Loburn School - 20/08/2015

 

Findings

The school provides a welcoming and supportive environment for students. A buddy programme where senior students help new entrants transition into school is particularly successful. A number of recent curriculum initiatives are increasing students’ participation and responsibility for their learning, achievement and wellbeing. Trustees are establishing a number of good systems and practices to help them in their stewardship role and to ensure student achievement and wellbeing continue to improve.

1. Context

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

Loburn School provides a family-like environment. The principal and teachers know students and their families well. Older students take care of younger students. They provide them with considerable support through a buddy system and support them in their learning, wellbeing and transition into school.

The school is an Enviro School and holds the silver award. The playgrounds have many plantings of New Zealand natives and provide interesting places for students to socialise, learn and play.

The school roll is increasing and the school has recently had two new classrooms built.

The principal and many staff members have been at the school for a number of years. This provides stability for students and families. Many of the trustees have also been on the board for a number of years. There have been three changes in the chairperson of the board in the last two years.

The board, principal and teachers have made good progress in meeting some of the recommendations in the 2012 ERO review. These include self review and reporting. Areas still to be fully addressed include extending bicultural perspectives, promoting Māori success as Māori, and student involvement in goal setting.

Loburn School is the lead school of a local cluster of schools that work together in a number of ways, including sharing professional development to achieve common goals.

2. Learning

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

The school is making good use of achievement information to make positive changes to students’ engagement and progress.

The principal and teachers affirm students' progress and achievement. They regularly celebrate students’ successes through assemblies, awards and encouragement.

Teachers identify students' learning needs well. They make clear links between assessment information and programme planning, particularly in reading, writing and mathematics.

Students in Years 7 and 8 make good use of weekly reflections to identify learning goals and record how well they are achieving them. Teachers provide students with constructive feedback and encouragement.

The board receives regular useful information on how well students are achieving. The 2014 student achievement information showed that students achieved highly in the National Standards in mathematics and less well in reading and literacy. Reports to the board also show that many students involved in special programmes to improve their learning are making progress.

The school has a number of students who find literacy learning challenging. The trustees, principal and teachers are proactive in seeking different ways to raise the achievement of these students. Recent initiatives include keeping parents well informed about specific programmes and inviting them to observe the programmes in action. The school is looking for ways to more closely link these interventions to classroom programmes.

The board’s focus on raising student achievement in writing, particularly for boys in Years 5 to 8, is reflected in its annual achievement targets. Teachers of these students are trialling a number of different strategies to better engage boys in their learning. The use of digital technologies, is supporting targeted students in their learning.

Areas for review and development

Assessment practices require strengthening. The school has identified the need to:

  • ensure they are specific and focus on students at risk of not achieving annual targets

  • ensure consistent moderation of the National Standards judgements within and across local schools

  • analyse and use student achievement information in learning areas other than literacy and mathematics.

3. Curriculum

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

The principal and teachers are in the early stages of implementing a number of curriculum changes.

New entrant students’ transition to school is well supported. Teachers have developed a well planned, purposeful buddy programme between senior and junior students. Teachers’ help senior students gain the skills and resources that they need to successfully help junior students with their learning, wellbeing and social interactions. This well-developed programme also promotes strong, positive relationships among the students across the school.

The principal and teachers have worked constructively with an external provider to enhance students’ wellbeing and increase their readiness for learning. Teachers and students have a shared understanding about expectations for student behaviour that is closely linked to the school’s values programme.

At the beginning of 2015, the board, principal and teachers began trialling a more innovative approach to teaching and learning. Strengths of this approach can be seen in the ways:

  • teachers are beginning to work in teams to plan and teach together to meet the needs of groups of students

  • teachers are reflecting on their practice and engaging in robust discussion to further enhance outcomes for students

  • students are increasingly using digital technologies as a tool for learning independently and cooperatively in groups

  • teachers are supporting students to take more responsibility for their learning as they move through the school.

Students are responding positively to this new approach. Senior students particularly, value the opportunity to have a greater role in making decisions about their learning.

Students have many opportunities to become school leaders. Senior student leaders play a significant role in planning school events and promoting the school values of respect, service and participation.

Areas for review and development

The school has identified, and ERO agrees, that:

  • review of the school’s curriculum is needed to better reflect the new school vision and recent changes to teaching practices

  • a more formal approach to teachers' inquiry into their practice, linked to the school’s strategic direction, needs to be fully implemented.

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

The board, principal and school leaders are aware of the need to improve the way they promote Māori success as Māori.

Māori students are achieving well in mathematics and better than their peers in reading.

Student kapa haka leaders value recent learning provided by Māori tutors as well as the opportunity for leadership. Some aspects of bicultural practice can be seen in the commitment to:

  • environmental sustainability and native planting

  • developing tuakana teina relationships where older students look out for younger students

  • improving teaches' confidence in using te reo Māori.

The need to strengthen bicultural practice was also identified in the 2012 ERO review. The board and school leaders have recently begun working with a cluster of local schools to look at improving their bicultural responsiveness. They need to give high priority to improving success for Māori as Māori and increasing the inclusion of te reo and tikanga Māori in all aspects of the school to increase the knowledge, understanding and cultural pride of all students.

4. Sustainable Performance

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

The board, senior leadership team and staff work collaboratively so that the school is becoming increasingly well placed to sustain and improve its performance.

The board and principal successfully consulted with staff, parents, students and the wider community to develop a new vision and redefine the school values. These are well understood and actively promoted within the school curriculum and the way students and adults interact and work with each other.

Trustees are implementing a number of systems to support them with review and management of their governance role. They have engaged in training to strengthen their understanding of their roles and responsibilities. Trustees have a clear sense of direction for the school and are focused on improving student achievement.

The principal and senior leaders are supporting teachers to engage in professional development to increase their knowledge of innovative teaching practices. This is giving teachers the confidence to implement new ways of teaching and learning.

Senior leaders and teachers capably undertake curriculum reviews to identify what is going well and potential barriers for ongoing learning. Recent reviews include a sample of students’ perspectives on specific learning areas. These reviews would be further strengthened by including student achievement information and outcomes of trends and patterns that strengthen teaching practice.

Area for review and development

Trustees need to ensure the principal is well supported in his leadership role through effective appraisal. Teachers would also benefit from further strengthening of their appraisal process.

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.

ERO found the following areas of non-compliance.

The board must consult regularly with the school’s Māori community about school policies, procedures, plans and targets for improving the achievement of Māori students and their success as Māori. [National Administration Guidelines (NAG) 2(c)]

Implement procedures for regular police vetting of non-registered staff. [Education Act 1989 Sections 78C-78D]

Conclusion

The school provides a welcoming and supportive environment for students. A buddy programme where senior students help new entrants transition into school is particularly successful. A number of recent curriculum initiatives are increasing students’ participation and responsibility for their learning, achievement and wellbeing. Trustees are establishing a number of good systems and practices to help them in their stewardship role and to ensure student achievement and wellbeing continue to improve.

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

Chris Rowe
Deputy Chief Review Officer Southern (Acting)

 

About the School

Location

North Canterbury

Ministry of Education profile number

3419

School type

Full Primary (Years 1 to 8)

School roll

179

Gender composition

Girls 51%; Boys 49%

Ethnic composition

NZ European/Pākehā
Māori
Asian
Tongan

88%
10%
  1%
  1%

Review team on site

June 2015

Date of this report

20 August 2015

Most recent ERO reports

Education Review
Education Review
Education Review

July 2012
June 2009
March 2006