Omarama School - 21/10/2014

Findings

There has been significant improvement in school climate, relationships, governance and management practices. ERO is now confident that the school can sustain and continue to improve its performance without external support.

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?

Omarama School is a small school in the Waitaki Valley town of Omarama. The school has two operating classrooms. The majority of students travel to the school by bus from the surrounding rural area.

The August 2012 ERO report identified a range of significant issues impacting on the sustainability of the school. These related to staff, board and community relationships, aspects of curriculum provision and the quality of governance. ERO recommended that the school seeks external assistance to address these issues. In 2013, Omarama School had four different principals.

The Minister of Education appointed a Limited Statutory Manager (LSM) because of the risk to the operation of the school. The LSM was directed to assist with:

  • employment

  • board systems and processes

  • communications within the school and with its community.

The LSM was in place from September 2012 to July 2014.

2. Review and Development

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

Priorities identified for review and development

Staff, board and community relationships needed to improve. These relationships were not effectively supporting teachers or keeping outcomes for students as the main priority. There were issues with ineffective communication.

Some aspects of curriculum provision needed to improve. Students required better access to information technology and equipment and some reporting to parents was not clear. Some education outside the classroom activities were not being well managed. Planning for curriculum integration was inadequate.

Governance was ineffective. Trustees were not acting within their policies and procedures at all times. A stronger governance framework needed to be developed.

Progress

The school has made significant progress in addressing the areas for review and development outlined in the August 2012 ERO report.

Governance and management are now stable and effective. There has been one principal since term four 2013. The teaching team is working effectively together to raise student achievement. There are excellent relationships between the board, principal and staff. Communication with the school community is being well managed. Trustees are using effective systems to develop and review their governance framework. They are careful to act within their policies and procedures.

Students have improved access to information technology and equipment. Education outside the classroom activities are being consistently well managed. Reporting to parents in relation to the National Standards is clear. There is improved planning for curriculum integration.

3. Sustainable performance and self review

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

Priorities identified for review and development - Progress

The board and principal have developed a very useful charter. This is being used effectively as a working document to measure progress towards goals. The student achievement targets are being closely monitored progress and reported. The board and teachers’ focus on raising student achievement is an obvious priority. Trustees and staff are working together. Self review has been strengthened and is now working effectively within the school.

The LSM has provided valuable support and guidance to the board and principal. She has managed significant employment challenges very effectively. The most significant of these, was the appointment of the current principal, in Term 4 2013. She has modelled effective relationship management to staff and trustees. Communications with the school community have improved. Trustees have developed confidence and capability in their role as governors under the direction of the LSM.

The board is functioning well, focusing on:

  • raising student achievement

  • monitoring progress towards achieving strategic objectives

  • regularly reviewing and developing policies

  • providing support for the principal

  • regularly communicating with the school community.

The principal is providing high quality professional leadership with the full support of the board. He keeps the board, ‘Friends of the School’ group and parent community well informed about school initiatives, developments and upcoming activities.

His reporting to the board is timely, comprehensive and related to student achievement and strategic objectives. He has clarified and formalised staff roles and responsibilities. School resourcing is now being better managed. The principal has led the improvement of the school culture. He has established positive school values with students and staff.

The principal has identified, and ERO agrees, that the school should continue to focus on raising achievement for priority learners. The principal plans to review the school’s curriculum planning document. A significant building redevelopment plan is about to be undertaken.

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.

The principal could not find any record to indicate that support staff had been police vetted. He has taken immediate steps to initiate this process for all support staff.

  1. The board must obtain a Police vet of every person employed by the school every three years. [Source: s78C, s78ca, s78CB Education Act 1989]

Conclusion

There has been significant improvement in school climate, relationships, governance and management practices. ERO is now confident that the school can sustain and continue to improve its performance without external support.

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

 

Graham Randell
National Manager Review Services
Southern Region

About the School

Location

Omarama

Ministry of Education profile number

3789

School type

Full Primary (Years 1 to 8)

School roll

35

Gender composition

Boys:     21
Girls:      14

Ethnic composition

NZ European/Pākehā
Māori
Asian
Other ethnicities

28
  2
  2
  3

Review team on site

August 2012

Date of this report

21 October 2014

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review
Education Review
Education Review

August 2012
June 2009
April 2003