View Hill School - 26/05/2016

1 Context

View Hill is a small, rural school. Over recent years the roll has increased and now reaches its maximum number by December each year. An enrolment scheme has been put in place to limit the number of out-of-zone children attending. Children learn in multi-level classes.

Children benefit from effective trustee involvement in the school and strong parent and community support. Some families have had connections with the school over several generations.

The school has signed up to be part of the newly formed Rangiora Community of Learning and is also part of the Oxford-Eyre Learning Community Cluster.

2 Equity and excellence

The vision and valued outcomes defined by the school for all children are that school will be ‘a happy place to learn’ and that children will learn to be respectful, caring and live their lives with integrity. These newly adopted values are well described to show children what this means for them in their daily lives. Children are coming to know them through weekly assemblies. The school is exploring ways to visually show what is valued here. This is an opportunity for Māori perspectives and children’s voice to be included.

The school’s achievement information shows that nearly all children achieve highly in relation to the National Standards in reading, writing and mathematics. In 2015, five target students were selected to receive extra learning support with mathematics. The two children out of the five whose families remained in the area made accelerated progress. All Māori children achieve at or above the National Standards.

In 2016, a small group of children are receiving extra help to accelerate their learning in reading. The intention is that by the end of the year they will all have reached the National Standards.

Since the May 2012 ERO review, most staff and trustees are new. The board, principal and teachers have worked strategically to address the recommendations from the 2012 review. Some areas are work in progress while others have been successfully developed.

3 Accelerating achievement

How effectively does this school respond to children whose learning and achievement need acceleration?

The school responds very effectively to children whose learning and achievement need acceleration.

The board is committed to providing children with equitable opportunities to succeed. An extra teacher is employed to keep class sizes small and to provide specialist reading support to those children who have been identified as at risk of poor academic outcomes. Teachers know the children very well and quickly identify those with specific learning needs, particularly those who require extra support. They do this through the use of a range of assessments, their knowledge of the child and by engaging with parents.

Teachers are also aware of the importance of children’s sense of wellbeing if they are to learn well. This is mirrored in the board's mission statement of ‘View Hill School - a happy place to learn’.

The principal provides the board with interim progress reports about the targets set to accelerate children’s learning. These reports clearly show progress throughout the year against desired outcomes.

4 School conditions

How effectively do the school’s curriculum and other organisational processes and practices develop and enact the school’s vision, values, goals and priorities for equity and excellence?

The school’s curriculum, organisational processes and practices effectively develop and enact the school’s vision, values, goals and priorities.

Trustees bring a useful range of skills to their roles. The board has planned well for continuity of trustees to govern the school. Trustees have a strong focus on improving children’s achievement and wellbeing. They are kept regularly and well informed about children’s achievement and progress, and they make carefully considered decisions about the use of funds to support children’s learning.

Trustees have a good working relationship with the principal and with school staff. A next step for the board is to establish the practice of regularly surveying staff about professional matters.

The principal is an experienced, capable professional leader. The strategic direction of the school is well considered and guides planning and teaching.

Teachers take responsibility in specialist areas of the curriculum so that their strengths and passions are recognised and used to benefit children’s learning. Children like the way the school day is organised so that they have a variety of teachers who are specialists in their curriculum area.

The school’s curriculum is rich and broad. In their planning for learning, teachers make frequent use of local features, events and expertise. The school places strong emphasis on sports in the curriculum. This is in response to the wishes of children and parents. Māori perspectives are increasingly included. There is potential for teachers and the curriculum to become more culturally responsive. The school’s relationship with local Māori is developing, guided by a knowledgeable trustee.

The school’s writing and mathematics curriculum guidelines are detailed and support a consistent approach to planning and teaching. They provide a useful model to develop the reading guidelines. Improving children’s progress in reading has been identified as a priority for this year. The school has identified that there is a need to develop, document and implement guidelines for teaching reading across the school, and has initiated this process.

Children are able to talk about their learning. However there is room for them to be more involved in understanding and discussing their progress. This will help them take greater responsibility for developing their next steps and sharing these and their achievement with their parents.

Parents are kept well informed about their child's progress and achievement through regular, detailed reports and informal conversations. Teachers reflect on and develop their practice through collegial dialogue. They take part in professional development within the school, based on current research and theory. This professional learning is linked to the school’s strategic plan and increasingly to the teachers’ appraisal goals and their professional reflections.

There are examples of trustees and teachers considering the effect and outcomes of aspects of school operations. However, current evaluation practice tends to be informal and not always intentional or recorded. The impact on children and teachers of any significant changes and trials needs to be evaluated fully.

The board and senior leaders need to develop a process to guide and document ongoing robust evaluation of school operations and initiatives. Such a process would allow the board and teachers to better use evidence to make decisions and to consider how well these decisions contribute to what is best for children.

5 Going forward

How well placed is the school to achieve and sustain equitable and excellent outcomes for all children?

Leaders and teachers:

  • know the children whose learning and achievement need to be accelerated
  • respond effectively to the strengths, needs and interests of each child
  • regularly evaluate how well teaching is working for these children
  • act on what they know works well for each child
  • build teacher capability effectively to achieve equitable outcomes for all children
  • are well placed to achieve and sustain equitable and excellent outcomes for all children.

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

6 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 the following:

  • board administration
  • curriculum
  • management of health, safety and welfare
  • personnel management
  • asset management.

During the review, ERO checked the following items because they have a potentially high impact on student safety and wellbeing:

  • emotional safety of students (including prevention of bullying and sexual harassment)
  • physical safety of students
  • teacher registration
  • processes for appointing staff
  • stand down, suspensions, expulsions and exclusions
  • attendance
  • compliance with the provisions of the Vulnerable Children Act 2014.

Chris Rowe

Deputy Chief Review Officer Southern (Acting)

26 May 2016

About the school

Location

Oxford

Ministry of Education profile number

3565

School type

Full Primary (Years 1 to 8)

School roll

53

Gender composition

Girls: 29

Boys: 24

Ethnic composition

Pākehā

Māori

Other

44

6

3

Review team on site

March 2016

Date of this report

26 May 2016

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

May 2012

February 2009

October 2005