement of individual learners. The school is extending this focus to the teaching of mathematics in 2017.

It is likely that staff changes in recent years have had an impact on achievement levels. The principal is working on developing clear guidelines and expectations for teaching and learning, including for the moderation of teachers' judgements about achievement.

Since the last ERO evaluation, the school has had changes in leadership and staffing. The new teaching team is in the process of developing and embedding shared understandings of many aspects of teaching and learning. Key developments are described in the following sections of this report. 

3 Accelerating achievement

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

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

The school has reviewed and strengthened its guidelines and systems for identifying children who need additional support with their learning. Teachers are making better use of a range of learning information to identify children's specific learning needs. They use this information and their knowledge of children's interests and strengths to plan targeted teaching and learning support to help children make progress.

The school provides a wide range of learning. The school works collaboratively with families and external specialists to design individualised programmes for children with high needs.

Teachers and teacher aides participate in professional learning and development (PLD) to build their capability to respond to children's learning, and social and emotional needs. As a result of recent PLD in writing, the school information shows improvements in some children's achievement levels.

Leaders and teachers regularly review children's progress and make changes to teaching plans accordingly. They critically reflect on the effectiveness of their teaching and share and discuss ideas for how they can better support children's learning.

The principal, together with trustees and staff, has focused on strengthening relationships with parents and families to support children's learning. They have reviewed and improved the way they report on children's progress and achievement. They have also provided a number of opportunities for parents to learn about their children's learning goals, how the school is addressing these and how parents can support learning at home.

The board's commitment to improving student achievement and progress is evident in the number of children receiving additional help and the extra resources the board is providing for this.

The school and ERO agree that next steps are to:

  • ensure student achievement targets are specific and measureable
  • develop systems to more effectively monitor and know about the rate of progress individual children are making.

These steps will enable trustees, the principal and teachers to be better placed to evaluate the effectiveness of programmes to accelerate children's progress.

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?

The board, principal and teaching staff are in the process of reviewing and embedding many aspects of the school's curriculum and other organisational processes and practices. The work they are doing effectively promotes the school's vision, values, goals and targets for equity and excellence.

Children have many opportunities to enjoy a broad range of experiences within and beyond the classroom. They regularly take part in sporting, cultural, technology and other learning opportunities alongside children from other schools. Senior students lead a number of day-to-day school activities and take responsibility for caring for younger children. Children play an active part in discussions with their teacher and parents about their learning goals and progress. The principal and staff acknowledge that they can improve the way they support children to understand their learning and to have a greater say in what and how they learn.

The principal and teachers believe that every child can succeed. They seek to acknowledge children’s strengths and interests and use these to motivate children to learn. Teachers are developing practices that recognise and value children's cultural identity, including Māori culture. This is becoming more evident in the school environment and incorporated in learning programmes. The school needs to continue to build shared understandings about cultural responsiveness and ensure these are well documented and embedded in systems and practices.

The principal is working in collaboration with teachers to build shared understandings of effective teaching practice and how this relates to the school’s vision, values and identity. She has high expectations for students and staff to succeed in their learning and teaching. To support this she has:

  • improved appraisal practices
  • strengthened the way teachers reflect on and evaluate their teaching
  • purposefully set about building teachers’ and teacher aides' professional capability
  • given teachers opportunities to build their leadership skills.

The principal has focused on building relationships with staff, parents and the wider community so that together they can give the children the best chances to learn well. She has strengthened governance guidelines and encouraged trustees to take advantage of training so that they can effectively govern the school. She keeps the board well informed about programmes, activities and student achievement. This enables them to make well-considered decisions that benefit all students and take a more active role in setting the strategic direction.

The board consults widely with stakeholders, including students, staff, trustees and parents to ensure they are acting in the best interests of the children and for the school’s future.

The board and principal agree that a deeper understanding of internal evaluation would lead to the implementation of more robust processes.

5 Going forward

How well placed is the school 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 to the strengths, needs and interests of each child
  • regularly evaluate how teaching is working for these children
  • need to systematically act on what they know works for each child
  • need to have a plan in place to build teacher capability to accelerate the achievement of all children who need it.

The board and principal are strongly focused on improving student achievement and are putting in place the necessary guidelines, expectations, systems and practices to support this. With further changes in staffing expected in 2017, they will need to ensure all staff are well supported to implement these expectations. The external support of the student achievement advisor will contribute to this.

ERO is likely to carry out the next full 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 the school implement the next steps identified in this report which are to:

  • ensure student achievement targets are specific and measureable
  • develop systems to monitor and report on the rates of progress children make in their learning
  • continue to develop practices to support children to know about and have a greater say in their learning
  • continue to build culturally responsive practices and guidelines
  • build school-wide understandings of internal evaluation and use these to develop more robust processes.

Dr Lesley Patterson

Deputy Chief Review Officer Southern (Te Waipounamu)

23 February 2017 

About the school 

Location

Southland

Ministry of Education profile number

4034

School type

Contributing (Years 1 to 6)

School roll

46

Gender composition

Girls: 29

Boys: 17

Ethnic composition

Māori

Pākehā

Asian

Melanesian

Other

6

28

7

4

1

Review team on site

November 2016

Date of this report

23 February 2017

Most recent ERO reports

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

August 2013

March 2010

November 2006