Loburn School - 19/07/2012

1. Context

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

The school has a long tradition of being the central focus of the local community. Families support school activities and learning programmes well. Clearly articulated school qualities that reflect community and family values are embedded across the curriculum. These curriculum guidelines have a consistent focus on shared expectations for learning and achievement.

The school’s rural setting provides a wide range of opportunities for students to engage in an interesting variety of outdoor experiences. These activities focus on building knowledge, respect for and enjoyment of the local environment. An innovative specialist adventure programme at Year 8 is designed to challenge and extend the skills and confidence of senior students.

The small school roll enables staff to know students well and recognise and respond to changing needs or circumstances. The school has also been providing extra support for a number of schools severely affected by recent earthquake activity.

Significant redevelopment of school buildings and facilities is providing students and the community with a high quality learning environment. During recent years, the school roll has been steadily increasing.

2. Learning

How well are students learning – engaging, progressing and achieving?

The school’s records show that students generally meet or exceed the required progress in their learning and achievement as they move through the school.

School leaders report that all students made progress in their achievement in 2011. Clear guidelines and processes are in place to ensure consistent practices at junior and senior levels. These include:

  • teachers using assessment data to set targets, monitor progress and provide specific programmes for students with a range of learning needs
  • students being regularly informed about their progress
  • use of goal-setting and student self-evaluation
  • support programmes for students who are underachieving.

Students demonstrate very good levels of engagement in their learning programmes and other school activities. In classrooms, ERO observed that:

  • teachers maintain a consistent focus on high expectations for learning, behaviour and progress
  • students know routines well and work collaboratively on interesting tasks that extend their thinking and problem-solving skills
  • student achievement is celebrated and high quality student work is displayed in classrooms, around the school and on the school’s website.

Areas for review and development

School leaders have identified a gender difference in achievement in some subjects at the school. Their next step is to investigate further with staff, students and parents why some boys are generally not achieving as well as girls, especially in writing. This will provide a more targeted approach to school-wide and classroom programme planning and delivery.

The school has also identified the need to further develop and extend goal-setting practices that involve students more fully in their learning progress. This will help build students’ understanding of themselves as learners who are increasingly capable of monitoring and managing their own learning.

A survey of parents found that some parents considered that they would benefit from earlier opportunities to discuss their child’s learning with teachers, in addition to the formal reports at the end of Terms 2 and 4. The school is investigating the merits of three-way conferences with the student, parents and teacher earlier in the year to review the child’s progress and set goals.

3. Curriculum

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

The school’s curriculum is effectively promoting and supporting student learning.

Significant curriculum review has occurred over recent years. This is resulting in a curriculum that is:

  • flexible and responsive to individual student needs and interests, and community aspirations
  • effectively integrating school values and learner qualities that are linked to the New Zealand Curriculum
  • prioritising literacy and numeracy across the year levels
  • providing students with a range of rich learning opportunities both within and outside of the classroom
  • contributing to some very good achievement in reading and the purposeful teaching of writing.

School leaders and teachers now need a more formal process for reviewing how well aspects of the curriculum are being implemented in relation to school goals and targets and the priorities in the school’s curriculum.

The te reo Māori curriculum is at an early stage of development. Senior leaders have identified the need for a planned and ongoing professional learning programme that supports teachers to increase their knowledge and skills in te reo and tikanga Māori.

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

Māori students are achieving at levels similar to other learners at the school.

The board reports that it is committed to ensuring that the school is working in authentic ways to raise awareness about its bicultural obligations and practices. Since the last review, the school has made progress in promoting knowledge about te reo and tikanga Māori. This includes:

  • some consultation with Māori parents
  • increased professional learning opportunities for staff
  • a greater visibility of Māori culture at school events such as assembly
  • developing a partnership with a local marae and school.

The board and senior leaders now need to develop a more specific Māori action plan. This should include processes for evaluating the school’s effectiveness in promoting educational success for Māori, as Māori.

4. Sustainable Performance

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

The school is well placed to sustain current and planned improvements for school, staff and student performance.

Board operations demonstrate effective practice. These include:

  • whole board engagement in ongoing training
  • the use of clear, well-organised guidelines and procedures to govern the school
  • positive relationships with staff and regular reporting to the community
  • effective oversight of school resourcing and redevelopment projects.

The principal and senior leaders have constructive relationships with students, staff and the school community. They are promoting shared leadership and management practices across the school. This is enabling staff to:

  • take increasing responsibility for aspects of the curriculum
  • work effectively and collaboratively in syndicate teams to raise achievement across the school
  • take part in professional learning programmes that support school goals and plans
  • engage in regular reflective practices that contribute to self-review processes.

The board and principal demonstrate a positive response to external review. They provided ERO with a comprehensive and accurate overview of the school’s strengths and priorities for further improvement.

School leaders have identified that their next steps are to:

  • formalise a more planned approach to curriculum review over time that provides the board with assurance about the quality of learning and teaching across the curriculum
  • evaluate and report to the board about outcomes of particular programmes and initiatives, such as learning support programmes and programmes for students identified as having special abilities
  • include more opportunities for using student voice as part of self-review processes.

The board told ERO that their regular audit process had lapsed in 2011 due to the other pressures on the school. Trustees identified the need to:

  • reinstate processes for reviewing the effectiveness of board performance
  • provide clearer expectations about the purpose and quality of reports presented to the board so that trustees can use this information more effectively in decision making.

The process for appraising the principal needs to be improved in 2012. The process did not meet all requirements in 2011 due to the impacts of the earthquakes. ERO found that the principal’s appraisal goals needed to be more closely aligned to the board’s strategic goals and self-review processes to promote ongoing schooling improvement.

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
  • stand-downs, suspensions, expulsions and exclusions
  • attendance.

When is ERO likely to review the school again?

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

Graham Randell

National Manager Review Services

Southern Region

19 July 2012

About the School

Location

North Canterbury

Ministry of Education profile number

3419

School type

Full Primary (Years 1 to 8)

Decile[1]

10

School roll

167

Gender composition

Girls 49%;

Boys 51%

Ethnic composition

NZ European/Pākehā

Māori

Other ethnic groups

93%

6%

1%

Review team on site

May 2012

Date of this report

19 July 2012

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

June 2009

March 2006

April 2003

[1] School deciles range from 1 to 10. Decile 1 schools draw their students from low socio-economic communities and at the other end of the range, decile 10 schools draw their students from high socio-economic communities. Deciles are used to provide funding to state and state integrated schools. The lower the school’s decile the more funding it receives. A school’s decile is in no way linked to the quality of education it provides.