Greytown School - 13/08/2014

Findings

Learning experiences in science, social science, technology and health are well planned for students. Many students achieve in relation to National Standards in reading, writing and mathematics. Purposeful teaching supports positive student engagement. Parents receive comprehensive achievement information. The school should continue to strengthen self-review practice to inform decisions that improve curriculum performance.

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

1 Context

What are the important features of this school that have an impact on student learning?

Greytown School is located in Wairarapa. The school caters for students in Years 1 to 8. At the time of this ERO review there are 337 students enrolled, including 23% identifying as Māori.

The school is well resourced to appropriately support student learning. The outdoor environment promotes student involvement in sport and physical activity. Students access all weather playing surfaces and suitable equipment. Planted garden areas reflect the student focus on environmental education.

Areas identified for development in the August 2011 ERO report have been positively progressed.

2 Learning

How well does this school use achievement information to make positive changes to learners’ engagement, progress and achievement?

Achievement information is purposefully used to make positive changes to student progress and achievement.

Teachers gather and effectively analyse a range of assessments to determine levels of student achievement and monitor progress. Data is well used to group students with similar needs for classroom teaching. Moderation of assessment information informs reliable and valid National Standard judgements.

Leaders collate data at set times during the year to appropriately show student progress, set annual targets and report to parents and trustees. Reported data at the end of 2013 showed many students achieved in relation to the National Standards in reading, writing and mathematics.

Overall Māori student achievement improved from 2012 to 2013. Many students achieve in mathematics and reading. The school has targeted the achievement of writing for selected Māori learners in 2014. Extending the planning for this initiative to measure outcomes should enable staff to clearly determine the strategies that accelerate progress.

Annual targets identify students requiring specific teaching to progress and accelerate their achievement. To strengthen outcomes and review, school leaders should clearly identify the priority group, align relevant actions and expected outcomes to clearly show how the school plans to raise their achievement.

Parents receive comprehensive information about their child’s achievement. A range of opportunities are provided throughout the year for parents to meet with teachers and discuss learning in the classroom. Written reports provide a clear indication of students' progress in relation to the National Standards and other curriculum areas.

3 Curriculum

How effectively does this school’s curriculum promote and support student learning?

The school’s curriculum appropriately supports student learning and engagement. Achievement in literacy and mathematics are priorities. The agreed vision, mission and guiding principles promote shared aspirations for student success and connect the school's strategic goals. Learning in science, social science and technology are well planned through student inquiry.

A strong emphasis on sport contributes to high levels of student participation in physical activity. Information and communication technologies (ICT) are a feature, supporting digital learning opportunities. All students in Years 6 to 8 access a laptop to support their learning and tablets are currently being introduced in junior classes.

School leaders identify that review of curriculum guidelines is planned. EROs evaluation affirms teachers should collaboratively document agreed expectations for effective strategies and learning priorities in their curriculum statements.

The school is participating in the positive behaviour for learning (PB4L) initiative. Students and teachers demonstrate a clear understanding of agreed strategies to assist classroom engagement. Alignment to learning in the key competencies benefits students and creates a positive environment for learning.

Students are well engaged in the classroom. Through observation of teacher practice the principal, has a clear understanding of teachers’ strength and areas for ongoing support. Classroom environments are well organised. Teachers share the learning purpose and support learning through conferencing students. Syndicate leaders demonstrate well-considered strategies to suitably include students in the learning process. Continued sharing of these effective strategies between teachers should build consistent practice across the school.

Teachers are working to strengthen their capability to inquire into the impact of their practice. A useful model guides this process. Teachers share outcomes collaboratively with their peers.

Students identified with special or complex needs receive appropriate support. Extension programmes are available for students with identified strengths. The special education needs coordinator (SENCO) leads processes to support planning, monitoring and tracking of student progress. Student learning is individualised with relevant individual education goals. Teacher aides facilitate individual learning goals. External specialists are accessed to support students' inclusion in the curriculum. Trustees are well informed about provisions made to meet the needs of students. To further develop practices, information to trustees should specifically show the impact of resourcing on initiatives and programmes.

How effectively does the school promote educational success for Māori, as Māori?

Māori students participate purposefully in all aspects of school life. Relationships with teachers and peers are positive.

The school has maintained a partnership with the Papawai Marae. Students participate in local environmental initiatives usefully linking the place they live with the cultural context of the school.

Many teachers include relevant context and experiences for Māori learners to meaningfully reflect their identity, culture and language in teaching and learning. Students participate in kapa haka. To further strengthen practice, leaders and teachers should continue to:

  • develop teachers' capability to confidently include te aō Māori across the school curriculum
  • build cultural leadership to promote further development and sustain practices
  • build reciprocal partnership with whānau and iwi to include their cultural aspirations in the school’s curriculum.

4 Sustainable Performance

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

Strengthening review and evaluation practice should further sustain and improve the performance of the school’s curriculum.

Useful guidelines support curriculum and syndicate review. Syndicate planning is clearly linked to schoolwide achievement priorities. Making planning more specific to the needs of students who require accelerated achievement is likely to provide a better basis for review, improve outcomes and benefit students.

School leaders are reflective and collaborative. They facilitate regular teacher discussions to consider student progress. This is promoting a shared understanding of agreed strategies to increase student achievement and engagement.

Leaders continue to strengthen the appraisal of teachers and support staff. Appraisal includes clear alignment to indicators in the Registered Teacher Criteria. These provide a basis for teacher reflection. Goals link to personal development and schoolwide achievement priorities.

Teachers receive feedback from their peers and leaders. Considering how teachers gather evidence and evaluate the impact of their practice on student progress and achievement is likely to strengthen this process. Extending syndicate leaders' involvement and building their capability to provide constructive feedback against agreed teaching expectations should improve teaching and benefit students.

Trustees demonstrate a range of useful skills to provide sound school governance. They participate in training to support their understanding of governance practice. They have developed clear roles and responsibilities to support governance. Strategic and annual planning links to their priority goals of supporting student learning, engaging the school community and promoting appropriate school operation.

Trustees are currently developing a communication strategy to strengthen their engagement with parents and the community. This initiative should contribute to the board’s strategic partnerships and provide transparency in their governance practice.

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:

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

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.

Conclusion

Learning experiences in science, social science, technology and health are well planned for students. Many students achieve in relation to National Standards in reading, writing and mathematics. Purposeful teaching supports positive student engagement. Parents receive comprehensive achievement information. The school should continue to strengthen self-review practice to inform decisions that improve curriculum performance.

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

Joyce Gebbie

National Manager Review Services Central Region

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About the School

Location

Greytown

Ministry of Education profile number

2850

School type

Full Primary (Years 1 to 8)

School roll

337

Gender composition

Male 57%, Female 43%

Ethnic composition

Māori

NZ European/Pākehā

Other ethnic groups

23%

76%

1%

Review team on site

June 2014

Date of this report

13 August 2014

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

August 2011

October 2008

February 2006