Colville School - 04/12/2014

Findings

There are many issues to be addressed at Colville School to ensure positive outcomes for students and their families. The board of trustees continues to govern the school with assistance and support from external agencies. The appointment of permanent teaching staff should provide students with an appropriate and sustainable learning programme.

ERO intends to carry out another review over the course of one-to-two years.

1 Background and Context

What is the background and context for this school’s review?

ERO conducted an Education Review in June 2013 which resulted in a further review over a one-to-two year period. An action plan was developed by the school to address the issues identified by the 2013 ERO report. Support from the Ministry of Education (MoE) and professional development providers has provided assistance to the school, resulting in progress being made with some of the areas for development.

At the time of this onsite ERO visit, the principal was on leave until the end of the 2014 school year and in October, an emergency acting principal had been appointed through the School Trustees Association (STA). Both permanent teachers had left the school and there had been several changes to the board of trustees, including the chairperson. These staffing changes have had a very limiting effect on the ability of the school to successfully implement an agreed action plan, and consequently the continuity of learning for students is being compromised.

A recent change in decile ranking should result in positive financial benefits for the school and assist trustees with additional resource purchasing for teaching and learning programmes.

Since the recent appointment of the acting principal there have been a number of positive changes in school operations and culture. These include:

  • the election of a staff representative onto the board
  • the promotion of an open-door policy for keeping the community informed of school events
  • opportunities for families, whānau and community to utilise school facilities, share their views and aspirations, and restore confidence and parental involvement in the school
  • implementation of effective leadership for school operations including teaching and learning programmes.

In addition, the acting principal is currently working to address a series of parental complaints about past and present school issues and is preparing an investigation report for STA.

2 Review and Development

How effectively is the school addressing its priorities for review and development?

Priorities identified for review and development

The June 2013 ERO report identified the need for:

  • further development of a curriculum that reflected the intent of The New Zealand Curriculum, the context of Colville School, and the culture and identity of all students
  • development, documentation and implementation of an agreed and understood philosophy of teaching and learning to raise the consistency of teaching practice, and strengthen student engagement in and management of their learning
  • strengthening systems and processes for self review to support ongoing school improvement and to evaluate the effectiveness of teaching practice, programmes and initiatives
  • continuation of development of the principal’s knowledge and confidence as the leader of learning.

Progress

Since the 2013 ERO review the school received considerable support from a variety of providers including the MoE. There has been:

  • some ongoing professional development for teachers
  • limited training and support for trustees
  • some initial development of a philosophy of teaching
  • documented statements to guide development of the school curriculum
  • self review assistance to guide the improvement and development of some identified governance and management areas.

Unfortunately however with the recent departure of most teaching staff and the absence of the principal for term 4 2014, it will be difficult to sustain the momentum of this early progress.

3 Sustainable performance and self review

How well placed is the school to sustain and continue to improve and review its performance?

Trustees are committed to their roles and are willing to undertake ongoing training. However ERO is not confident that the school is able to sustain and improve its performance or to undertake effective self review. Student learning is also likely to be compromised without effective leadership from the principal and continuity of teaching staff. Continued support from external providers will be imperative.

The lack of guiding documentation to ensure continuity of school operations continues to be of major concern. Many aspects of teaching and learning require ongoing improvement, including upgrading teaching resources across all class levels and the gathering and collation of reliable assessment information to complete national reporting requirements.

ERO has been unable to verify the accuracy of 2013 National Standards data provided to the MoE, as reliable assessment information was unable to be accessed while on site. Assessment being undertaken by the acting principal indicates that a large cohort of students are below or well below National Standards. This information does not support the data shown in the annual report to the MoE for the year ending 2013.

The acting principal has also been unable to find reliable assessment data for 2014 to enable him to complete required reporting to the MoE at the end of the 2014 school year.

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 to meet their legislative obligations related to:

  • board administration
  • curriculum
  • management of health, safety and welfare
  • personnel management
  • financial management
  • asset management.

Completion of the Board Assurance Statement and Self Audit Checklist by the acting principal identified a number of areas where the school was not meeting or not fully meeting its legislative obligations. The acting principal was undertaking work with the board of trustees in an attempt to address these issues and assist the school to become compliant with legislative requirements. Considerable support by external providers however will also be required to assist with this task.

During the review, ERO checked the following items because they have a potentially high impact on student achievement:

  • 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.

4 Recommendations

Recommendations, including any to other agencies for ongoing or additional support.

ERO recommends that the Secretary for Education consider intervention under Part 7A of the Education Act 1989 to assist the school with:

  • ongoing governance support including development of self-review structures and strategic planning
  • aspects of school management, including the professional management of the school by the principal
  • personnel management
  • school-wide curriculum implementation
  • collation and interpretation of accurate student assessment data to enhance learning outcomes for students
  • ensuring that the school is fully compliant with all required legislative obligations.

Conclusion

There are many issues to be addressed at Colville School to ensure positive outcomes for students and their families. The board of trustees continues to govern the school with assistance and support from external agencies. The appointment of permanent teaching staff should provide students with an appropriate and sustainable learning programme.

ERO intends to carry out another review over the course of one-to-two years.

Dale Bailey

National Manager Review Services Northern Region

4 December 2014

About the School

Location

Colville, Coromandel Peninsula

Ministry of Education profile number

1706

School type

Full Primary (Years 1 to 8)

School roll

31

Gender composition

Girls 16

Boys 15

Ethnic composition

Māori

NZ European/Pākehā

Cook Island Māori

21

9

1

Review team on site

November 2014

Date of this report

4 December 2014

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

June 2013

June 2010

July 2007