Blaketown School - 03/03/2017

1 Context

Blaketown School in Greymouth caters for children in Years 1 - 8. The current roll is 69 and this has remained relatively stable. Children and families are supported through a positive learning environment and a range of equity programmes. The school is actively involved in a Community of Learning and other external initiatives that support teaching and learning. There is a stable collegial teaching team. Following the recent elections there is a new board chair and a mix of new and experienced trustees.

2 Equity and excellence

The vision and valued outcomes defined by the school for all children are reflected in the school's motto of 'Together We Learn' and the values of Respect, Resiliency and Responsibility.

The school’s achievement information shows that in national standards students achieve most highly in reading. Over the past three years more than 75% have achieved at or above in reading. In mathematics 70% are regularly achieving at or above. The school has identified writing, especially for boys and some Māori children, as a focus area. 60% of students are achieving at or above in writing and specific programmes to improve achievement in writing have been implemented this year.

When compared to other groups, Māori children have achieved at similar levels in the past but the school has identified a slight downward trend from 2015. The school has put additional improvement strategies in place to address this.

Moderation process and practices have been strengthened and continue to be a focus for development. The school has developed more robust systems to support teachers' judgements about children's achievement. Teachers use a range of assessment tools, classroom practices and observations to inform their decisions. They compare and discuss children's work and moderate achievement data with other local schools through their involvement in the Māwhera Community of Learning.

Since the April 2013 ERO review, the school has: 

  • increased engagement and consultation with all parents
  • strengthened the processes and consistency of assessment and moderation practices
  • introduced appraisal and professional inquiry to improve teachers' practices and outcomes for students at risk of not achieving
  • undertaken significant initiatives, based on a Māori action plan, to integrate te reo Māori and tikanga Māori into everyday programmes
  • begun to integrate digital technology into teaching and learning to increase engagement and achievement
  • created a framework and culture of internal evaluation.  

3 Accelerating achievement

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

The school responds effectively to children whose learning and achievement need acceleration.

Teachers use detailed systems to quickly identify and monitor children whose achievement and progress are at risk. Learning needs are discussed and plans are developed with children and their families. Teachers work collaboratively and know the children's strengths, interests and needs well.

Learning support is enhanced by effective use of specialist services and board funded additional staff. Teachers implement flexible and innovative strategies to engage students in their learning.

Teachers focus on building children's capacity to understand and reflect on their learning.

The school has a strategic approach to targeting students at risk of not achieving and this is reflected in school and teacher planning. The board receives regular reports against these targets.

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?

All learners at Blaketown School have access to a range of learning opportunities that are responsive to their needs, interests and abilities. A clear and comprehensive curriculum document, linked to the vision and values, ensures a consistent and cohesive approach by staff.

The curriculum is learner centred, providing flexibility to meet needs and maximise authentic contexts. Local contexts and community events are incorporated effectively. Links with schools outside the area provide rich learning opportunities for the children. Children are engaged in their learning and are able to talk about it. They have opportunities to collaborate and learn with and from each other. Positive relationships and a range of whole school programmes ensure a sense of being valued and of belonging for all children. Children are able to confidently talk about the school's values and are enthusiastic about the programmes they are involved in.

The daily morning assembly for all children blends tikanga, physical activity and maths learning to music, providing not only a whole school cross curricula start to the day but evidence of tuakana teina and leadership.

Teachers are using digital technology to increase engagement, enhance learning and improve differentiation. The school has undergone significant technological changes in order to improve its student management systems and administration.

Teachers are making progress in integrating bicultural dimensions into their programmes. Kapa haka, in which all children are involved, has provided opportunities for Maori children to develop and demonstrate leadership skills. The school is aware of the need to further develop te ao Māori in order for Māori students to feel that their identity, language and culture is fully recognised.

Students feel confident to contribute their ideas and have an active role in the life of the school.

Parents, whanau and community are welcomed and involved in school activities and there are a range of opportunities for parents to contribute their views. The school is responsive to feedback.

The board, principal and staff are student focused and have high expectations for teaching and learning. Leadership in the school is positive and there is a clear sense of purpose, underpinned by a respectful view of children and a belief in their potential.

The board is highly committed, well informed by the principal and undertakes relevant professional development. The board has accessed a range of useful internal evaluation tools.

The school has developed clear guidelines to support internal evaluation at all levels of its operations. These now need to be embedded. Regular, informal refection by teachers is strongly focussed on improving outcomes for learners and the school is in the early stages of implementing more formal teaching as inquiry processes. Teachers and leaders are making increasingly effective use of data and information in a range of ways to inform the board and assist planning. There is a close correlation in documentation and practice between annual targets and classroom practice.

5 Going forward

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

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.

School leaders and ERO agree that they should:

  • strengthen systems for closer tracking of Māori children
  • continue to focus on engaging with the Māori community
  • further embed bicultural perspectives and practices across all school contexts
  • continue to embed the new appraisal system to ensure a sustained cycle of ongoing improvement.

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 down, suspensions, expulsions and exclusions

  • attendance

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

7 Recommendations

To continue to improve its performance, ERO recommends that the school

  • continues to focus on accelerating and raising student achievement and in particular focuses on areas of disparity
  • continues to develop its internal evaluation practices. 

Dr Lesley Patterson

Deputy Chief Review Officer Te Waipounamu/Southern

3 March 2017 

About the school 

Location

Greymouth

Ministry of Education profile number

3295

School type

Full Primary (Years 1 to 8)

School roll

69

Gender composition

Female 31; Male 38

Ethnic composition

Māori

European

12

57

Review team on site

November 2016

Date of this report

3 March 2017

Most recent ERO reports

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

April 2013

February 2010

October 2006