Awhitu District School - 31/10/2017

Summary

Awhitu District School is located at the northern end of the Awhitu Peninsula near Auckland. The current roll of 126 children includes 26 Māori children, a small number of whom whakapapa to Ngāti Te Ata, the local iwi. There is also a small number of Pacific children.

Since the last ERO review in 2014 there has been a complete change in the teaching team. This includes a new principal, who started at the beginning of 2016. A mainly new board is led by an experienced chairperson.

The school belongs to the Waiuku Community of Learning | Kāhui Ako.

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

The school responds effectively to many Māori and other children whose learning and achievement need acceleration. Effective systems for monitoring and tracking mean that trustees, leaders and teachers know which children are at-risk of not achieving. Learning and teaching is increasingly responsive to their needs and strengths. There are examples of high-quality internal evaluation in relation to children’s progress and achievement.

The school needs to further develop a culturally responsive and relational framework for teaching and learning that will bring coherence to ongoing improvement. A more robust approach to curriculum review should result in deeper, more sustainable improvements in classroom programmes and teacher practice.

Learners are achieving well. The school demonstrates strong progress toward achieving equity in educational outcomes, supported by effective, sustainable processes and practices.

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

Equity and excellence

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

The school is responding effectively to many Māori and other children whose learning and achievement need acceleration.

Overall achievement in reading had remained stable between 2013 and 2015 whereas achievement in writing and mathematics had declined. However, there has been improvement, particularly in mathematics and writing in 2016. Achievement of Māori remains below that of non–Māori and boys’ achievement below that of girls.

The school is able to show that from the beginning of 2017, of the 16 Māori and other children who were achieving below national expectations, 4 have made accelerated progress in reading. Of the 29 Māori and other children below expectation in mathematics, 10 have made accelerated progress. Seven out of 27 have achieved similar results in writing.

The school emphasises values of personal best, respect, integrity, determination and exploration. These are well understood and enacted by many children.

Since 2016 the school has strengthened the process teachers use to make overall judgements about student progress and achievement, (OTJs).

Children with additional needs are very well supported. The special needs coordinator uses an extensive network, built up over many years, to access a wide range of resources and support. A specially adapted curriculum has been put in place to enable these children to experience success.

School conditions supporting equity and excellence

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

Many school processes are effective in enabling the achievement of equity and excellence.

The board is well informed about the numbers of children who are at risk of underachieving and how teachers are responding to their needs. Strategic planning, goals and targets are being used effectively by leaders and the board to identify and focus on the progress of children who are at risk of underachieving.

Leaders have developed relational trust with the school community and have developed high expectations for teachers and children. This promotes high levels of child engagement and a positive school culture.

Children are benefitting from the increasing use of the skills and knowledge of Māori members of the community to support them in their learning. Teachers have begun to engage effectively with parents and whānau as partners in their children’s learning.

The curriculum is increasingly responsive to the aspirations of parents, whānau and the local community, and to the needs and strengths of children. Leaders and teachers are committed to ensuring that te ao Māori is visible throughout the curriculum and school life. Children are developing a strong sense of identity as members of their local community and citizens of Aotearoa/New Zealand.

Teachers are increasingly using evidence of student learning and progress as a basis for professional discussion and inquiry. Professional learning and development has a focus on accelerating the progress and achievement for all children. Inclusive processes and practices, particularly systems for monitoring and tracking, support teachers to identify and plan for children’s specific learning needs.

The school is increasingly able to evaluate the impact of new initiatives on children’s achievement.

Sustainable development for equity and excellence

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

The school needs to further develop a culturally responsive and relational pedagogy as a coherent framework for responding to the needs of Māori and other learners.

There is also a need to strengthen processes for ongoing curriculum review with a focus on building teacher capacity. This should result in deeper, more sustainable improvements in classroom programmes and teacher practice.

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.

Going forward

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

Learners are achieving well. The school demonstrates strong progress toward achieving equity in educational outcomes, supported by effective, sustainable processes and practices.

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

Lynda Pura-Watson

Deputy Chief Review Officer Waikato / Bay of Plenty

31 October 2017

About the school

Location

Awhitu

Ministry of Education profile number

1214

School type

Full Primary (Years 1 - 8)

School roll

126

Gender composition

Boys 54% Girls 46%

Ethnic composition

Pākehā 76%
Māori 21%
Pacific 3%

Provision of Māori medium education

No

Review team on site

August 2017

Date of this report

31 October 2017

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review June 2014
Education Review June 2009
Education Review October 2006