Halcombe Primary School - 09/06/2015

Findings

Halcombe School is inclusive and community focused. The majority of students achieve well in relation to National Standards. Teachers have a shared understanding of effective teaching practice. Skills and attributes for successful lifelong learning are fostered and encouraged throughout the curriculum. Continuing to develop evaluation of the effectiveness of school operations should enhance outcomes for students.

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?

Halcombe School is a community-focused, rural school catering for students in Years 1 to 8. The surrounding grounds are spacious and well-maintained.

At the time of this ERO review there were 159 students on the roll, nine identifying as Māori. The school is currently experiencing roll growth with an eighth classroom being established. There have been significant changes of staff with three out of seven teachers new to the school this year.

Students are confident, actively involved and supportive of each other’s learning. Classrooms have a positive and learning-focused tone. Wall displays celebrate the Halcombe curriculum and showcase students' learning.

The strong links between the community and the school enhance students' learning opportunities. A number of curriculum activities include the use of local people and places. An active Parent-Teacher Association provides strong support through fundraising and organising events that encourage parent participation.

2. Learning

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

Halcombe School uses achievement information well to identify and make positive changes to learners’ engagement, progress and achievement.

A range of appropriate data is collected to measure students’ learning. The school reports that most students achieve at or above the National Standards for mathematics, reading and writing. There is a clear focus on accelerating and supporting the learning of students currently below the National Standards expectations. Achievement in mathematics has been identified by the school as a focus for development in 2015.

There is a strong learning focus in classrooms. Teachers know students well and have established a collective responsibility for the achievement of all students. They make good use of achievement information to identify the needs of their students and plan responsive programmes. There are consistently high expectations for student engagement and learning.

Parents receive useful and timely information about their child’s learning in relation to the National Standards. They have regular opportunities to discuss current learning priorities with their child and teacher. Teachers and parents working with students to develop more specific goal-setting is likely to encourage greater student ownership of learning.

3. Curriculum

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

Halcombe School's curriculum effectively promotes and supports student learning.

Students are well engaged in classroom activities. They confidently articulate their enjoyment of school. They interact well with each other. Senior students experience a range of opportunities to grow and demonstrate their leadership skills.

There is a shared understanding of effective teaching practice. This is facilitated through regular staff discussions and a clear curriculum delivery plan for the school. Sharing of strategies to promote and support student learning is an expectation schoolwide. Deeper investigation of assessment information should enable teachers to more effectively identify strategies that accelerate learning.

Rich learning opportunities are provided for students, especially in inquiry learning. These are responsive to students' interests and individual learning stages. Experiences beyond the classroom are actively sought to develop student understanding further. It is timely to consider the extent to which the curriculum has a deliberate bicultural focus.

There is a focus on the skills and attributes to be a successful learner and citizen beyond school. These are taught explicitly and students can discuss the importance and value of these. The wellbeing of self and others is encouraged and modelled throughout the school.

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

The majority of Māori students met the National Standards expectations in 2014. There is a commitment by the school to involve whānau in deciding priorities to support Māori achievement. Links have been established with local marae to support educational success for Māori students. Appropriate targets have been identified in 2015 to raise Māori student achievement.

Teaching strategies are currently focused on building kapa haka, waiata and the use of te reo Māori to develop the culture, language and identity of Māori students. It is now timely to review the extent to which the curriculum promotes success for Māori as Māori.

4. Sustainable Performance

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

Halcombe School is well placed to sustain and improve its performance.

Trustees are focused on improving outcomes for students. They understand their roles and responsibilities for governance and promoting student achievement. They receive useful information to inform their understanding of curriculum, programmes and student achievement. There is regular communication and consultation with the school community on aspects of school operation.

The principal provides leadership and guidance for the board and staff. She sets high expectations, is improvement focused and has a collaborative leadership style. The board's and principal’s intent for the direction of the school are highlighted in the strategic and annual plans. Unpacking the strategic goals to clearly identify indicators of success should enable these to be measured more effectively. This should ensure approaches to accelerating progress and achievement are specific and more effective in raising outcomes for students.

The appraisal process continues to be refined. It focuses on accelerating the progress of target students, as identified in the strategic and annual plans. Next steps for this process are to:

  • extend the use of evidence-based reflection that includes reference to student achievement information
  • build evaluative capability within the process to identify what specific teaching strategies are having the biggest impact on student learning and progress
  • include a summative discussion that promotes and records strengths and aspects for teachers to build their practice
  • incorporate the principles of Tātaiāko: Cultural Competencies for Teachers of Māori Learners to raise teachers' confidence and competence in te reo me ngā tikanga Māori

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

Halcombe School is inclusive and community focused. The majority of students achieve well in relation to National Standards. Teachers have a shared understanding of effective teaching practice. Skills and attributes for successful lifelong learning are fostered and encouraged throughout the curriculum. Continuing to develop evaluation of the effectiveness of school operations should enhance outcomes for students.

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

Joyce Gebbie

Deputy Chief Review Officer Central

9 June 2015

About the School

Location

Halcombe

Ministry of Education profile number

2362

School type

Full Primary (Years 1 to 8)

School roll

159

Gender composition

Female 53%, Male 47%

Ethnic composition

Māori

NZ European/Pākehā

Other ethnic groups

6%

88%

6%

Review team on site

April 2015

Date of this report

9 June 2015

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

July 2012

February 2009

November 200