Aranga School - 03/03/2017

1 Context

Aranga School is a small rural school north of Dargaville. The school provides education for children from Years 1 to 8. Over half of the children are Māori and most affiliate to Te Roroa and Ngāpuhi. Longstanding connections with the community continue to be an important feature of the school.

Since the 2014 ERO review the school has had four principals and other changes in the teaching team. The board appointed a new principal in July 2015. The teaching team includes the principal, a provisionally certificated teacher and part-time release teachers.

2 Equity and excellence

The vision and valued outcomes defined by the school for all children are that their learning environment will equip them to be the best people they can be. Valued outcomes that are linked to specific teaching and learning beliefs, include excellence, creativity, teamwork and respect. Children will be supported to experience success and enjoyment in their learning.

The school's 2015 achievement information shows that about 64 percent of children achieve at or above the National Standard in mathematics, 48 percent in reading, and 40 percent in writing. 2013 and 2014 achievement levels in reading and mathematics were relatively high. There was some variability in writing achievement and 2015 data identify disparity in the achievement of boys. The board recognises that there has been variability in achievement information throughout the school in recent years.

School moderation processes have recently been strengthened to improve the reliability of teachers' judgements about student achievement. Processes include teachers having regular discussions about the use of a range of assessment tools. Teachers are continuing to improve the accuracy and use of achievement information.

Since the last ERO evaluation the school has started to improve teaching and learning by strengthening teachers' understanding of how to make better use of assessment data. Teachers are beginning to use evidence to inquire into the impact of their teaching practice. They are participating in professional learning in teaching and assessing writing and are developing learning partnerships with parents and whānau.

3 Accelerating achievement

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

The school is not yet responding effectively to children whose learning and achievement need acceleration. The principal is beginning to introduce processes and practices that support teachers to accelerate learning progress. However, the board has yet to receive evaluative information about the difference that these initiatives are making to improve learner outcomes.

The board sets improvement targets for year-level groups of students. Planning has begun for target groups of students who are at risk of not achieving in reading, writing and/or mathematics. Closer monitoring of their achievement should be a priority. There is currently little information available in the school to show how teaching practices impact positively on the progress and achievement of the students.

The principal is working with teachers to improve the way they collect, analyse and use data to respond to children's learning needs. However, a greater sense of urgency is needed. The principal should access external expertise to help teachers accelerate children's progress and achievement. This support should aim to help the principal and teachers to:

  • develop a school-wide plan to accelerate the progress of the students most at risk of not achieving
  • use children's achievement information to improve how teachers plan learning programmes, especially for target learners
  • report more regularly to the board on students' learning progress
  • align the board's achievement targets to teachers' professional work and appraisal goals
  • develop leadership strategies that support the implementation of initiatives across the school.

These next steps should align with work currently underway to better monitor children's progress and achievement. They should also support an improved approach to regularly evaluating the impact of teaching and learning programmes, and other initiatives in the school.

4 School conditions

How effectively do the school’s curriculum and other organisational processes and practices develop and enact the school’s vision, values, goals and targets for equity and excellence?

The school's curriculum is at the early stages of supporting improvements for children, and enacting the school's vision, values, goals and targets to promote equity and excellence. It is becoming more aligned with The New Zealand Curriculum (NZC). Key competencies and school values are prioritised. The curriculum highlights reading, writing, and mathematics with overarching thematic topics. Teachers are beginning to introduce opportunities for students to have some ownership of their learning. They have also begun consulting with parents and whānau about their aspirations for a local curriculum.

Children learn in a settled atmosphere in small, multi-year-level classes. Children are friendly, respectful and keen learners. They value the tuakana/teina relationships they have with each other. Classroom property upgrades aimed at fostering innovative learning opportunities for children are underway. The curriculum for this more modern learning environment has yet to be developed.

Aranga School is becoming increasingly focused on promoting educational success for Māori children, as Māori. All children learn waiata and participate in the school’s kapa haka. Students value the leadership roles they have in this group. They are familiar with the school kawa for welcoming manuhiri to their school.

The principal is actively engaging with kaumātua, whānau Māori and the community. She is developing good relationships with these groups and seeking their ideas to inform the school's strategic direction and curriculum developments. Community members willingly contribute to wider curriculum activities such as Pet Day.

Parents receive information about their children’s learning in a variety of ways, including twice-yearly written reports about their children's progress and achievement. Teachers welcome informal discussions with parents and are developing partnerships with them that are focused on improving children's learning.

To increase the effectiveness of the curriculum the principal should develop a learning programme that includes:

  • the local context and makes use of the rich resources that surround the school
  • bicultural practices that support all children, with a focus on specifically improving Māori educational success and positive outcomes for Māori children, as Māori
  • opportunities for children to think critically and problem solve, and to lead their own learning and inquiry
  • clarifying and embedding expectations for effective teaching that promotes greater student engagement.

Improvements to teaching and learning should include:

  • individualised classroom programmes based on children's interests, strengths, talents and needs
  • developing students' understanding about their learning, progress and achievement
  • strengthening learning partnerships, especially with parents and whānau who can help the progress of those children at risk.

The experienced board chair and new trustees are committed to improving outcomes for children. They have a range of skills and capability, make good use of external expertise and have participated in some board training. The board has developed a school charter that prioritises quality teaching and learning, a local school curriculum and partnerships with whānau Māori.

To improve current practices and to support trustees in their stewardship role, the board should continue to access training that will:

  • strengthen board meeting processes
  • support the review of policies and procedures
  • help them with long-term strategic planning.

5 Going forward

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

Leaders and teachers:

  • have not yet adequately built their knowledge of the children whose learning and achievement need to be accelerated
  • have not yet adequately established necessary conditions to effectively accelerate learning and achievement
  • are not well placed to achieve and sustain accelerated achievement for all children who need it 

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

6 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 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

  • processes for appointing staff

  • stand down, suspensions, expulsions and exclusions

  • attendance

  • compliance with the provisions of the Vulnerable Children Act 2014.

To improve current practice, the principal should formalise the documentation required to implement a support and guidance programme for provisionally certificated teachers, and a teacher appraisal process that meets the requirements of the Education Council of NZ.

7 Recommendations

ERO recommends that the Ministry of Education supports the school by:

  • providing a Student Achievement Function practitioner (SAF) to improve teaching and learning processes that accelerate children's progress and achievement
  • guiding the development and implementation of a curriculum that reflectsThe New Zealand Curriculum
  • assisting the principal to lead change and development with staff, the board and community, and to improve school systems.

Graham Randell

Deputy Chief Review Officer Northern

3 March 2017

About the school 

Location

Aranga, Northland

Ministry of Education profile number

1001

School type

Full Primary (Years 1 to 8)

School roll

34

Gender composition

Girls 20 Boys 14

Ethnic composition

Māori

Pākehā

Filipino

19

14

1

Review team on site

November 2016

Date of this report

3 March 2017

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

February 2014

November 2011

December 2008