Firth School - 08/06/2017

Summary

Firth Primary School has a roll of 179 and 71 children identify as Māori.

Since the last ERO review in 2014 the same principal has continued to lead the school. The board is continuing to provide stewardship for the school community. The school is part of the Matamata Community of Learning (CoL) Kāhui Ako which has a collective focus on accelerating the achievement of at risk learners in this group of schools.

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

The school responds well to Māori and other children whose learning and achievement need acceleration.

There are several effective processes that are enabling achievement of equity and excellence. These are collaborate leadership, curriculum responsiveness, analysis and reporting of achievement information and partnerships for learning with parents and whānau.

Further development of internal evaluation processes is needed to achieve equity and excellence.

At the time of this review most children were achieving the expected National Standards in reading, writing and mathematics. The proportion of Māori children achieving National Standards is comparable to their peers in mathematics and writing, and slightly lower in reading.

The school’s increased priority on sports, and health and wellbeing is contributing to higher levels of engagement and motivation in learning for children.

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

Agreed next steps are to strengthen:

  • performance management processes. This is necessary to build teacher capability to support continual improvement in learning outcomes for all children.

  • inquiry into the effectiveness of teaching practices to raise and accelerate the learning and progress of identified individuals and groups of at risk learners.

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 responds well to Māori and other children whose learning and achievement need acceleration.

The school identifies and targets children who are not achieving National Standards in reading, writing and mathematics. In 2016 the proportion of children achieving National Standards in reading and mathematics was above national comparisons and similar in writing. The school’s data for targeted learners, including Māori shows that most make progress and many make accelerated progress. Data shows that all children are achieving at and above National Standards for reading and mathematics by the end of Year 6, and a significant majority in writing.

Leaders have recognised that an increasing number of children entering the school at five years of age are needing additional support in their learning. The school accesses appropriate internal and external support to improve learning opportunities for these children.

The school has well-developed processes for moderation in relation to National Standards contributing to consistency of overall teacher judgements across the school.

School conditions supporting equity and excellence

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

The leadership team works collaboratively to achieve the school’s vision, goals and targets for equity and excellence. Children’s wellbeing, confidence in identity and engagement in learning are valued outcomes. Māori children’s language, culture and identity is affirmed and valued. Teachers have positive and affirming relationships with children and effectively engage them in learning.

The school’s curriculum is responsive to the wide range of children’s strengths, needs and interests. Learning progressions support effective curriculum design. Intentional transition processes provide a seamless integration through to the intermediate school. There are many appropriate learning opportunities for children with special needs and abilities. Children are experiencing equitable learning opportunities in a caring and inclusive learning environment.

There are appropriate systems to gather, analyse and report on achievement data. In response to identified achievement patterns, leaders and teachers have engaged in professional development focussed on teaching and learning in writing and mathematics.

Parents and whānau are engaged in reciprocal learning-centred relationships. They are happy to participate in their child’s learning, taking advantage of the school’s open-door policy. Parent aspirations are valued. Children benefit from a positive home and school partnerships that enhance their learning opportunities and wellbeing.

The board actively represents and serves the school and community in its stewardship role. Trustees engage in on-going training and are committed to the provision of a safe and inclusive environment. 

Sustainable development for equity and excellence

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

Further development of internal evaluation processes is needed to achieve equity and excellence. Performance management and teaching as inquiry are not fully developed.

Currently performance management systems do not meet all the requirements of the New Zealand Education Council. Teachers have not provided sufficient evidence in relation to the Practising Teacher Criteria. Appraisals need to reflect the principles of Tātaiako in promoting equity of culture and achievement for Māori and all children.

Teaching as inquiry needs to be more closely aligned to the learning and teaching for identified groups of at risk learners.

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.

Actions required

ERO identified an area of non-compliance in relation to performance management. The school’s appraisal system does not yet meet the requirements of the New Zealand Education Council.

In order to address this, the board of trustees must ensure that:

  1. Appraisal of teaching staff by the professional leader of the school is based on the Practising Teaching Criteria established by the Education Council. [Part 31 Education Act 1989]

Going forward

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

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

Agreed next steps are to strengthen:

  • performance management processes. This is necessary to build teacher capability to support continual improvement in learning outcomes for all children.

  • inquiry into the effectiveness of teaching practices to raise and accelerate the learning and progress of identified individuals and groups of at risk learners.

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

Lynda Pura-Watson

Deputy Chief Review Officer Waikato / Bay of Plenty

8 June 2017

About the school 

Location

Matamata

Ministry of Education profile number

1719

School type

Contributing School

School roll

179 children

Gender composition

Girls 51% Boys 49%

Ethnic composition

Pākehā 54%

Māori 40%

Other 3%

Other European 2%

Asian 1%

Provision of Māori medium education

No

Review team on site

March 2017

Date of this report

8 June 2017

Most recent ERO report(s)

May 2014

November 2009

March 2007