Pomare School - 18/02/2014

1 Background and Context

What is the background and context for this school’s Arotake Paetawhiti review?

Pomare School, in the Hutt Valley suburb of Taita, caters for Years 1 to 6 students, most of whom are Māori or Pacific.

The April 2012 ERO report commented that students were well engaged in learning, in positive, settled environments. Assessment was used to target support for students to accelerate their progress and provide learning experiences to cater for differing needs and abilities The school's curriculum meaningfully reflected its diverse community and the staff and students celebrated and valued the range of cultures. Positive relationships, the principal’s leadership and collaborative teaching promoted positive outcomes for children.

Priorities for further review and development were identified. These were:

  • formalising and embedding evidence-based inquiry and self-review processes schoolwide, to support ongoing improvement in outcomes for students
  • promoting the engagement of parents and whānau in students’ learning
  • systematically using student achievement information to inform self review and strategic and annual planning
  • building staff capabilities by establishing and fostering a distributed leadership structure
  • establishing robust, sustainable systems for management of finance, property, and health and safety.

Following the review, the falling roll resulted in disestablishment of two teaching roles and the need to reorganise teaching positions. The school accepted external support from a Ministry of Education Student Achievement Function Practitioner (SAF) and a Senior Advisor. The board participated in a programme of training and support. A change team, comprising trustees, parents and whānau, teachers and community members was formed to assist the school to make improvements.

As part of this review, ERO evaluated progress in July and December 2013.

2 Review and Development

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

Priorities identified for review and development

Action plans in October and December 2012 identified the priorities for development as:

  • allocating appropriate teachers to each classroom
  • high quality teaching supported by targeted professional development
  • community input into curriculum review
  • increasing parent involvement in learning partnerships
  • increasing trustees' understanding of their roles and responsibilities and meeting planning and reporting requirements.

Progress

Overall, good progress has been made in the period since ERO’s previous report.

A clear, useful annual plan focused on strategic priorities, guides improvement. Based on advice and research, the plan is enacted by the change team and school personnel.

The school seeks and uses the views of the community to decide its priorities. The board is well informed of the actions taken and progress of the plan. Ongoing and regular review is undertaken.

Student achievement information is shared with the board at relevant times. End-of-year data in 2013 is usefully contributing to planning and target setting for 2014.

The board undertakes strategic and monthly review using a structured, systematic approach. It follows a clear and orderly process and keeps well-organised records of their business. The principal assists the focus of the board through monthly reporting based on the school’s strategic priorities.

Changes to board membership following the elections are minimal. The board has completed training and trustees appear more confident in their role. High levels of collaboration between the change team, school personnel and the board are evident.

Relationships with the community are strong. Change team members have assisted the school to identify ways to further communicate with, and inform, parents and whānau. They have taken deliberate steps to encourage all parents to be involved with the school. This team intends to continue its role of supporting the school.

The school has used the Reading Together programme to assist parents in supporting their children’s learning. Positive outcomes for children are evident and the school indicates that the same approach will be used to support students’ mathematics learning in 2014.

The school provides a space for community members to run a breakfast club for all school students in the area. The kōhanga reo and Samoan early childhood centre are situated on the school grounds. The community organises a walking bus for students.

The principal has a mutually respectful relationship with the school community. He and other staff know the community very well and are aware of issues the community faces. They give priority to the wellbeing and learning of students.

The curriculum strongly supports the languages, cultures and identities of Māori and Pacific students. The principal identifies a desire to deepen and further strengthen responsiveness to the range of cultures students bring with them to school.

Student achievement information collected in 2013 shows that most students have made good progress over the year, in reading and writing. Significantly more students are achieving at or above in relation to National Standards by the end of the year.

In response to low achievement overall in mathematics, the school has appropriately identified that mathematics will be the particular focus for improved teaching and learning in 2014, and plans are being developed to address this.

Teachers have undertaken professional development to enhance teaching. They combine new practice with what they know works well for their students. They identify a range of effective teaching practices. ERO’s observations find that strategies embedded in teachers' practice include:

  • a good understanding of students’ needs and next steps for learning that are communicated to students, who are then able to set goals and reflect on their success
  • useful processes for tracking and monitoring students’ progress
  • strategies for encouraging learning partnerships with parents
  • teaching concepts in a variety of ways and allowing time for students to practice new learning
  • clear routines and expectations for learning
  • well-organised, print-rich environments that feature children’s work and useful learning prompts
  • a focus on key competencies especially relating to students becoming self-managing learners
  • small-group learning for students who require support or extension.

As a result of this teaching practice students are highly engaged, persevering and enjoying learning.

Over 2013, teachers have implemented a successful process to consider and target teaching to accelerate the progress of a small group of identified learners. They are well positioned to continue to build on this process to raise the achievement of priority learners. The next step is to capture and transfer the successful teaching approaches to other situations.

An external advisor, working with the board chair to model the process, has conducted a thorough appraisal of the principal's performance and provided relevant feedback. The principal has reflected and set goals for improvement based on his appraisal.

A sound process of teacher appraisal includes goals linked to raising student achievement and useful observations of teaching practice.

3 Sustainable performance and self review

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

Pomare School is now soundly placed to continue to improve outcomes for students. It has:

  • developed its capacity to reflect, plan, act and report to its community using evidence which includes student achievement information from self review
  • benefited from external support and made good improvements to the board’s processes for governing the school
  • further developed a useful cycle for planning, improvement and self review
  • built practices and capability to continue to improve student achievement with a strong focus on students whose progress needs to be accelerated
  • worked alongside the community to build a culturally responsive curriculum, leadership, tone, climate and relationships likely to contribute well to further improving student learning - engagement, progress and achievement.

Key Next Step

In order to continue the momentum of improvement, the board, principal and teachers should maintain development and embed the positive practices outlined in this report.

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.

When is ERO likely to review the school again?

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

Joyce Gebbie National Manager Review Services Central Region (Acting)

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About the School

Location

Lower Hutt

Ministry of Education profile number

2961

School type

Contributing (Years 1 to 6)

School roll

97

Gender composition

Male 52, Female 45

Ethnic composition

Pacific

Māori

Other ethnic groups

49

45

3

Review team on site

December 2013

Date of this report

18 February 2014

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Supplementary Review

Education Review

April 2012

January 2009

November 2007