Swannanoa School - 13/04/2012

1 Context

Most students live on lifestyle blocks in the local semi-rural area. There has been a significant increase in the roll as a result of families moving into the area after the Canterbury earthquakes of 2010 and 2011. The board is aware of the need to plan carefully to ensure that the positive and supportive school culture is maintained and strengthened as the school grows.

The board has addressed the areas for improvement identified in the 2010 ERO Supplementary Review report. The most noticeable features of these improvements relate to curriculum developments, relationships between the school and community and the consistency of teaching practices.

A new hall and attached teaching spaces completed in 2011 provide a valuable place for the school and the wider community to come together for celebrations of learning and other special events.

Classrooms are inviting and reflect the school’s focus on literacy, mathematics and the qualities of a successful learner.

2 Learning

The school reports that most students are achieving at or above the National Standards in writing, reading and mathematics at most year levels. Achievement in mathematics is slightly lower overall.

Reports also show that most students are making suitable progress in these areas.

Targets have been set to raise the achievement of groups of students who are not achieving as well as expected. Students identified as being at risk of underachieving, or achieving well beyond expectations, have additional support for their learning.

The school is strongly focused on lifting student achievement further in literacy and mathematics. A suitable emphasis is placed on extending the use of high-quality teaching practices. Several new programmes and resources have been introduced to improve student knowledge and understanding, particularly in aspects of mathematics.

Teachers’ involvement in well-targeted literacy professional development has led to improved outcomes for students, most noticeably in reading. Students know the purpose of their learning and what they need to do to be successful. Cooperative learning is encouraged. As a result, most students observed during the review were well engaged in relevant and interesting tasks.

Teachers have made good progress in using the National Standards to assess students’ learning. Well-developed processes help teachers to make accurate judgements about student achievement.

Achievement information is thoroughly analysed and reported. Teachers make good use of this information to plan their programmes. Regular team discussions about student progress and performance help teachers to cater for students’ strengths and needs more effectively.

The school has strengthened the involvement of parents in student learning. Some new initiatives are keeping parents well informed about teaching programmes and student progress and achievement. Written reports are detailed and provide good information about student achievement in relation to the National Standards.

Area for development and review

The school has set some challenging targets in relation to the National Standards. These targets could be refined and extended to make them more effective in raising the achievement of the students most at risk.

How well does the school promote Māori student success and success as Māori?

The school has taken some positive steps to promote success for Māori students. The teacher with responsibility for supporting Māori students and promoting teaching programmes has a key role in these developments. Good relationships and regular contact exist between the whānau of Māori students and the school. Students have some opportunities to learn about their bicultural heritage in curriculum programmes.

Most Māori students achieve at similar levels to their peers in reading and mathematics. Māori students spoken with by ERO were positive about the school and their teachers.

Areas for development and review

The principal and staff recognise the need to strengthen the opportunities students have to learn te reo and tikanga Māori.

Bicultural perspectives could be included more regularly in teaching programmes.

Teachers would benefit from increasing their knowledge and confidence in using approaches that successfully support the learning of Māori students. They have begun to make use of a new Ministry of Education resource to achieve this goal.

While the school has maintained ongoing contact with the whānau of Māori students, the board has not formally consulted with them about policies, plans and targets for improving outcomes for Māori students. [Action 1]

3 Curriculum

The school’s curriculum provides a good basis for student learning. It identifies the vision, values and beliefs that are important to the community. These priorities are clearly evident in the programmes and the positive way students relate to each other.

Teachers are supportive of students and encourage them to challenge themselves and develop increasing independence.

The curriculum gives appropriate focus to literacy, mathematics and an inquiry approach to learning that includes other curriculum areas. Curriculum guidelines set out high expectations for teaching and learning.

The principal and other school leaders are actively promoting curriculum developments that meet students’ different strengths and needs.

Students are encouraged to be involved in the wider life of the school. Senior students, in particular, have many leadership opportunities and participate productively in school decision-making.

Area for development and review

The principal and school leaders have identified that the curriculum could be further enhanced. Planned improvements include:

  • strengthening the inquiry approach to learning
  • clarifying expectations for learning in curriculum areas other than literacy and mathematics.

ERO has identified that the curriculum should more clearly reflect the diversity of the students and the uniqueness of the school and its locality. Expectations for how teachers are to evaluate the impact of their teaching on student outcomes could be better defined in the curriculum guidelines.

4 Sustainable Performance

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

The principal and school leaders provide effective professional leadership. The principal promotes ongoing professional development for school leaders and other staff.

Appraisal processes are sound. Teachers are being suitably acknowledged for good performance and supported in making any necessary improvements to their practices.

Teachers work together well to share ideas, reflect on their own performance and make changes to their practice and programmes to benefit students.

The board, school leaders and staff have a shared understanding about the priorities and future direction of the school. The board is well informed about student achievement and school programmes. The board is supportive of staff. Trustees make good use of curriculum and achievement reports to ensure that the school is well resourced and teachers have a good level of professional development.

The board, principal and other school leaders have developed a systematic and well-considered process for self review. This process has been used most effectively to review student progress and achievement.

Area for development and review

The principal acknowledges that the self-review framework is in the early stages of being used. Plans are in place to make wider use of self review across all operations of the school. ERO agrees that this is a necessary next step and should include:

  • extending the scope of long-term planning and board self review
  • seeking regular feedback from students, parents and staff about learning and teaching
  • an evaluation of the impact of additional programmes and resources on student learning
  • finding out how well students understand their achievement, progress and next steps.

5 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
  • stand-downs, suspensions, expulsions and exclusions
  • attendance.

ERO identified an area of non-compliance.

The board must consult with the parents of Māori students about policies, plans and targets for improving the achievement of Māori students.

6 Future Action

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

 

Graham Randell

National Manager

Review Services Southern Region

13 April 2012

About the School

Location

Swannanoa, North Canterbury

Ministry of Education profile number

3547

School type

Full Primary (Years 1 to 8)

School roll

236

Gender composition

Girls 41%; Boys 59%

Ethnic composition

NZ European/Pākehā

Māori

Other ethnicities

91%

4%

5%

Review team on site

February 2012

Date of this report

13 April 2012

Most recent ERO report(s)

Supplementary Review Supplementary Review Supplementary Review

February 2010 November 2007 August 2006