Longford Intermediate - 10/02/2015

Findings

Longford Intermediate is a high-performing school. The curriculum is making a significant difference to students’ learning, achievement and progress.

The principal and teachers are committed to best outcomes for all students. Governance, leadership and school management systems are high quality and support school operations very well. Students’ wellbeing is very effectively supported. This impacts positively on learning.

ERO is likely to carry out the next review in four-to-five years.

1. Context

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

Students at Longford Intermediate School attend from a wide geographical area and within the local town of Gore.

Home-school partnerships are very well developed at this school. There is frequent and effective communication with families and whānau. Teachers and the principal make themselves available to parents. Families feel welcome at the school. They are encouraged to participate in celebrations of their children’s learning. There are positive and caring relationships with students and their families. Staff make good use of links with the local community to support students in their learning.

The principal effectively drives an unrelenting focus and belief that all students can and should succeed. Students are actively encouraged and taught how to be responsible citizens. Students and staff value people’s differences. A culture of care is highly evident in the way adults interact with students and their families. Staff provide intensive support for individual students when this is required. This support can be social, emotional, pastoral or academic. Staff know students very well, as individual students and as learners.

Students benefit from the strong focus this school places on managing behaviour positively. Teachers and leaders consistently use a system of rewards and recognition as part of this. Staff make good use of an ongoing professional development programme that supports this.

There has been ongoing progress since the November 2011 ERO review. Significant progress has been made in the understanding and implementation of self review. There is strong evidence that students’ learning needs are being well met.

2. Learning

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

This school uses student achievement information very well to make positive changes to learners’ engagement, progress and achievement.

Student achievement and progress. The principal and teachers demonstrate the importance and urgency they place on accelerating students’ learning. All students are expected to make accelerated progress in their achievement. There have been outstanding shifts in students’ achievement in writing. In 2014 almost all students made accelerated progress. Students achieve well in reading in relation to the National Standards with most being at or above. Student progress and achievement in mathematics in 2014, has not matched that of reading and writing. This is an area of ongoing focus for teachers.

Use of student achievement information. Students have an excellent understanding of their role in the learning process. They know:

  • how well they are achieving and progressing
  • what they need to do to improve their learning (next steps)
  • how to assess their own performance using comprehensive assessment methods (success criteria).

Teachers use student achievement information well to inquire into their teaching practice. They:

  • have meaningful conversations with students and provide useful written feedback about their next learning steps
  • make very successful use of professional learning and development to identify and target students who need to make accelerated progress in writing
  • use effective assessment practices to ensure the reliability and consistency of their assessment decisions
  • frequently report to parents on the progress targeted/at-risk students are making.

The principal uses student achievement and progress information very well to:

  • target students who need to make accelerated progress
  • comprehensively analyse data to identify gaps in students’ understanding
  • evaluate the success of current programmes and adapt them to improve student achievement and progress
  • inform school-wide self review.

The board and principal make strategic resourcing decisions based on well-analysed student achievement and progress information.

Next step

The principal and teachers should review half-yearly reporting to parents with particular reference to student achievement against the National Standards in mathematics.

3. Curriculum

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

This school’s curriculum is highly effective in the way it promotes and supports students’ learning. The principal and teachers ensure that all students have equitable opportunities to participate in learning experiences.

Classroom environments are settled and students are well engaged in their learning. The school’s PRIDE values (perseverance, respect, integrity, diversity, excellence) are integrated into the day-to-day life of the school and explicitly taught to students.

This school’s curriculum is very well-developed and defined. Curriculum guidelines are detailed and provide very useful support for teachers to meet the high expectations there are for teaching and learning.

Teachers and leaders adapt the school curriculum to best meet students’ needs, abilities and interests. There is a dedicated class to provide appropriately for gifted and talented students. Some learning programmes are selected to support students’ wellbeing and safety. Students make appropriate choices in what and how they learn.

Students are learning how to care for the environment through the enviro-schools programme. There are strong bicultural elements evident in the school’s curriculum. Teachers are making effective use of the local environment and outside expertise to make students’ learning relevant and authentic.

Curriculum reviews are useful, well structured and lead to changes in practice and improved outcomes for students.

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

The principal, other leaders and teachers are intent on enabling Māori students to succeed. The board, principal and teachers have high expectations for Māori students academically and socially. They are focused on raising Māori student achievement particularly in reading, writing and mathematics. Close monitoring of Māori student achievement has shown that most students have made accelerated progress.

All adults value and promote te ao Māori as part of the school curriculum. This is done with varying levels of understanding and competence. Māori students are supported in their language, identity and culture. Kapahaka provides high-quality opportunities for all students to learn waiata, haka and some tikanga Māori. Māori students are experiencing success as Māori through this programme and the growth in their confidence and self belief is clearly evident.

Students benefit from the positive two-way relationships that exist between adults in the school, students, whānau and the Māori community.

The principal has developed a plan to further promote Māori student achievement. She is in the early stages of consulting with the board, teachers, parents and the Māori community about the content of this document and its intentions.

4. Sustainable Performance

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

The school is very well placed to sustain the things that are going really well and to continue to improve what happens for students.

Governance. Trustees are well supported in their roles and responsibilities by detailed, useful guidelines. They are very well informed about student achievement and use this information effectively to make strategic decisions that will improve outcomes for all students. The board, principal and teachers understand the importance of rigorous self review.

Self review. The board, principal and teachers focus on providing the best outcomes for students. Informal and formal self review is well embedded in many practices within the school. There is a clearly defined, systematic process for robust review including gathering the opinions of students, teachers and parents. This helps the leaders to access the information they need and then to make well-informed plans to improve.

Leadership. The principal provides highly effective leadership. This can be seen through her:

  • high expectations and the establishment of school goals
  • guidance of strategic resourcing
  • planning, coordination and evaluation of teaching and the curriculum
  • participation in professional learning and development programmes
  • management of and support for staff and students
  • genuine care for and knowledge of every student at this school.

Area for review and development

The board and principal have identified, and ERO agrees, that it is timely to review and refresh the school’s strategic plan to ensure it reflects all of the school’s current priorities.

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

Longford Intermediate is a high-performing school. The curriculum is making a significant difference to students’ learning, achievement and progress.

The principal and teachers are committed to best outcomes for all students. Governance, leadership and school management systems are high quality and support school operations very well. Students’ wellbeing is very effectively supported. This impacts positively on learning.

ERO is likely to carry out the next review in four-to-five years.

Graham Randell

Deputy Chief Review Officer Southern

10 February 2015

About the School

Location

Gore, Southland

Ministry of Education profile number

3979

School type

Intermediate (Years 7 to 8)

School roll

165

Gender composition

Boys: 52% Girls: 48%

Ethnic composition

NZ European/Pākehā

Māori

Pacific

Other

76%

20%

3%

1%

Review team on site

November 2014

Date of this report

10 February 2015

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

November 2011

August 2010

June 2009