Lumsden School - 08/03/2013

1 Context

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

Lumsden School is a rural school that provides a welcoming and supportive environment for students in Years 1 to 6. Half the children come from the town and half from the country. The family atmosphere helps students settle easily into school life, class programmes and make friends. Students of all ages interact positively with one another.

Strong links between home and school support students in their learning. Students and teachers benefit from plenty of parent and community support. Learning is enhanced when experts come to the school and students go purposefully out into the community.

Teachers know students and their families well. Students learn and interact in a highly inclusive school environment that has become more culturally diverse.

Students told ERO and ERO observed that teachers make learning enjoyable and engaging for them. They appreciate the extra attention teachers are able to give them in classes with low numbers. Trustees are committed to supporting extra staffing to keep class numbers low.

2 Learning

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

Trustees, senior leaders and teachers make very effective use of assessment information to know about and celebrate students’ strengths, identify areas for improvement and plan together to meet students’ needs. Leaders and teachers have identified the need to raise students’ achievement in writing.

Areas of strength

Students show high levels of engagement in their learning. Students who spoke to ERO could talk confidently about their learning, their goals for improvement, and what they need to do to achieve these goals.

Teachers have a very good understanding of students’ learning needs. They use this knowledge appropriately to plan for and support students’ learning.

Teachers make good use of detailed progress and achievement information. They:

  • provide feedback to students so they know how well they should be achieving and what they need to do to improve
  • use achievement information to identify students who would benefit from learning support to help them make accelerated progress
  • implement learning support in the classroom, provide clear guidance for extra support staff such as teacher aides, and ensure the experience of the teacher is well used
  • communicate effectively with parents about how well their children are progressing, including in relation to the National Standards.

Teachers, leaders and trustees use achievement information well to:

  • set their annual targets and allocate resources to achieve the targets
  • monitor, report, and evaluate how well teachers’ actions are working to meet those targets
  • provide regular, good-quality reports to the community about student achievement.

Area for review and development

Senior leaders and teachers should:

  • extend the depth of some evaluations to include the impact each support initiative has had on raising student achievement
  • report the outcomes of this evaluation to trustees to help them determine priorities for future resourcing.

3 Curriculum

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

The school’s curriculum effectively promotes and supports learning.

Teachers make good use of the school’s values of respect and responsibility to support students’ learning and ensure their holistic needs are well met. Students told ERO that they behave beyond the school in a way that reflects their school values. They learn in an environment where high expectations for learning and behaviour ensure a positive learning focus.

Teachers ensure priority is given to literacy and numeracy. Students also have good opportunities to learn in all other learning areas. They benefit from a wide variety of learning activities, including trips and camps. They take part in environmental studies in ways that build on their interests and leadership potential. A current area teachers are extending is the provision of science. Students appreciate the enjoyable experiences in science they are having.

Students benefit from very good to high-quality teaching. Senior leaders monitor and support teachers to:

  • know how well the agreed guidelines for all aspects of the curriculum are being implemented
  • make suggestions about how teachers might strengthen their practices
  • ensure continuous improvement in the quality of teaching and consistency of practice.

Teachers:

  • work well collegially and reflect together about their teaching practices
  • regularly evaluate the impact of their teaching, especially the initiatives to support students most at risk of not making sufficient progress
  • genuinely search for ways they can further improve learning and teaching.

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

The school is supporting strategies to promote success for Māori students.

Trustees and senior leaders:

  • are aware of the principles behind Ka Hikitia, a national strategy to promote success for Māori
  • believe that when a child enrols it is also the parents that are enrolling and becoming a part of the school’s community
  • know that students’ kapa haka experiences have a positive impact on learning for those involved
  • know how well Māori students are achieving and progressing
  • set targets to accelerate progress for these students.

Area for review and development

Trustees, senior leaders and teachers acknowledge the need to find ways to extend the bicultural environment so that Māori students are better supported to succeed as Māori.

4 Sustainable Performance

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

The school is very well placed to sustain and improve its performance.

Trustees, leaders and teachers place a strong focus on students’ learning and on raising levels of achievement. Trustees receive mid-point monitoring reports about progress towards the end-of-year student-achievement targets. They ask good evaluative questions, establish what the learning information is showing, and plan for future improvements. There is a school-wide culture of critical reflection with a focus on continuous improvement.

The school has strong professional leadership. The principal and deputy principal:

  • make good use of a robust appraisal process
  • ensure regular, high-quality targeted professional learning and development focuses on making improvements where needs are identified, based on good information
  • lead teaching and learning very well.

The board is planning for sustainability to ensure the school continues to benefit from sound governance practices.

Area for review and development

Trustees and senior leaders should strengthen leadership and governance practices by:

  • more clearly documenting in the appraisal process the contribution the principal and teachers will make to meeting student achievement targets
  • refining charter planning so that fewer priorities are identified, strategically planned for, and can be more readily monitored
  • developing guidelines for rigorous review across all areas of the curriculum.

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.

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

8 March 2013

About the School

Location

Lumsden

Ministry of Education profile number

3980

School type

Contributing (Years 1 to 6)

School roll

99

Gender composition

Male: 55 Female: 44

Ethnic composition

NZ European/Pākehā

Māori

Other

86

9

4

Review team on site

November 2012

Date of this report

8 March 2013

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

September 2009

September 2006

June 2003