Aranui School (Wanganui) - 24/08/2017

Summary

Aranui School, in the Whanganui suburb of Castlecliff, caters for 89 students in Years 1 to 6. Twothirds of the roll identify as Māori.

Three of the six teachers are new to the school since the start of 2016. All except one of the board’s trustees are new since June, 2016.

The valued outcome as defined by the school is for all children to ‘journey towards knowledge’ (E rere te waka ki te matauranga). The CARE values of Cooperation, Attitude, Respect and Effort support realising this vision.

Areas for improvement identified in the June 2014 ERO report remain. The school has yet to effectively respond to the need to:

  • improve overall levels of student achievement
  • use achievement information to evaluate the impact of teaching
  • develop a shared understanding of teaching that effectively supports Māori students’ educational success.

Since the last ERO evaluation, the school has been involved in professional learning and development (PLD) in mathematics, writing and promoting behaviours supportive of learning. This has contributed to increased teacher collaboration and curriculum leadership opportunities. It has yet to result in sustained improvement in student outcomes.

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

The school needs to improve its response to students whose learning and achievement need acceleration. Many students achieving below National Standards are making insufficient progress.

School processes are being strengthened to enable more students to experience educational success. The further development of these is necessary to support a more effective response to the learning needs of students.

At the time of this review, Aranui School was not well placed to provide conditions for children to achieve educational excellence, or to address in-school disparities. 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 needs to improve its effectiveness in responding to students whose learning and achievement need acceleration.

School-provided National Standards data indicates that some learners make accelerated progress. A number of students below National Standards are making insufficient progress in learning.

The percentage of students achieving at or above National Standards in reading, writing and mathematics has not improved since the previous ERO review. In writing and mathematics, approximately 50% of students were reported at or above the National Standards at the end of 2016. Overall Māori and non-Māori results are similar. Girls, as a group, achieve at significantly higher levels in reading and writing than boys.

A range of assessment tools are used to identify students who need learning assistance. In 2017, the school is strengthening its use of assessment information to show progress. This should enable the impact of teaching and additional programmes to be more effectively considered. Support programmes are provided to raise the achievement of this group of learners. Trustees receive some information about these interventions.

Writing and mathematics PLD has improved assessment practices. This is assisting teachers to make more dependable judgements about student achievement. Leaders and teachers should collaboratively develop processes to support National Standards judgements. This should include documenting expectations that outline how:

  • assessment information will be used to inform overall teacher judgements
  • moderation processes are to be used to support dependable judgements.

School conditions supporting equity and excellence

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

School processes are being strengthened to enable more students to experience educational success.

Trustees show commitment to improving student outcomes and promoting success for all. Ongoing participation in governance PLD is building their knowledge and understanding of their stewardship role. Trustees are being supported by the principal to develop their understanding of student achievement data and accelerated progress. They are beginning to make greater use of the information received to consider the impact of school practices.

The charter provides a framework for guiding future direction. Raising achievement and improving outcomes are priorities. Annual goals and targets link to strategic goals.

Board members and the principal recognise the need to reorganise and review the policy and procedure framework. This is underway. Clearer guidelines for operation should contribute to improved governance support for student wellbeing and achievement. 

The school is welcoming and inclusive. There are good levels of community, parent and whānau involvement. Conversations that contribute to positive relationships and information sharing are promoted. Written reports to parents are informative and include suggestions about how they can support learning at home. The school has identified the need to continue to build partnerships with families that promote learning and contribute to curriculum development. There is a particular emphasis on involving Māori whānau.

Student wellbeing and supporting their readiness to learn are priorities. CARE values inform expectations that promote positive dispositions for learning. These are well understood by students. The supportive environment contributes to generally good engagement in learning. Classrooms observed by ERO had a calm and positive tone.

The principal is focused on sustaining the supportive environment that is promoting student wellbeing and learning. She is building relational trust and collaboration at every level of the school community. Improved outcomes are likely to result from her taking a more active role in ensuring effective planning, coordination and evaluation of the school’s curriculum and teaching.

School leaders are building leadership capability within the staff to further support curriculum development and student learning. PLD linked to personal and school goals has assisted teachers to inquire more effectively into their teaching and assessment practice in writing and mathematics.

Sustainable development for equity and excellence

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

Further development of processes and practices that enable a more effective response to the learning needs of students is necessary.

The curriculum document is in the early stages of being revisited to consider how well it reflects current teaching and learning practices, PLD and community aspirations. The revised document should include documenting expectations and guidelines to support:

  • acceleration of students’ progress in reading, writing and mathematics
  • effective teaching practice, including within collaborative learning spaces
  • promotion of Māori students’ culture, language, identity.

There should be better use of student progress data by teachers to:

  • show changes in students’ achievement levels during and at the end of a year, particularly for those identified as below expectation
  • consider the impact of teaching practice and programmes and thus contribute to decisions about ongoing improvement in teaching and learning.

Trustees, leaders and teachers should strengthen the targeting of, and response to, students below expectation through:

  • ensuring actions address the specific needs of targeted students
  • increased involvement of parents and whānau in supporting children’s learning
  • reporting the progress of target students to trustees through the year
  • using target student progress data to evaluate the impact of teaching and programmes. 

An appraisal process that has the potential to support improvement to teachers’ practice is in place. Next steps to better implement this are:

  • building teachers’ understanding and use of teaching as inquiry that is focused on accelerating the progress of identified students
  • extending the use of classroom observations to contribute to improved teaching
  • having greater emphasis on the cultural competence of teachers of Māori students
  • more fully documenting procedures and expectations linked to appraisal.

National Standards and other key assessment information is shared with the board. To further assist decision-making trustees should receive:

  • achievement reports that include a greater focus on the progress of students, particularly for those requiring acceleration of their learning
  • reports related to the effectiveness of learning support programmes.

Teachers, leaders and trustees are increasingly reflective. Improving collective capacity to understand and use evaluation and inquiry should enhance the school’s effectiveness in lifting student achievement.

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 school has identified the lack of regular attendance as an issue for some students who require their progress accelerated. To improve current practice, the board of trustees should receive regular reports about overall attendance patterns. These reports should include evidence-based consideration of the impact of strategies implemented to improve attendance.

Going forward

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

At the time of this review, this school was not well placed to provide conditions for children to achieve educational excellence, or to address in-school disparities. The main areas of concern are:

  • levels of student achievement need improvement

  • curriculum expectations are not yet clearly documented

  • progress data is not effectively used to consider the impact of teaching and programmes

  • the teacher appraisal process lacks rigour.

Leaders and teachers:

  • have not yet adequately built their knowledge of the children whose learning and achievement need to be accelerated

  • need to adequately establish 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.

Alan Wynyard

Deputy Chief Review Officer Central (Acting)

24 August 2017

About the school 

Location

Whanganui

Ministry of Education profile number

2336

School type

Contributing School (Years 1 to 6)

School roll

89

Gender composition

Male 47 Female 42

Ethnic composition

Māori 58
Pākehā 25
Other ethnic groups 6

Provision of Māori medium education

No

Review team on site

June 2017

Date of this report

24 August 2017

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review, June 2014
Education Review, April 2011
Education Review, June 2007