Woodlands Full Primary School

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Findings

Woodlands Full Primary School has effectively addressed its priorities for improvement. The trustees, principal and teachers are working together to ensure positive outcomes for students. Key school practices are successfully supporting an improvement focus. The school is establishing a foundation of leadership, relationships and authentic curriculum likely to improve and sustain student progress and achievement.

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

1 Background and Context

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

This report covers Woodlands Full Primary School’s progress in addressing the areas for review and development that were identified in ERO’s 2017 Education Review report. That report identified the need to develop the school’s curriculum and internal evaluation practices for improvement of teaching and learning outcomes.

Since ERO’s 2017 review a new principal has been appointed. The trustees, leaders and teachers have sought a range of support resources to provide targeted development in each of the identified areas.

This ERO review has found that the trustees, principal and teachers have made significant progress in the areas identified in ERO’s 2017 report.

2 Review and Development

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

Priorities identified for review and development

The priorities identified for review and development were for trustees, principal and teachers improve systems and practices for:

  • accelerating progress of priority learners

  • curriculum development

  • assessment and moderation practices

  • internal evaluation

  • teacher appraisal.

Progress

In 2018, the majority of targeted students made accelerated progress in reading, writing and mathematics. Almost all students were achieving at or above school expectations in these learning areas.

Teachers and leaders have established collaborative processes to systematically identify and monitor the progress of students. Teachers regularly discuss students’ progress and needs, and adapt their teaching interventions as required. Charter targets are appropriately based on student achievement information. In 2019, the school’s targets are focused on lifting the achievement of Māori students and improving boys’ writing. The board receives regular reports on progress of all priority learners.

The principal and teachers are developing a responsive curriculum. Aspirations of parents and whānau, and the needs and interests of the students, are gathered through consultation and reflected in the local curriculum. The school’s unique outdoor environment is valued by students and the community and is the context of much learning. In particular, it is helping students build their knowledge about sustaining their local environment. Students are learning within the breadth of The New Zealand Curriculum.

The principal and teachers have developed and are using effective assessment practices. There is a common understanding of the vocabulary of assessment, and appropriate use of assessment tools to support teacher judgements. Teachers work together to collect data and use it to identify students’ progress and inform planning of responsive programmes. Parents are kept well informed of their children’s progress and achievement.

The next step is to complete the development of the curriculum to provide an authentic, coherent learning pathway for all students.

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 well placed to sustain and continue to improve and review its performance.

The principal is leading improvements by developing systematic school-wide internal evaluation practices. Reviews of assessment and appraisal have recently been completed.

A strategic and coherent approach to appraisal is increasing the teachers’ collective capacity to use inquiry and build their professional knowledge.

As a result of improved internal evaluation and systematic performance management teachers are well supported to collectively meet the needs of all learners.

The next steps are to:

  • embed the newly developed systems for sustainable and coherent teaching and learning practices

  • ensure that teaching programmes and other developments are monitored and evaluated for their impact on student learning outcomes.

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 Vulnerable Children Act 2014.

Conclusion

Woodlands Full Primary School has effectively addressed its priorities for improvement. The trustees, principal and teachers are working together to ensure positive outcomes for students. Key school practices are successfully supporting an improvement focus. The school is establishing a foundation of leadership, relationships and authentic curriculum likely to improve and sustain student progress and achievement.

On the basis of the findings of this review, ERO ‘s overall evaluation judgement of Woodlands Full primary 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.

Alan Wynyard

Director Review and Improvement Services Southern

Southern Region

4 June 2019

About the School

Location

Invercargill

Ministry of Education profile number

4053

School type

Full Primary (Years 1 to 8)

School roll

98

Gender composition

Boys 56, Girls 42

Ethnic composition

Māori
NZ European/Pākehā
Asian
Other ethnicities

15
60
14
9

Review team on site

May 2019

Date of this report

4 June 2019

Most recent ERO reports

Education Review
Education Review
Education Review

March 2017
August 2013
May 2010

1 Context

This school provides education for children from Years 1 to 8. Children learn in five settled classrooms, some of which cater for more than one-year level.

There have been a number of significant changes in the school during 2016, including the appointment of new board members and a new board chair. The recently appointed trustees feel well supported, and that their induction was effective. The principal was on sabbatical during Term Two. A new teacher was also appointed to the Years 6-to-8 class.

2 Equity and excellence

The vision and valued outcomes defined by the school for all children are to be confident, motivated, life-long learners, willing to 'stand tall and branch out for success'. The school's values of fairness, excellence, respect and responsibility are evident in child and adult interactions.

The school’s achievement information shows that most children achieve well in reading, writing and mathematics. The overall pattern of achievement for Māori children is lower.

Teachers and leaders are in the early stages of establishing more effective systems and processes for sharing, comparing and discussing learning information with each other, and with other schools.

Since the last ERO evaluation there has been insufficient progress in developing guidelines for each learning area, and some learning area statements have not been completed.

3 Accelerating achievement

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

The school needs to respond more effectively to children whose learning and achievement need acceleration. There is a persistent pattern of lower achievement for some Māori children in relation to National Standards for reading, writing and mathematics, which requires a more targeted response.

In 2015, some children made accelerated progress to reach the National Standard for mathematics, while others did not make sufficient progress. For writing, the school's focus on improving boys' achievement was less effective, with no change in overall levels of achievement.

The board provides extra funding for teacher aides, and external expertise is sought for children with high-learning needs. However, leaders and teachers need to evaluate the effectiveness of additional support provided for learners.

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 school's curriculum needs significant development in order to provide clear expectations for teaching, learning and assessment.

Aspects of curriculum planning that require urgent attention include:

  • incorporating the school's vision and values and commitment to the Treaty of Waitangi principles
  • completing statements for all curriculum areas that include essential learning expectations for each curriculum level
  • planning to ensure that children experience the full depth and breadth of the New Zealand Curriculum.

When this curriculum work is completed teachers and leaders will be in a better position to:

  • engage children needing additional support in their learning
  • provide challenge for learners who need extension work
  • give more specific feedback to learners about the quality of their work
  • evaluate the impact of learning programmes on student engagement and achievement
  • assure the board that judgements about the progress and achievement for all children are reliable.

School leaders need to develop a more systematic approach to analysing achievement information for priority learners so that:

  • the board is better informed, at more regular intervals, about whether or not priority children are making sufficient progress with learning
  • leaders and teachers can select those strategies or interventions which are most effective in accelerating learning progress.

To ensure that teacher judgements about progress and achievement are reliable, leaders and teachers need to develop and implement guidelines for National Standard moderation. This includes specific details about:

  • the types of assessment information to be collected
  • how to collect this information to ensure consistency
  • the balance of assessments to be used when making overall judgements about children's progress and achievement.

Internal evaluation needs to be strengthened by:

  • teachers' reflections and inquiries being more evaluative
  • observations of teacher practice focusing on specific strategies
  • appraisal goals aligning more closely with targets for priority learners
  • developing a robust curriculum-review framework
  • the appraisal of the principal being more rigorous.

5 Going forward

How well placed is the school to accelerate the achievement of all children who need it?

Leaders and teachers:

  • have not yet adequately built their knowledge of the children whose learning and achievement need to be accelerated
  • have not yet adequately established necessary conditions to effectively accelerate learning and achievement
  • are not well placed to achieve and sustain accelerated achievement for all children who need it.

ERO intends to carry out a process of ongoing evaluation to support the school's development over the course of one-to-two 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 that the Secretary for Education considers intervention under Part 7A of the Education Act 1989 in order to bring about the following improvements:

  • curriculum development
  • improving assessment and moderation practices
  • strengthening internal evaluation and reporting to the board.

Dr Lesley Patterson

Deputy Chief Review Officer Southern (Te Waipounamu)

13 March 2017

About the school 

Location

Southland

Ministry of Education profile number

4053

School type

Full Primary (Years 1 to 8)

School roll

106

Gender composition

Boys: 53%

Girls: 48%

Ethnic composition

Pākehā

Māori

Filipino

Other

78%

11%

9%

2%

Review team on site

December 2016

Date of this report

13 March 2017

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

August 2013

May 2010

February 2007