Paroa School (Greymouth) - 15/10/2014

Findings

How effectively is this school’s curriculum promoting student learning - engagement, progress and achievement?

A new principal, appointed at beginning of 2014, is working successfully with the board and staff to build on existing good practices while promoting and supporting continual improvement.

Students have many rich and interesting learning experiences within and outside the school that strongly support their learning. Achievement in reading and mathematics is high. The school is focused on improving achievement in writing. Progress has been made in promoting success for Māori students as Māori. The board and principal recognise the need to work more closely with Māori whānau to further support their initiatives in this area.

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

1. Context

What are the important features of this school that have an impact on student learning?

A new principal, appointed at the beginning of 2014, is working successfully with the board and staff to build on existing good practices while promoting and supporting continual improvement.

High expectations and positive, supportive relationships benefit students’ wellbeing and learning.

Close links exist with the local community. Productive relationships have been established with preschools and the local high school.

Students are provided with a wide range of additional cultural, musical and sporting activities as well as challenging experiences that make regular use of the local and wider environment.

Parents are actively involved in school programmes. A committed home/school group raises substantial funds for extra resources.

Property developments include hall renovations and other planned improvements to provide better facilities for students.

2. Learning

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

The school makes good use of achievement information to make positive changes to students’ engagement, progress and achievement.

Achievement information is regularly gathered and examined closely by teachers, school leaders and the board.

This information in relation to the National Standards at the end of 2013 showed that:

  • student achievement in reading and mathematics was above similar schools/local district/national levels, with very good progress over time occurring for all groups in reading
  • achievement in writing was similar but dipped for all groups, particularly boys and Māori students in 2013.

Māori students were achieving as well as their peers in mathematics and above other students in this school in reading. Some good progress was made in mathematics by Māori students during the year.

Annual targets have been set to improve achievement in writing and mathematics. Ongoing tracking and analysis of targeted students’ progress occurs and future actions are clearly identified and reported to the board.

Teachers are reflective and continue to seek the most effective ways to help students reach the school’s annual targets. Well-considered action and development plans guide teachers in accelerating students’ learning.

Students achieving at higher levels than their peers are challenged and extended within classes and in some external programmes.

Students with learning differences are welcomed and included along with their peers. Detailed reports to the board show how this additional support is benefiting students.

Areas for development and review

The entry information of five year olds should be collated and reported to the board to provide a baseline for measuring the value added to students’ learning as they move through the school.

Reporting to parents about students in Years 1 to 3 needs to occur closer to students’ anniversary dates so that the information is up to date and reliable.

Procedures for identifying and supporting gifted and talented students should be extended to reflect best practice. This includes:

  • developing a shared definition that is sufficiently broad
  • involving students, parents and teachers in the identification process
  • clarifying expectations for teaching practice.

The school acknowledges that assessment and reporting in the wider curriculum (other than literacy and mathematics) is an area for development. The board, school leaders and teachers need to decide what students should know and do and how this will be assessed and reported in all learning areas over time.

3. Curriculum

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

Students have many rich and interesting learning experiences that strongly support their learning. Real-life contexts allow students to learn through relevant and motivating experiences. Expectations for teaching and learning are well defined. Increasing use of technologies by students and teachers supports learning and teaching and is a feature of class programmes. Regular tuakana teina opportunities, where students of different ages learn together, help to create a positive and respectful school culture.

Curriculum expectations and beliefs are widely known and understood. Students are aware of their responsibility in making improvements to their work. The focus on ‘getting better at’ and achieving ‘better than before’ are strongly promoted across the school. Students use well-understood progressions of learning to assess and monitor their own progress, set future goals and share these with parents/whānau.

High levels of self management are evident, particularly in senior classes. Senior students have greater choice over the nature and direction of their learning and considerable leadership opportunities. These factors contribute to high levels of student engagement and involvement in school decision making.

Areas for development and review

The school’s curriculum is undergoing review. Some learning areas have been modified to more closely match current practices. However, it is not yet clear how some key aspects of the New Zealand Curriculum (for example, the curriculum principles) are planned for and will influence programmes.

The bicultural content of learning programmes could be strengthened so that all students have consistent opportunities to learn about their bicultural heritage.

While new entrants and their families are well supported when starting school, there is scope to widen the information the school gathers from parents/whānau and early childhood services about students’ interests, strengths and attitudes towards learning.

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

The school has made good progress in promoting success for Māori students.

Positive steps taken include:

  • establishing a kapa haka group
  • increasing use of te reo Māori in class and school programmes
  • using teacher expertise to share practice with other staff
  • a school leader completing study in te reo Māori
  • school leaders using Ka Hikitia and Tātaiako (Ministry of Education resources) to identify staff strengths and needs in accelerating the achievement of Māori students.

Area for development and review

The board understands the need to consult with Māori whānau in ways that encourage their greater contribution. This should enable the board, school leaders and staff to be more responsive to parents’ aspirations for their children.

4. Sustainable Performance

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

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

The board and principal plan for targeted professional training to meet the needs of the school and individual staff members. The principal has good opportunities to network, grow professionally and share her expertise with the wider education community.

Teachers are benefiting from working with other schools in a learning and change network, sharing ideas and extending understanding of the best ways to support students who are not achieving as well as expected.

The board and principal ensure the school has the capacity among staff to address the needs and strengths of students. Good-quality teacher appraisal is used to affirm effective practice and identify areas for further development.

Teachers report that relationships with their colleagues are collaborative and supportive. Teachers value the team and improvement-focused approach promoted by the principal.

Expectations and guidance have been improved for board operations and practice. Self review is well organised and systematic. The board has used reviews of its own practices to make improvements to meeting procedures and give greater focus to student learning. Trustees have taken advantage of available training to extend their skills and knowledge.

The school values parents/whānau as partners in learning and regularly seeks their views. The board, school leaders and staff have responded to this information positively. Feedback from parents in 2013 confirmed the school as a positive place for students to learn.

Areas for development and review

ERO agrees with the board's plan to review the school charter to better reflect the future-focused direction of the school.

Regular reports received by the board on progress towards the school's goals/priorities should be reflected in the meeting minutes to keep the school community well informed.

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

A new principal, appointed at beginning of 2014, is working successfully with the board and staff to build on existing good practices while promoting and supporting continual improvement.

Students have many rich and interesting learning experiences within and outside the school that strongly support their learning. Achievement in reading and mathematics is high. The school is focused on improving achievement in writing. Progress has been made in promoting success for Māori students as Māori. The board and principal recognise the need to work more closely with Māori whānau to further support their initiatives in this area.

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

Graham Randell National Manager Review Services Southern Region

15 October 2014

About the School

Location

Paroa, Greymouth

Ministry of Education profile number

3472

School type

Full Primary (Years 1 to 8)

School roll

183

Gender composition

Girls 46%; Boys 54%

Ethnic composition

NZ European/Pākehā

Māori

Pacific

Other ethnicities

75%

17%

2%

6%

Review team on site

September 2014

Date of this report

15 October 2014

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

February 2010

February 2007

June 2004