Wallacetown 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

Wallacetown School is a primary school near Invercargill. It caters for students in Years 1 to 6, with a roll of 54. Māori students make up twenty four percent of the roll.

The school’s mission is: ‘Skills for living, skills for learning and the confidence to have a go’. This is underpinned by the values: ‘To be respectful, responsible and to be a learner’. The school aims for student’s individual learning needs to be met in a positive and supportive environment.

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

Since the 2016 ERO review the school has had a change in the teaching team. Staff are currently involved in professional development in the areas of positive behaviour for learning, science teaching and Rongohia te Hau.

The school is a member of the Invercargill Kāhui Ako|Community of Learning.

The school’s strategic priorities support its focus on Kāhui Ako involvement, explicit expectations for student achievement, developing a bicultural context, continuing to develop its positive learning environment and becoming a valued part of the community.

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 making some progress in achieving equitable and excellent outcomes for its students. It is achieving good outcomes for most students in reading and in mathematics and beginning to close the gap for Māori students in writing. However there is disparity for these students in reading and mathematics.

School achievement information also shows continued disparity for boys in writing and declining levels of achievement for girls in mathematics.

However, by the end of Year 6 almost all students achieve at or above expected curriculum levels in reading and mathematics.

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

In 2018, half the students targeted to make accelerated progress in writing did so.

To know about the impact teaching had made on its priority students, 2018 was the first year that the school had analysed its achievement information.

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?

Children benefit from relevant learning and teaching programmes that respond to their individual needs and interests. Teachers share ideas and expertise to maximise the support available for priority learners. Their teaching practice continues to develop to better meet student learning needs.

The board makes appropriate resourcing available for staff and learners, to ensure the needs of children are met. The Invercargill Kāhui Ako provides targeted professional learning and collegial connections for leaders and teachers.

Teachers successfully build learning-focused partnerships with parents and encourage open communication. There are regular meetings to celebrate progress and to discuss next learning steps, with additional support meetings provided for priority learners. Students told ERO they feel well supported at school.

Teachers, leaders and the board have a strong commitment to providing a safe, nurturing and inclusive environment. Professional development for staff in culturally responsive teaching practices has resulted in an increasing inclusion of te reo Māori and Māori perspectives throughout the school. The board is aware of the need to represent diversity in the community and is taking positive steps to address this. As a result of these initiatives students know that Māori culture is valued in their school.

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

Improvement in the collation, analysis and reporting of progress and achievement data is an identified area for development. To better support progress in this area, leaders need to:

  • identify the sufficiency of progress for all students

  • provide the board with useful information about progress and achievement for the whole school and significant groups

  • evaluate the impact of school programmes to know the difference they make to student outcomes.

The board needs to review the expectations of the principal as the professional leader of the school. This review should include:

  • ensuring the strategic aims are met

  • identifying the appropriate balance between leadership and management

  • establishing consistent, schoolwide systems to know about the effectiveness of teaching and learning.

The school’s appraisal process requires development to ensure it meets the Teaching Council expectations and provides a robust system to build teacher capability.

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 ERO’s Overall Judgement

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

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:

  • a range of educationally powerful local and professional connections that keep the school at the centre of the community
  • ongoing development of culturally responsive practices that engage students in their learning
  • relevant learning programmes that respond to individual student needs.

Next steps

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

  • effectively using data to identify and be assured of progress, and know about rates and sufficiency of progress for all students
  • evaluating the impact of teaching and school programmes to know what difference they make to outcomes for students
  • reviewing the expectations for the professional leadership to ensure the school’s strategic aims are met.

Actions for compliance

ERO identified non-compliance in relation to the appraisal of teachers. In order to address this, the board of trustees must:

  • ensure that school processes for appraisal meet Teaching Council requirements. 
    [Part 31 Education Act 1989]

Recommendations

ERO recommends that the school seek support from the Ministry of Education in order to bring about improvements in the professional leadership of the school.

Alan Wynyard

Director Review and Improvement Services Southern

Southern Region

18 June 2019

About the school

Location

Wallacetown

Ministry of Education profile number

4046

School type

Contributing primary (Years 1 to 6)

School roll

54

Gender composition

Boys 29, Girls 25

Ethnic composition

Māori 13
NZ European/Pākehā 40
Other ethnicities 1

Students with Ongoing Resourcing Funding (ORS)

No

Provision of Māori medium education

No

Review team on site

May 2019

Date of this report

18 June 2019

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review March 2016
Education Review June 2013

Findings

Trustees, the principal and teachers have created a stronger culture of collaboration and improvement. Teachers focus on students and their learning needs. Students’ views are regularly sought to make improvements. They take part in a range of rich learning experiences and are supported to manage their own learning. Their progress and achievement are closely monitored in a culturally inclusive environment.

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

1 Background and Context

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

The 2013 ERO report identified the need for school leaders and teachers to:

  • align the school curriculum with the New Zealand Curriculum (NZC) and reflect the expectations and aspirations of the school community
  • strengthen partnerships with parents and whānau of Māori students
  • develop school-wide assessment practices
  • develop self review.

An external facilitator was contracted by the Ministry of Education (MOE) to provide targeted development of leadership and assessment. The principal, board of trustees and teachers focused on:

  • increasing their knowledge and understanding of best practice in their roles
  • developing approaches that best promote students’ engagement, progress and achievement
  • increasing their understanding of and ability to evaluate how well the students are learning and the school is operating.

This ERO review has found that the board, principal and teachers have strengthened the areas identified for improvement in ERO’s 2013 report. Taking writing as a focus, the principal is using systems that support high-quality teaching and learning and promote best outcomes for students. Trustees are better informed and have built the board’s capacity for school improvement. The teaching team has developed a culture of collaboration with a focus on learning. Students are more involved in and able to manage their own learning. Their safety and wellbeing are well managed. The school’s end-of-year results for 2015 show students made good progress in writing. The school needs to continue to embed and build on these developments.

2 Review and Development

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

Priorities identified for review and development

The last ERO report recommended that:

  • the school curriculum be aligned with the NZC and the wishes of the school community
  • school-wide assessment practices be developed, particularly in relation to the National Standards
  • partnerships with parents and whānau of Māori students, and bicultural learning for all students be strengthened.
Progress

Using writing as an initial focus, the teaching team worked collaboratively to develop shared understandings of best practice for teaching, learning and assessment, particularly in relation to the National Standards. The principal developed systems and processes to support curriculum development, delivery and reporting. Trustees undertook ongoing training from the New Zealand School Trustees Association (NZSTA). Parents were consulted to help ensure the school charter reflected the community’s goals and aspirations. As a result:

  • the principal, trustees and teachers have developed clear understandings and processes that support curriculum development, delivery and assessment
  • the school’s curriculum documents are being systematically revised
  • clear expectations for teaching, learning and assessment have been developed for most learning areas
  • assessment practices, particularly in relation to the National Standards, have been improved
  • behaviour-management practices have been improved and aligned with the school’s values
  • the aspirations of parents and whānau of Māori students were used to inform development.

Students have benefited from these developments. They:

  • are using clear criteria for success that guide their learning
  • are increasingly involved in managing their own learning as they progress through the school
  • have engaging opportunities to extend their bicultural learning
  • are asked for their opinion to inform improvements to teaching and learning.
Next Steps

Teachers have improved reports to students and parents. Partnerships for learning with parents have yet to be a focus for development.

A systematic review of all areas of the curriculum is underway following the good processes used for writing. This provides opportunity for further development of assessment and review processes. This should be closely monitored to help strengthen and embed consistent practice. 

3 Sustainable performance and self review

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

The last ERO report recommended that self-review processes and practices be developed, known and used. Since the last ERO review, the capacity of school leaders to effectively govern and manage the school has been significantly improved.

With support from the external facilitator, NZSTA and MOE, trustees have developed their understanding of effective governance and stewardship. They revised the school charter, reports to the board, and consulted with the school community. The principal developed improved systems for collating, reporting and reviewing student learning information.

Trustees:

  • have an improved focus on students’ learning, their progress, engagement and achievement
  • are making informed decisions
  • regularly seek the involvement of parents and community
  • have ensured the charter and school developments reflect the community’s goals and aspirations
  • receive more timely and informative reports about the school’s progress towards meeting the school’s goals and targets
  • have improved strategic plans and reports to the board so they are useful working documents
  • fund useful resources for teaching and learning, and staff development
  • have clear expectations for monitoring student progress and achievement
  • are continuing to seek training as needed.

Teachers:

  • collaborate in an ongoing way to support students and improve teaching and learning
  • use learning information to inform their planning and review of classroom programmes
  • make increased use of ICT to manage student learning information and their own professional learning
  • inquire into the effectiveness of their own teaching
  • use achievement information to plan specifically how they will support students at risk of not achieving.

The principal:

  • has improved his professional leadership of the school
  • is closely monitoring classroom practice
  • is using staff development and appraisal for ongoing improvement.

The board and principal need to ensure:

  • trustee appointments are made in a way that helps retain the board’s capacity and sustainable practice
  • the effective processes established for evaluating performance are closely monitored, well used and maintained.

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.

4 Recommendation

Recommendation, including any to other agencies for ongoing or additional support.

ERO recommends that the Ministry of Education considers providing support to help embed these improvements.

Conclusion

Trustees, the principal and teachers have created a stronger culture of collaboration and improvement. Teachers focus on students and their learning needs. Students’ views are regularly sought to make improvements. They take part in a range of rich learning experiences and are supported to manage their own learning. Their progress and achievement are closely monitored in a culturally inclusive environment.

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

Chris Rowe
Deputy Chief Review Officer Southern (Acting)

29 March 2016 

School Statistics

Location

Wallacetown, Southland

Ministry of Education profile number

4046

School type

Contributing (Years 1 to 6)

School roll

64

Gender composition

Boys:     40
Girls:      24

Ethnic composition

Pākehā
Māori
European

56
  6
  2

Review team on site

October 2015

Date of this report

29 March 2016

Most recent ERO reports

Education Review
Education Review
Education Review

June 2013
October 2010
October 2006