Oakura School - 20/05/2015

Findings

Students, parents, teachers and trustees value high quality education and strive for excellence. The majority of students achieve at or above expectation in relation to the National Standards in literacy and mathematics. Trusting relationships enable students to confidently take risks and to persevere. The board governs responsibly, consulting parents before making considered decisions.

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?

Oakura School caters for Years 1 to 8 students in a small coastal village southwest of New Plymouth. The growing community has strong links with the school, sharing facilities and actively contributing to the curriculum. Students and parents, teachers and the board of trustees value high quality education and strive for excellence. The roll of 328 includes 33 students who identify as Māori.

‘Learn to think and learn to care in a learning community which prepares students for a successful future’ is the school’s vision. Values encouraged are honesty, respect and perseverance. All underpin the curriculum and decisions made by the board, parents and teachers. The school is part of a wider community of learners.

Skilled, well-informed trustees and senior leaders focus on continuous improvement. Relationships are respectful; students’ wellbeing is prioritised. Teachers are experienced and professional.

Parents and whānau actively engage in their children’s education. Learning partnerships are valued and considered essential. The impact on students’ progress and achievement is significant. An active Friends of Oakura School group contributes to resourcing.

The board and senior leaders have sustained and built on the strengths identified in the January 2011 ERO report.

2. Learning

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

Assessment information is well used to plan programmes that impact positively on student progress and achievement. The school’s achievement information indicates that the majority of students achieve at or above expectation in relation to the National Standards in literacy and mathematics. There is evidence that all students make steady gains across the year with some making accelerated progress.

Challenging targets for improvement are set in each class. Progress is closely monitored and changes made to programmes and teaching strategies as appropriate. There is an individualised approach to increasing each student’s rate of progress. Teacher collaboration, sharing and a focus on solutions is a priority.

Students set goals and, as they move through year levels, are increasingly capable of self assessing their progress. Teachers and students decide the criteria for success. The purpose for learning is clear.

Students with more complex needs receive good levels of assistance. Making a difference is a shared responsibility between school and home. When appropriate, external agencies contribute. Teachers know students well and expect each to be a successful learner. Increased rates of progress are evident and sustained.

Trustees and parents receive regular reports about students’ progress and achievement. Information is clearly stated, including how parents may assist at home and the impact of board resourcing.

3. Curriculum

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

The curriculum is highly responsive to students’ experiences, interests and learning needs. Regular review ensures that it is learner-centred, challenging and continues to evolve towards the future. The environment is rich, distinctly New Zealand in context and reflects the local commitment to sustainability. There are multiple opportunities for students to participate in physical, cultural, social and community learning beyond the school.

The school’s expectations for effective teaching are very clear and evident in the deliberate strategies observed in classrooms. Students and teachers are enthusiastic about learning. Trusting relationships enable students to confidently take risks, to persevere and to help each other. Older students work alongside younger students in buddy roles. Expectations for the quality and quantity of work are shared and tailored to individual need. Students are highly engaged and motivated. Learning at home complements learning at school.

Information and communication technologies (ICT) are well integrated as tools for learning. Students use ICT confidently and in purposeful ways. Trustees and teachers continue to review and upgrade systems and software.

Policies and practices linked to inclusion have been rigorously reviewed. Recommendations were quickly followed up and implemented. Change is impacting on what teachers and trustees do, and improvements to the curriculum are evident. Teachers and parents work together proactively and every student has the best possible support to achieve their progress goals.

The school has adopted a thoughtful, planned approach to developing a future-focused curriculum and associated student decision making. The benefits of teachers’ professional learning, research and deliberate teaching are observable. Students engage confidently in research and capably self manage tasks. The curriculum supports students to have the necessary communication skills, adaptability and creativity for the future. ERO affirms that the school’s identified next step: to continue to explore, develop and embed best practice in the curriculum, is appropriate.

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

The school actively promotes educational success for Māori as Māori. There are close links with Oakura Marae, supported by school whānau and a curriculum that values and includes te reo Māori and Māori contexts. Formal reports to iwi indicate that students experience success across the breadth of the curriculum and there are opportunities for seniors to lead as strong role models.

Teachers, with guidance from external providers, are increasing their capability in te āo Māori. The board is proactive in supporting professional learning and through staff appointments. Students’ learning is progressive from new entrants to Year 8. Increasing levels of confidence are evident. Whole school kapa haka prepares students for performance in the wider community. Parents learn and share with their children as part of noho marae.

Students demonstrate pride in their achievements and have good knowledge of their language, culture and identity.

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 are skilled and knowledgeable about their governance role. The board plans wisely for the future, making carefully considered decisions to support high quality teaching and learning. Governance is strengthened through regular planned and responsive reviews. Change is well managed, soundly-based, and informed through extensive consultation with parents and community.

The principal is a knowledgeable professional, actively promoting the school’s values and leading the focus on excellence. Senior leaders model good practice, encourage innovation and ensure that expectations for student progress are met across the school.

Teachers’ professional learning and development is making a significant difference to their practice. There is a positive impact on the goals for a future-focused curriculum with students increasingly making decisions about their learning. Critical reflection, cooperation and a high degree of trust encourage teachers to lead in areas of interest and expertise.

Students’ transition into and beyond the school is designed to sustain confident and positive attitudes to learning. Links with secondary schools assist senior leaders to make decisions about the Year 8 curriculum. Feedback from Year 9 students indicates they are well prepared through extensive leadership opportunities, learning challenges, high expectations and the broad curriculum. Year 8 students are resilient and confident.

The board’s concept of a ‘community of learners’ is evident in practice. Collaboration and shared decision making assist parents to be informed about, and involved in, their children’s education. Relationships are respectful. There is a shared commitment and partnership, between parents and school, to prepare students for future learning and developing the attributes of good citizenship.

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

Students, parents, teachers and trustees value high quality education and strive for excellence. The majority of students achieve at or above expectation in relation to the National Standards in literacy and mathematics. Trusting relationships enable students to confidently take risks and to persevere. The board governs responsibly, consulting parents before making considered decisions.

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

Joyce Gebbie

Deputy Chief Review Officer Central

20 May 2015

About the School

Location

Oakura, New Plymouth

Ministry of Education profile number

2208

School type

Full Primary (Years 1 to 8)

School roll

328

Gender composition

Male 51%, Female 49%

Ethnic composition

Māori

NZ European/Pākehā

Other ethnic groups

11%

70%

19%

Review team on site

April 2015

Date of this report

20 May 2015

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

January 2011

June 2008

June 2005