Spring Creek School

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School Context

Spring Creek School is located close to Blenheim and caters for students in Years 1 to 6. The roll of 35 children includes 11 who are Māori and 3 of Pacific heritage.

The school’s vision is ‘Together we learn, together we grow’. The values of respect, responsibility, resilience and relationships underpin the school’s charter and curriculum.

The strategic aims for 2019 to 2021 are to:

  • strengthen teacher and leadership capability
  • connect with and engage the community
  • strengthen the bicultural curriculum and connections with whānau and iwi.

Leaders and teachers regularly report to the board, schoolwide information about outcomes for students in reading, writing and mathematics.

Professional development for 2020 is focusing on the teaching of writing, positive behaviour for learning, and culturally responsive practice.

Since the 2017 ERO review, the school has developed a modern learning environment to cater for mixed-age learning.

The school is a member of the Piritahi Kāhui Ako and the Wairau Cluster of schools.

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?

Spring Creek School is making progress towards achieving equitable and excellent outcomes for its students.

Achievement information from the end of 2019 showed that most of its students progressed well in reading and mathematics and the large majority in writing.

Māori students and New Zealand European/Pākehā students achieved well in reading and mathematics. More girls than boys achieved well in writing. The school should continue to focus on those few students who are not achieving at expected curriculum levels.

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

The school accelerated the learning of many of the students who needed this in 2019. In reading, mathematics and writing almost all of the students who were achieving below curriculum expectations at the end of 2018 had made accelerated progress by the end of 2019.

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?

High levels of student engagement are evident in learning environments. ERO observed positive, respectful, learning-focused relationships. Teachers affirm students’ positive choices relating to classroom expectations about learning and behaviour. Students with additional learning needs are identified and well supported.

Well-considered systems, practices and processes provide shared understanding and guide teaching and learning. Sound processes ensure the reliability of assessment decisions. The principal has led the development of clearly documented guidelines for the use of nationally normed assessment tools and schoolwide moderation processes. These inform teachers’ overall judgements about each child’s progress and achievement. The school’s curriculum achievement expectations for children reflect those of the Piritahi Kāhui Ako. Comprehensive, well-documented schoolwide systems include specific guidelines for teacher planning for effective teaching and accelerating student progress.

A major focus in 2019 has been the development of the school’s clearly stated, well-aligned mission, vision and values. Trustees, leaders and teachers are purposefully fostering a positive culture aligned to these. Comprehensive curriculum documents outline expectations for teaching and delivery of the curriculum learning areas, including digital technologies. Students have many opportunities to participate in a range of academic, sporting, art and leadership learning experiences. The principal has identified that further development of the local curriculum is planned and ERO’s evaluation supports this direction.

The board has set a clear strategic direction for the school. Trustees have sought external advice to increase their understanding of their governance role and to develop and review school policies and procedures. The principal keeps board members well informed about progress towards the aims of the strategic plan.

The principal works collaboratively with trustees and staff to establish sound school systems, processes and practices to promote positive outcomes for students. She is building effective professional learning relationships with the wider education community.

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

Two of the school’s strategic aims focus on community engagement and promoting culturally responsive relationships and practice. The school has considered important aspects of community engagement with whānau and identified that a next step is to put these into practice. Planned staff professional development for 2020 includes a focus on cultural responsiveness. ERO agrees that this development is important. Further development of the bicultural curriculum and the inclusion of contexts for learning that reflect and value the students’ ethnicity, is likely to further promote their engagement.

The school is at early stages of using internal evaluation. A framework for documenting the process has been developed. The board and principal seek and value input from students, staff and parents to inform decision making. A key next step is for staff and trustees to develop a shared understanding of evidence-based internal evaluation. This should include the use of clear, measurable indicators of success to better determine the impact of initiatives and interventions on outcomes for students and inform the school’s future direction.

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 Children’s Act 2014.

4 ERO’s Overall Judgement

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

ERO’s Framework: Overall Findings and Judgement Tool derived from School Evaluation Indicators: Effective Practice for Improvement and Learner Success 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:

  • clearly stated, well-aligned mission, vision and values that foster a positive learning environment
  • well-considered systems, practices and processes that guide teaching and learning
  • collaborative leadership establishing sound school systems to promote positive outcomes for students.

Next steps

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

  • increasing engagement with the community to strengthen collaborative learning-centred relationships
  • promoting culturally responsive relationships and practice to increase teachers’ connections to learners’ knowledge, experiences and identities
  • evidence-based internal evaluation to guide future school decision making.

Areas for improved compliance practice

To improve current practice, the board of trustees should:

  • ensure that the appointment and Education Outside the Classroom policies are fully implemented
  • continue to personalise the new set of policies to align with the school context.

Dr Lesley Patterson

Director Review and Improvement

Te Tai Tini (Southern Region)

11 May 2020

About the school

The Education Counts website provides further information about the school’s student population, student engagement and student achievement.

Summary

Spring Creek School has a roll of 44 children, including 16 Māori children.

Since the 2013 ERO report there have been a number of changes in the school including the appointment of a new principal. The school has joined the Piritahi Kāhui Ako/Community of Learning.

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

The school is responding effectively to Māori and other children whose learning and achievement need accelerating. The school has a number of good quality practices in place that support equity and excellence. There are some processes requiring further development.

At the time of this review the school’s participation in a Community of Learning was providing useful professional learning opportunities that aligned well with the school’s strategic goals of raising children’s achievement.

Children were achieving well. The school demonstrates strong progress toward achieving equity in educational outcomes, supported by effective, sustainable processes and practices.

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 is responding effectively to Māori and other children whose learning and achievement need accelerating.

Information provided to ERO shows that the school does not have adequate processes in place to ensure reliability of assessment decisions. Teacher overall judgements about achievement against the National Standards are not consistent between teachers. A key priority for the school is to develop clear guidelines and expectations that promote robust assessment and moderation practices.

The school’s achievement information shows that, overall, Māori children are achieving very well in relation to the National Standards in reading, writing and mathematics. The pattern of achievement for other children over the last three years shows consistently high achievement in reading, writing and mathematics.

There is ongoing disparity in achievement for boys, particularly in writing, which the school is working to address.

School conditions supporting equity and excellence

The school has a number of good quality processes that are effective in achieving equity and excellence.

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

School values are well embedded and actively used by leaders, teachers and students to develop positive behaviours and an equitable learning environment. The enacted values, in combination with a school focus on key competencies, are supporting children to be effective lifelong learners.

Children have many opportunities for learning that are purposeful and engaging. In particular, children have time to practise and revisit learning, learning is differentiated according to need, and technology is used effectively to enable better access to the curriculum. Students are also encouraged to take responsibility for their learning through meaningful goal setting and decision-making about their learning.

Parents, family and whānau are actively welcomed and involved in the school. Leaders and teachers have established a strong culture of respect, which is further enhanced by effective communication between home and school. Timely communication between school and home supports reciprocal, learning-centred relationships.

Leaders and teachers trial innovative teaching and learning strategies to support priority learners. There is a culture of challenge and strong support for learning. Professional learning opportunities are aligned with strategic planning and student achievement goals. Teachers are encouraged to reflect on effective teaching practices through a well-understood process of inquiry.

There is an understanding among leaders and teachers of Māori values. This contributes to teaching practices that are culturally and pedagogically responsive. Tuakana teina relationships between students support learning and wellbeing. Aspects of te ao Māori are incorporated in learning programmes with the aim of celebrating and promoting Māori language, identity and culture.

Some aspects of internal evaluation are well used to support improvement in teaching and learning. The teacher appraisal system is very useful and well aligned with school priorities. The introduction of a 'spiral of inquiry' approach to developing teacher practice is generating some good examples of innovative and responsive practice to promote equity and excellence and reduce disparity.

Sustainable development for equity and excellence

The school has some effective processes for supporting equity and excellence. There are a number of areas that require further development and improvement.

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

Moderation processes to support consistency and reliability of overall teacher judgements in relation to National Standards must be put in place. Some aspects of the curriculum (reading and writing) need to be aligned with NZ Curriculum expectations. The principal has identified these areas as priorities for improvement in order to determine if students are progressing adequately and to inform the board and community accurately.

Planning to support children who need to make accelerated progress should be more detailed and better evaluated to determine the impact of actions on children's learning.

Some aspects of internal evaluation need to be further developed. This includes analysis and evaluation of:

  • achievement information to show sufficiency of progress and to inform board decision-making
  • the board's annual plan to show how effectively they are meeting their goals.

The principal's appraisal needs to be more robust and meet the requirements of the Education Council.

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.

Appraisal audit

Actions required

ERO identified non-compliance in relation to the principal's appraisal.

In order to address this the board must ensure that the principal is appraised against the Education Council expectations. [NAG 3; s 77A State Sector Act]

Going forward

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

Children are achieving well. The school demonstrates strong progress toward achieving equity in educational outcomes, supported by effective, sustainable processes and practices.

Agreed next steps are to:

  • improve the consistency and reliability of teacher overall judgements in relation to National Standards
  • plan more specifically to support children requiring additional support with learning and regularly evaluate progress to determine if it is sufficient
  • develop a more robust system of internal evaluation specifically to determine effectiveness of support for children's progress and achievement
  • ensure that the principal's appraisal is compliant and of sufficient quality.

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

Dr Lesley Patterson

Deputy Chief Review Officer

Southern (Te Waipounamu)

14 July 2017 

About the school 

Location

Spring Creek

Ministry of Education profile number

2995

School type

Primary 1-6

School roll

44

Gender composition

Male 22

Female 22

Ethnic composition

Māori 16

European 24

Dutch 3

African 1

Provision of Māori medium education

No

Review team on site

May, 2017

Date of this report

14 July 2017

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review May, 2013

Education Review April, 2010