Swannanoa School - 24/06/2015

Findings

Swannanoa School benefits from strong community support. Teachers make learning clear to students. Most students are achieving at or above the National Standards in reading, writing and mathematics. The school’s vision and values are meaningfully included in the curriculum. There is an increasing commitment to te reo Māori. The school is effectively led and managed.

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?

Swannanoa School has a steadily increasing roll due to two large subdivision developments within the school zone. Set within a rural community, the school benefits from strong community support. Parents and students work together to develop school gardens and the environment. Relationships with the local preschool, based on the school site, are supporting school enrolments.

The board, school leaders and teachers have responded well to the recommendations in the 2012 ERO report. This includes strengthening the school’s inquiry approach to student learning and the development of culturally responsive practices.

School leaders have recently been involved in professional development with a cluster of local schools who are working together on common goals.

2. Learning

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

The board, principal and teachers are working together to increasingly improve their use of achievement data to support students’ progress.

Teachers work in teams to analyse their students’ achievement information. Together they identify individuals who need extra help and then make decisions about the best strategies to support these students’ progress and lift their achievement.

The board receives regular, useful reports on student achievement in literacy and mathematics. These reports include analysis of the data from a range of assessments and a summary of what is making a difference and what needs to happen next. The board uses this information well to make resourcing decisions.

Students and teachers work together to decide on quality learning expectations. Students are supported to use this information to gain an understanding of what success looks like at their level. In classrooms, assessment practices focus on next steps for learning and providing useful guidance to students so they can further improve.

Teachers make the intended learning clear to students. They enable students to develop new goals from their work, set criteria and have learning conversations. Students are able to take a lead in discussions with their parents and teachers about the direction of their learning and what will help them achieve their goals. There is potential for student goal setting to be more flexible and responsive in celebrating success and setting new goals.

Students in Years 7 and 8 have recently moved towards increased self management of their learning. They are well supported by teachers who plan together and have established systems to monitor students’ work output.

Students receiving support from external agencies have well considered action plans that show specific, individual goals and shared responsibility for supporting their progress.

ERO has identified that aspects of the school assessment processes and practices require review. These include:

  • improving the timing and reporting of teacher judgements about Year 1 to 3 students’ National Standards achievement in reading, writing and mathematics
  • developing school-wide annual achievement goals that target the specific needs of those who are at risk of not achieving
  • reporting to the board on the effectiveness of specific programmes aimed at accelerating student progress
  • using the wide range of learner information available to gain a more comprehensive school-wide picture of student achievement and wellbeing.

3. Curriculum

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

The school-based curriculum is supporting students to make good progress in their learning. It appropriately reflects the needs of the community and specifically relates to the school’s context. Achievement levels are high with more than 90% of students achieving at or above the National Standards in reading, writing and mathematics. Teachers have high quality guidelines to support them in promoting student learning in these subjects.

Teachers are consistent in their approach to supporting students’ learning across a range of subject areas. Having a shared understanding enables students to confidently build their knowledge and skills as they move through the school.

Students benefit from a broad range of learning and sporting opportunities. Student leadership is actively promoted in classrooms and across the school. Students’ opinions are valued and sought through different forums and have an influence on decisions made.

Significant features of the curriculum include:

  • a strong emphasis on literacy and mathematics in all classrooms
  • increased planned approaches to students’ use of computers as a tool for learning
  • meaningful integration of the school’s vision and values into all aspects of school life.

School leaders and teachers have a focus on fostering students’ respect for themselves, the community and the environment.

School leaders have identified that a key priority is to move towards an increasingly personalised approach to student-led learning. ERO agrees this is a worthwhile focus for ongoing school improvement.

ERO has identified a need for school leaders and teachers to update their curriculum documents to better reflect the way they are providing for student learning in careers education at Years 7 and 8 and e-learning initiatives across the school.

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

Leaders and teachers have high expectations for Māori students. Most Māori students achieve at and above the National Standards. Positive relationships with students help them to recognise and work towards meeting their potential.

The board, principal and staff demonstrate an increasing commitment and focus on te ao Māori. External professional development is deepening their understanding of approaches and strategies that are likely to strengthen Māori success as Māori.

The principal and teachers are respectful in the ways in which they consult with Māori whānau to gain a better understanding of what parents want for their children. Recent curriculum initiatives include an established plan of how Māori concepts and te reo Māori will be taught.

The next steps for the board and school leaders to support Māori success as Māori are to:

  • developing a strategic approach to embed and grow recent initiatives
  • increase cultural perspectives in key guiding documents for the school.

4. Sustainable Performance

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

The school is effectively led and managed. It is well placed to sustain and improve its performance. The board, senior leadership team and staff work collaboratively. They have a shared vision and high expectations for student learning and wellbeing.

The board has set appropriate priorities for ongoing schooling improvement. Regular principal reports show steady progress towards strategic goals.

Robust performance management systems promote professional discussions, reflection and ongoing improvement. Carefully considered professional development has increased teacher knowledge and actions about the best ways to meet student needs and raise their achievement.

Since the previous 2012 ERO review, the board has established a cycle of self review. It has also capably reviewed its own performance against appropriate criteria and identified succession planning as an area for development.

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

Swannanoa School benefits from strong community support. Teachers make learning clear to students. Most students are achieving at or above the National Standards in reading, writing and mathematics. The school’s vision and values are meaningfully included in the curriculum. There is an increasing commitment to te reo Māori. The school is effectively led and managed.

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

Graham Randell

Deputy Chief Review Officer Southern

24 June 2015

About the School

Location

Rangiora

Ministry of Education profile number

3547

School type

Full Primary (Years 1 to 8)

School roll

257

Gender composition

Boys 54%;

Girls 46%

Ethnic composition

NZ European Pākehā

Māori

Other European

Other ethnicities

87%

6%

4%

3%

Review team on site

May 2015

Date of this report

24 June 2015

Most recent ERO reports

Education Review

Supplementary Review

Supplementary Review

April 2012

February 2010

November 2007