Aranga School

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Education institution number:
1001
School type:
Full Primary
School gender:
Co-Educational
Definition:
Not Applicable
Total roll:
24
Telephone:
Address:

State Highway 12, Aranga, Dargaville

View on map

Findings

On the basis of the findings of this review, ERO ‘s overall evaluation judgement of Aranga School’s performance in achieving valued outcomes for its students is: Developing.

1 Background and Context

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

Aranga School is a small, rural school near the Waipoua Forest, north of Dargaville. The school has 24 students. Approximately half of the students are Māori, and many affiliate to Ngāpuhi and the hapū of Te Roroa.

Students are taught in two multi-level classrooms for younger children in Years 1 to 4 and older children in Years 5 to 8. Currently the two classes are taught by teachers who job share, including the principal-release teacher.

The new principal teaches for three days each week. There have been changes in the teaching team over time, and changes in the board of trustees. Teacher recruitment is a significant challenge that impacts on sustainability and continuity in the school.

2 Review and Development

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

Priorities identified for review and development

Priorities for school review and development identified in 2017 included:

  • accelerating the progress of students most at risk of not achieving

  • improving teaching and learning programmes

  • documenting a school curriculum

  • strengthening aspects of leadership

  • improving board capability to strengthen governance processes and school improvement.

Progress
Using student achievement information to improve teaching and learning

The principal is beginning to introduce processes and practices that support teachers to accelerate learning progress. Documented assessment processes help guide teachers’ practice. They include an assessment schedule and expectations about how teachers will report to parents.

Teachers identify and monitor those students most at risk of not achieving. There is an increasing focus by the principal on leading professional discussions with teachers about student achievement. Individualised targeted learning plans have been introduced to help teachers analyse and adapt their teaching practice to support those students who most need it.

End-of-year achievement information for 2018 shows that the large majority of students achieve at or above New Zealand Curriculum (NZC) levels in literacy and mathematics. Individualised monitoring in reading shows that some children make accelerated progress. As there are small numbers of students, it is difficult to reliably identify trends and patterns in achievement data.

Teachers prioritise developing positive relationships with parents and whānau, including through school events and twice-yearly written reports about children’s progress and achievement. The principal has identified that a next step is to strengthen learning partnerships, especially with parents and whānau of those children at risk of not achieving.

The principal has completed a comprehensive review of performance management processes for teachers. The new process better aligns with the requirements of the Teaching Council, the school’s recently developed indicators of effective teacher practice, and a graduate profile for Aranga learners. The principal has also completed an appraisal process with support staff.

Key next steps

Key next steps to support ongoing improvement include:

  • continuing to strengthen assessment processes to ensure that information collected is reliable for the purpose of teaching and learning and sharing with students and parents

  • continuing to report achievement regularly to the board, to help with resourcing decisions

  • embedding ‘teaching as inquiry’ processes so that teaching practice is more deliberate for those students at risk of not achieving

  • implementing the new performance management process for teachers.

Documenting a school curriculum

The principal has documented a school curriculum that provides a set of guidelines, expectations and implementation plans. The curriculum aligns very well with the NZC. It is based on some consultation with students, whānau and the wider community.

The principal is developing a more culturally responsive curriculum. He has recently joined a professional learning group intent on improving outcomes for Māori learners. As a result, a documented plan highlights some specific priorities, including accelerating achievement and improving learning experiences for Māori learners to succeed as Māori. The principal is keen to share this plan and the key next steps with whānau, local kaumātua and iwi.

Students participate in a range of learning activities. The board has funded and improved students’ access to digital technologies. Interschool sports activities, community events and celebrating student success are part of the school curriculum. Students comment that they particularly enjoy learning experiences outside the classroom.

Teachers support all children to achieve well in relation to valued student outcomes. Learners have a strong sense of belonging. They know each other well and are proud of their school. They demonstrate positive attitudes about school, and actively engage in tuakana/teina relationships.

The school is about to introduce a new student ‘learning inquiry’ process that supports learners to explore, investigate and seek answers to their inquiries.

3 Sustainable performance and self review

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

The school is becoming increasingly well placed to sustain and continue to improve and review its performance.

The principal has developed new action plans that provide clear expectations for guiding and improving several aspects of school operation. Many of the plans are in the early stages of implementation. The board has adopted a recently refreshed charter and strategic plan. The various action plans identify school goals and key next steps that are critical to improving outcomes for students.

Some trustees on the board have recently attended training to help clarify their roles and responsibilities. School policies and procedures provide the board with comprehensive information about their responsibilities as stewards of the school.

Key next steps

Key next steps include improving the board’s capacity so it is better positioned to:

  • contribute and have a more active role in stewardship matters

  • participate in developing documented processes and procedures that could support sustainability

  • contribute to ongoing monitoring and evaluation of the new school plans to ensure ongoing improvement.

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
  • school policies in relation to meeting the requirements of the Vulnerable Children Act 2014.

The board should ensure that the performance of the principal is appraised in accordance with legal requirements. State Sector Act 1988, s77C.

4 Recommendations

Recommendations, including any to other agencies for ongoing or additional support.

ERO recommends that the NZSTA continue to work with the board to:

  • improve trustees’ understanding of their stewardship roles and responsibilities

  • document processes and procedures such as a governance manual and a board work plan that could support sustainability.

Conclusion

On the basis of the findings of this review, ERO ‘s overall evaluation judgement of Aranga School’s performance in achieving valued outcomes for its students is: Developing.

ERO’s Framework: Overall School Performance is available on ERO’s website.

Steve Tanner

Director Review and Improvement Services Northern

Northern Region

12 June 2019

About the School

Location

Dargaville

Ministry of Education profile number

1001

School type

Full Primary (Years 1 to 8)

School roll

24

Gender composition

Boys 15 Girls 9

Ethnic composition

Māori
NZ European/ Pākehā
other ethnic groups

12
11
1

Review team on site

March 2019

Date of this report

12 June 2019

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review
Education Review
Education Review

March 2017
February 2014
November 2011

1 Context

Aranga School is a small rural school north of Dargaville. The school provides education for children from Years 1 to 8. Over half of the children are Māori and most affiliate to Te Roroa and Ngāpuhi. Longstanding connections with the community continue to be an important feature of the school.

Since the 2014 ERO review the school has had four principals and other changes in the teaching team. The board appointed a new principal in July 2015. The teaching team includes the principal, a provisionally certificated teacher and part-time release teachers.

2 Equity and excellence

The vision and valued outcomes defined by the school for all children are that their learning environment will equip them to be the best people they can be. Valued outcomes that are linked to specific teaching and learning beliefs, include excellence, creativity, teamwork and respect. Children will be supported to experience success and enjoyment in their learning.

The school's 2015 achievement information shows that about 64 percent of children achieve at or above the National Standard in mathematics, 48 percent in reading, and 40 percent in writing. 2013 and 2014 achievement levels in reading and mathematics were relatively high. There was some variability in writing achievement and 2015 data identify disparity in the achievement of boys. The board recognises that there has been variability in achievement information throughout the school in recent years.

School moderation processes have recently been strengthened to improve the reliability of teachers' judgements about student achievement. Processes include teachers having regular discussions about the use of a range of assessment tools. Teachers are continuing to improve the accuracy and use of achievement information.

Since the last ERO evaluation the school has started to improve teaching and learning by strengthening teachers' understanding of how to make better use of assessment data. Teachers are beginning to use evidence to inquire into the impact of their teaching practice. They are participating in professional learning in teaching and assessing writing and are developing learning partnerships with parents and whānau.

3 Accelerating achievement

How effectively does this school respond to children whose learning and achievement need acceleration?

The school is not yet responding effectively to children whose learning and achievement need acceleration. The principal is beginning to introduce processes and practices that support teachers to accelerate learning progress. However, the board has yet to receive evaluative information about the difference that these initiatives are making to improve learner outcomes.

The board sets improvement targets for year-level groups of students. Planning has begun for target groups of students who are at risk of not achieving in reading, writing and/or mathematics. Closer monitoring of their achievement should be a priority. There is currently little information available in the school to show how teaching practices impact positively on the progress and achievement of the students.

The principal is working with teachers to improve the way they collect, analyse and use data to respond to children's learning needs. However, a greater sense of urgency is needed. The principal should access external expertise to help teachers accelerate children's progress and achievement. This support should aim to help the principal and teachers to:

  • develop a school-wide plan to accelerate the progress of the students most at risk of not achieving
  • use children's achievement information to improve how teachers plan learning programmes, especially for target learners
  • report more regularly to the board on students' learning progress
  • align the board's achievement targets to teachers' professional work and appraisal goals
  • develop leadership strategies that support the implementation of initiatives across the school.

These next steps should align with work currently underway to better monitor children's progress and achievement. They should also support an improved approach to regularly evaluating the impact of teaching and learning programmes, and other initiatives in the school.

4 School conditions

How effectively do the school’s curriculum and other organisational processes and practices develop and enact the school’s vision, values, goals and targets for equity and excellence?

The school's curriculum is at the early stages of supporting improvements for children, and enacting the school's vision, values, goals and targets to promote equity and excellence. It is becoming more aligned with The New Zealand Curriculum (NZC). Key competencies and school values are prioritised. The curriculum highlights reading, writing, and mathematics with overarching thematic topics. Teachers are beginning to introduce opportunities for students to have some ownership of their learning. They have also begun consulting with parents and whānau about their aspirations for a local curriculum.

Children learn in a settled atmosphere in small, multi-year-level classes. Children are friendly, respectful and keen learners. They value the tuakana/teina relationships they have with each other. Classroom property upgrades aimed at fostering innovative learning opportunities for children are underway. The curriculum for this more modern learning environment has yet to be developed.

Aranga School is becoming increasingly focused on promoting educational success for Māori children, as Māori. All children learn waiata and participate in the school’s kapa haka. Students value the leadership roles they have in this group. They are familiar with the school kawa for welcoming manuhiri to their school.

The principal is actively engaging with kaumātua, whānau Māori and the community. She is developing good relationships with these groups and seeking their ideas to inform the school's strategic direction and curriculum developments. Community members willingly contribute to wider curriculum activities such as Pet Day.

Parents receive information about their children’s learning in a variety of ways, including twice-yearly written reports about their children's progress and achievement. Teachers welcome informal discussions with parents and are developing partnerships with them that are focused on improving children's learning.

To increase the effectiveness of the curriculum the principal should develop a learning programme that includes:

  • the local context and makes use of the rich resources that surround the school
  • bicultural practices that support all children, with a focus on specifically improving Māori educational success and positive outcomes for Māori children, as Māori
  • opportunities for children to think critically and problem solve, and to lead their own learning and inquiry
  • clarifying and embedding expectations for effective teaching that promotes greater student engagement.

Improvements to teaching and learning should include:

  • individualised classroom programmes based on children's interests, strengths, talents and needs
  • developing students' understanding about their learning, progress and achievement
  • strengthening learning partnerships, especially with parents and whānau who can help the progress of those children at risk.

The experienced board chair and new trustees are committed to improving outcomes for children. They have a range of skills and capability, make good use of external expertise and have participated in some board training. The board has developed a school charter that prioritises quality teaching and learning, a local school curriculum and partnerships with whānau Māori.

To improve current practices and to support trustees in their stewardship role, the board should continue to access training that will:

  • strengthen board meeting processes
  • support the review of policies and procedures
  • help them with long-term strategic planning.

5 Going forward

How well placed is the school to accelerate the achievement of all children who need it?

Leaders and teachers:

  • have not yet adequately built their knowledge of the children whose learning and achievement need to be accelerated
  • have not yet adequately established necessary conditions to effectively accelerate learning and achievement
  • are not well placed to achieve and sustain accelerated achievement for all children who need it 

ERO intends to carry out a process of ongoing evaluation to support development over the course of one-to-two years.

6 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 the following:

  • board administration

  • curriculum

  • management of health, safety and welfare

  • personnel management

  • asset management.

During the review, ERO checked the following items because they have a potentially high impact on student safety and wellbeing:

  • emotional safety of students (including prevention of bullying and sexual harassment)

  • physical safety of students

  • teacher registration

  • processes for appointing staff

  • stand down, suspensions, expulsions and exclusions

  • attendance

  • compliance with the provisions of the Vulnerable Children Act 2014.

To improve current practice, the principal should formalise the documentation required to implement a support and guidance programme for provisionally certificated teachers, and a teacher appraisal process that meets the requirements of the Education Council of NZ.

7 Recommendations

ERO recommends that the Ministry of Education supports the school by:

  • providing a Student Achievement Function practitioner (SAF) to improve teaching and learning processes that accelerate children's progress and achievement
  • guiding the development and implementation of a curriculum that reflectsThe New Zealand Curriculum
  • assisting the principal to lead change and development with staff, the board and community, and to improve school systems.

Graham Randell

Deputy Chief Review Officer Northern

3 March 2017

About the school 

Location

Aranga, Northland

Ministry of Education profile number

1001

School type

Full Primary (Years 1 to 8)

School roll

34

Gender composition

Girls 20 Boys 14

Ethnic composition

Māori

Pākehā

Filipino

19

14

1

Review team on site

November 2016

Date of this report

3 March 2017

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

February 2014

November 2011

December 2008