View Hill School - 30/05/2012

1 Context

What are the important features of this school that have an impact on student learning?

The students, teachers and board state that the small classes help make learning more enjoyable and create a family-like atmosphere in the school. Students enjoy learning in an attractive and well-resourced environment.

The board and staff have managed to maintain stability for the students and their parents through a number of difficult and unfortunate changes in leadership and management.

The newly appointed principal and useful Ministry of Education external support are helping the board and staff plan for the future and promote a renewed sense of purpose. The community is supportive of the school and contributes to school developments in a range of positive ways.

2 Learning

How well are students learning – engaging, progressing and achieving?

ERO’s ability to evaluate the quality of school-wide student achievement and progress over time was affected by some school information being unavailable due to recent changes in leadership and management.

Information about student achievement in 2011 exists, but has not been analysed to report to the board or complete charter requirements.

In Term 1 2012 the newly appointed principal provided a useful report to the board about student achievement in reading, writing, and mathematics. The principal’s analysis of this states that the majority of students are achieving at the National Standards relevant to their year level in these areas. The principal and teachers have appropriately identified writing as an area for further improving students’ achievement.

Parents received two written reports about their child’s achievement in 2011. Of these only one was related to National Standards. This did not meet the requirement to provide parents with two written reports related to National Standards.

ERO observed students who were well engaged in their learning. Students who spoke with ERO talked positively about the school and their relationships with teachers. They value the regular opportunities they have to be supported by, and help, others in their learning. Students are well informed about their achievements and encouraged to set purposeful goals.

Teachers make good use of assessment information at class level to respond appropriately to a range of students’ needs. This includes effective teaching approaches for classrooms with children of different ages and levels. Some students identified as requiring extra help receive well targeted teacher aid support funded by the board.

3 Curriculum

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

Students experience a curriculum that is interesting, well planned and effectively taught in classrooms. The process of successfully documenting and embedding the school curriculum has been affected by several changes in leadership.

Teachers have sustained effective planning and teaching through 2011. Students' learning is benefiting from the range of ways teachers promote learning. These include:

  • high expectations for students’ learning and participation in class activities
  • well-planned programmes that cater for students' needs
  • helping students manage their own learning and work well independently
  • checking that students know what they are learning and have clear instructions to follow
  • providing regular opportunities for students to work with others.

Students benefit from a wide range of learning experiences including:

  • appropriate emphasis on literacy and mathematics
  • meaningful education opportunities outside the classroom, using the school grounds and the local community
  • integrated use of information communication technologies (ICT) such as computers
  • easy access to a range of facilities including a school pool
  • regular involvement of parents and the community in the class programmes.

Areas for review and development

The principal and ERO have identified that a priority for the board, principal and teachers is to develop and document the school’s curriculum, including reviewing and building on the work done by past school leaders. The principal and teachers should also:

develop a more planned approach to identifying and implementing Māori contexts across the curriculum, including te reo and tikanga Māori

reintroduce a programme of planned regular curriculum review to monitor how well the curriculum is taught and how successfully it is meeting students’ needs.

4 Sustainable Performance

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

Some improvements need to be made to school systems to sustain and maintain the school’s performance over time. The board is aware of current challenges, and has a strong focus on student achievement and future planning for the school. This progressive attitude, combined with the appointment of an experienced principal and use of external support by the board is likely to place the school in a good position to make improvements and plan for a sustainable future.

The school has a history of regular and in-depth consultation with parents, the community and students. This is providing useful information for board planning and curriculum development.

Areas for review and development

The board is aware, and ERO agrees, that trustees now need to focus more on implementing systems to better support sustainability. This includes:

  • strengthening the board’s understanding about and use of self review
  • completing strategic planning to meet charter requirements
  • reviewing and updating policies and procedures
  • continuing to support the development of the school’s vision and values.

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.

Since the onsite stage of the review the board has provided an updated Board Assurance Statement and useful action plan that shows how it will address the issues raised in this report.

When is ERO likely to review the school again?

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

Graham Randell

National Manager Review Services Southern Region

30 May 2012

About the School

Location

Oxford, North Canterbury

Ministry of Education profile number

3565

School type

Full Primary (Years 1 to 8)

Decile

7

School roll

34

Gender composition

Girls 18 Boys 16

Ethnic composition

NZ European/Pākehā

Māori

31

3

Review team on site

March 2012

Date of this report

30 May 2012

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

February 2009

October 2005

June 2003