Porangahau School

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Findings

1 Background and Context

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

Porangahau School is a rural school catering for students from Years 1 to 8. The roll of 70 includes 46 students who identify as Māori. There has been significant roll growth since the May 2017 ERO report, with several staffing changes in 2019.

The previous report identified a number of areas for improvement. Over the past two years the school has participated in an ongoing ERO evaluation process to support improvement. The principal has received ongoing support from the Ministry of Education (MoE) to bring about the changes required. In 2019 she was part of an MoE Shadowing Principals pilot programme.

The school continues to be well supported by the Porangahau community.

2 Review and Development

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

Priorities identified for review and development

The overall goal was to improve school practice and operation through the provision of positive learning conditions to raise student achievement and reduce disparity.

The principal had identified and ERO agreed, that further areas to strengthen included: strategic planning; teacher appraisal; and developing an authentic and relevant curriculum.

Progress

The strategic plan identifies priorities for development. Goals are focused on raising student achievement and improving school organisational structures and practices. The annual plan identifies a range of actions to progress these goals. Progress is tracked and monitored. The board is well informed about the impact of actions to progress strategic priorities.

Annual achievement targets are appropriately focused on those students whose learning requires acceleration. Systems and processes to enable teachers to identify, track, monitor and respond to identified target students have been developed and implemented.

The 2019 end of year achievement data, indicates that the majority of all students, including Māori, are achieving at and above expectation in reading, writing and mathematics. Disparity for boys and Māori in writing remains but is reducing. Boys continue to achieve better than girls in mathematics. The appropriate focus on writing has resulted in a greater percentage of students achieving at and above expectation, than in 2018. The principal has identified the need to more regularly report the progress of target students to the board.

Leaders and teachers have developed and are implementing a curriculum which is aligned to The New Zealand Curriculum principles, values and key competencies. It sets out clear expectations and guidelines for effective teaching in literacy and mathematics. Guidelines for assessment ensure an appropriate range of tools is used to inform teachers’ judgements about student progress and achievement. The principal has identified that more work is required to strengthen the curriculum to better reflect the local context and te ao Māori.

Ongoing review and development of the school’s curriculum should:

  • be done in collaboration with the staff

  • be informed by consultation with parents and whānau and include student voice

  • include intended outcomes for student learning and wellbeing

  • reflect new initiatives

  • include provision for careers learning and second language options for students in Years 7 and 8.

Students learn in an environment where their achievements are acknowledged and celebrated. Staff implement a range of interventions that are responsive to the needs of individual students. Students access an appropriate range of resources, including digital technologies to support their learning.

An appraisal process aligned to Teachers Council requirements was developed in 2018. In response to feedback from teachers this has been further refined and implemented this year. Teacher inquiry is a component of appraisal and is focused on raising achievement of target students.

Some experienced trustees provide continuity on the board. They are well informed about school operation, student achievement and progress in relation to strategic goals. A new policy framework is in place and a regular cycle of review established. Trustees new to the board have undertaken some training. This continues to be a priority for the whole board, to ensure a shared understanding of their roles and obligations as trustees.

3 Sustainable performance and self review

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

Significant progress has been made in addressing the identified areas for improvement from the 2017 ERO review. There has been a deliberate focus on the development of coherent school wide systems, processes and practices to raise student achievement.

Frameworks have been developed to support leaders and teachers to reflect on and evaluate practice. They should continue to use this to determine the impact and effectiveness of initiatives and programmes being implemented. Making clear the expected outcomes for student learning and wellbeing should further strengthen this process.

The principal has acknowledged that for greater impact and sustainability a more collaborative and consultative approach to change and improvement is required. The outcomes of recent community consultation are contributing to and informing planning for on-going improvement.

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 Children’s Act 2014.

4 Recommendations

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

Trustees should seek support from the New Zealand School Trustees Association to strengthen their understanding of their stewardship role and obligations.

Conclusion

Good progress has been made in addressing the areas for improvement identified in the 2017 ERO report. There has been a focus on improving school conditions to promote positive outcomes for student learning. The curriculum prioritises literacy and mathematics and provides clear guidelines and expectations for teachers. Trustees are well informed about school operation and student achievement.

Making clear the expected outcomes for student learning and wellbeing should enable the school to determine the impact and effectiveness of on-going improvements.

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

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.

Darcy Te Hau

Acting Director Review and Improvement Services (Central)

Central Region - Te Tai Pūtahi Nui

26 February 2020

About the School

Location

Porangahau

Ministry of Education profile number

730

School type

Full Primary (Years 1 to 8)

School roll

70

Gender composition

Female 41, Male 29

Ethnic composition

Māori

NZ European/Pākehā

46

24

Review team on site

November 2019

Date of this report

26 February 2020

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

May 2017

November 2012

October 2009



Summary

Porangahau is a rural school and caters for students from Years 1 to 8. The roll of 35 includes 20 students who identify as Māori. Kotahitanga, a key value, is evident in the way that students and staff interact and learn together.

In 2016, Mangaorapa School merged with Porangahau School and a new Board of Trustees was elected.

There have been several staff changes since the November 2012 ERO report. An acting principal has been in place since mid-2016 and at the beginning of 2017 a new principal and permanent teacher were appointed.

Student achievement has remained unchanged since 2013. Accelerating achievement in reading, writing and mathematics, where less than half of the students are achieving in relation to National Standards remains a key priority for the school.

How well is the school achieving equitable outcomes for all children?

The school is developing its effectiveness in responding to Māori and other students whose learning and achievement needs acceleration. Practices to promote equity and excellence are being strengthened. Aligning an achievement-focused strategic plan to the annual plan and improving internal evaluation processes are needed to achieve and sustain equity and excellence for all students.

At the time of this review kotahitanga, the school’s central value, was strongly evident in positive, respectful relationships between students and teachers.

Well managed transition in school leadership, is enabling the newly appointed principal and the board to plan strategically for the future, building on recently established systems and processes.

The principal and trustees are appropriately focused on raising student achievement. Planning is underway to align the charter, strategic plan and the curriculum. Developing an authentic and relevant curriculum is a priority for the new principal and should involve students, staff and the wider community. 

Disparity in achievement for some groups of children is evident. Achievement overall needs to be raised.

Leaders and teachers:

  • know the children whose learning and achievement need to be accelerated

  • need to develop and implement approaches that effectively meet the needs of each child

  • need to improve the school conditions that support the acceleration of children’s learning and achievement.

  • need to build teacher capability to accelerate children’s learning and achievement.

The principal and board considers that support from ERO through an ongoing evaluation will assist in developing and monitoring targeted planning for continued school improvement to accelerate children’s learning.

The school has requested that ERO provide them with an internal evaluation workshop to support the school to develop effective planning and monitoring processes to support equity and excellence for all children.

ERO intends to carry out a process of ongoing evaluation to support development over the course of one-to-two years.

Equity and excellence

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

The school is developing its effectiveness in responding to Māori and other children whose learning and achievement needs acceleration.

Student achievement is concerning. Less than 50% of students are at expected National Standards levels in reading, writing and mathematics. This percentage has remained static since 2013. Girls consistently achieve better than boys. During 2016, there is evidence to show that the progress of a few students was accelerated.

National Standards data, at the end of 2016, is based on robust processes of moderation including discussions with other schools. Continuing to strengthen moderation processes should improve the dependability and validity of student achievement data.

School conditions supporting equity and excellence

What school processes are effective in enabling achievement of equity and excellence?

Children’s wellbeing is a key priority. They learn in a positive environment where their relationships with adults and peers are warm and respectful. Staff work collaboratively. The values of kotahitanga are evident in practice.

During 2016, the acting principal led successful initiatives to enrich the curriculum with authentic experiences to engage learners. This resulted in accelerated progress for some senior students. 

The board and principal are appropriately focused on improving outcomes for students. Trustees actively seek advice and training to grow their understanding and capability in governance. They are receiving more student achievement information to support resourcing decisions.

The school has experienced significant change since the November 2012 ERO report. The current transition from acting principal to new leadership is thoughtfully and strategically managed. The new principal uses established networks to support and develop her leadership. This collaborative approach should benefit staff, students and the wider community.

The new principal is establishing, with the board, a clear vision and plan to improve teaching and student achievement. A revised strategic plan including key goals for curriculum, community engagement, school culture and raising teacher capability is under development.

Sustainable development for equity and excellence

What further developments are needed in school processes to achieve equity and excellence?

Aligning an achievement-focused strategic plan to the annual plan and improving key school processes are needed to achieve and sustain equity and excellence for all students. Overall, some essential school conditions, such as internal evaluation, require improvement.

The new strategic plan should include more specific and measurable targets to raise the achievement of students in relation to the National Standards. Aligning evidence-based teacher inquiry to deliberately focus on accelerating student achievement should strengthen the school’s capacity to improve outcomes for learners.

Since the previous ERO report, teachers’ performance appraisal and professional development lapsed. A more robust process for appraisal has been developed. In 2016, principal appraisal was appropriately completed. Ongoing, comprehensive appraisal for all teachers, linked to student outcomes, is needed.

Collaborative planning and teaching by the newly appointed staff is at an early stage. Using evidence of student learning and assessing and evaluating what is working to accelerate progress and why, should improve teacher practice and student outcomes.

In 2017, the principal intends to develop a more localised curriculum using input from students, whānau and the wider community. ERO’s external evaluation affirms this direction. To fully implement theNew Zealand Curriculum and effectively promote and support student learning, the curriculum should include:

  • expectations for effective teaching of reading, writing and mathematics

  • meaningful and authentic contexts for learning

  • children leading and evaluating their learning

  • digital technology integrated to enhance learning

  • cultural responsiveness explicit in teaching practice

  • strong partnerships with the community. 

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

  • 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. 

The policy and procedural framework that guides good practice in the school has been very recently updated. The board should ensure compliance with new expectations and regulations, through a process of monitoring and review.

Going forward

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

Disparity in achievement for some groups of children is evident. Achievement overall needs to be raised.

Leaders and teachers:

  • know the children whose learning and achievement need to be accelerated

  • need to develop and implement approaches that effectively meet the needs of each child

  • need to improve the school conditions that support the acceleration of children’s learning and achievement.

  • need to build teacher capability to accelerate children’s learning and achievement.

The principal and board considers that support from ERO through an ongoing evaluation will assist in developing and monitoring targeted planning for continued school improvement to accelerate children’s learning. 

The school has requested that ERO provide them with an internal evaluation workshop to support the school to develop effective planning and monitoring processes to support equity and excellence for all children.

ERO intends to carry out a process of ongoing evaluation to support development over the course of one-to-two years.

Pat Davey

Deputy Chief Review Officer Central (Acting)

26 May 2017

About the school

Location

Porangahau

Ministry of Education profile number

730

School type

Full Primary (Years 1 to 8)

School roll

35

Gender composition

Female 19, Male 16

Ethnic composition

Māori 20
Pākehā 15

Provision of Māori medium education

No

Review team on site

February 2017

Date of this report

26 May 2017

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review November 2012
Education Review October 2009
Supplementary Review November 2008