Twizel Area School

Twizel Area School - 20/01/2020

School Context

Twizel Area School is a state, co-educational school for students from Years 1 to 13. The current roll is 221 students, 17% of whom identify as Māori.

The school’s vision is ‘A learning community striving for excellence’, and the values focus on quality, respect and kotahitanga.

Key strategic priorities are to improve learning for all ākonga, especially Years 11 to 13, and strengthen learning relationships with the community.

Current targets include improving teaching and learning in reading, writing and mathematics, wellbeing and student self-management.

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

  • achievement in all learning areas and levels of The New Zealand Curriculum
  • achievement within the New Zealand Qualifications Framework
  • wellbeing.

The school is part of the Southern Area Schools Kāhui Ako|Community of Learning. The principal leads the 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 effective in supporting most students in Years 1 to 10 to achieve equitable outcomes. Students who identify as Māori consistently achieve as well or better than their peers.

School data for 2017 and 2018 shows that most students achieve at or above curriculum expectations in reading, writing and mathematics in Years 1 to 10. Mid-year school data for 2019, to date, shows that in Years 1 to 10 most students are achieving at or above curriculum expectations in reading and writing, with the large majority at or above curriculum expectations in mathematics. In 2017 and 2018 boys achieved less well than girls in reading and writing. Mid-year achievement information for 2019 shows that this disparity is being eliminated.

School NCEA data for 2016 to 2018 shows that a small majority of students achieved NCEA Level 3, and fewer than half achieved University Entrance. There is a fluctuation in achievement outcomes at NCEA Level 2. Most students achieve NCEA Level 1.

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

The school is yet to develop a clear picture of acceleration. Leaders and teachers do not routinely analyse data to identify how well learning is accelerated.

School data indicates that in 2018 the majority of students below curriculum expectations made accelerated progress in reading.

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 positive classroom environments and a coherent curriculum which offers personalised pathways for learning. The school capitalises on opportunities provided by the local environment and regional expertise to extend learning. There are opportunities for students to provide feedback on the school environment and wellbeing.

Positive, reciprocal learning relationships between teachers and students are clearly evident. Schoolwide culturally responsive practices are developing and reflect the learning and wellbeing needs of students. There are systems in place to support priority learners. These students are identified, tracked and their progress reported.

Leaders foster respectful, collegial relationships with staff, and are developing professional networks and connections to support teaching and learning. External expertise is used to provide guidance for the development and progress of teacher appraisal, teaching as inquiry and data management.

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 need to ensure they work in partnership to effectively promote positive student outcomes. This includes increasing relational trust with the school community by ensuring timely, consistent and strategic communication, including reporting and consultation opportunities.

The board has identified, and ERO confirms, that external expertise is needed to build governance capability. This includes:

  • developing knowledge and skills in effective governance
  • using strategic documents to create a useful work plan that prioritises actions for
  • improvement
  • clarifying expectations for leaders to regularly report on student progress and achievement over time.

As identified in the last two ERO reports, internal evaluation is not well used throughout the school. The senior leadership team needs to:

  • understand the purpose of, and develop shared knowledge about how to use evaluation to improve learning and achievement
  • develop a schoolwide framework and approach to internal evaluation
  • effectively use evaluation to identify those systems and practices that are most effective in promoting positive outcomes for all students.

Leaders and teachers should build data capability practices that more effectively support robust acceleration processes that promote equity of outcomes for all 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 Twizel Area School’s performance in achieving valued outcomes for its students is: Needs Development.

ERO will maintain an ongoing relationship with the school to build capacity and evaluate progress.

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:

  • a curriculum which provides a seamless transition for students across the school
  • learning partnerships which foster positive student outcomes
  • appropriate use of external expertise to develop teaching and learning practices.

Next steps

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

  • the board and leadership team building the relational trust necessary to collaboratively meet school and community expectations
  • supporting the leadership team and the board to build capability in governance
  • the ongoing development of internal evaluation practices to better understand which programmes, interventions and strategies are working effectively to meet the needs of students
  • building data capability to effectively analyse and report student progress and acceleration needs over time.

ERO strongly recommends that the school seek support from the New Zealand School Trustees Association in order to:

  • bring about improvements in relationships between governance and leadership

  • strengthen knowledge of governance systems and practices

  • strengthen communication and partnerships with the community to increase confidence in governance and leadership.

Since the onsite stage of this review, the Ministry of Education has appointed a Limited Statutory Manager to the school.

Dr Lesley Patterson

Director Review and Improvement Services Te Tai Tini

Southern Region

20 January 2020

About the school

Location

Twizel

Ministry of Education profile number

527

School type

Composite

School roll

221

Gender composition

Boys 125, Girls 96

Ethnic composition

Māori 17%

NZ European/Pākehā 63%

Other ethnicities 20%

Students with Ongoing Resourcing Funding (ORS)

No

Provision of Māori medium education

No

Review team on site

September 2019

Date of this report

20 January 2020

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review March 2016

Education Review June 2013

Twizel Area School - 01/03/2016

Findings

Students have a good variety of choices in learning pathways. Teachers make good use of the local environment and community to extend students’ learning experiences. They provide suitable support for students' learning and wellbeing. The key next step for the school’s leaders is to make more effective use of student achievement information and to strengthen internal evaluation practices.

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?

Twizel Area School provides education for Years 1 to 13 students from a wide geographical area. There is a positive school culture, with whānau/family-like relationships amongst students. The school roll is steadily increasing. Teachers continue to take advantage of the local environment and the school’s proximity to the mountains and lakes to provide interesting and varied learning experiences for students outside the classroom. The school is part of a Community of Learning with other area schools, focused on working together to share effective practice and lift the achievement of students.

The board and staff have been involved in a considerable amount of professional learning and training opportunities. Some of this has been provided by the Ministry of Education (MOE) and the School Trustees Association. An MOE achievement advisor has been supporting the school to focus on making better use of its Year 7 to 10 achievement information. The school has also invested in sending teachers on additional courses.

The impact of training has been most evident in the improvement in governance practices.

2 Learning

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

Although student achievement information is well used by teachers and syndicates, school leaders need to make better use of school-wide achievement information.

Teachers regularly monitor individual learners' achievement using a good range of assessments, and analyse information at class level. Students with learning needs are well identified and supported. Teachers have useful professional conversations about students’ progress and achievement.

The school has appropriate systems in place for monitoring student attendance and supporting student engagement in learning. Students are involved in setting useful goals that help them understand their achievement and next steps for learning.

Parents of learners in Years 1 to 8 receive good information about their child’s learning in relation to the National Standards in reading, writing and mathematics, and across the curriculum.

The school’s achievement data compares favourably with that of similar schools nationally for students in most year levels. Students achieve very well in cultural and sporting activities.

The school has improved the way it manages and moderates NCEA assessments. There has been an increase in the number of school leavers achieving at least NCEA Level 2 over the past three years, and in merit and excellence endorsements.

Areas for review and development

School leaders need to provide reports with more in-depth analysis of school-wide achievement data. They need to give a clearer picture to the board of how different groups and year levels of students are progressing and achieving across the school. This includes:

  • more frequent reporting to the board, particularly about the progress of students identified in the school’s achievement targets
  • a system to monitor the progress and achievement of age groups and targeted students' achievement as they progress through the year levels.

More effective systems are needed for tracking and monitoring student achievement in Years 9 and 10. School information shows a significant number of these students are not achieving well in writing. School leaders agree that specific targets for improving students’ achievement in writing in 2016 would be of benefit.

School leaders and teachers should strengthen moderation of assessments in Years 1 to 10, particularly in writing.

The school leaders and teachers have identified a need to review the written reports about student achievement for students and parents, particularly in Years 9 and 10. Consideration needs to be given to the usefulness and quality of information provided about student achievement and progress in all areas of the curriculum.

3 Curriculum

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

The school’s curriculum is effective in promoting and supporting student learning.

The curriculum provides a variety of choice in learning pathways for students, particularly in the senior levels of the school. Teachers focus on catering for different ability levels and interests within classes and NCEA courses.

Students benefit from purposeful and meaningful learning experiences in authentic situations.

Education outside the classroom (EOTC) is a strong feature of the curriculum. Teachers make good use of the local physical environment and connections in the community to extend students’ learning experiences.

Bicultural practices are strongly evident in the junior school, and growing in the middle school. There are good opportunities for all students to learn about and participate in te reo and tikanga Māori.

A mentoring system for students in Years 11 to 13 is increasing teachers’ abilities to know about and respond to the interests and learning of these students more effectively through the curriculum.

Teachers are trialling a number of new approaches. This includes some specific developments such as the way mathematics is taught. Staff new to the school are bringing additional ideas to teaching and learning. Teachers are beginning to inquire more systematically into the impact of their teaching practices on students as part of their appraisal process. Teachers are benefitting from the increased professional discussions.

Areas for review and development

The key next steps for review and development of the curriculum include:

  • developing a shared understanding of school-wide practices from what is being trialled in classes, and planning how to achieve consistency in expectations and practice in these approaches across the school
  • updating the curriculum document so that it reflects current practice
  • strengthening curriculum review practices so that these are more evaluative
  • continuing to build on, and regularly evaluate teaching practices that accelerate students’ levels of achievement.

The school leadership has also identified, and ERO agrees, that it is timely to review the Y7-10 curriculum. It is important to ensure the process for this review is well planned.

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

The school is developing its effectiveness in promoting educational success for Māori, as Māori. Student success as Māori is actively promoted by:

  • building teacher confidence in te reo and tikanga Māori
  • providing Māori students with opportunities to engage in cultural events that increase their knowledge and understanding of their identity
  • the increasing use of a Māori context across the curriculum
  • a strong focus on Māori student progress and achievement.

The school leaders and teachers should now further analyse Māori student achievement data to investigate what is effectively supporting students, and the resulting next steps in their engagement and learning. They should also identify more effective strategies to engage and consult with Māori whānau.

4 Sustainable Performance

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

The board has made significant improvements in its capacity to promote school development. The school will be better placed to continue to improve its performance when it further strengthens school-wide evaluative practices.

The board has been very responsive to the recommendations of ERO’s 2013 report. Trustees sought and have benefited from significant governance training. There is a clear understanding of the board’s governance role and a strong working relationship between the principal and board chair.

The board has developed clearer operational systems for policy review and school planning.

Trustees work collaboratively in ways that support sustainable practices. They are developing an understanding of evaluative practice.

Areas for review and development

The key next steps for the school leaders and the board are to further strengthen internal evaluation across school systems and practices. This includes:

  • developing a process to guide evaluation that is consistently understood and used by all
  • more clearly identifying what is most effective in supporting student learning, what will be done differently to improve outcomes for students, and how the impact of changes will be monitored to ensure they are successful
  • accessing additional professional support to increase understandings of effective internal evaluation.

Senior leaders also expressed an interest in modelling an inquiry approach in their leadership. ERO strongly affirms this direction.

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.

Recommendations to other agencies

ERO recommends that:

  • the Ministry of Education support the school in using achievement data more effectively
  • the board and senior leaders seek training in internal evaluation.

Conclusion

Students have a good variety of choices in learning pathways. Teachers make good use of the local environment and community to extend students’ learning experiences. They provide suitable support for students' learning and wellbeing. The key next step for the school’s leaders is to make more effective use of student achievement information and to strengthen internal evaluation practices.

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

Chris Rowe

Deputy Chief Review Officer Southern (Acting)

1 March 2016

School Statistics

Location

Twizel

Ministry of Education profile number

527

School type

Composite (Years 1 to 13)

School roll

207

Gender composition

Girls 44%; Boys 56%

Ethnic composition

Pākehā

Māori

Asian

Other ethnicities

80%

14%

5%

1%

Review team on site

November 2015

Date of this report

1 March 2016

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

June 2013

December 2009

September 2006