Pekerau School - 15/05/2015

Findings

Pekerau School works hard to give students a strong sense of belonging and provides multiple opportunities for students to experience success. There is a strong emphasis on the agreed values of ‘The Pekerau Way’ and a meaningful local curriculum. Students enjoy learning in a positive, settled and supportive environment.

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?

Pekerau School is a contributing school catering for Years 1 to 6 and is located on the northern outskirts of Te Awamutu. At the time of this ERO review 341 students were enrolled of whom 49% are identified as Māori and are affiliated to a number of iwi. The roll has been steadily increasing.

The previous long-standing principal retired at the end of 2014. The board of trustees, with the support of an external facilitator, undertook the appointment of a new principal to sustain the vision and values of ‘the Pekerau Way’. The new principal is supported by an experienced senior leadership team. The staff includes a balance of new and long serving teachers with a range of expertise, including te reo Māori. Students identified with high learning needs are supported by a contracted specialist teacher.

The staff have had extensive professional learning and development from external providers in literacy and mathematics. The school participates in the local Learning and Change Network known as ‘Rural and Roses’.

The school has a positive reporting history with ERO and has made progress towards the areas identified for improvement in the 2012 ERO report.

The shared values of ‘The Pekerau Way’ are integral to the positive culture of the school and are promoted and articulated by leaders, teachers, students and parents. These include: belonging, (turangawaewae), pride, (mana), spirit (wairua), unity (kotahitanga), excellence (hirangi), integrity (ngākau), and respect (manaaki).

2. Learning

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

The school uses assessment information well to make positive changes to learners’ engagement progress and achievement. In 2014, a significant majority of students were achieving at or above National Standards in reading, writing and mathematics. The school acknowledges that Māori are not achieving at comparable rates to non-Māori peers. The board of trustees and senior leaders have used data to identify groups of children at risk of underachieving and then set general charter targets. They also use this information to resource appropriate intervention programmes and provide professional learning opportunities for teachers to raise the achievement of the target groups.

Senior leaders use assessment information to evaluate the effectiveness of school initiatives for improving outcomes for students and further refine these programmes with teaching teams. The school and ERO agree that to accelerate the progress of students at risk of underachieving, more specific charter targets would be beneficial.

Teachers use assessment data to inform their planning and teaching to deliver flexible, differentiated programmes for groups and individuals. Teachers effectively moderate their National Standards judgements internally and with local schools to ensure consistency and a shared understanding of assessment standards. Parents spoken with by ERO appreciated the clear, detailed, timely reports of student progress and achievement, and information about students’ next steps and ways to assist them at home.

3. Curriculum

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

The school’s curriculum effectively promotes and supports student learning. Teachers were involved in developing the curriculum and use integrated topics that reflect the school context, student needs and community aspirations. The school has high expectations of teachers and students, and they promote a positive, responsive culture for learning. ERO observed high levels of engagement and a calm, settled environment that encourages self-management, independence and initiative. Parents of students with high needs appreciate the inclusive and welcoming school culture that encourages them to take part in all aspects of school life, including in the classroom, camps, sports and cultural activities. A diverse range of student success is promoted and celebrated at school-wide assemblies.

Teachers reflect on the effectiveness of their teaching practice, and use relevant research, resources and professional development to best facilitate learning, and cater for the needs of the students in their classes. They work collaboratively to improve their practice and share effective strategies for learners. Teachers foster respectful relationships with students in and beyond the classroom. Teachers maintain well-presented classroom environments that display students’ work and reflect their individual interests and identity.

Students are encouraged to develop ownership of learning by:

  • setting personal learning goals
  • reflecting on their learning
  • self-assessing their progress using learning progressions
  • identifying their next steps
  • receiving teacher feedback feed forward linked to their learning goals.
  • The school is working towards making these strategies practised consistently by all.

Students are actively involved in a wide range of school activities including sporting, cultural and environmental experiences, and camps and trips. These provide multiple opportunities for learning, leadership and success.

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

The school is committed to improving educational success for Māori. Māori students believe that their school and teachers have high expectations of them and feel that their cultural identity is affirmed and supported at the school. Māori students take on, and are valued in, leadership roles. Achievement information for Māori students is analysed and used to provide support programmes. Māori culture is acknowledged and celebrated school wide. Examples include: Matariki, the school waharoa, waiata, kapa haka and the local cultural festival.

The school has identified and ERO agrees that the next step to accelerate educational success for Māori as Māori is to guide success for Māori and in particular, Māori student achievement, in a formalised long-term strategic plan. This should be based on the principles of Ka Hikitia and evaluated according to the indicators of Tātaiako.

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 because:

  • the board is well informed about student achievement
  • trustee relationships are positive and they are supportive of the principal and staff
  • the principal demonstrates strong inter-personal skills and has a collaborative approach to leading and managing the school
  • the performance management system is linked to strategic goals and focused on improving student achievement
  • leadership roles are appropriately delegated for activities critical to achieving school goals
  • the school fosters productive partnerships with parents and whānau through home-school support programmes and an open door policy.

The next steps to further improve sustainability is for trustees to undertake training in:

  • policy review and legal obligations
  • strategic planning and self review with a particular focus on re-prioritising allocation of resources to ensure improved outcomes for students.

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.

In order to meet legislative requirements the board must ensure that:

  • All buildings, plans and developments comply with Ministry of Education guidelines and legislative requirements

[clause 7 Property Occupancy Document]

  • the principal is annually assessed against all the professional standards for principals and all policies and procedures for employment and appraisal of staff are implemented.

[s 77C State Sector Act 1988]

Conclusion

Pekerau School works hard to give students a strong sense of belonging and provides multiple opportunities for students to experience success. There is a strong emphasis on the agreed values of ‘The Pekerau Way’ and a meaningful local curriculum. Students enjoy learning in a positive, settled and supportive environment.

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

Dale Bailey Deputy Chief Review Officer Northern

15 May 2015

About the School

Location

Te Awamutu

Ministry of Education profile number

1893

School type

Contributing (Years 1 to 6)

School roll

341

Gender composition

Boys 53% Girls 47%

Ethnic composition

NZ European/Pākehā

Māori

Pacific

50%

49%

1%

Review team on site

March 2015

Date of this report

15 May 2015

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review Education Review Education Review

June 2012 May 2009 February 2009