Oakura School

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Education institution number:
2208
School type:
Full Primary
School gender:
Co-Educational
Definition:
Not Applicable
Total roll:
332
Telephone:
Address:

16 Donnelly Street, New Plymouth

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School Context

Oakura School caters for Years 1 to 8 students in a small coastal village southwest of New Plymouth. The roll of 344 includes 41 students who identify as Māori.

The school’s vision ‘Learn to think and learn to care in a learning community which prepares students for a successful future’, together with its values of pono - honesty, whakaaro pai - respect, manawanui - perseverance underpin all aspects of school operations.

Key strategic goals include developing a Learning to Care culture; empowering students to their personal best; supporting students to be active learners; developing global citizens strengthening connections between school and community.

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

  • literacy and numeracy (including initiatives or interventions)
  • achievement in the wider curriculum
  • wellbeing.

Evaluation Findings

1 Equity and excellence – achievement of valued outcomes for students

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

The school successfully promotes excellent outcomes for most students in reading, writing and mathematics. There is some variation between year groups but overall there has been a consistent pattern over time. With minor differences, boys and girls have achieved at similar levels.

Data for 2018 shows improved levels of achievement for most students. There has been some previous disparity for Māori students, however this has been reduced significantly in 2018. Māori student achievement is now similar to their peers in the school.

Students with additional learning needs are very well supported to participate, progress and achieve in relation to appropriately developed Individual Education Plans.

1.2 How well is the school accelerating learning for those Māori and other students who need this?

School data over time shows that Māori student achievement has been accelerated in reading, writing and mathematics. Most students identified as targets and priority learners at the start of 2018 made accelerated progress over the year in aspects of literacy and mathematics.

2 School conditions for equity and excellence – processes and practices

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

Purposeful, settled and attractive environments promote learning. Senior leaders and teachers have high expectations for children to succeed. Relationships among students and with teachers are positive and respectful. This promotes students’ wellbeing and belonging. Children are highly engaged in, and talk knowledgeably about, their learning. Their voice is valued.

Teachers use a variety of useful school-based and standardised assessment tools. Appropriate assessment, moderation processes and systems are in place to promote the reliability of teachers’ judgements about children’s progress and achievement. Staff use achievement information well to plan learning programmes and meet children’s individual learning needs. Personalised plans that include specific learning goals are developed for each priority student. These are shared with parents and whānau. Progress is regularly monitored, tracked and reported.

Student engagement is well promoted by the broad curriculum. The school’s vision, history and values are clearly evident in the programme. There are many opportunities for students to participate and celebrate success in academic, sporting, artistic, cultural and leadership activities. Digital technology is extensively accessed to support learning. Ongoing review has developed and embedded the school’s Learner Profile, appropriately aligned to the principles and competencies of The New Zealand Curriculum.

There is a strong emphasis on growing children’s awareness and management of their own learning. Their input is valued by staff and informs teaching programmes and the choice of activities offered. Teachers are increasingly personalising learning for children.

Trustees and school leaders work in a cohesive, systematic way to effectively establish a culture of ongoing improvement. They recognise and use the knowledge and skills of teachers to lead aspects of the curriculum. Extensive professional development is focused on introducing new methodologies, developing culturally responsive practice and growing teachers’ capability. The appraisal process is meaningful and manageable. It effectively supports teacher development and improving outcomes for students.

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

School leaders have made sound progress with the implementation of bicultural perspectives and promoting Māori success as Māori. ERO affirms the school’s ongoing focus and work to enhance and embed te ao Māori throughout the curriculum.

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 ERO’s Overall Judgement

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

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

5 Going forward

Key strengths of the school

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

  • the positive and respectful learning environment that supports students’ engagement and learning
  • the broad curriculum that provides opportunities for students to participate in a wide range of activities
  • high expectations and a collaborative approach by trustees, leaders and teachers that promotes improved outcomes for students.

Next steps

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

  • growing children’s awareness and management of their own learning
  • enhancing and embedding te ao Māori throughout the curriculum to strengthen Māori learners to gain success as Māori.

Phillip Cowie

Director Review and Improvement Services Central

Central Region

14 May 2019

About the school

Location

New Plymouth

Ministry of Education profile number

2208

School type

Full Primary (Years 1 to 8)

School roll

344

Gender composition

Boys 53%, Girls 47%

Ethnic composition

Māori 12%
NZ European/Pākehā 81%
Other European 4%
Other ethnic groups 3%

Students with Ongoing Resourcing Funding (ORS)

Yes

Provision of Māori medium education

No

Review team on site

April 2019

Date of this report

14 May 2019

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review May 2015
Education Review January 2011

Findings

Students, parents, teachers and trustees value high quality education and strive for excellence. The majority of students achieve at or above expectation in relation to the National Standards in literacy and mathematics. Trusting relationships enable students to confidently take risks and to persevere. The board governs responsibly, consulting parents before making considered decisions.

ERO is likely to carry out the next review in four-to-five years.

1 Context

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

Oakura School caters for Years 1 to 8 students in a small coastal village southwest of New Plymouth. The growing community has strong links with the school, sharing facilities and actively contributing to the curriculum. Students and parents, teachers and the board of trustees value high quality education and strive for excellence. The roll of 328 includes 33 students who identify as Māori.

‘Learn to think and learn to care in a learning community which prepares students for a successful future’ is the school’s vision. Values encouraged are honesty, respect and perseverance. All underpin the curriculum and decisions made by the board, parents and teachers. The school is part of a wider community of learners.

Skilled, well-informed trustees and senior leaders focus on continuous improvement. Relationships are respectful; students’ wellbeing is prioritised. Teachers are experienced and professional.

Parents and whānau actively engage in their children’s education. Learning partnerships are valued and considered essential. The impact on students’ progress and achievement is significant. An active Friends of Oakura School group contributes to resourcing.

The board and senior leaders have sustained and built on the strengths identified in the January 2011 ERO report.

2 Learning

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

Assessment information is well used to plan programmes that impact positively on student progress and achievement. The school’s achievement information indicates that the majority of students achieve at or above expectation in relation to the National Standards in literacy and mathematics. There is evidence that all students make steady gains across the year with some making accelerated progress.

Challenging targets for improvement are set in each class. Progress is closely monitored and changes made to programmes and teaching strategies as appropriate. There is an individualised approach to increasing each student’s rate of progress. Teacher collaboration, sharing and a focus on solutions is a priority.

Students set goals and, as they move through year levels, are increasingly capable of self assessing their progress. Teachers and students decide the criteria for success. The purpose for learning is clear.

Students with more complex needs receive good levels of assistance. Making a difference is a shared responsibility between school and home. When appropriate, external agencies contribute. Teachers know students well and expect each to be a successful learner. Increased rates of progress are evident and sustained.

Trustees and parents receive regular reports about students’ progress and achievement. Information is clearly stated, including how parents may assist at home and the impact of board resourcing.

3 Curriculum

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

The curriculum is highly responsive to students’ experiences, interests and learning needs. Regular review ensures that it is learner-centred, challenging and continues to evolve towards the future. The environment is rich, distinctly New Zealand in context and reflects the local commitment to sustainability. There are multiple opportunities for students to participate in physical, cultural, social and community learning beyond the school.

The school’s expectations for effective teaching are very clear and evident in the deliberate strategies observed in classrooms. Students and teachers are enthusiastic about learning. Trusting relationships enable students to confidently take risks, to persevere and to help each other. Older students work alongside younger students in buddy roles. Expectations for the quality and quantity of work are shared and tailored to individual need. Students are highly engaged and motivated. Learning at home complements learning at school.

Information and communication technologies (ICT) are well integrated as tools for learning. Students use ICT confidently and in purposeful ways. Trustees and teachers continue to review and upgrade systems and software.

Policies and practices linked to inclusion have been rigorously reviewed. Recommendations were quickly followed up and implemented. Change is impacting on what teachers and trustees do, and improvements to the curriculum are evident. Teachers and parents work together proactively and every student has the best possible support to achieve their progress goals.

The school has adopted a thoughtful, planned approach to developing a future-focused curriculum and associated student decision making. The benefits of teachers’ professional learning, research and deliberate teaching are observable. Students engage confidently in research and capably self manage tasks. The curriculum supports students to have the necessary communication skills, adaptability and creativity for the future. ERO affirms that the school’s identified next step: to continue to explore, develop and embed best practice in the curriculum, is appropriate.

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

The school actively promotes educational success for Māori as Māori. There are close links with Oakura Marae, supported by school whānau and a curriculum that values and includes te reo Māori and Māori contexts. Formal reports to iwi indicate that students experience success across the breadth of the curriculum and there are opportunities for seniors to lead as strong role models.

Teachers, with guidance from external providers, are increasing their capability in te āo Māori. The board is proactive in supporting professional learning and through staff appointments. Students’ learning is progressive from new entrants to Year 8. Increasing levels of confidence are evident. Whole school kapa haka prepares students for performance in the wider community. Parents learn and share with their children as part of noho marae.

Students demonstrate pride in their achievements and have good knowledge of their language, culture and identity.

4 Sustainable Performance

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

The school is very well placed to sustain and improve its performance. Trustees are skilled and knowledgeable about their governance role. The board plans wisely for the future, making carefully considered decisions to support high quality teaching and learning. Governance is strengthened through regular planned and responsive reviews. Change is well managed, soundly-based, and informed through extensive consultation with parents and community.

The principal is a knowledgeable professional, actively promoting the school’s values and leading the focus on excellence. Senior leaders model good practice, encourage innovation and ensure that expectations for student progress are met across the school.

Teachers’ professional learning and development is making a significant difference to their practice. There is a positive impact on the goals for a future-focused curriculum with students increasingly making decisions about their learning. Critical reflection, cooperation and a high degree of trust encourage teachers to lead in areas of interest and expertise.

Students’ transition into and beyond the school is designed to sustain confident and positive attitudes to learning. Links with secondary schools assist senior leaders to make decisions about the Year 8 curriculum. Feedback from Year 9 students indicates they are well prepared through extensive leadership opportunities, learning challenges, high expectations and the broad curriculum. Year 8 students are resilient and confident.

The board’s concept of a ‘community of learners’ is evident in practice. Collaboration and shared decision making assist parents to be informed about, and involved in, their children’s education. Relationships are respectful. There is a shared commitment and partnership, between parents and school, to prepare students for future learning and developing the attributes of good citizenship.

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

Students, parents, teachers and trustees value high quality education and strive for excellence. The majority of students achieve at or above expectation in relation to the National Standards in literacy and mathematics. Trusting relationships enable students to confidently take risks and to persevere. The board governs responsibly, consulting parents before making considered decisions.

ERO is likely to carry out the next review in four-to-five years.

Joyce Gebbie

Deputy Chief Review Officer Central

20 May 2015

About the School

Location

Oakura, New Plymouth

Ministry of Education profile number

2208

School type

Full Primary (Years 1 to 8)

School roll

328

Gender composition

Male 51%, Female 49%

Ethnic composition

Māori

Pākehā

Other ethnic groups

11%

70%

19%

Review team on site

April 2015

Date of this report

20 May 2015

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

January 2011

June 2008

June 2005