Lower Moutere School - 19/06/2018

School Context

Lower Moutere School is a semi-rural Years 1-8 school located close to Motueka. The roll at the time of this review was 169 students.

The school states that its overarching vision is ‘To be the best that we can be!’ The school’s valued outcomes include respect for self, others, the school environment and property. The valued learner attributes are for students to be Self-motivated, Achieving, Focused and Engaged (SAFE). The valued outcomes also include a concept of learning partnership in terms of ‘We are learners together.’

The 2018 -2020 strategic goals for improving student outcomes are:

  1. ‘To provide the best possible learning environment for all our students’

  2. ‘To ensure our students are achieving success in all areas of the curriculum’

  3. ‘We will maintain positive and effective relationships with students, parents, preschools and the wider community’.

School targets related to these strategic goals are:

  1. to accelerate the rate of progress for identified students in mathematics

  2. to accelerate the rate of progress for identified students in writing

  3. to accelerate the progress for identified students in reading in Years 1-3.

Leaders and teachers regularly report to the board, school-wide information about outcomes for students in the following areas:

  • mid and end of year progress and achievement information in reading, writing and mathematics

  • aspects of physical education.

The school is a member of the Motueka Kāhui Ako|Community of Learning (CoL).

Since the 2014 ERO evaluation the school has undergone significant change, including:

  • extensive redevelopment of buildings and facilities

  • the appointment of a new principal and school leadership team

  • several changes in board chair

  • multiple changes to trustees, including a co-opted trustee to provide Māori representation on the board.

Evaluation Findings

1 Equity and excellence – achievement of valued outcomes for students

1.1 How well is the school achieving equitable and excellent outcomes for all its students?

The school is effective in achieving equitable and excellent outcomes.

According to the school’s achievement data, reading is an area of excellence. Consistently high achievement is evident for most students during 2014 -2017.

The majority of children also achieve ‘at’ or ‘above’ expectations in writing and mathematics. This pattern has remained relatively consistent in mathematics during 2014-2017.

Most Māori children are achieving well against the school’s expectations.

The school monitors progress for individual students and responds well to children requiring additional support with learning.

1.2 How well is the school accelerating learning for those Māori and other students who need this?

There is insufficient analysed evidence for ERO to evaluate how well the school is accelerating learning for Māori and other students. At the time of this review, the school was collating data but not routinely analysing it in a range of learning contexts to identify whether or not learning has been accelerated.

ERO identified that the school’s data for writing (2017) shows that 17 of 21 targeted students made accelerated progress in writing. Additional information provided by the school after the onsite stage of the review shows that the majority of students receiving extra support made good progress in reading in 2017, and that some students made good progress in mathematics.

2 School conditions for equity and excellence – processes and practices

2.1 What school processes and practices are effective in enabling achievement of equity and excellence, and acceleration of learning?

Curriculum documentation provides comprehensive guidelines for teaching and learning. Since the 2014 ERO review, school leaders, teachers, and the community have completed a significant amount of work on curriculum redevelopment. This work includes developing:

  • curriculum support documents which detail expectations for effective teaching practice and learning partnerships

  • clearly described instructional strategies and practices which link to the valued outcomes of self-motivated and engaged learners

  • curriculum innovations which are research-based and, in relation to writing in particular, are well supported by external professional learning and development

  • reports to parents which clearly show achievement in relation to learning expectations, and include student voice and next steps for learning

  • teaching as inquiry practices which clearly link to identified student need.

This curriculum is providing a sound basis for supporting the sustainability of equity and excellence in this school.

The board and leaders are focused on providing a supportive environment that is fostering student learning and wellbeing. They are building relational trust at all levels of the school. Student and staff wellbeing are considered a priority for the school. Leaders are building a collaborative learning environment. During the review, many staff told ERO that the positive school culture contributes to a collaborative, inclusive and supportive learning environment.

Professional development opportunities for leaders and teachers are well planned and linked to identified student need. Opportunities for teachers to discuss their practice are provided in the form of Professional Learning Groups. Further professional learning is planned for mathematics during 2018. There is a strong focus on building teacher capability, and attention is given to embedding and sustaining new practices.

Bicultural practices in the school are being strengthened. Children have increasing opportunities to learn about and build a deeper understanding of Māori culture, identity and local history.

2.2 What further developments are needed in school processes and practices for achievement of equity and excellence, and acceleration of learning?

In order to support and sustain equity and excellence for all students, board capability needs to continue to be strengthened. Trustees now need to:

  • review how well strategic and annual planning processes are contributing to progress against school goals and priorities

  • develop knowledge of internal evaluation in order to understand the impact of change and practices on student outcomes.

As part of the board’s commitment to continuous improvement, the board and leadership would benefit from evaluating how well they are engaging parents/whānau in their children’s learning, and how well they are responding to the aspirations and needs of the school community. Evaluations over time to identify community perceptions about school strengths and areas for development, would maximise opportunities to continue to build on the way the board actively represents and serves the community in its governance role.

Some aspects of data management require strengthening. These include:

  • collecting, collating and analysing data to routinely identify if target students are making sufficient or accelerated progress

  • reporting to the board on progress and teaching practices that are having the greatest impact on learning improvement for target students

  • continuing to strengthen school-wide guidelines and expectations for overall teacher judgements about progress and achievement.

Internal evaluation requires further development across all levels of the school. In particular:

  • the board, leaders’ and teacher knowledge of effective evaluation practice needs to be extended

  • a common framework should be used to guide evaluations across the school and to assist the rigour, consistency, and usefulness of evaluations.

Effective internal evaluation practices will help the board, leaders and teachers to identify those teaching and learning practices which are most significant in contributing to accelerated progress and achievement.

3 Board assurance on legal requirements

Before the review, the board 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 the following:

  • board administration

  • curriculum

  • management of health, safety and welfare

  • personnel management

  • finance

  • asset management.

During the review, ERO checked the following items because they have a potentially high impact on student safety and wellbeing:

  • emotional safety of students (including prevention of bullying and sexual harassment)

  • physical safety of students

  • teacher registration and certification

  • processes for appointing staff

  • stand down, suspension, expulsion and exclusion of students

  • attendance

  • school policies in relation to meeting the requirements of the Vulnerable Children Act 2014.

Areas for improved compliance practice

To improve current practice, the board of trustees should ensure that all aspects of policy and procedure review are completed.

4 Going forward

Key strengths of the school

For sustained improvement and future learner success, the school can draw on existing strengths in:

  • curriculum innovations that are focused on developing independent, confident self- managing learners

  • strongly supportive relationships between the board, teachers and leaders that are focused on learning partnerships

  • a positive school environment and an improvement-focused board, leadership and staff who willingly engage in new learning.

Next steps

For sustained improvement and future learner success, priorities for further development are in:

  • managing data to identify how well students are progressing and the impact of teaching and learning practices

  • extending reporting to the board so they can make informed decisions on resourcing and better understand the school’s achievement picture in relation to strategic goals

  • extending internal evaluation practices
  • continuing to explore ways of increasing community voice and participation in ongoing school improvement.

ERO’s next external evaluation process and timing

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

Dr Lesley Patterson

Deputy Chief Review Officer

Te Waipounamu - Southern Region

19 June 2018

About the school

Location

Lower Moutere

Ministry of Education profile number

3200

School type

Year 1-8

School roll

169

Gender composition

Boys 50% : Girls 50%

Ethnic composition

Māori: 19%

Pākehā: 73%

Pacific: 3%

Other ethnicities: 5%

Review team on site

April 2018

Date of this report

19 June 2018

Most recent ERO reports

Education Review December 2014

Education Review May 2011