Opawa School - 21/11/2017

Summary

Opawa School is a full primary school. It has a roll of 342 children, with 74 children identifying as Māori.

The school has had significant changes in staffing since the 2014 ERO review. This includes a new principal. Most trustees are new to the board.

The school is a member of the Te Mana Raupo Kāhui Ako|Community of Learning.

The board of trustees, principal and teachers are continuing to be involved in the management of property damage and supporting children who have been emotionally impacted by the Christchurch earthquakes.

How well is the school achieving equitable outcomes for all children?

The school has introduced a number of effective processes to support teachers to achieve equitable outcomes for all children. The school’s 2014 to 2016 student achievement information shows a slight downward trend in reading, writing and mathematics against the National Standards.

The school responds well to those Māori and other children whose learning and achievement need acceleration.

At the time of this review, school achievement data showed little disparity in achievement for Māori students. Pacific students achieve well in relation to the National Standards.

Professional leadership and capability of the staff and board are strengths of the school. The valuing of te ao Māori and wellbeing of all children and staff are prioritised for the board and leadership team.

The board and senior leaders have identified their next steps are to:

  • develop a strategic plan to better reflect the school’s current strategic priorities

  • strengthen the appraisal process to support teachers to reflect more deeply on their practice

  • further build a shared understanding of robust internal evaluation – including curriculum review.

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

Equity and excellence

How effectively does this school respond to Māori and other children whose learning and achievement need acceleration?

The school responds well to Māori and other children whose learning and achievement need acceleration.

Overall, the achievement data at the end of 2016 is lower than national expectations for reading, writing and mathematics. In response, teachers are currently involved in targeted professional learning (PLD) to raise student achievement in mathematics and writing. This PLD is increasing teachers’ understanding and use of current best practices.

School achievement data shows little disparity for Māori and Pacific children. The school has identified an increasing number of five-year old children arriving with significant oral language needs, which then impact on their progress in reading and writing. Well-planned and researched learning programmes are being used to address this. Student achievement information shows that by Year 4 many of these children have caught up with learning expectations.

Children who need additional learning support to succeed in their learning are identified early. Teachers know the needs of these children and provide a wide range of specialised programmes. They are closely tracked and monitored for progress. Māori children who need additional help with learning are mentored to succeed as Māori. Their culture, language and identity are highly valued and promoted in all aspects of the school.

The school has robust moderation processes in place to support teachers to make reliable judgements about student achievement. A broad range of assessments are used to provide teachers with a clear picture of children’s learning.

School conditions supporting equity and excellence

What school processes are effective in enabling achievement of equity and excellence?

The school has a range of useful processes supporting teachers to help students achieve equity and excellence.

Trustees bring a variety of expertise to the board that contributes to the focus on raising achievement and equity. They are clear about their roles and responsibilities and are well informed about school operations.

The community has been consulted about the vision and values of the school and the Whānau Committee is actively involved in contributing to the school’s review of the charter and strategic plan.

Strong professional leadership recognises and uses staff strengths by building leadership capacity among staff. The new principal has developed professional networks with other educational providers to ensure she makes the most of opportunities to support children’s learning. There are effective links with external-support agencies and local organisations to enhance the learning and wellbeing of children and staff.

The school has an inclusive, welcoming culture. Positive relationships among staff are maintained by collaborative, supportive, relational trust. Since the Christchurch earthquakes, the board, leaders and teachers have placed high importance on the wellbeing of children and staff. This emphasis has resulted in a calm, safe environment, conducive to learning.

Children learn through a wide variety of learning experiences, including Māori perspectives and bicultural practices.

Teachers reflect on their practice and:

  • are improvement focused

  • adapt programmes to meet the needs of individual students

  • are open to changing their thinking and teaching approaches in order to better support children’s achievement.

Sustainable development for equity and excellence

What further developments are needed in school processes to achieve equity and excellence?

The board, principal and leaders are very well placed to make the changes for improvement shown below.

The board is well informed about school events and programmes. It would benefit from reports that are more evaluative so that it can be assured of the effectiveness of its decisions.

The school’s student achievement action plan to address the learning of children who need additional learning support, needs to clearly identify strategies teachers can use to make the difference for children’s learning. A further next step is for the leaders to develop a report that demonstrates to the board ‘how well’ these children are making accelerated progress.

The board and school leaders have identified their next steps are to:

  • develop a strategic plan to better reflect the school’s current strategic priorities

  • strengthen the appraisal process to support teachers to reflect more deeply on their practice

  • further build a shared understanding of robust internal evaluation – including curriculum review.

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

  • 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.

Going forward

How well placed is the school to accelerate the achievement of all children who need it?

Learners are achieving well. The school demonstrates strong progress towards achieving equity in educational outcomes, supported by effective, sustainable processes and practices.

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

Dr Lesley Patterson

Deputy Chief Review Officer Southern

Te Waipounamu - Southern Region

21 November 2017

About the school

Location

Christchurch

Ministry of Education profile number

3455

School type

Full Primary (Years 1-8)

School roll

342

Gender composition

Boys: 54%

Girls: 46%

Ethnic composition

Māori 22%

Pākehā 67%

Asian 6%

Pacific 3%

Other 2%

Provision of Māori medium education

No

Review team on site

September 2017

Date of this report

21 November 2017

Most recent ERO reports

Education Review: April 2014

Education Review: April 2011

Education Review: April 2007