Waitaria Bay School - 09/06/2015

Findings

Waitaria Bay School has a family-like atmosphere. There is a positive school culture. Trustees and staff are committed to positive learning outcomes for students. The school is well supported by parents, the community and local businesses. The local environment and conservation are key features of the curriculum. Student wellbeing and achievement are valued.

Next steps include promoting Māori success as Māori, aspects of governance, curriculum and assessment practices.

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?

Waitaria Bay School has a welcoming family-like atmosphere. It is located in a remote, rural area within the Kenepuru Sounds. Many students travel a considerable distance to attend school. The roll fluctuates as families move in and out of the area.

Since the 2012 ERO review, the number of trustees on the board has increased to four.

Students learn in a well resourced and well maintained environment. The principal has recently returned following a year’s study leave.

Some progress has been made on the recommendations identified in the ERO 2012 review. However, several require further development as identified in this report.

2. Learning

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

Teachers make good use of achievement information to monitor student progress and achievement over time.

Students know how well they are doing and are able to talk about their learning confidently. They regularly receive useful written feedback on their learning and work. Students and teachers spend time discussing learning tasks and what students need to focus on so they can further improve.

Teachers use an appropriate range of different assessment tools to help them make decisions about students’ learning. In response to the 2012 ERO report, teachers have developed a useful timetable showing when assessments will occur.

Students are involved in setting personal and learning goals. This supports their wellbeing, future aspirations and recognition of next step learning. Meeting these goals requires commitment from home, school and students. The school has an active open-door policy. Student progress and achievement is regularly discussed.

The board and teachers are committed to improving student learning outcomes. Students who need support to achieve are recognised and given extra assistance.

Areas for review and development

The next steps to improve student learning and school practices are for the board and teachers to further develop the:

  • annual student achievement targets so they are more specific and clearly identify progress expected for targeted students
  • reporting to parents for students in years one to three.

It would be useful for teachers to review assessment practices. Policies and procedures for assessment and reporting need to be updated. This includes recording how teachers make National Standards judgements about students’ learning in reading, writing and mathematics. Looking more closely at the best way to assess students’ writing and reporting this to the board remains a priority.

3. Curriculum

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

The school’s curriculum provides students with a wide range of interesting learning opportunities. A key aspect of classroom programmes is learning about the local environment and conservation.

Students have engaged in meaningful learning through the development and maintenance of ‘Keruru’s Kitchen’. They work with teachers, parents and experts to eradicate pests, plant native plants to protect the foreshore, and increase the number of native birds in the local environment.

The board and teachers have a suitable focus on student achievement in reading, writing and mathematics. In 2014, 80% of students achieved at or above the National Standard in these learning areas. Other strengths of the curriculum include:

  • all students learning a musical instrument through a parent-led programme
  • good opportunities for students to learn outside the classroom
  • focusing on developing students’ swimming skills since they live close to the bay.

Parents, teachers and students have worked together to develop a new school logo. This joint effort reflects the schools vision, values and environment. There is a positive school culture which is evident in respectful relationships across the school.

Teachers know students and their families well. Student wellbeing and achievement are valued.

Areas for review and development

ERO, the board and principal agree that the teachers need to increase:

  • students’ choices about the direction and content of their learning
  • their understanding of modern teaching environments and practices.

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

The school recognises promoting Māori success as Māori needs considerable improvement.

Some Māori cultural concepts, as a natural part of school life, are very evident throughout the school. For example, older students look after younger students, and the school has a strong focus on caring for the environment.

As part of the further development of bicultural awareness, the school should:

  • give more emphasis to Māori concepts and values in the school environment
  • help students learn about the local history of the area from a Māori perspective
  • ensure the curriculum includes te reo and tikanga Māori so all students better appreciate New Zealand’s bicultural heritage.

4. Sustainable Performance

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

The school is well placed to sustain and improve its performance. Trustees, the principal and teachers are committed to positive outcomes for students and ongoing school improvement.

A significant feature of the school is how well it is supported by parents, the wider community and local businesses. The Principal works well with the board and community. Trustees benefit from her knowledge and guidance in managing the school. The principal demonstrates an enthusiastic approach to meeting students’ needs.

The board fully supports professional learning, including external appraisal for the principal. Trustees are aware of the need for her to attend meetings and professional learning clusters. These are often some distance from the school and require several hours of travel. Good use of e-learning is supporting the principal and trustees to gain addition information and training.

Areas for review and development

The board should review the charter so it better reflects the agreed key strategic priorities, to support ongoing schooling improvement. This would give clearer direction to the principal about areas of focus and support better reporting on progress towards set goals.

The school has developed a useful self-review model that is relevant for the school context. Use of this process is not yet fully impacting on school improvements and needs to be given greater priority.

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

Waitaria Bay School has a family-like atmosphere. There is a positive school culture. Trustees and staff are committed to positive learning outcomes for students. The school is well supported by parents, the community and local businesses. The local environment and conservation are key features of the curriculum. Student wellbeing and achievement are valued.

Next steps include promoting Māori success as Māori, aspects of governance, curriculum and assessment practices.

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

Graham Randell

Deputy Chief Review Officer Southern

9 June 2015

About the School

Location

Kenepuru Sounds

Ministry of Education profile number

3064

School type

Full Primary (Years 1 to 8)

School roll

13

Gender composition

Boys 11; Girls 2

Ethnic composition

NZ European/Pākehā

Māori

12

1

Review team on site

March 2015

Date of this report

9 June 2015

Most recent ERO reports

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

April 2012

May 2009

June 2006