Huia Range School - 18/02/2021

Findings

Huia Range School has made progress in some of the areas identified in the November 2018 ERO report . The school’s curriculum has been developed and documented. A sustained focus is needed to improve the achievement of target students and strengthen the implementation and evaluation of schoolwide systems and processes.

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

1 Background and Context

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

Huia Range School in Dannevirke provides education for students in Years 1 to 8. The current roll of 307 students includes 59% who are Māori.

The November 2018 ERO report identified concerns related to student progress and achievement, the curriculum, performance management, governance and internal evaluation.

Huia Range has continued to focus on the Positive Behaviour for Learning (PB4L) programme. Leaders and teachers have worked with professional development facilitators to focus on literacy, cultural competency and using the progressive achievement consistency tool (PACT). A Student Achievement Facilitator (SAF) Practitioner has supported the school’s improvement journey.

2 Review and Development

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

Priorities identified for review and development

The 2018 ERO report identified the following areas for development:

  • raising overall student achievement

  • accelerating the progress of students achieving below expectations

  • further developing the curriculum

  • reviewing the performance management system

  • developing a shared understanding of and implementing internal evaluation

  • trustees increasing understanding of their governance roles and reviewing specific policies identified in the 2018 ERO report.

Progress

Progress has been made in some of the areas identified for development.

ERO and senior leaders visited many classrooms and observed students engaged in their learning. Students work independently and collaboratively with others. Interactions between teachers and students are positive and respectful. Teachers are using strategies to support students to be part of the learning process.

School leaders have identified there are not yet clear, schoolwide systems to ensure the dependability of teacher judgements about achievement and progress. Teachers have begun relevant professional development and learning (PLD) to increase their knowledge of curriculum expectations.

The data the school shared with ERO shows:

  • overall achievement levels have increased since 2017 in reading, writing and mathematics

  • at the end of 2019, most students achieved at or above curriculum expectations in reading and mathematics with a large majority in writing.

Reporting of overall achievement to the board does not give trustees a clear picture of achievement of groups of students to show if disparity is being reduced between boys and girls and Māori and Pākehā students.

School targets for 2020 do not focus on those students who need to accelerate their progress. As a result, there is not a shared understanding of:

  • who the target students are

  • what strategies and actions teachers need to take to accelerate their progress

  • how successfully the school is responding to students who need their learning accelerated.

Lack of effective reporting that includes analysis of progress is hindering trustees’ ability to make resourcing decisions.

Led by the deputy principal, the school has made good progress with developing the school’s curriculum. Aspects of the curriculum provide students with opportunities to learn about their local community and environment. Staff have worked collaboratively to establish meaningful learning contexts. Teachers are undertaking PLD to strengthen their culturally responsive practices. The school recognises that a next step is to revise teaching-expectation guidelines to support consistency of practice across the school.

The performance management system has been revised and now meets the requirements outlined in the 2018 ERO report.

The school is using internal evaluation processes to know about the effectiveness of some programmes and initiatives in relation to improved outcomes for students. A more evaluative approach is needed when reporting progress against the achievement of the Charter’s strategic priorities. Currently, this reporting is descriptive and not linked to the expected outcomes.

Since the 2018 ERO report, trustees have attended governance training workshops with the New Zealand Trustees Association (NZSTA). The board has established processes and practices to ensure that policies meet legislative requirements and are regularly revised.

3 Sustainable performance and self review

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

ERO is not confident that the school can sustain and continue to improve and review its performance.

There are insufficient systems in place to embed and monitor the implementation of schoolwide programmes and initiatives.

School leadership is not effective and a lack of relational trust is hindering overall school performance.

Key next steps are for the board and senior leaders are to:

  • develop progressions of achievement for consistency of expectation and coherence of learning across the school

  • implement clear processes for identifying, tracking and reporting the progress of target students

  • regularly report the achievement and progress of groups of students

  • ensure that new schoolwide practices and systems are embedded and that there are procedures in place to monitor the quality of the implementation

  • build relational trust and effective collaboration within the school.

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.

ERO recommends that the Ministry of Education consider providing support for the school in order to bring about the developments identified in the key next steps.

Conclusion

Huia Range School has made progress in some of the areas identified in the November 2018 ERO report . The school’s curriculum has been developed and documented. A sustained focus is needed to improve the achievement of target students and strengthen the implementation and evaluation of schoolwide systems and processes.

On the basis of the findings of this review, ERO‘s overall evaluation judgement of Huia Range 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.

Dr Lesley Patterson
Director Review and Improvement Services (Southern)

Southern Region - Te Tai Tini

18 February 2021

About the school

The Education Counts website provides further information about the school’s student population, student engagement and student achievement.