Whareama School - 28/03/2017

Findings

The school has made significant progress in addressing areas identified for improvement following ERO’s 2015 review. Students are achieving well and have an active role in leading their learning. Teachers and leaders have strengthened their understanding of effective analysis of achievement information. A more coherent approach to strategic planning, school operation and leading change is evident.

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

1 Background and Context

What is the background and context for this school’s review?

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 35 children on the roll, 12 identifying as Māori.

The February 2015 ERO evaluation identified significant areas for review and development. Trustees and the principal responded by accessing external support and establishing a plan for review and development, in consultation with ERO. This has provided a clear framework to build capacity and guide improvements in key areas.

The school is now progressing well towards realising its vision of being a learning community, focused on raising children to be inquiring learners, skilled communicators, deep thinkers, self-managers, passionate about learning and confident about the future.

2 Review and Development

How effectively is the school addressing its priorities for review and development?

Priorities identified for review and development

The previous report identified the need to:

  • improve the school’s use of dependable and meaningful data
  • build teacher and leadership capability
  • develop self review.

Actions undertaken to address these areas have been to:

  • understand and implement effective assessment and analysis of data to inform teaching and learning
  • build teachers' and leaders’ capability through external support/mentoring
  • strengthen self-review processes and systems for accountability and consistency
  • review the Whareama School curriculum.

Progress

Leaders and teachers have responded well to external advice and guidance programmes. Capability has been enhanced to better support student learning outcomes and teaching programmes.

Teachers and leaders have strengthened their understanding of effective analysis of achievement information. Reports to the board provide a more accurate picture of learners' progress and achievement. The dependability of achievement information has improved significantly. There is now clarity in the decision-making process which supports more robust overall teacher judgements in relation to National Standards.

Student information is used well to make positive changes to learners’ engagement, progress and achievement. The staff have defined expectations for ongoing monitoring and tracking of student learning and progress. A more targeted approach to planning is supporting teachers to identify tasks and strategies to improve the progress and achievement of individuals and groups of learners.

Students are encouraged to take ownership of their learning and achievement. Sound guidelines have been established to inform individual students of their next learning steps. This has enriched learning conversations between teachers and students and is promoting progress and engagement.

Aspects of the school curriculum have been developed and reviewed. Expectations have been established for effective teaching practice. Regular reflection and review of school operation has been implemented. This has been strengthened by gathering input from a range of stakeholders.

Ongoing mentoring, appraisal processes and professional learning and development programmes are supporting the principal to more effectively lead learning.

The school has reviewed and revised their performance management system. The appraisal process should, with rigorous implementation, support ongoing growth and development in teaching practice. Teachers have begun to collaboratively inquire into their practice. As the use and understanding of the ‘Spiral of Inquiry’ model is embedded, teachers should be better placed to know the impact of teaching, programmes or interventions on learning and progress.

Trustees have continued to access training to build their understanding of effective school governance. This has supported them to develop an approach to improvement based on self review. Clear and appropriate strategic plans have been well implemented. Annual plans include some measureable goals and indicators. Clarification of expectations assist with the planning for, and monitoring of, student progression in relation to the school's strategic aims and prepare students for their next stage of education. 

3 Sustainable performance and self review

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

A more coherent approach to strategic planning, school operation and leading change is evident. Trustees and school leaders are focused on implementing and sustaining school processes to improve performance.

Trustees and leaders recognise the importance of embedding the changes and improvements to practice. This should include continued focus on:

  • providing regular, focused feedback to teachers and students in relation to expectations
  • strengthening assessment practice for making judgements about achievement in relation to National Standards
  • improving rates of student progress through identifying specific learning needs and responding with deliberate, targeted teaching strategies
  • processes for monitoring targeted students and reporting their progress to the board
  • tracking trends and patterns of student achievement over time.

Knowing the impact of strategies, programmes, initiatives and interventions on improving outcomes for students is a key next step. It is now timely to build schoolwide understanding of effective evaluation. Implementing a robust evaluative approach should enhance leadership and appropriately inform change.

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

The school has made significant progress in addressing areas identified for improvement following ERO’s 2015 review. Students are achieving well and have an active role in leading their learning. Teachers and leaders have strengthened their understanding of effective analysis of achievement information. A more coherent approach to strategic planning, school operation and leading change is evident.

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

Joyce Gebbie

Deputy Chief Review Officer Central

28 March 2017

About the School 

Location

Masterton

Ministry of Education profile number

3070

School type

Full Primary (Years 1 to 8)

School roll

35

Gender composition

Female 18, Male 17

Ethnic composition

Māori

Pākehā

12

23

Review team on site

February 2017

Date of this report

28 March 2017

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

February 2015

January 2012

December 2008