Waipawa School - 04/09/2012

1 Context

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

Waipawa School is a family-based, full primary school located in the township of Waipawa in Central Hawke’s Bay. An attached Years 7 and 8 technology unit caters for students from other local schools. Celebrations for the school’s 150th anniversary are planned for late 2012. Forty per cent of students identify as Māori. A whānau and friends group provides a range of supports for students, including kapa haka, te reo Māori and pōwhiri.

Students learn in well-resourced, modern classrooms. Teachers increasingly use Information and Communication Technologies as a tool to enhance classroom programmes. Carefully considered outdoor areas provide learners with a wide range of physical challenges and sporting opportunities.

2 Learning

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

Students are purposefully engaged in learning. There is a strong focus on independence and self management. Positive interactions between students and teachers are respectful and affirming. There are appropriately high expectations for learning-focused behaviour. Teachers' growing cultural competency encourages Māori students to ask questions and follow their interests. Learners are supported to take risks and take on challenges. Learners are confident and enthusiastic.

Student progress and achievement is regularly tracked and monitored through school developed indicators and assessment tools. The school reports that two-thirds of students were achieving below the National Standard in writing at the start of 2012. Mid-year writing results indicate progress in lifting writing achievement. The achievement of boys, Māori and students in Years 5 to 8 are identified by the principal as focus areas for improvement in reading, writing and mathematics. In 2011, the school appropriately reports the achievement of the Pacific students as a group.

The board receive regular assessment information for reading, writing and mathematics for most year levels that includes useful reporting for year levels, gender and ethnicity. Trustees have yet to receive National Standards information for Years 1 to 8 in relation in reading and mathematics.

The principal and deputy principal are working with teachers to consider strategies that increase learners’ progress in writing. Processes for moderation are developing through regular teacher meetings and participation in a local school cluster that has advisory support. Students are encouraged to refer to models of successful writing displayed in classrooms. Teachers celebrate and share examples of good writing.

Parents have received two written reports each year about student achievement and progress in writing, reading and numeracy. The mid-year report showed progress in relation to assessments and the end of year report contained some reference to the National Standards. Students enjoy sharing their learning with their parents at regular conferences with teachers.

The school’s charter and targets meet legislative requirements. Trustees, senior leaders and teachers are aware that improving the progress and achievement of Māori students is a key priority.

Areas for review and development

School assessment information indicates that many students, including many Māori and boys, are under achieving in writing and mathematics. The school has contacted the Ministry of Education to seek support with helping them to increase student achievement. Senior leaders and teachers should continue to strengthen:

  • their understanding and use of the National Standards, moderation and overall teacher judgements in reading, writing and mathematics
  • the clarity of reporting progress and achievement in relation to the National Standards to parents to include all year levels, including Years 1 and 2 writing and mathematics
  • teacher analysis and critical reflection on the effectiveness of their teaching strategies in relation to accelerating the progress of target students
  • the formal reporting to trustees of the impact of specific learning programmes for the group of priority learners with special needs.

3 Curriculum

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

Senior leaders recently reviewed the school curriculum to ensure it clearly links to The New Zealand Curriculum. This document contains a vision, values and statements for each learning area. The principal and deputy principal are developing school expectations for students to learn critical thinking skills and to use an inquiry process for learning.

The school’s strategic plan contains expectations to support Māori students’ cultural identity through teachers’ use of te reo Māori in classrooms. The Years 7 and 8 technology teachers have consulted with local experts and developed integrated units that support Māori designs and craftwork.

A range of effective teaching strategies are evident in classrooms, including focused small group instruction for reading and mathematics. Teachers are becoming clearer about what successful student learning looks like in relation to National Standards. They are expected to provide feedback and support students to set learning goals. Students respond well to clear expectations for maximising their learning time through well matched activities and a variety of tasks.

New entrant learners’ transition to school is supported through growing links with the local kindergarten and other early childhood providers. Successful former students are encouraged to visit the school and become positive role models for learners.

Students with identified needs are closely monitored by teachers, participate in special programmes and receive teacher aide support. Individual education plans and resources are monitored by the principal in her role as the Special Education Needs Coordinator. The principal supports the involvement of external agencies and experts to work with teachers to strengthen student outcomes. The board and staff are proud of their inclusive approach towards learners with special needs.

The teacher appraisal system has recently been reviewed to include the Registered Teacher Criteria. Teachers are collecting evidence in order to inquire and reflect on their practices. The recent restructuring to a single teaching team encourages more sharing of good practices and professional conversations. The principal and deputy principal are leading a clearer focus on improving teaching and learning.

Areas for review and development

Senior leaders and teachers should continue to consult with the community to ensure that the school’s curriculum represents their collective vision, values and views on the key competencies. This should include providing opportunities that affirm Māori learners’ culture and identity.

The appraisal process requires further development to support ongoing improvements in teaching and learning. This includes ensuring there are formal observations of teachers by senior leaders, goal setting, teacher reflection and evidence of improved learning outcomes from inquiring into teaching practices.

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

There has been significant progress in developing a platform to promote educational success for Māori, as Māori. Since 2009, annual action plans have focused on growing whānau involvement and relationships, kapa haka and te reo Māori use schoolwide. Whole school pōwhiri and cultural performances value and affirm students’ cultural identity. The principal has recently formed a Māori representative student group. This group provide a forum for hearing their views to improve the relevance of the learning opportunities available for Māori students.

The school’s whānau and friends support group serves as a fundraising and advisory group. This group has grown in numbers and takes an active support role in many aspects of the school’s operations. An adult kapa haka group assists students during pōwhiri and provides extra te reo Māori lessons at lunchtime.

Areas for review and development

Trustees, senior leaders and teachers should:

  • consider how enhanced relationships with whānau will contribute to the curriculum opportunities provided to learners and how this will be reflected in the school’s strategic direction and resourcing decisions
  • continue with their plans to strengthen the integration of te reo Māori and increased cultural inclusiveness.

4 Sustainable Performance

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

Self review practices are becoming more specific and focused on improvement. The principal conducts spontaneous reviews of some school events such as attendance at parent consultation evenings and the school cross country. Charter student achievement targets provide a focal point for considering the effectiveness of teaching and learning programmes for groups of students.

The board has successfully managed property developments and improved the state of school finances. A governance manual provides useful guidance for trustees to undertake their roles. School policies are reviewed regularly. Trustees recognise the value of consulting the parent community through surveys to gauge their aspirations for their children’s schooling. Parents value having their views positively responded to. The board is committed to increasing community involvement in the school.

Areas for review and development

Senior leaders and trustees should continue to:

  • strengthen formal self-review practices and develop the links between the strategic plan, school curriculum, annual improvement targets, teachers’ appraisal goals and professional development
  • continue to participate in relevant training to undertake their governance roles and responsibilities.

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.

The board must ensure that:

  • each teacher participates in the appraisal process at least once within a twelve month period that contains formal observations of teaching and make clear reference to the Professional Standards for Teachers [s77C State Sector Act 1988 (NZ Gazette No 180: Dec 1996)]
  • they report to students and their parents on the student’s progress and achievement in relation to the National Standard. Reporting to parents in plain language in writing must occur at least twice a year [National Administrative Guidelines 2A(a)]
  • they report in the board’s annual report on the numbers and proportions of all students at, above, below and well below the standards, including Māori, Pacific and by gender. [National Administrative Guidelines 2A(c)].

When is ERO likely to review the school again?

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

Joyce Gebbie

National Manager Review Services

Central Region (Acting)

4 September 2012

About the School

Location

Waipawa

Ministry of Education profile number

2723

School type

Full Primary (Year 1 to 8)

Decile

3

School roll

126

Gender composition

Male 52%

Female 48%

Ethnic composition

NZ European/Pākehā

Māori

Pacific

Other ethnic groups

54%

40%

2%

4%

Special Features

Central Hawke's Bay Technology Centre

Resource Teacher: Literacy

Review team on site

June 2012

Date of this report

4 September 2012

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Supplementary Review

September 2009

May 2008

February 2007