Ahuroa School - 23/01/2018

Findings

The school has implemented improvement focused plans. These plans and a variety of positive management and teaching strategies have resulted in improved student achievement, particularly for children at risk of not achieving. The school is continuing to strengthen the curriculum and promote children's independent learning skills. 

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

1 Background and Context

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

Ahuroa School is a small primary school in a rural setting, north of Auckland. The Year 1 to 8 school enjoys strong community support and an actively involved board of trustees. Most of the 61 children enrolled travel to school by bus each day.

The roll includes a small number of Māori children. Children are grouped for learning in three mixed-level classrooms. The board purposefully funds learning resources and additional teaching staff to support the school curriculum.

At the time of ERO’s 2015 review, the board had recently appointed a new principal. The 2015 ERO report identified areas to do with the quality of teaching and learning that needed to be improved. In response, the board and principal developed plans to promote and support improvement. Strategic planning and internal evaluation have developed over the past two years and there have been some changes in teaching staff.

2 Review and Development

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

Priorities identified for review and development

The priorities for review and development identified in 2016 related to:

  • improving the use of achievement information to inform teacher practice and better target children at risk of not achieving
  • strengthening students’ understanding of their progress and achievement, to increase their agency as learners
  • documenting the school’s curriculum, and expectations for high quality teaching and learning
  • implementing appropriate teacher appraisal and performance management systems.

Progress

The principal and board have made good progress since the 2016 ERO review. They developed a planned and systematic approach to addressing the areas ERO identified for review and development. Together they have worked collaboratively with staff and other local schools, and external agencies, to improve school performance.

Overall student achievement has continued to improve. Disparity in outcomes for Māori students, and boys has been reduced. Parents are keen to work with teachers to support the learning and progress of their children.

Students establish and maintain positive and respectful relationships with each other and their teachers. Classrooms are settled as students engage well in learning activities. Students with additional learning needs are well supported.

Significant school progress and improvement is most evident in the following areas with the development of;

  • a learner profile that more clearly demonstrates the school’s expectations for learning, including desired student outcomes that reflect the New Zealand Curriculum
  • an updated school charter following meaningful consultation with staff, parents and students
  • a more collaborative teaching culture that enables staff to share good practices and benefit from well selected school-wide professional learning and development opportunities
  • consultation with local hapū, Ngā Maunga Whakahii, and whānau, to introduce tikanga and te reo Māori in the curriculum and in school-wide practices
  • an inquiry-focused appraisal system that encourages teachers to reflect on evidence of how their practices impact on children’s learning
  • more consistent moderation processes to help teachers make reliable overall judgements about students’ progress and achievement
  • strategies for sharing progress and achievement information with students, and helping them set goals to become confident independent agents of learning
  • processes to make better use of achievement information to identify and target those children whose learning needs to be accelerated.

Key next steps

To maintain the school's positive progress high priority should be given to:

  • embedding inquiry learning approaches that support students to further develop independent learning skills, key competencies and the use of digital technologies
  • professional learning about accelerated progress for students and aligning that learning with strategies to support those students most at risk of not achieving
  • strengthening links between teacher appraisal and the progress of those students most at risk of not achieving
  • more culturally responsive teaching practices, with a particular focus on Māori students succeeding as Māori, and strengthening bicultural components of the curriculum for all children.

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 good practices and to continue reviewing and improving its performance.

The principal and trustees are developing a greater understanding of how to review the school’s performance. They access support and guidance to help improve their internal evaluation and decision-making processes. Their long-term goals are well documented and provide a useful framework for reporting on progress. A next step is to embed systems that support ongoing school-wide internal evaluation and help to establish sustainable improvements.

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 has implemented improvement focused plans. These plans and a variety of positive management and teaching strategies have resulted in improved student achievement, particularly for children at risk of not achieving. The school is continuing to strengthen the curriculum and promote children's independent learning skills.

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

Graham Randell

Deputy Chief Review Officer Northern

Te Tai Raki - Northern Region

23 January 2018

About the School

Location

Warkworth

Ministry of Education profile number

1200

School type

Full Primary (Years 1 to 8)

School roll

61

Gender composition

Boys 36 Girls 25

Ethnic composition

Pākehā
Māori
other

53
4
4

Review team on site

October 2017

Date of this report

23 January 2018

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review
Education Review
Education Review

February 2016
November 2012
November 2009