Hedgehope School - 17/10/2015

Findings

This small school is welcoming and caring. Older students work and play well alongside younger students. Students progress and achieve very well in literacy and mathematics. They enjoy a broad curriculum that makes good use of local resources, people and places. The school is well governed and led.

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?

This is a small rural, Year 1 to 8 school with two multi-level classes. Class numbers are intentionally kept low. Students describe their school as welcoming and a place where everyone gets on with each other. Caring and respectful relationships are very evident.

Recent roll growth has resulted in the Ministry of Education funding a second teacher. Linked to the dairy industry, there is ongoing movement of students in and out of the school. There are also an increasing number of students with English as a second language.

The school is well supported by parents and the wider community. Parents are very involved with fundraising, property development and school events and activities. Special areas in the school grounds have been developed to encourage physical exploration and challenge.

The school’s vision for its students is ‘Reaching for greatness’ – Respect, Excellence, Aroha, Cooperation and Huarahi (pathway). This vision is emphasised in school programmes. The school has recently become an Enviro-school. Students have enjoyed rich learning experiences linked to this, such as composting, grafting plants, growing, selling and using a wide variety of produce.

Since the 2012 ERO review, a new principal and teachers have been appointed. The school has addressed the recommendations in the last ERO report.

2. Learning

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

The school makes good use of assessment information to respond to the individual needs of each student.

Students achieve very well against the National Standards in reading, writing and mathematics. Students who transfer from other schools are well supported and quickly catch up with their peers. Within a short time these students feel valued members of the school community.

Students can confidently talk about how well they are achieving, their goals and next learning steps.

Senior students feel that their work is set at the right level of challenge. They regularly assess their own work against useful criteria.

Teachers have a deep knowledge of each student’s learning needs, strengths and interests. They ensure that all curriculum areas are regularly assessed. In particular, they carefully track each student’s progress in literacy and mathematics over their years at school.

Teachers quickly identify students who need extra help with their learning and those needing extension. They keep parents very well informed about their children’s learning and how well they exhibit the school’s vision and values.

The next steps are to:

  • ensure that the school’s targets related to student achievement are specific and measureable
  • extend assessment practices to include cross-school moderation and some standardised assessment tools.

3. Curriculum

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

The school’s curriculum strongly supports students to be successful, confident and competent learners.

Students are very positive about their school. They learn in a caring and supportive environment. They know how to work well independently and in small groups. They support each other in their learning.

Students benefit from a broad and relevant curriculum. This includes:

  • good use of local resources, places and people to enrich students’ learning
  • increasing use of digital technologies
  • a strong visual-arts programme
  • well-planned experiences to extend students’ oral language
  • many opportunities for senior students to develop their leadership skills.

The school has very detailed curriculum guidelines that help build school-wide consistency. They include:

  • explicit detail as to what effective teaching and learning should look like
  • clear progressions for each year level in literacy and mathematics.

The principal effectively reviews different curriculum areas. Reviews include:

  • student views
  • reflection on what is working well and what could be improved
  • useful recommendations for improvement.

The next steps are to:

  • develop a te reo Māori plan that provides for progression in learning
  • strengthen the ways that Māori language and Māori perspectives are included into day-to-day learning
  • develop a careers education programme and resources for Year 7 and 8 students.

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

The school strongly supports Māori students to be successful in their learning. It is beginning to explore how it might better support Māori students to stand proud in their culture.

Māori students achieve well against the National Standards in reading, writing and mathematics.

The principal is committed to developing her understanding of Māori culture. The newly appointed teacher has an interest and skills in teaching te reo Māori.

The next steps are to:

  • better gather the views of Māori whānau
  • review relevant school policies and procedures.

4. Sustainable Performance

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

The school is well placed to continue to improve how it supports its students.

New trustees show a strong commitment to providing the best for students. This is evident in the funding of an extra teacher to maintain two classes with small class numbers. New trustees have benefited from professional development and are keen to further develop their understanding and confidence as governors. They have a positive relationship with the principal. Together, they regularly seek and respond to the views of their community.

The new principal is a capable professional leader. She shows a strong commitment to ongoing learning for herself and her staff. She keeps trustees well informed about student progress, achievement and school programmes. This helps trustees to make well-informed resourcing decisions.

The principal ensures ongoing review of different curriculum areas and programmes. These reviews are evaluative and improvement focused. They often include student and parent views.

The next steps are to:

  • simplify the school’s strategic and annual plans so that these better reflect key priorities for development
  • regularly update the board about the school’s progress against the goals in the strategic and annual plans.

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

This small school is welcoming and caring. Older students work and play well alongside younger students. Students progress and achieve very well in literacy and mathematics. They enjoy a broad curriculum that makes good use of local resources, people and places. The school is well governed and led.

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

Chris Rowe

Deputy Chief Review Officer Southern (Acting)

27 October 2015

About the School

Location

Invercargill

Ministry of Education profile number

3964

School type

Full Primary (Years 1 to 8)

School roll

27

Gender composition

Girls: 17

Boys: 10

Ethnic composition

Pākehā

Māori

Asian

18

5

4

Review team on site

September 2015

Date of this report

27 October 2015

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

May 2012

February 2011

February 2008