Awanui School - 29/06/2018

School Context

Awanui School has a roll of 36 students, from Years 1 to 6. The school was established in 1872 as a Native School and has been at the present site since 1915.

The school culture is driven by its values of manaakitanga, whanaungatanga, ngāwari and tū tangata. The outcomes the school promotes through its curriculum are for children to be proud, confident, capable of meeting challenges, and successful in each area of their development.

Nearly all children are of Māori descent. The school has close partnerships with the local iwi, Ngai Takoto. The school has three full-time staff including the principal. There are a number of teacher aides who support children with their learning.

The school has been part of the accelerating literacy for learning (ALL) programme. It is also a member of the Far North Community of Learning (CoL).

Leaders and teachers regularly report to the board, schoolwide information about outcomes for students in the following areas:

  • achievement in reading, writing, and mathematics

  • specific areas of the curriculum.

Evaluation Findings

1 Equity and excellence – valued outcomes for students

1.1 How well is the school achieving equitable and excellent outcomes for all its students?

The school continues to work towards achieving equitable and excellent outcomes for all its children.

There has been a strong commitment and collaborative approach to improving the teaching of writing through professional development. This has resulted in significant improvement in writing achievement since 2015. In addition, because of improvements in reading, approximately 73 percent of children achieved at or above their expected level by the end of 2017. There has also been a slight overall lift in mathematics achievement.

The disparity between boys’ and girls’ achievement has almost been eliminated in writing and considerably reduced in reading. However, results since 2015 show a trend of increasing achievement for boys, but decreasing progress and achievement for girls.

1.2 How effectively does this school respond to those Māori and other students whose learning and achievement need acceleration?

The school continues to develop its effectiveness in responding to Māori and other children whose learning and achievement need acceleration.

At the end of 2016, all children in Years 4 to 6 were below their expected levels of achievement. During 2017 some children made accelerated progress in writing. The school also reports that children have become more confident and are more able to articulate their learning and processes for writing.

The school has some useful information about students who have made accelerated progress in reading and mathematics. This indicates that students on the Reading Recovery programme had their progress accelerated and have maintained this progress over time. However, students who made accelerated progress through focused support in mathematics have not sustained this progress. Teachers are inquiring into the reasons behind these results.

2 School conditions for equity and excellence

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

The school has a strong commitment to aligning documentation and teaching and learning practices. Teachers have implemented a new mathematics programme that better reflects all mathematics strands of the curriculum. This new programme is likely to engage students better in their learning.

A ‘teaching as inquiry’ model has been developed recently and is now beginning to be implemented. Aspects of this collaborative inquiry process and professional learning opportunities for teachers align with the school’s vision, values, goals and targets.

Approaches to developing student agency have begun to empower children more in their learning. The broadening of the curriculum is beginning to help equip students with life skills and offer additional learning experiences. The school has increased the sharing of learning information with students and their parents through student-led conferences. Parents are welcomed and their contributions are valued.

Teachers know children well as individuals and as learners, and have high levels of awareness of their needs. Students are highly engaged in learning programmes.

2.2 What further developments are needed in school processes and practices for achievement of equity and excellence?

Aligning documentation regarding organisational structures, processes and goals is a priority for the school. As part of this, it would be useful to develop a clear curriculum framework for the school that covers all of the essential learning areas and states the school’s expectations for teaching and learning. This would help build teachers’ knowledge and use of teaching as inquiry. In addition, assessment expectations in all areas of the curriculum should be specifically documented, aligned to the New Zealand Curriculum, and regularly reported to the board.

Further strengthening the implementation of the Positive Behaviour for Learning (PB4L) approach, including a bullying prevention programme, would increase its effectiveness and alignment with school values. The impact and outcomes of PB4L strategies could be ascertained through wellbeing surveys and this information could be reported to the board.

Growing internal evaluation at the leadership, governance and teacher levels is a priority. The focus for internal evaluation should be on progress towards developing and improving systems and practices for achieving equity and excellence across the school. Ongoing work to evaluate the effectiveness of teachers’ planning and strategies for accelerating children’s learning progress could help teachers develop and embed specific strategies for improving achievement writing and other areas.

The principal and teachers have recently developed achievement plans for reading, writing and mathematics which identify children whose learning needs to be accelerated. These plans, once embedded, will assist teachers and the principal to more frequently report to the board about the effectiveness of strategies and interventions to lift achievement. This information would help the board with its strategic decision making.

3 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

  • finance

  • 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.

Appraisal audit

The principal’s annual performance agreement and appraisal documentation should show systematic processes and clear steps for progression and development. The process should include regular, documented discussions in relation to school goals and the Standards for the Teaching Profession and the Professional Standards for Primary Principals.

Actions for compliance

ERO identified non-compliance in relation to the principal’s appraisal. In order to address this, the board of trustees must:

  1. ensure the principal is appraised annually in relation to the Standards for the Teaching Profession
    State Sector Act 1988, s77C; Education Act 1989, 31.

Areas for improved compliance practice

To improve current practice, the board of trustees should:

  • document a systematic policy and procedure review process as a part of building more effective internal evaluation across the school

  • ensure that stand-down and suspension documentation and practices reflect Ministry of Education guidelines

  • ensure that the board uses its in-committee procedures and accurately minutes board discussion in the event of dealing with confidential and personnel matters

  • develop and implement a bullying prevention programme and a wellbeing survey for students and adults

  • ensure hazards in the school environment are promptly addressed.

4 Going forward

Key strengths of the school

For sustained improvement and future learner success, the school can draw on existing strengths in:

  • its determination to improve learning outcomes for students

  • collaborative relationships between staff and a commitment to the school’s vision, goals, and targets for learning

  • approaches to building student agency in making progress in learning and achieving valued outcomes.

Next steps

For sustained improvement and future learner success, priorities for further development are in:

  • continuing to increase student ownership of their learning progress and achievement

  • board evaluation of the school’s performance, particularly how well children’s learning is being accelerated and valued outcomes are being achieved for all learners

  • increasing the rigour of internal evaluation across all school operations [ERO will provide an internal evaluation workshop for trustees and senior leaders]

  • embedding specific, targeted planning to accelerate learning and improve outcomes for students [ERO will monitor and discuss progress with the school].

Recommendations to other agencies

ERO recommends that the New Zealand School Trustees Association provide support for the school in order to bring about improvement in governance roles and responsibilities, including using internal evaluation to inform decision making.

ERO’s next external evaluation process and timing

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

Julie Foley

Deputy Chief Review Officer Northern (Acting)

Te Tai Raki - Northern Region

29 June 2018

About the school

Location

Awanui

Ministry of Education profile number

1004

School type

Contributing Years 1 -6

School roll

36

Gender composition

Boys 20 Girls 16

Ethnic composition

Māori 34
Pākeha 2

Provision of Māori medium education

No

Review team on site

April 2018

Date of this report

29 June 2018

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review March 2015
Education Review February 2012
Education Review June 2008