Awahou School - 07/06/2016

1 Context

Awahou School is a small rural school near Palmerston North. The board, staff and community are committed to providing students with learning experiences that prepare them for the future, through a strong focus on literacy and mathematics.

The staff includes a teaching principal, an experienced teacher, a provisionally certificated teacher and an office manager. There have been a few changes in principal since the May 2013 ERO evaluation.

The recently appointed principal has introduced educational goals for students and schoolwide initiatives. An open-door policy is evident by the number of family members involved in supporting daily activities, attending meetings, and by participation in other school events.

The recent iwi initiative with Tanenuiarangi Manawatu Incorporated on behalf of Rangitaane o Manawatu is celebrated as a way to connect with mana whenua. Specific plans being considered should strengthen the school community knowledge of local stories that will support students' learning pathways.

2 Equity and excellence

The vision defined by the school for all children is: Excellent Learning for a Global Future. The values of Respect - Whakaute, Honesty - Mataika and Effort - Ngaki are well known to students and adults.

The school community focus is on setting students up for the future. Positive relationships are highly valued so that students learn in an environment where wellbeing, academic and social growth are carefully considered.

School reported achievement information shows that most students achieve at and above in relation to the National Standards in reading, writing and mathematics. Many students achieve above the Standard, particularly in reading. Staff recognise that mathematics is an area for ongoing improvement. They participate in a wide range of professional development to ensure they are up to date with teaching theory and strategies, especially in mathematics. Much of this work is led well by a teacher in the school.

Teachers are highly aware of individual students who require additional support to reach the Standard. They have developed specific schoolwide targets for accelerating their learning. Their progress is monitored and tracked. Teachers continue to refine their use of assessment tools and systems to support their knowledge of individual students and judgements about their achievement.

Students participate in focused lessons. The progress and achievement of Māori students is known and their success is celebrated. They are well catered for and see their language, culture and identity valued across the curriculum.

Since the previous ERO report teachers have continued to participate in professional development to improve identified areas of teaching.

3 Accelerating achievement

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

Teachers report that over time, many students make accelerated progress to meet the National Standards. They monitor and discuss the progress of identified students to evaluate the effectiveness of strategies to promote learning. A next step is to systematically monitor and measure the progress made by students throughout the year.

Teachers are highly responsive to students' needs. They provide timely and appropriate feedback and next steps for learning. Their evaluations of their teaching, the appraisal process and the school charter are aligned with the focus on accelerating student achievement.

Students requiring additional support are well catered for. Positive relationships have been developed with external agencies who provide ongoing advice and guidance to teachers as they seek the best outcome for all learners.

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 priorities for equity and excellence?

The school's clearly articulated mission statement, vision and values underpin school developments, processes and practices. These actions are aligned with internally identified priorities for improvement.

Students have well-considered curriculum experiences to develop as competent academic and social learners. They participate actively in a settled, family environment where all are welcome. The positive relationships developed between families, teachers and students are a strength of the school. Learning partnerships support students' ongoing success.

The board of trustees works with staff and the community to enact the espoused values. Trustees expect success for students. Next steps for trustees are to clarify their roles for stewardship and strengthen the review of school policies and procedures. Trustees should receive more useful reports to inform their resourcing decisions and to know the impact of school initiatives on accelerating students' progress.

The principal is focused on timely, manageable and orderly school improvement. He listens carefully to feedback from teachers and the community when making decisions. He has, with staff, worked to strengthen home and school partnerships. He is highly reflective about improving student outcomes.

Teachers seek and appropriately respond to the perspectives and aspirations of families and students for successful learning. Staff build on the positive wider community skills and value the experiences others bring to school. The local schools cluster provides further opportunities for meaningful student learning experiences.

The memorandum of understanding with Tanenuiarangi Manawatu Incorporated on behalf of Rangitaane o Manawatu Iwi forms a basis for extending the planned curriculum review. This acknowledges the local Awahou community history and should strengthen te ao Māori in curriculum by increasing responsiveness to Māori learners and their whānau.

The vision for global learning is evident in the digital resourcing and flexible learning spaces. Students frequently work and support each other in groups. A next step is for students to know more about their own progress so they have greater ownership of learning.

New teachers are well supported. Carefully considered induction and mentoring guidelines underpin practice. Teachers are open to learning and adapting their practices. They use and develop their own strengths. The appraisal system is sound and well implemented. Teachers are strengthening the process of gathering and recording evidence of effectiveness for students.

The principal has an understanding of internal evaluation for improvement. The school is well positioned to evaluate the effectiveness of what it is doing. Good systems are in place and these should be brought together to frame a cohesive approach to internal evaluation. These systems are complemented by good processes for collecting data and communicating with families and the community.

To improve practice, the board, principal and teachers should:

  • more systematically monitor, measure and report students' accelerated progress
  • clarify and strengthen governance roles and responsibilities, policy and procedure review and use of information to improve student outcomes
  • continue to strengthen culturally responsive practices
  • improve internal evaluation through a more cohesive approach.

5 Going forward

How well placed is the school to achieve and sustain equitable and excellent outcomes for all children?

The school is well placed to achieve equitable and excellent outcomes for all children.

Leaders and teachers:

  • know the children whose learning and achievement need to be accelerated
  • respond effectively to the strengths, needs and interests of each child
  • regularly evaluate how well teaching is working for these children
  • act on what they know works well for each child
  • build teacher capability effectively to achieve equitable outcomes for all children
  • are well placed to achieve and sustain equitable and excellent outcomes for all children.

ERO is likely to carry out the next review in three 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-downs, suspensions, expulsions and exclusions

  • attendance

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

7 Recommendations

Trustees, the principal and teachers should continue the focus on using well-considered information and related practices, to inform school improvements that support increased progress and achievement of students. 

Joyce Gebbie

Deputy Chief Review Officer Central

7 June 2016

About the school

Location

Ashhurst

Ministry of Education profile number

2338

School type

Full Primary (Years 1 to 8)

School roll

35

Gender composition

Male 18, Female 17

Ethnic composition

Māori

Pākehā

Other ethnic groups

2

30

3

Review team on site

March 2016

Date of this report

7 June 2016

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

May 2013

January 2010

February 2007