Longbeach School - 11/07/2014

Findings

The school provides good quality, inclusive education for students. Achievement information is used effectively to support students’ engagement, learning and wellbeing. A comprehensive curriculum, with good links to the community, promotes students’ learning. The school is well placed to sustain and build on its performance. ERO has identified that further attention should be given to celebrating the Māori culture within the school.

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?

Longbeach School is a small rural school with students from Years 1 to 8. Students learn in attractive classrooms with growing access to information communication technologies to support their learning. Students enjoy a well-resourced library, swimming pool and spacious grounds, including access to the adjacent community reserve. The school has a high level of support from the local community.

2 Learning

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

The principal, trustees and teaching team use achievement information effectively to support students’ engagement, learning and wellbeing.

The principal provides the board with good quality achievement information. School leaders and teachers make proficient use of achievement information to identify students at risk of not achieving and those needing extension. This information is carefully considered by the board and teachers so that effective decisions can be made on how to support students' success.

Teachers use learner information very well to make sure class programmes meet the needs of individual students. They regularly discuss their assessment practices to increase the consistency of the judgements they make about students learning. Teachers are skilful in helping students recognise their progress and what they need to do to improve.

Students contribute to decisions about how and what they learn. This is increasingly evident as students progress through the school. Older students provide useful feedback to each other about their learning. Students’ views about their school are positive. ERO’s observations confirmed that students were well engaged and enthusiastic towards learning.

Student achievement is particularly high in reading against the National Standards. Improving the quality of assessment practices helped the school to identify a need to lift student achievement in some aspects of mathematics. While student achievement in writing is lower than reading and mathematics, considerable professional development undertaken by staff is leading to improvements in this area.

The principal and ERO agree that some of the school’s annual achievement targets could be written more clearly to show the group of students being targeted and how progress will be evaluated.

3 Curriculum

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

Students have wide ranging opportunities to learn and succeed in all areas of the curriculum. Students benefit from a curriculum that prioritises their learning in reading, writing and mathematics. Learning experiences in other areas of the curriculum are meaningful and make good links with the local community.

Other key features of the curriculum include:

  • a school vision that everyone knows, linked to an effective values programme
  • high expectations for student learning and behaviour
  • a shared understanding of the teaching practices that are most successful in helping students to learn
  • learning opportunities that provide suitable challenge to meet individual student’s needs.

Teachers benefit from comprehensive guidelines that help them to plan interesting and varied class programmes. They receive regular and useful feedback from the principal on how well they are meeting these guidelines.

Positive relationships are evident between teaching staff and students and among students.

School leaders and teachers go to considerable lengths to ensure that students with special education needs are included in class programmes and school activities. Teachers and teacher aides work collaboratively and undertake professional learning together to support these learners experience success.

There is a supportive and collaborative approach among staff. Professional discussions focus on the best ways to improve learning outcomes for students. There are effective systems in place to help teachers reflect on how well their practices are leading to better outcomes for students.

The next step for the board is to receive more regular reports on the effectiveness of additional learning support provided for some students.

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

Teachers know the learning needs of Māori students and respond appropriately to these. The school’s values connect closely to Māori values in the following ways:

  • older students support younger students (tuakana teina)
  • positive and respectful relationships exist between teachers and students
  • some use of te reo and tikanga Māori occurs in class programmes.

The principal consults with the parents of Māori students about what they want for their children’s education. Māori students achieve high levels of success in reading.

The next steps for the school leaders, trustees and teachers are to:

  • further develop an understanding of Māori success as Māori
  • strengthen the way te ao Māori is integrated in classroom programmes and other key aspects of the school, such as the vision and values.

4 Sustainable Performance

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

The school is well placed to sustain and build on its performance.

The board is strongly focused on improving learning outcomes for students. Trustees listen to the school community and take positive steps to respond to its views.

The principal and board work well together. The board receives good quality information about student learning and school operations. Useful policies and procedures are regularly reviewed.

The board and staff benefit from the principal’s curriculum knowledge. There is a clear sense of direction for schooling improvement. Staff strengths are used to grow leadership across the school.

The board values professional learning for all staff. Teachers benefit from many professional development opportunities, some specifically planned with staff from other schools. These relate to school goals and are maintained until suitable practices are well understood and evident in classrooms.

While self review is an established practice, the documentation of self review could be strengthened by including how action items have been followed through and the effectiveness of changes made.

Teacher appraisal could also be strengthened by an overall evaluative statement by the professional leader. An appraisal system for support staff would assist the board to better meet its good employer obligations.

Most of the trustees are new to their roles on the board. A next step for trustees is to further develop their understanding of their governance role.

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 school provides good quality, inclusive education for students. Achievement information is used effectively to support students’ engagement, learning and wellbeing. A comprehensive curriculum, with good links to the community, promotes students’ learning. The school is well placed to sustain and build on its performance. ERO has identified that further attention should be given to celebrating the Māori culture within the school.

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

Graham Randell

National Manager Review Services Southern Region

11 July 2014

About the School

Location

Ashburton, Mid Canterbury

Ministry of Education profile number

3594

School type

Full Primary (Years 1 to 8)

School roll

136

Gender composition

Girls 54% Boys 46%

Ethnic composition

NZ European/Pākehā

Māori

Pacific

Other ethnicities

90%

6%

1%

3%

Review team on site

June 2014

Date of this report

11 July 2014

Most recent ERO reports

Education Review

Education Review

Supplementary Review

July 2011

February 2008

June 2005