Whareama School - 05/02/2015

Findings

A welcoming, family environment develops students’ sense of belonging. Relationships between students, staff and the community are positive. The surrounding environment is used for authentic learning opportunities. ERO identified several areas for action and development and recommends MOE support to strengthen school operational practices and processes.

ERO intends to carry out another review over the course of one-to-two years.

1 Context

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

Whareama School is located in a small rural community, 40 kilometres east of Masterton. It provides education for students in Years 1 to 8. At the time of this ERO review there were 38 on the roll, 10 identifying as Māori. Most students travel to and from school in vans funded by the board of trustees.

Since the January 2012 ERO report there has been a change of board members. A new first-time principal was appointed in 2012. School development has focused on effective teaching in writing. Links with the local marae have been strengthened through working with an iwi representative, who is also employed as a kapa haka tutor.

Students learn in two classrooms. Grounds, facilities and resources cater well for curriculum activities. These are supplemented by experiences in and beyond the local area. The school has achieved bronze status as part of the Enviroschool programme and is working toward silver.

There is a welcoming, community atmosphere. Adults participate in school life through fundraising, helping on field trips and providing learning support. A playgroup operates on site. Parents and children interact with staff and students.

2 Learning

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

The school’s use of achievement information for planning for student progress and achievement requires further development.

Some good practices are evident. The principal and teachers gather data from appropriate sources to form judgements about achievement in relation to National Standards. They have worked with local schools to moderate assessment of writing to be more confident in the reliability of their overall teacher judgements.

National standards data for reading, writing and mathematics is analysed to identify patterns of achievement across student groups and target individuals who require support to meet the Standards. Relevant information is regularly reported to parents, whānau and trustees for their use in promoting student wellbeing and achievement.

School reported data shows that overall, students perform better in mathematics than in reading and writing. Specific resources have been provided to address early literacy, especially spelling development. Targeted learners receive additional support from a teacher aide and adult volunteers.

Next steps in developing how information is used to make positive changes to learners’ engagement, progress and achievement include:

  • defining expectations for ongoing monitoring and tracking of student learning and progress
  • thinking more deeply about student achievement information to plan for specific learning needs
  • evaluating information to know the impact of teaching, programmes or interventions on learning and progress.

Implementing the above steps is likely to sharpen the focus of planning and provide a clear basis for evaluation and review of programme effectiveness.

3 Curriculum

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

The school has not evaluated how well the curriculum promotes learning and supports learners.

Expectations for student learning across all year levels are defined in various documents. These need to be revisited and rationalised to align with the charter statements. Clarification of expectations should assist with planning for, and monitoring, student progression in relation to the school's strategic aims for preparing students for their next stage of education.

In addition to literacy and numeracy programmes, students experience a wide variety of real-life learning opportunities. Many of these relate to the Enviroschool principles of sustainability, care, empowerment and respect. Programmes provide contexts for making meaningful contributions to the community. Examples include beach planting, coastal clean-up and fund-raising initiatives. Field trips beyond the local environment extend students’ experiences of the world around them. Bicultural perspectives are woven into this place-based curriculum.

Sports and water safety are valued for fostering student confidence in pursuing recreational activities within the environment. Years 7 and 8 students have their technology curriculum at a local college.

Teachers use assessment data to group students according to levels and needs. Students engage willingly in activities prepared for them. They know the routines and expectations for working independently and cooperatively in a multi-level classroom. Some can talk about the purpose of their activities. Providing regular, focused feedback in relation to expected outcomes is likely to:

  • enrich learning conversations between teachers and students for promoting progress and engagement
  • encourage students to take ownership of their learning and achievement.

This should be a next development step and be undertaken consistently with all students.

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

Positive relationships have been developed with whānau and local Māori community members to acknowledge the language, culture and identity of Māori students and foster their success. Whānau and iwi have been consulted and had opportunity to contribute to the charter. Students have maraebased studies and they are regularly included in marae celebrations and events. Through these experiences students are able to extend their knowledge and use of te reo me ngā tikanga Māori. Māori students engage in school life and the majority met the National Standards expectations in 2013.

4 Sustainable Performance

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

The school needs support with effectively analysing, evaluating and using information for continuous improvement.

Trustees focus on supporting student wellbeing and achievement. They know their roles and responsibilities, have accessed training, and continue to work with external support as needed. Board members consider information received from the principal about curriculum coverage and student achievement to resource needs. Trustees are beginning to reflect on their processes to find opportunities for improving governance. To support this, the board should undertake training in self review.

The principal promotes a positive environment to support students' participation and success. Interactions between students, staff, trustees, parents and the community are mutually respectful. Students are open, courteous and care for each other and their environment. Community members are invited to contribute to school direction and students' experiences. To take this involvement further, the principal and teachers need to foster shared understandings with students, parents and whānau about needs, interests and aspirations for enriching learning partnerships.

The board provides for staff professional learning. More evaluative appraisal processes, informed by sound evidence, are needed to target development needs and build effective practice.

Overall, self-review processes need developing. The current practice of regular reflections should be strengthened by setting measureable goals and indicators in well-defined action plans, then evaluating the outcomes for students.

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.

ERO identified issues with the following requirements:

  • the performance management system does not comply with the all Teacher Council/EDUCANZ reporting obligations
  • processes for appointing staff are not sufficiently rigorous
  • requests and renewals of police vets for non-teaching personnel and the updating of first aid certificates are not systematically carried out
  • consultation for the delivery of the health programme has not been undertaken
  • policies do not cover all National Administrative Guidelines (NAGs).

The board of trustees must:

  • through the principal and staff, consult with the community every two years about the content of the health curriculum [Section 60A, Education Act 1989]
  • implement the performance appraisal policy to promote high levels of staff performance. [State Sector Act 1998, National Administration Guideline 3a]

To improve current practice the board of trustees should:

  • ensure that original credentials and qualifications of applicants are sighted
  • establish and implement a system for the regular police-vetting of non-teaching personnel
  • ensure there are sufficient personnel on site with current first aid certificates
  • become familiar with the revised National Administration Guidelines and develop policies to cover NAGs 7 and 8.

Recommendations to other agencies

ERO recommends that the Ministry of Education provides support and guidance to assist the board and principal address the findings of this report.

Conclusion

A welcoming, family environment develops students’ sense of belonging. Relationships between students, staff and the community are positive. The surrounding environment is used for authentic learning opportunities. ERO identified several areas for action and development and recommends MOE support to strengthen school operational practices and processes.

ERO intends to carry out another review over the course of one-to-two years.

Joyce Gebbie

Deputy Chief Review Officer Central

5 February 2015

About the School

Location

Masterton

Ministry of Education profile number

3070

School type

Full Primary (Years 1 to 8)

School roll

38

Gender composition

Female 18, Male 20

Ethnic composition

Māori

NZ European/Pākehā

Other ethnic groups

10

26

2

Review team on site

November 2014

Date of this report

5 February 2015

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

January 2012

December 2008

February 2006