Blenheim School

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Summary

At the time of this review, Blenheim School’s roll was 70. This includes 22 Māori and 14 Pacific children. A number of these children have English as a second language. The school hosts nine Resource Teachers of Learning and Behaviour (RTLBs), one RTLB Cluster Manager, a Resource Teacher of Māori (RTM) and the Southern Regional Health School.

A new principal was appointed in Term 1, 2015. The chairperson is an experienced board member. All other trustees are new to the board. The school has made good progress in meeting the recommendation from the previous ERO report by strengthening partnerships with whānau and increasing the focus on bicultural perspectives and practices.

Senior leaders are aware that achievement, overall, is low. Achievement in writing and mathematics against the National Standards is lower than reading. The school’s achievement information shows examples of individual children’s accelerated progress in their learning. School leaders and teachers have strategies to support and monitor all children who need to make quicker progress in their learning over time.

The Ministry of Education provided Student Achievement Function (SAF) support to the school in 2016. This supported leaders and teachers to develop a broad range of strategies and practices to improve children’s progress and achievement in writing. Many of these approaches are used to more generally support children’s progress and achievement in other learning areas.

School leaders are actively involved in the Piritahi Kāhui Ako|Community of Learning (CoL) and a local cluster of collaborative schools.

How well is the school achieving equitable outcomes for all children?

The school is strongly focused on providing equitable outcomes for all children.

Leaders and teachers are purposefully focused on children’s wellbeing and strongly foster their sense of belonging within the school.

The school has a comprehensive range of systems and processes to guide practice and the provision of a safe environment for children to achieve equity and excellence. A number of well-considered initiatives have been introduced and are being embedded into school practices.

The school has capacity and capability to accelerate learning for all children. The school’s achievement information shows that disparity in achievement for Māori, Pacific and other children remains. Leaders and teachers:

  • know the children whose learning and achievement need to be accelerated

  • need to evaluate approaches that effectively meet the needs of each child

  • need to continue to build teacher capability to accelerate children’s learning and achievement.

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

Equity and excellence

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

The school responds positively toMāori and other children whose learning, progress and achievement need acceleration.

School achievement information shows that children achieve best in reading. At least half of Māori children achieve at or above the National Standards in reading and mathematics.

The school’s achievement monitoring systems show several examples of children’s accelerated progress in reading, writing and mathematics. Leaders and teachers are aware of in-school disparity for some groups of children. They have implemented a number of interventions to address disparity for those whose learning needs acceleration.

Teachers use a good range of assessment processes and regularly moderate their judgements within the school. They benefit from targeted professional development which has supported their increased knowledge and use of assessment information, particularly in writing. This is helping teachers make more consistent judgements about children’s levels of progress and achievement. Mathematics moderation is yet to occur across the school. This is part of the targeted focus in 2017. Cross-school moderation of teachers’ assessment decisions is a goal for the CoL.

School conditions supporting equity and excellence

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

The school has many increasingly effective processes and practices for enabling achievement of equity and excellence.

The school’s shared vision and GRIT (Growing, Respect, Initiative, Tenacity) values are intentionally integrated into key documentation and many practices across the school. The values are well known by children and are effectively used to build their determination and confidence as learners.

Diversity and difference are highly valued. Teachers provide children with meaningful learning opportunities to add depth to their cultural understandings of Māori perspectives and other cultures represented at the school. The school’s culture is inclusive and helps children build a strong sense of belonging.

Teachers purposefully foster positive behaviour and have high expectations for children’s learning. Their pastoral care needs are well considered and provided for in sensitive ways.

Leaders, teachers and teacher aides work well together to ensure children benefit from the expertise likely to accelerate progress and decrease disparity. Teachers identify, regularly track and monitor all children, and in particular, those children at risk of not achieving. A number of children receive additional, targeted support. Specific, individualised programmes and approaches are identified to support these learners.

School leaders have high expectations for learning and teaching. Teachers work collaboratively to provide a broad curriculum. This is further enriched by the cultural knowledge shared by parents and the many opportunities children have to visit places of interest in their local community.

School leaders and trustees follow a clear strategic plan which is regularly monitored to show how goals are being achieved. Trustees are well informed and make careful decisions about resourcing the school to provide equitable learning opportunities for all children.

School staff maintain positive, respectful relationships with children, families and those involved at the school. The CoL is providing many opportunities for the sharing of good practice and expertise to ensure positive outcomes for children and their whānau.

Sustainable development for equity and excellence

What further developments are needed in school processes to achieve equity and excellence?

A number of well-considered initiatives have been introduced and are being successfully embedded into school practices.

The agreed next steps are to:

  • further accelerate children’s progress and achievement in mathematics, reading and writing to address in-school disparity
  • continue to strengthen the board’s stewardship capacity to effectively scrutinise achievement and other information
  • develop a strategic, systematic approach to internal evaluation.

In previous years, the board has undertaken a range of stewardship training. ERO recommends the board continues to build on this practice in order to ensure ongoing strengthening of board effectiveness.

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
  • 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.

Going forward

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

The school is well placed to accelerate the progress and achievement of children.

The school is focused on children’s wellbeing and strongly fosters their sense of belonging. The school is working towards achieving equity in educational outcomes, supported by many effective systems and practices.

The school has capacity and capability to accelerate learning for all children. However, disparity in achievement for Māori and other children remains.

Leaders and teachers:

  • know the children whose learning and achievement need to be accelerated

  • need to evaluate approaches that effectively meet the needs of each child

  • need to continue to build teacher capability to accelerate children’s learning and achievement.

The school agrees to:

  • develop more targeted planning to accelerate learning for children

  • monitor targeted planning, improved teaching, and children’s progress

  • discuss the school’s progress with ERO, and provide achievement progress reports to ERO over time.

The school has requested that ERO provide them with an internal evaluation workshop. 

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

Dr Lesley Patterson

Deputy Chief Review Officer - Southern (Te Waipounamu)

6 September 2017

About the school 

Location

Blenheim

Ministry of Education profile number

2811

School type

Contributing

School roll

70

Gender composition

Girls: 42

Boys: 28

Ethnic composition

Māori: 22

Pākehā: 27

Pacific: 14

Other ethnicities: 7

Provision of Māori medium education

No

Review team on site

June 2017

Date of this report

6 September 2017

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review May 2013

Education Review November 2009

 

1 Context

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

Blenheim School is a small, long-established school situated adjacent to the central business district in Blenheim. It caters for students in Years 1 to 6. One third of students identify as Māori. The school hosts nine Resource Teachers of Learning and Behaviour, a Social Worker in Schools, a Resource Teacher Māori and the Southern Regional Health School.

A new board was formed as a result of a by-election in 2012. Trustees access training and support to increase their awareness and understanding of good governance.

The recommendation relating to the use of student achievement data in the 2009 ERO report has been comprehensively addressed.

2 Learning

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

Students are well engaged in learning in a positive, settled environment. They contribute confidently to classroom conversations. Friendly, respectful interactions are evident, with a clear focus on learning.

Behaviour guidelines are explicitly stated and consistently applied. The school is part of the positive behaviour for learning initiative. An outcome is a reduction in incidents of inappropriate behaviour since the programme was introduced. Teachers are inclusive and able to adapt to the teaching requirements of high needs students. Senior leaders analyse attendance data and are using effective strategies to improve attendance.

Achievement data is collated and analysed to show how students are achieving with reference to National Standards and information is regularly reported to trustees. Māori student achievement is similar to their peers in reading and mathematics, and lower in writing. Pacific student achievement is similar to students overall in mathematics and is lower in literacy.

Student achievement is a strategic priority and is regularly tracked and analysed. In-depth meetings are held between the principal and each teacher at the end of each term to consider rates of progress and discuss how to adapt teaching strategies and provide suitable resourcing to address the needs of priority students. End of year data for 2012 show that pupils are making significant progress in literacy and mathematics. Māori and Pacific student achievement is improving as a result of the school’s close scrutiny of student progress and focused teaching.

Comprehensive reports to the board about student achievement are used to plan for improved student outcomes. Annual targets are set for raising student achievement in literacy and mathematics. Each target is accompanied by a comprehensive action plan that details strategies and actions designed to accelerate students' progress.

Students are encouraged to talk about their learning and next steps. They know what they are learning and why it is important. Students and their families are involved in setting goals and developing plans. Students are taught how to manage their learning and behaviour.

Parents receive plain language written reports twice yearly which state their child’s progress and achievement in relation to National Standards. Transition to school is actively supported, helping to promote positive relationships with students and their families.

3 Curriculum

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

Teachers appropriately use their knowledge of students and their achievement information to decide on the teaching content and approach that will engage students and raise their achievement. Teaching and learning resources are designed to meet the diverse range of needs, interests, backgrounds and experiences of students.

A wide range of effective teaching strategies is used in classrooms. Classroom environments support learning and promote belonging. Teachers use student assessment results to reflect on the effectiveness of their teaching and are at varying stages of early development of teaching as inquiry. It is acknowledged by the school that this is an area for ongoing development.

Curriculum documentation links to The New Zealand Curriculum and is appropriate to support and promote learning. The charter vision and values are clearly evident in supporting documents and implementation plans. There is an appropriate emphasis on literacy, numeracy, key competencies and cooperative planning by teachers. Guidelines for assessment and planning are clearly stated. Teachers select and integrate topics and themes according to class strengths, interests and needs.

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

The school has a strategic commitment to raising the achievement of Māori students embodied in its response to Ka Hikitia: Māori Education Success Strategy action plan. A wide range of initiatives is implemented in order to meet their goals. As an outcome, Māori student achievement is rising significantly in reading, writing and mathematics.

While there are regular hui with Māori whānau, it is important to strengthen this partnership by seeking and responding to whānau aspirations for their children’s success as Māori.

How effectively does the school promote success for Pacific students?

Staff and trustees are using the Pasifika Education Plan to guide them to make decisions about success for Pacific students. Teachers actively consider and reflect on their responsiveness to the needs of Pacific students.

School and family links are purposefully designed to support parents’ active involvement in their child’s learning. The 'Reading Together' and 'Computers in Homes' programmes have been successful in engaging Pacific families. Further consultation with Pacific families is planned.

4 Sustainable Performance

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

Wide ranging and strategic self review is primarily focused on raising student achievement. A comprehensive three year review plan includes strategic, regular and emergent review. Outcomes inform school direction and planning for ongoing improvement. The principal is working to ensure the continued development of shared understandings about self-review processes and practices.

There is clear alignment between the charter, strategic and annual plans. Board decision making focuses on improving student outcomes and progress towards achieving goals is regularly monitored.

The principal communicates clearly, her high expectations for student learning and achievement and for teachers as professionals. These expectations are well documented.

The appraisal process is effectively used to identify and address necessary improvement to the quality of teaching. Development goals link to the school’s strategic plan. This process has been developed in 2012 to include cultural competencies and responsiveness to Māori learners. Systems for recruitment of staff are robust and fair.

Professional learning and development blends whole school focus areas with providing support for individual teachers’ goals that match identified needs and priorities.

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.

When is ERO likely to review the school again?

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

Joyce Gebbie

National Manager Review Services Central Region (Acting)

13 May 2013Image removed.

About the School

Location

Blenheim

Ministry of Education profile number

2811

School type

Contributing (Year 1 to 6)

School roll

54

Gender composition

Male 35, Female 19

Ethnic composition

NZ European/Pākehā

Māori

Pacific

29

18

7

Special Features

Attached units: Resource Teachers: Learning and Behaviour Resource Teacher: Māori Southern Regional Health School Social Worker in School

Review team on site

March 2013

Date of this report

13 May 2013

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

November 2009

February 2007

October 2004