Mangamuka School - 29/06/2016

Findings

The board, staff and community have worked together effectively to improve outcomes for children. Learning-focused relationships between the school, family and child are valued as an important part of children’s education. Children learn within an inclusive, culturally rich environment. The school curriculum is increasingly offering integrated programmes that are responsive to children’s learning needs and strengths.

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

1 Background and Context

What is the background and context for this school’s review?

Mangamuka School is a small school with a proud 130 years of history serving children and their whānau who live in the Mangamuka Gorge and surrounding area. However, over the past six years successive ERO reviews have identified concerns regarding the quality of governance, leadership, curriculum and teaching and learning. High turnover of trustees and staff has contributed to the school’s difficulties.

In 2014 the school was placed under the direction of a Ministry of Education (MoE) appointed commissioner. Following the appointment of a permanent principal in mid-2015 the MoE intervention was revoked and a new board was elected at the end of that year.

The new principal and board have worked together and have made significant progress towards improving the governance and leadership of the school. The school has a positive and settled tone. The principal and teacher’s strong focus on improving the quality of teaching and learning is evident in classrooms and is beginning to be reflected in improved learning outcomes for children.

2 Review and Development

How effectively is the school addressing its priorities for review and development?

Priorities identified for review and development

The priorities identified for review and development were to:

  • improve the quality of teaching and learning
  • improve curriculum design and implementation
  • strengthen the analysis and reporting of student achievement information
  • build leadership and governance capability and capacity to sustain and embed development.

Progress

The new principal has worked systematically to improve the quality of curriculum, assessment and teaching and learning. Considerable progress has been made in all of these areas. This progress has been well supported by external professional development.

All students attending the school identify as Māori. They benefit from the school values of awhi, mana, manaaki and aroha which underpin the curriculum and teaching and learning. These values are reflected in the school’s graduate profile.

The curriculum draws on and reflects the local area and whānau and children’s Māori heritage. The principal has consulted parents and whānau to ensure that the school’s curriculum continues to align with the aspirations they have for their children and the underpinning conceptual framework of ako, matauranga, wānanga and kaitiakitanga.

There is a strong emphasis on building children’s competencies and skills including their learning vocabulary. Making learning visible is a further strategy being used to help children understand their learning, progress and achievement. These approaches are successfully motivating and engaging children because they are able to see the connections between their own experiences, their growing skills and school learning.

The principal has improved the school’s assessment systems and processes. There are now clear procedures for gathering and using assessment information. School achievement data in relation to the National Standards is now more reliable and accurate. As a result, children’s specific learning needs are being identified and responded to, and their progress is being well monitored. Moderating children’s writing with other local schools has contributed to this positive development.

Multilevel teaching is guided by individual education plans with appropriate goals and strategies to improve outcomes for children. Teaching plans show that there is a strong focus on teachers’ regularly sharing and discussing children’s progress, Teachers access external expertise, such as the Resource Teachers: Learning and Behaviour and the Resource Teacher for Literacy as necessary. These approaches are helping to ensure that children receive increasingly well targeted support and instruction.

The school’s most recent achievement data shows that most children are making good progress in relation to the National Standards. Some children are making accelerated progress. However, most children are still working below the National Standards in reading, writing and mathematics. The school’s annual plan includes goals, targets and strategies for accelerating these students’ progress.

The principal is setting high expectations for teachers and children. These expectations are being systematically clarified and documented. As a result teachers, children and whānau have a shared understanding of expectations and what they will look like, sound like and feel like in action. The principal is linking expectations for teachers to their professional inquiries into their own practice. This should help teachers to focus their efforts to build their professional knowledge and capability.

Classrooms are attractive and well organised and resourced to support learning. Examples of work, including children’s artwork are well displayed and affirm children’s talent, effort, persistence and learning progress. Classroom displays are designed to help children to learn independently.

Children and parents contribute to developing learning goals. They are kept well informed about the part they can play to support learning. Increased attendance has been one notable outcome of the strengthening learning partnership with parents.

Key next steps

The principal and board and ERO agree that the key next steps are to:

  • continue developing strategies to accelerate children’s progress and lift their achievement
  • complete the documentation of the school’s curriculum
  • undertake further planned development of Information Communication Technologies (ICT) that is likely to promote and support children’s independent and inquiry learning.

3 Sustainable performance and self review

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

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

The principal and board have built leadership and governance capability and capacity and are likely to be able to sustain and embed these development. They have also made good progress towards strengthening the analysis and reporting of student achievement information at all levels of the school.

The principal is providing effective professional leadership and has established good relationships with the board and the local community. They respect her professional knowledge and commitment to improving the quality of teaching and learning and lifting student achievement.

The board receive useful reports about student achievement. Trustees appropriately use this information to set targets and priorities and make strategic decisions about resourcing. This has helped the principal and board to develop a clear strategic plan. The plan outlines goals, targets for achievement, the actions to be taken and the indicators that will be used to evaluate progress towards achieving the goals.

Board training has included using the New Zealand School Trustees Association’s (NZSTA) resource Hautū: Māori Cultural Responsiveness Self Review tool for Board of Trustees, to develop baseline data about the school’s responsiveness to Māori. A recent review of the school’s finance-related policies has also helped to increase trustees’ understanding about their legal obligations and responsibilities in this area.

There has been an extensive and ongoing review of the school grounds and property which has included input from children and whānau. An outcome of this has been a school environment that is well resourced and increasingly well suited to children’s different ages and stages of learning and development.

Trustees have accessed a set of board policies that cover all aspects of board operations and are systematically reviewing these to align them to the school context and conceptual framework. Trustees acknowledge that this work is challenging particularly given a recent change in trustees and the pending board elections. However, they are confident that a stable governance framework is emerging to guide an upward spiral of improvement for the school. Further professional learning about self-evaluation would help the board and the principal connect elements of self-review and link them to the evaluation of strategic goals.

Key next steps

The principal, board and ERO agree that the key next steps are to:

  • complete the review and development of school policies and procedures
  • access professional learning and development about internal evaluation.

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 board, staff and community have worked together effectively to improve outcomes for children. Learning-focused relationships between the school, family and child are valued as an important part of children’s education. Children learn within an inclusive, culturally rich environment. The school curriculum is increasingly offering integrated programmes that are responsive to children’s learning needs and strengths.

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

Graham Randell

Deputy Chief Review Officer Northern

29 June 2016

About the School

Location

Okaihau, Northland

Ministry of Education profile number

1037

School type

Contributing (Years 1 to 6)

School roll

13

Gender composition

Girls 8 Boys 5

Ethnic composition

Māori

13

Review team on site

May 2016

Date of this report

29 June 2016

Most recent ERO report(s)

Supplementary Review

Supplementary Review

Education Review

March 2014

August 2011

March 2010