Linton Country School - 15/01/2018

Findings

The LSM, principal and trustees have responded well to the areas for development identified in the 2015 ERO report. Students are enthusiastic and successful learners. A foundation of values, leadership, relationships and tone have been established that are likely to sustain and continue to improve student learning.

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

1 Background and Context

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

Linton Country School is located in a mixed farming and lifestyle rural area near Palmerston North. It caters for students in Years 1 to 8. The school commenced 2017 with two students. At the time of this ERO review there were nine students attending in Years 1 to 5, mainly from the local area. Most are in their first three years of schooling. Three identify as Māori.

The July 2015 ERO report indicated the school was not in a position to sustain and improve performance. Since then it has been involved in an ongoing review process with ERO. The Ministry of Education (MoE) has provided a Limited Statutory Manager (LSM) with responsibility for employment, curriculum, assessment and more recently finances. The LSM has also advised the board as it has developed its governance processes.

Through the later part of 2016 the board, in association with the local community and the MoE, considered the future viability of the school. Increased community involvement contributed to the decision to keep the school open. Since then there have been significant changes to board membership and a new board chair elected. A new teaching principal began in Term 2 2017.

With the support of the LSM, the current principal and trustees have responded well to the issues identified in the previous ERO report. Processes and practices are in place that are likely to sustain and improve learning. The LSM is reducing her involvement in supporting and advising the school.

The vision and valued outcomes for all children have been reviewed in 2017. They are now defined as ‘Learning together for success - Ka ako tahi kia angituu' within a rural context. Future-focused values include: love of learning, fun and enjoyment, team work, respect, creativity and perseverance.

The school is a member of the Palmerston North City and Rural Schools Community of Learning Two| Kāhui Ako.

2 Review and Development

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

Priorities identified for review and development

The July 2015 ERO report identified the priorities for improvement as:

  • improving student achievement and progress
  • making better use of achievement information to respond to student needs
  • enabling students to be more involved in decision-making about their own learning
  • effective curriculum leadership
  • implementing robust appraisal for all teachers
  • building trustee’s understanding of their governance roles and responsibilities
  • greater use of internal evaluation to consider the impact of programmes on outcomes for students.

Progress

Significant progress has been made in addressing the areas identified in the 2015 report.

The school’s achievement information shows that currently most students are achieving well in reading, writing and mathematics. Accelerated progress is being made by those who have entered the school below curriculum expectation. A range of effective strategies support these students to move towards expected levels of achievement. The principal is focused on providing conditions for learning that promote positive outcomes.

Students learn in a caring, collaborative and inclusive environment. They are well supported by teachers to be actively engaged in learning. Opportunities to take responsibility for and lead their own learning are being extended.

The progress of all students is closely monitored and their next steps are carefully identified. Systems are in place that support tracking, monitoring and provision of appropriate strategies to support learner success. Teachers reflect on the progress of students and alter their practices in order to increase their impact on learning.

Parents and the wider community are successfully involved in determining learning priorities and future direction. Their aspirations for learners and the school are reflected in the newly developed charter. Parents are actively involved in supporting their children’s learning programmes. Reciprocal relationships have been established between the school and community, including with early childhood services.

Teaching and learning is guided by the rural context of the school, children’s needs and interests. Children are involved in a wide range of activities, many involving the local environment and other schools in the area. Community expertise is well-used to further extend learning opportunities.

The principal is taking a well-considered approach to reviewing the current curriculum. This includes defining expectations and guidelines for teaching and learning based on the newly developed school vision and values. Literacy and mathematics have been prioritised in learning and curriculum development. Further integrating te ao Māori into the localised curriculum is an ongoing focus.

The recently implemented appraisal process has the potential to support building teacher and leader capability and meeting Education Council requirements. Continuing to increase understanding and use of teaching as inquiry is an appropriate next step.

The teaching principal accesses support from a range of sources to inform and assist her in her leadership and teaching role. She supports other staff to work collectively to provide purposeful learning opportunities for students.

Trustees are well informed about student progress. Schoolwide achievement information in reading, writing and mathematics in relation to curriculum expectations is reported. The principal shares useful information about assessment tools, sources of evidence for assessment decisions and also next steps for further progress through the curriculum levels. This is effectively supporting the board’s understanding of achievement information and assists their decision making.

Trustees have built their capability and knowledge in governance roles and responsibilities. They actively promote positive outcomes for students. A work plan has been developed to assist the board to carry out their responsibilities and to promote sustainability. Increasing the number of trustees who are parents of current students has been identified by the current board as a priority for succession planning.

There is a measured approach to change for improvement. A clear process to guide internal evaluation reflects on the impact of recently implemented approaches and informs future direction.

3 Sustainable performance and self review

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

The school is well placed to sustain and continue to improve its performance.

A foundation of values, leadership, relationships and tone have been established that are likely to sustain and improve student learning. Teaching effectively responds to the range of student aspirations and needs. Students are enthusiastic and successful learners.

The board and principal have developed their capacity to use achievement information to reflect, plan and implement programmes that support positive student outcomes. Systems are in place that should support effective decision making and sustainability.

The board are well positioned to govern the school with the planned withdrawal of the LSM.

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

The LSM, principal and trustees have responded well to the areas for development identified in the 2015 ERO report. Students are enthusiastic and successful learners. A foundation of values, leadership, relationships and tone have been established that are likely to sustain and continue to improve student learning.

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

Alan Wynyard

Deputy Chief Review Officer Central (Acting)

Te Tai Pokapū - Central Region

15 January 2018

About the School

Location

Palmerston North

Ministry of Education profile number

2387

School type

Full Primary (Years 1 to 8)

School roll

9

Gender composition

Female 6, Male 3

Ethnic composition

Māori
Pākehā
Other ethnic groups

3
3
3

Review team on site

November 2017

Date of this report

15 January 2018

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review
Education Review
Education Review

July 2015
July 2013
July 2010