Parua Bay School

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Education institution number:
1080
School type:
Full Primary
School gender:
Co-Educational
Definition:
Not Applicable
Total roll:
283
Telephone:
Address:

1396 Whangarei Heads Road, Parua Bay, Whangarei

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School Context

Parua Bay School provides education for children from Years 1 to 8 in a coastal community close to Whangarei. The school roll is currently close to 400, a significant increase since 2014. It includes 23 percent Māori children, 2 percent Pacific, and a small number of children from diverse cultural backgrounds.

At the time of the 2014 ERO report, the principal had been in his leadership role for less than one month. He continues to lead the school, along with a new leadership team and a new board of trustees. The school is part of the Community of Learning, Ngā Kura mo te ako o Whangarei Kāhui Ako Group 1.

The school’s vision is to actively involve children and whānau in learning and caring about the unique environment, and for tikanga Māori, diverse cultures and relationships to be valued.

As part of achieving its valued outcomes, the school offers all children the opportunity to learn te reo Māori. A group of Year 5 and 6 children has chosen to be in a class that offers a higher level of te reo Māori.

Leaders and teachers regularly report to the board, schoolwide information about outcomes for students in the following areas:

  • achievement in reading, writing and mathematics

  • progress towards meeting strategic goals and student achievement targets

  • accelerated progress and achievement of priority learners

  • engaging children in learning in collaborative learning spaces.

Evaluation Findings

1 Equity and excellence – valued outcomes for students

1.1 How well is the school achieving equitable and excellent outcomes for all its students?

The school is making very good progress towards achieving equitable and excellent outcomes for students.

The large majority of Māori students, and most Pākehā students, achieve well in reading, writing and mathematics. The school identifies 50 children as priority learners, whose learning needs accelerating, most of whom are Māori. This group is a focus of the school’s strategic goal to increase the achievement of Māori learners, especially Māori boys, in mathematics and writing, and of boys generally in writing.

The school’s data for 2017 show that a large majority of children identified as priority learners are making accelerated progress in reading, writing and mathematics.

Other outcomes valued by the school include providing children with many varied learning experiences beyond the classroom. These experiences include multiple co-curricular opportunities and broad curriculum experiences, including te reo me ōna tikanga Māori schoolwide. In addition, the school’s values programme is appreciated by the children, parents and staff, and includes the celebration of children’s characteristics and successes.

1.2 How effectively does this school respond to those Māori and other students whose learning and achievement need acceleration?

The school responds effectively to those Māori and other students whose learning and achievement need acceleration. Included in this group are children who have been identified with additional education needs.

The school has various, multi-levelled programmes and initiatives that contribute to positive improvements in learning, and accelerated progress and achievement for Māori and other learners. Teachers’ clear and deliberate focus on these priority learners has resulted in improvements in reading and writing for the school’s target group between 2015 and 2016.

School leaders and teachers have good, shared understandings about accelerating learning. Leaders strategically resource professional learning to support their focus on priority and all other learners. Their ongoing discussions of priority learners at all levels of the school, results in schoolwide responsibility for ensuring children’s success. This effective approach works alongside a very good process for identifying and monitoring children’s progress and achievement. In addition, there is a continual process of strengthening teachers’ moderation of assessment and judgements about children’s achievement. These good practices provide the school with valid and reliable data.

School leaders note that the ongoing professional connection with the Kāhui Ako is likely to provide further opportunities for teachers to moderate assessment across schools, and especially with the secondary school.

2 School conditions for equity and excellence

2.1 What school processes and practices are effective in enabling achievement of equity and excellence?

The school’s processes and practices are effective in enabling the achievement of equity and excellence.

Effective school leadership supports the pursuit of equity and excellence for all learners. The principal uses a strategic and research-based approach to building relational trust and collaboration throughout the school. School leaders and staff are creating an environment where children and adults feel safe and courageous to take risks as leaders and learners. In response to the strong, professional leadership, teaching and learning approaches are more responsive to individual children’s needs, and bicultural practices are used throughout the school. The deliberate creation of a people-focused and positive environment contributes to the welcoming and inclusive school culture.

Children are very settled in their learning environments and are highly focused on their learning. The newly developed collaborative learning spaces provide children with good opportunities to work and learn in ways that suit them best. Skilled teachers design and enact a school curriculum that is increasingly authentic, connects to children’s strengths and interests, and provides opportunities for children’s choices and preferences.

The board provides strong governance. Trustees have a strategic focus on priority learners and on improving te reo me ōna tikanga throughout the school. They receive very clear, iterative reports from the principal and other staff that highlight the progress made towards meeting strategic goals and targets. Trustees bring professional expertise to their stewardship roles. They access professional learning to continually strengthen their understanding of governance and review their own processes and practices.

2.2 What further developments are needed in school processes and practices for achievement of equity and excellence?

Teachers provide children with opportunities for ownership and understanding of their own learning pathways and progress. School leaders are continuing to strengthen this aspect of teachers’ practice so that children become more self-managing and are included in the decision-making process about what and how they learn.

As part of the school’s ongoing curriculum review and redesign, leaders identify that enhancing bicultural perspectives in curriculum design and enactment is a useful next step. Planning each aspect of the curriculum with a Māori worldview would support the school’s commitment to biculturalism in Aotearoa New Zealand. In addition, trustees recognise the importance of developing a Treaty of Waitangi policy to promote sustainability of the school’s good bilingual and bicultural practices.

A further development for the board, senior leaders and teachers includes deepening the evaluative commentary of analysed achievement and other information. This approach would highlight the impact or effectiveness of programmes, initiatives and practices in improving outcomes for children.

3 Board assurance on legal requirements

Before the review, the board 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

  • finance

  • 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 and certification

  • processes for appointing staff

  • stand down, suspension, expulsion and exclusion of students

  • attendance

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

4 Going forward

Key strengths of the school

For sustained improvement and future learner success, the school can draw on existing strengths in:

  • collaborative approaches that enhance children’s learning

  • a schoolwide commitment to promoting success for Māori children that enhances pride in their cultural identity and language, and provides strong bicultural learning for all other children

  • future-focused, strategic leadership and stewardship that promotes improvement and strong relational trust.

Next steps

For sustained improvement and future learner success, development priorities are in:

  • continuing to grow student agency to support children’s ability to set goals for, and evaluate, their own learning progress

  • enhancing the school’s bicultural curriculum design to further honour the school’s commitment to te ao Māori

  • deepening internal evaluation to provide more in-depth information about the effectiveness of programmes and initiatives.

ERO’s next external evaluation process and timing

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

Graham Randell

Deputy Chief Review Officer Northern

Te Tai Raki - Northern Region

23 January 2018

About the school

Location

Parua Bay, Whangarei

Ministry of Education profile number

1080

School type

Full Primary, Years 1 - 8

School roll

367

Gender composition

Girls 51% Boys 49%

Ethnic composition

Māori
Pākehā
Australian
British/Irish
Samoan
other

23%
64%
2%
4%
2%
5%

Review team on site

November 2017

Date of this report

23 January 2018

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review
Education Review
Education Review

December 2014
September 2011
June 2010

Findings

How effectively is this school’s curriculum promoting student learning - engagement, progress and achievement?

Students at Parua Bay School experience varied learning opportunities within a positive school climate. Significant changes in recent years have strengthened teaching and learning. Although leadership changes have slowed the consolidation of some initiatives, the school is now positioned to ensure clarity and consistency in its systems and embed good practices to enhance further school development.

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?

Parua Bay School is a semi-rural school located near Whangarei. The school provides education for students from Years 1 to 8. The coastal setting and well maintained grounds provide an attractive environment and meaningful contexts for learning, particularly through the school’s commitment to its enviro-school programme.

Students show a sense of well-being and pride in the school. They are confident, articulate and enjoy positive relationships with each other and their teachers. Students participate enthusiastically in classroom activities, and are able to work independently and co-operatively. Parents and whānau are welcomed in the school and have opportunities to contribute to school life in many ways.

At the time of the 2011 ERO review the school had a new principal and a number of improvement initiatives were being developed, particularly in terms of teaching and learning. The school responded positively to the development areas identified in the ERO report and has continued to implement significant changes since then.

There have been further changes in leadership during 2014. An interim principal managed the school during terms 2 and 3. A new principal began in term 4, just prior to this ERO review. Leadership changes have meant that some initiatives and new systems are yet to be consolidated. However, there are good practices in place in the school and staff are now in a position to strengthen and embed these.

The school is preparing for significant property development in 2015 to cater for ongoing roll growth. Planned new classrooms will provide an opportunity to develop modern learning environments to support the school’s future direction for teaching and learning.

2 Learning

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

The school is using achievement information increasingly well to make positive changes to learners’ engagement, progress and achievement.

Students are becoming increasingly involved in their own learning. They can talk about the focus and purpose of their learning. Teachers are developing strategies to support students to understand their learning goals and to discuss their progress and achievement. School leaders are now focusing on consolidating these good practices more consistently across the school. Teachers are continuing to explore ways in which they can further develop student ownership of their learning.

Teachers are making better use of student assessment information. They monitor the progress and achievement of all students closely and use this information to plan teaching programmes. They identify individuals and groups of students who would benefit from additional support.

The school continues to strengthen learning partnerships with parents and whānau. School leaders have trialled formats for reporting student achievement to parents. They acknowledge that some aspects of written reports require further development so that they provide parents with clear information about the National Standards.

The board is receiving more useful and more regular information about student achievement and progress. School leaders and trustees discuss current student achievement information and set targets relevant to groups of learners and curriculum areas.

The school’s student achievement information indicates that most students are achieving at or above the National Standard in reading, writing and mathematics. Senior leaders are aware of the need to implement strategies to help Māori students and boys to improve their learning. A recent focus on more targeted teaching and learning in writing is beginning to raise achievement in this curriculum area. The school is part of the Te Whanga Learning and Change Network whose current focus is raising achievement in writing for students in local schools.

The school should now consolidate its assessment processes and continue to strengthen the use of student achievement information by:

  • establishing processes to ensure that school-wide student achievement data is robust and reliable
  • developing clear systems for collating and analysing student achievement data to better inform specific targets and goals and enable long term comparative analysis of achievement.

ERO supports the principal’s intention to seek external support to clarify systems and processes for the management of assessment information.

3 Curriculum

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

The school’s curriculum promotes and supports student learning well.

School curriculum programmes reflect all learning areas and the key competencies in The New Zealand Curriculum (NZC). A current emphasis on literacy and mathematics supports the school’s focus on raising student achievement in these areas. Teachers ensure a balanced approach to other learning areas, which are integrated within broad learning contexts and implemented through an inquiry learning approach. School curriculum documents provide clear and comprehensive guidelines for teachers. School leaders are currently reviewing how teachers can best use these guidelines to support teaching and learning.

The curriculum reflects the importance the school places on environmental education. The enviro-schools programme provides contexts for meaningful learning, and fosters students’ knowledge of the bi-cultural heritage of New Zealand. Other features of the curriculum include a strong emphasis on education outside the classroom, sports and the ongoing development of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) skills.

The Parua Bay School values are promoted through the curriculum and contribute to the school’s positive learning culture. Many leadership opportunities are provided for senior students. Teachers continue to move towards an increasingly student-centred curriculum.

School leaders provide good support for teachers to innovate and improve their practice, within a growing culture of collaboration. A well considered and planned approach to professional development has supported curriculum development and implementation. Teachers are encouraged to reflect and inquire into their practice.

ERO affirms the principal and senior leaders’ aim to increase consistency in practice by:

  • extending and clarifying the schools shared understandings about teaching and learning
  • using the many examples of good practice evident in the school as models for other teachers
  • further developing teacher appraisal processes.

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

Māori students in the school are well engaged in learning, in school activities and in leadership roles. There are opportunities for students to be proud of their language, culture and identity. The school’s kapa haka group and pōwhiri provide additional leadership opportunities for Māori students, and encourage all students to understand and value New Zealand’s bicultural heritage.

Senior leaders and the board have developed effective relationships and communication with the school’s Māori parents and community. They have consulted informally and formally to gain whānau voice and input into school policy and learning programmes.

Teachers use Ministry of Education resources and collaborative approaches to support their inclusion of bicultural perspectives in teaching and learning programmes. Some teachers use te reo frequently in classroom interactions. In previous years staff with strengths in te reo Māori me nga tikanga Māori have provided leadership in these areas. School leaders should now consider strategies to strengthen all teachers’ confidence and capability in te reo me nga tikanga Maori, to enhance success for Māori students.

4 Sustainable Performance

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

The school is continuing to build its capacity to sustain and improve its performance.

The school vision provides staff with a clear basis for goal and direction setting. Teachers participate in professional development to support the achievement of school goals and focuses.

The school board is made up of experienced and newer trustees with a range of skills to represent the community and govern effectively. Trustees are knowledgeable about school operations. They access training opportunities and have sought external support and guidance when needed.

Reflective practice is evident at all levels of the school. Reporting to the board has improved in recent years and assurance processes are in place. School leaders and trustees are continuing to extend ways of communicating and consulting with groups within the school community. They use information from parents, whānau, staff and students to inform strategic decisions.

Clear policies and procedures provide a useful framework for governance and guide school operations. Policy review processes are established. The school’s charter, strategic and annual plans guide programmes and practices and are regularly discussed at board meetings. Trustees review the effectiveness of their own governance performance.

The principal and board agree that they could further refine and strengthen self-review processes. ERO suggests that the board and school leadership consider accessing external support to help clarify their understanding and use of self-review processes. Improvements could include:

  • establishing formal processes to plan and guide formal self review
  • documenting self-review activity and its outcomes and making more evident the links between self-review outcomes and the school's strategic goals.

ERO and the school agree that other key steps to support sustainability and ongoing improvement are:

  • developing leadership capacity to sustain improvements
  • prioritising initiatives to ensure they are embedded in ways that are manageable, cohesive and coherent
  • increasing clarity and transparency in systems and processes.

The board has agreed to include the areas identified for improvement in this report in its 2015 charter, strategic and annual planning process, and to forward these to ERO. Documenting and prioritising these actions should support the new principal and the board as they strengthen systems, develop clarity and consistency in practices, and embed strategies for 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.

To further improve practice, trustees should ensure that all documents provide sufficient detail to evidence the board’s governance assurance role and processes.

Conclusion

Students at Parua Bay School experience varied learning opportunities within a positive school climate. Significant changes in recent years have strengthened teaching and learning. Although leadership changes have slowed the consolidation of some initiatives, the school is now positioned to ensure clarity and consistency in its systems and embed good practices to enhance further school development.

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

Dale Bailey

National Manager Review Services

Northern Region

15 December 2014

About the School

Location

Parua Bay, Whangarei

Ministry of Education profile number

1080

School type

Full Primary (Years 1 to 8)

School roll

264

Gender composition

Boys 52% Girls 48%

Ethnic composition

Maori

NZ European Pākehā

British

Pacific

other

23%

64%

6%

2%

5%

Review team on site

November 2014

Date of this report

15 December 2014

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

September 2011

June 2010

April 2007