St Matthew's Primary School (Hastings) - 21/05/2015

Findings

The school well placed to sustain and improve its performance. Student achievement information is well used to make positive changes to learners’ engagement, progress and achievement. Support for promoting Māori student success has developed significantly. A next step is to further develop curriculum guidelines to better promote and support student learning.

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?

St Matthew's Primary School (Hastings) caters for students in Years 1 to 8.

The school is affiliated to St Matthew's Anglican Church and is part of the parish complex which also includes the church and an early childhood centre. It serves a diverse community and this is reflected in the multicultural roll.

The shared core values are recognised and understood throughout the school as the guiding framework for learning and behaviour. There is a strong focus on providing an inclusive environment for students.

2. Learning

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

The school uses student achievement information well to make positive changes to learners’ engagement, progress and achievement.

Since 2013, leaders and teachers have initiated a Pathways to Learning project to identify students’ diverse learning needs. This approach is in response to concerns about students’ progress not accelerating as expected. Staff decided to look more closely at how students learn and the sensory, cognitive and motor skills that enable this. As a result, teachers have an awareness of the challenges students can have as learners. Teachers continue to develop their practices to respond to each child’s individual needs.

Learning support programmes and interventions are targeted for students at risk of not achieving. Reading data reported in 2014 shows target students are making expected and accelerated progress. These students receive teacher aide and specialist teacher support. Students' progress is closely tracked and monitored. Trustees receive information showing the impact of the support provided.

Student achievement data reported to the board in December 2014, shows that most students are achieving at or above in relation to the National Standards in writing and mathematics. The school has appropriately identified reading as a focus area for improvement across the school.

Māori students are achieving at similar levels to their peers in reading and writing, but below in mathematics. Leaders agree with ERO, that Māori students, who are not progressing as expected in relation to the National Standards, should be identified in school achievement targets to accelerate their progress.

Pacific student progress is tracked and monitored through a learning register. Data shows that they achieve at similar levels to their peers in reading and mathematics, but lower in writing. Pacific students’ learning is supported in English Second Language programmes. A next step is to ensure students whose achievement is of concern are included in school targets.

Parents receive useful information in reports about their child’s achievement, strengths and next learning steps. These should be clearer about achievement in relation to the National Standards.

3. Curriculum

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

The St Matthew’s Primary School curriculum has a clear emphasis on the core curriculum areas of reading, writing and mathematics. Other learning areas are within integrated programmes. Students participate in a wide range of learning experiences in and outside the classroom. A next step for the school is to further develop its curriculum guidelines to better promote and support student learning. This should include reflecting the:

  • special character and school community
  • bicultural nature of New Zealand
  • cultural diversity
  • The New Zealand Curriculum key competencies and principles.

The Pathways to Learning project has enabled teachers to participate in extensive professional learning. They are developing strategies that support students to meaningfully engage in learning. Teachers work collaboratively to reflect on and trial new practices to improve their approaches to teaching and learning. The appraisal process provides teachers with very useful professional feedback and next steps to improve their strategies.

Teachers effectively use a good range of strategies that engage students in learning. There is a focus on supporting students to be self managing and independent. Students engage with learning in environments that are calm and inclusive.

Teachers have conversations with parents and whānau about strategies they can use at home to support their children’s learning. Leaders have identified, and ERO agrees, that these discussions are an opportunity to further strengthen learning partnerships with families.

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

The school has responded positively to areas for further development identified in the June 2012 ERO report. Leaders and teachers have participated in extensive professional learning and development. They are working with local iwi and external agencies to understand the Ngāti Kahungunu Education Plan and support their understanding of te reo me ngā tikanga Māori. The use of Tātaiako: Cultural Competencies for Teachers of Māori Learners, should further support teacher development in this area.

Staff have helped develop expectations for te reo Māori knowledge and skills that students will acquire across year levels, to guide the teaching of the language. Hauora is reinforced through the school’s recently reviewed health and physical education curriculum.

Students are confident participants in activities related to te ao Māori. Their achievements are celebrated in the school and community.

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. Self review is well considered and planned. It includes input from a wide range of school and community perspectives. Current research is part of the process and recommendations are actioned. Review enables trustees and leaders to know the impact of initiatives and interventions on student outcomes.

The charter clearly identifies priorities for improvement and change. Trustees and leaders agree that the charter should be further strengthened by clearly identifying student outcomes in achievement target action plans.

Trustees are well informed about student progress and programmes. The principal provides detailed reports, with suitably analysed data, to help inform the board’s decisions. Trustees are very supportive of the direction the school is taking to ensure students succeed as learners.

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 improve current practice the school must review and redevelop student reports to parents to ensure they clearly show progress and achievement in relation to National Standards.

Conclusion

The school well placed to sustain and improve its performance. Student achievement information is well used to make positive changes to learners’ engagement, progress and achievement. Support for promoting Māori student success has developed significantly. A next step is to further develop curriculum guidelines to better promote and support student learning.

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

Joyce Gebbie Deputy Chief Review Officer Central

21 May 2015

About the School

Location

Hastings

Ministry of Education profile number

1608

School type

Full Primary (Years 1 to 8)

School roll

117

Gender composition

Male 53%, Female 47%

Ethnic composition

Māori

NZ European/Pākēha

Indian

Pacific

Other ethnic groups

19%

40%

26%

9%

6%

Review team on site

April 2015

Date of this report

21 May 2015

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review Education Review Education Review

June 2012 February 2010 March 2009