Reefton Area School

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Education institution number:
496
School type:
Composite
School gender:
Co-Educational
Definition:
Not Applicable
Total roll:
173
Telephone:
Address:

10 Victory Street, Reefton

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School Context

Reefton Area School provides education for students from Years 1 to 14 in the town of Reefton. At the time of the review, the school roll was 162.

The school’s mission statement is to:

  • enhance the learning outcomes of all students
  • be respected for the quality and innovation of learning programmes
  • be respected for the quality of students’ qualification results
  • actively prepare students to meet the demands of lifelong learning
  • contribute positively to the community.

The school’s aim is to take full advantage of the benefits of being a Year 1-14 composite school in the Aotearoa New Zealand Area School network.

The school’s vision is that its young people will:

  • be creative, energetic, and enterprising
  • seize the opportunities offered by new knowledge and technologies to secure a sustainable social, cultural, economic, and environmental future for the country
  • work to create an Aotearoa New Zealand in which Māori and Pākehā recognise each other as full Treaty partners, and in which all cultures are valued for the contributions they bring
  • continue to develop the values, knowledge, and competencies that will enable them to live full and satisfying lives
  • be confident, connected, actively involved, and lifelong learners.

The school values are based on respect, aspiring, and self managing.

Its current strategic gaols are:

  • all learners make progress to achieve their goals
  • all learners are active seekers, users and creators of knowledge
  • all learners develop competencies and values to successfully contribute to their communities and environment
  • engaging families/whānau and the wider community to support positive student learning outcomes.

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

  • reading, writing, and mathematics

  • NCEA progress and achievement

  • student wellbeing

  • curriculum areas

  • strategic targets e.g. contribution to community and environment

  • specific groups, including Māori students, students with additional needs, gifted and talented students.

School leaders and trustees carefully monitor the school’s fluctuating roll. They put in place strategies to manage the transient student population. Many of the staff and some trustees are long serving members of the school community.

The school is part of the Top of the South Island (TOSI) 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 achieving equitable outcomes for its students. It is achieving excellent outcomes for most of it students, including its Māori students.

A large majority of Year 13 students have achieved Level 3 in NCEA over the past five years. Most students achieve Level 1 and 2 qualifications at the expected year levels.

Most students in Years 1 to 10 achieve at or above expected curriculum levels as they progress through the school.

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

The school is effectively accelerating the learning of students who need this. Teachers are particularly effective at accelerating the progress of students in reading during their first two years of school.

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?

Effective leadership collaboratively develops and pursues the school’s vision, goals and targets. There is clear alignment from the vision and goals to the work of teachers and the achievement and wellbeing outcomes for students. Leaders seek the perspectives and aspirations of students, whānau and the community. They build relational trust with each of these key groups. Leaders support teachers to maintain a calm, orderly environment that contributes to students’ engagement and achievement.

School and community engage in reciprocal relationships that support students’ learning and wellbeing. Students, teachers and whānau take part in joint activities to improve outcomes for students. Students’ successful contribution to their communities and environment, and engaging families/whānau and the wider community to support positive student learning outcomes, are current strategic goals. The school regularly consults with its community, including with its Māori whānau. Leaders are in regular contact with many community agencies. Students are involved in a wide range of learning opportunities within the community.

Teachers work in a supportive professional environment that encourages ongoing improvement in teaching and learning. Leaders set high expectations of professional practice and learner outcomes. Teachers work collaboratively to plan, implement and evaluate teaching strategies and student outcomes. They have many opportunities for professional discussion, inquiry and knowledge building.

The board ensures the curriculum is inclusive and responsive to local needs and context. Student achievement and wellbeing are the trustees’ core concerns. Trustees are well informed to make useful decisions to improve outcomes for students. They have a good understanding of what is going well and why. There are good systems and processes in place that enable trustees to effectively undertake their stewardship role.

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

Trustees and leaders know they need to continue to develop, implement and monitor initiatives to support the wellbeing and inclusiveness of all students. School leaders have identified the wellbeing of students and staff as a key priority. The large numbers of students who transition in and out of the school during the year add complexity to the school’s situation. Leaders have put strategies in place to support this priority. They need to continue to explore the most effective ways to promote wellbeing.

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 Reefton Area School’s performance in achieving valued outcomes for its students is: Strong.

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:

  • effective leadership that prioritises students’ engagement, achievement and wellbeing
  • community relationships based on mutual respect and positive outcomes for students
  • ongoing development of a professional learning community
  • governance that is well informed and focused on the needs and wellbeing of students.

Next steps

For sustained improvement and future learner success, priorities for further development are in continuing to support students’ wellbeing and achievement.

Dr Lesley Patterson

Director Review and Improvement Services Te Tai Tini

Southern Region

7 August 2019

About the school

Location

Reefton

Ministry of Education profile number

496

School type

Composite (Years 1 to 13)

School roll

162

Gender composition

Girls 54%; Boys 46%

Ethnic composition

Māori 22%

NZ European/Pākehā 69%

Pacific 4%

Asian 4%

Other Ethnicities 1%

Students with Ongoing Resourcing Funding (ORS)

Yes

Provision of Māori medium education

No

Review team on site

June 2019

Date of this report

7 August 2019

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review April 2015

Education Review November 2011

Education Review October 2007

Findings

The school is effective at promoting student learning because of the active promotion of ongoing improvements to the quality of learning and teachers. Students are well supported in their learning and wellbeing. The strong professional leadership of key leaders, along with the good work of the board, means the school is currently well placed to sustain and improve its performance.

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

1 Context

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

Students come to the school from an increasingly varied range of cultural backgrounds. This diversity helps to enrich students’ learning. They benefit from ready access to a wide range of school facilities, resources and learning opportunities within the immediate and wider community. Students attend the school for varying lengths of time as some families come into and then leave the district.

The school has an experienced, long-serving senior leadership team. This situation has helped provide continuity for students in school practices and promoted ongoing improvements to the quality of education. A new school board chairperson was elected in 2013.

The board, leaders and staff have successfully retained the strengths evident at the time of the school’s 2011 ERO review. For example, ongoing efforts to foster improvements to the quality of teaching and learning have been sustained. As noted later in this report, good progress has been made towards addressing the areas for improvement at that time.

2 Learning

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

The school makes very good use of achievement information to make positive changes to learners’ engagement, progress and achievement. This represents significant improvement since the last ERO review.

This effective use of achievement information is promoted by:

  • teachers gathering a range of good quality information that enables them to make well-informed judgements about students’ progress and achievement
  • leaders and teachers effectively using analysed achievement information to help students develop individual goals and to establish appropriate school targets
  • leaders and teachers closely monitoring students’ progress and their ongoing adaption of programmes and practices to address emerging needs

The board and school leaders target resources and support for those students most at risk of not achieving success. They provide focused professional development and support for all staff.

The school is very responsive to students who most need additional learning support. Interventions for students with such needs are flexible, well taught and managed

The increasing range and variety of ways teachers share achievement information with students and their parents is helping to foster learning-focused relationships.

3 Curriculum

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

The school’s curriculum is becoming increasingly effective at promoting and supporting student learning. This is most apparent in:

  • an upward trend of improving student achievement and progress since 2011
  • students continuing to achieve very well in reading, at National Certificates Educational Achievement Level 1 and 2 along with more students gaining NCEA merits and excellences
  • older students being better motivated to learn and achieving success in an increasing range of areas
  • greater numbers of school leavers either going to apprenticeships, other work or further education and training
  • Māori students enjoying greater success academically.

The school’s curriculum provides students with a suitably varied range of learning opportunities. School guidelines clarify local priorities and give appropriate emphasis to fostering values and students’ ability to learn how to learn.

Course options for Years 11-13 students continue to expand through a variety of school, community- based and distance-learning programmes. Teachers actively support students to identify their future learning and career pathways and to follow these successfully.

There is increasing evidence of teachers consistently using strategies that promote students’ learning. These include:

  • making learning meaningful and interesting
  • making clear what students are expected to learn and what counts as success
  • focusing on increasing students’ independence
  • adapting programmes, practices and groupings as a result of feedback and reflection.

Students’ sense of achievement is being fostered through recognition of their successes.

School developments in managing behaviour and promoting student health and wellbeing are helping to provide students with a supportive and inclusive learning-focused environment. Leaders and teachers make good use of school resources and outside agencies to provide responsive pastoral care and support for students.

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

The school is using a growing range of appropriate practices to support Māori students to succeed as Māori. These include the:

  • increasing integration of te reo and tikanga Māori into programmes, and the ongoing promotion of the school’s well-performed kapa haka group.
  • greater awareness among teachers of practices that are likely to foster Māori student achievement
  • consultation with parents about the aspirations for their children and actively seeking support from them and guidance from local kaumātua.

4 Sustainable Performance

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

The principal and key senior staff provide strong professional leadership. Their focus on raising student achievement is fostering ongoing school improvement and innovation. School structure and practices support teachers and students to meet the high expectations leaders place on them.

Leadership and management practices promote a positive school culture, foster teamwork and lead to well-considered decision making.

The principal and deputy principal are appropriately delegating a wide range of tasks to other key staff. This greater delegation, along with the support provided for leaders, is building their capability to perform their tasks well. This places the school in a strong position to sustain and build on the best practice across the school even if staff change.

A significant number of recent school initiatives, often supported by effective external professional development, are promoting improvements to the quality of education for students. Self review, monitoring and appraisal systems, along with teachers’ willingness to reflect on and improve their programmes and teaching practices, are supporting the consistent implementation of curriculum initiatives.

The board is well led and works well. A strong sense of partnerships exists with trustees and senior leaders as they work towards the clear priorities in the school’s well-developed charter. They are aware of the funding challenges and roll issues and are considering the best ways to respond to these.

Trustees are having training to help support them in their roles. A wide variety of regular good -quality reports to the board provide trustees with the information they need to govern the school well.

Areas for review and development

ERO agrees with the priorities school leaders and the board have for school improvement. These largely relate to consolidating and building on a number of recent initiatives. These initiatives focus on:

  • raising achievement in mathematics and NCEA Level 3 and further developing students’ self- management skills
  • improving aspects of teaching practices and building on the strategies being used to promote positive student behaviour
  • continuing to make maximum use of assessment findings to plan and focus goal-setting and interventions for students
  • further supporting the development of teaching practices through professional learning and support groups.

Some refinements to self-review practices would enhance their usefulness.

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 is effective at promoting student learning because of the active promotion of ongoing improvements to the quality of learning and teachers. Students are well supported in their learning and wellbeing. The strong professional leadership of key leaders, along with the good work of the board, means the school is currently well placed to sustain and improve its performance.

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

Graham Randell Deputy Chief Review Officer Southern

2 April 2015

About the School

Location

Reefton

Ministry of Education profile number

496

School type

Composite (Years 1 to 13)

School roll

192

Gender composition

Girls 55%; Boys 45%

Ethnic composition

Pakeha

Maori

Pacific

Asian

Other Ethnicities

65%

20%

1%

12%

2%

Special Features

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Review team on site

February 2015

Date of this report

2 April 2015

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

November 2011

October 2007

April 2005