National Park School - 02/05/2018

School Context

National Park School is a full primary catering for students from Years 1 to 8. The school is located close to Tongariro National Park in the Ruapehu district. The school roll at the time of this evaluation was 43, including 11 students who identify as Māori.

National Park School express themselves as a confident, active community of learners. ‘Whāia te iti kahurangi. Ki te tūohu koe, me he maunga teitei. Reach for the sky. If you should falter let it be to a lofty peak’. This aims to motivate the community to achieve their potential. Intended outcomes for children include the recognition and affirmation of sense of self. The school aims for learners to experience a broad curriculum that has meaning for them and connect with their wider lives.

Analysed student achievement data at the end of 2017 identified the need to improve achievement and engagement. A priority for 2018 is to accelerate the progress and achievement of students whose learning is at risk.

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

  • progress, acceleration and achievement of priority learners in reading, writing and mathematics
  • mid-year and end-of-year progress and achievement, in relation to levels of The New Zealand Curriculum
  • attendance
  • initiatives and inquiry as outlined in the school’s strategic plan.

Teaching staff have had professional learning and development opportunities since the previous review including the Ministry of Education initiative, Accelerating Literacy Learning (ALL). 

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 yet to achieve equitable and excellent outcomes for all its students. Over the past three years, a school focus has been, and continues to be the Māori students who feature disproportionately in the school’s underachieving group. End of 2017 achievement data, showed many children achieved at, and a few children above the school’s expectations in reading, writing and mathematics. Boys achieve slightly better than girls in reading and maths, with girls’ achievement being higher in writing.

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

School leaders and teachers respond very well to Māori and other children at risk of not meeting the school’s achievement expectations.

Teachers efficiently implement well-considered individual learning plans for all of these students. These plans align to the school’s annual improvement plan and achievement targets. The school’s 2017 data shows a slight increase in outcomes for Māori learners in reading, writing and mathematics. 

School leaders monitored and scrutinised assessment information well for target students in 2016 and 2017. Achievement over time shows almost all, including Māori, made progress and for the majority, their learning was accelerated. The data for Year 8 leavers in 2017 showed most left at or above The New Zealand Curriculum expectations.

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?

School leaders and staff promote a positive, inclusive school culture. Respectful learning partnerships between the school and families and whānau assist in enacting the school’s refreshed vision and values. The positive school environment and relationship-based teaching practice is conducive to student-led learning. Children take pride in their school and demonstrate a strong sense of belonging.

Curriculum developments align well to the school’s strategic direction. Trustees and school staff work collaboratively to implement the localised curriculum. It strongly reflects the aspirations held by families and whānau. Learning in the school and wider community provide children ample opportunities to learn through authentic contexts of high interest to them. Te ao Māori continues to develop as an integral part of the school’s localised curriculum.

School processes result in effective collaborative practice. Appropriate teacher professional learning and inquiry takes place and is improvement and learner-focused. Teachers know students’ strengths, interests and learning needs well. Their ability to make dependable judgements about student progress and achievement is supported by effective leadership and standardised assessments. Increased teacher knowledge in effective mathematics and writing teaching has improved achievement outcomes for most children.

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

Curriculum review and development is ongoing. The pace of development means that school curriculum guiding documents need to be updated to align with innovations and evolving practice.

Leaders recognise the need to continue to embed and consolidate the effective teaching practice of literacy and mathematics across the curriculum. They also identify continuing their relentless focus on accelerating the progress of the targeted learners is a priority, especially eradicating the disparity for Māori.

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.

4 Going forward

Key strengths of the school

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

  • the positive organisational culture and high relational trust that supports a conducive learning environment
  • purposeful leadership that promotes collaboration and collective responsibility to achieve equity and excellence for all students
  • the provision of a broad curriculum and opportunities that support students to learn through authentically rich experiences. 

Next steps

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

  • ongoing use of effective internal evaluation to know how successfully identified strategies in the school’s development plan enable the achievement of equity and excellence for all students
  • continuing to accelerate progress of learners at risk of underachievement.

ERO’s next external evaluation process and timing

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

Patricia Davey
Deputy Chief Review Officer Central (Acting)

Te Tai Pokapū - Central Region

2 May 2018

About the school 

Location

National Park

Ministry of Education profile number

2405

School type

Primary Year 1 - 8

School roll

43

Gender composition

Male 25, Female 18

Ethnic composition

Māori            11
Pākehā          32

Review team on site

March 2018

Date of this report

2 May 2018

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review, February 2015
Education Review, May 2013
Education Review, June 2010