Appleby School

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School Context

Appleby School is located in a semi-rural setting, on the outskirts of Richmond, Nelson. It caters for students from Years 1 to 6. At the time of this review the roll was 125 students, with 10% identifying as Māori.

An area within the school grounds holding significant historical and cultural value to the local iwi, Ngāti Kuia, is valued and celebrated.

The overarching vision is that ‘students’ needs, interests and aspirations are at the centre of everything we do’. This is underpinned by the values of diversity; transparency; a positive environment; honesty and integrity. Valued outcomes are for learners who will get involved, respect themselves and others, are well organised, work hard, are competent thinkers and have resilience when challenged.

The 2019 charter goals are to continue the high levels of equity and excellence in student achievement, and to explore ways to implement and embed the digital curriculum.

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

  • achievement in reading, writing and mathematics
  • accelerated progress in relation to school achievement targets
  • additional learning needs, including gifted and talented students
  • attendance.

Professional development in 2018 was focused on raising achievement in writing through the ‘Accelerating Literacy Learning’ initiative (A.L.L). This continues to be a focus for 2019.

Since the April 2014 ERO report, there have been a number of staff changes, including the appointment of a new principal commencing in 2019.

The school is a member of the Waimea Kāhui Ako |Community of Learning.

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?

School achievement data for 2018 shows that almost all students achieve at or above school expectations in reading and mathematics, and most students achieve in writing. At the end of Year 6 this is particularly evident, where all students achieve at or above expected curriculum levels in reading, and almost all meet expected curriculum levels in writing and mathematics.

Māori student achievement in reading, writing and mathematics, is consistently higher than their peers, over time. Addressing some disparity for boys in writing is an ongoing priority.

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?

In 2018, acceleration of learning is evident for many students, including Māori, at risk of not achieving, particularly in writing, and also in reading 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?

Well-considered, collaborative and cohesive approaches to teaching and learning enable excellent and equitable outcomes. Clear expectations and guidelines promote a consistent approach for teachers responding effectively to students’ strengths, interests and needs. Trustees are well informed about the achievement and progress of all students.

Sound systems and well-considered assessment tools effectively support leaders and teachers to gather robust achievement information. This informs strategic resourcing and decision-making. Teachers use this information appropriately to recognise and respond to students’ interests and learning needs. Students at risk of not achieving are effectively identified.

Students experience a purposeful learning environment. Relationships among students and with teachers are positive and respectful. This promotes students’ wellbeing, sense of identity, belonging and engagement in their learning. Student voice is valued. The school’s valued outcomes are clearly evident and promote responsibility and choice in their learning.

Students’ engagement is effectively fostered through well-considered activities and links to the local environment. The school’s vision, history and local themes are clearly evident in the programme. Students participate and celebrate success in a wide range of academic, sporting, artistic, cultural and leadership activities.

A robust appraisal system, well-aligned to the school’s strategic priorities, is effectively used to grow teacher capability.

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

Trustees and leaders agree that the documented curriculum needs further review and development to better reflect the localised curriculum that is currently practised. This should more clearly reflect the bicultural nature of Aotearoa New Zealand. A culturally responsive curriculum for Māori learners should be clearly articulated, based on a shared vision and indicators of success for Māori, informed by whānau and iwi aspirations.

Leaders and teachers reflect and report on the effectiveness of programmes, interventions and practices to make changes and respond to student needs. Further developing a documented, shared understanding and processes for internal evaluation is a key next step. This should better support trustees, leaders and teachers to know what has the most significant impact on student well being and learning.

Current trustees have indicated they will not be standing for re-election. As the new board of trustees forms it will be important that they build their understanding of their roles and responsibilities, particularly in relation to employment practices and health and safety.

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 Appleby School performance in achieving valued outcomes for its students is: Well placed.

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:

  • a purposeful learning environment that promotes students’ wellbeing and engagement in learning
  • collaborative and cohesive approaches to teaching, learning and leadership that enable consistently high levels of student achievement
  • a robust appraisal process for growing teacher capability that promotes positive outcomes for students.

Next steps

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

  • reviewing the school’s documented curriculum to ensure it is current, localised and reflects the bicultural aspect of Aotearoa New Zealand
  • developing an internal evaluation framework to better measure the impact of practices and actions on valued outcomes for students.

Areas for improved compliance practice

To improve current practice, the board of trustees should:

  • ensure systems and records for complaints, police vetting, teacher certification, employment practices, and emergency drills are complete and are appropriately stored
  • ensure confidential matters are formalised through the in-committee process
  • prioritise the implementation of an annual performance agreement for the new principal.

Alan Wynyard

Director Review and Improvement Services Southern

Southern Region

10 June 2019

About the school

Location

Nelson

Ministry of Education profile number

3180

School type

Contributing (Years 1 to 6)

School roll

125

Gender composition

Boys 52%, Girls 48%

Ethnic composition

Māori 10%

NZ European/Pākehā 83%

Other ethnic groups 7%

Students with Ongoing Resourcing Funding (ORS)

No

Provision of Māori medium education

No

Review team on site

April 2019

Date of this report

10 June 2019

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review April 2014

Education Review February 2011

1 Context

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

Appleby School is located in a semi-rural setting. It celebrated its 150th anniversary in 2009 and has an ongoing history of having strong links with its community. These links, and the use teachers make of the immediate and wider community, enrich students' learning and promote their sense of belonging.

The school has a range of facilities including a swimming pool, library, adventure playgrounds and a hall. Students enjoy these facilities to support and extend their learning and development.

Since the school’s February 2011 ERO review, there have been several changes in staff. These include a change in deputy principal in 2014. The board and principal successfully recruit staff who enhance teaching and learning and add to the school’s positive culture.

Curriculum and professional development have helped to support the effective use of information technologies to support teaching and learning, extend the practices teachers use to improve students’ written language skills and promote the school’s values.

The active "Friends Of Appleby School” (FOAS) group holds events that promote and build positive relationships. These events include a very successful annual fair. The board and principal make good use of the significant funds raised by this group to support students such as funding additional staff and extending resources.

Many of the positive features noted in the school’s last ERO report have been sustained and in many instances enhanced. Areas for development and review have been addressed well.

2 Learning

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

The school makes very good use of achievement information to make positive changes to learners' engagement, progress and achievement.

School leaders and teachers systematically gather and use a wide range of reliable student achievement information, particularly in literacy and mathematics. Consistency in assessment practices and well-developed student records enable school-wide achievement information to be accurately reported.

The principal and teachers make effective use of this information to make well-informed judgements about individual students' achievement, progress, strengths and needs.

Effective use of achievement information is also clearly evident in the way leaders and teachers use it to:

  • accurately identify common and individual student learning needs and strengths
  • give useful feedback to students that helps them to identify their strengths and next learning steps
  • provide informative reports to parents in ways that help to build a sense of partnership.

Teachers are very responsive to the identified learning needs of students. They clearly include students’ strengths and needs when planning classroom programmes, considering teaching practices and grouping students.

A well-managed, and implemented, range of additional support helps students with the most significant learning needs to make progress. Close monitoring of the impact of this support for students helps teachers to evaluate its effectiveness, target their teaching and improve provisions.

Areas for Review and Development

To help build on current practices school leaders should now:

  • explore ways of further reporting on student achievement and progress beyond literacy and mathematics
  • extend the analysis of student progress by further tracking the progress that specific groups of students make over their time at the school.

3 Curriculum

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

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

Students achieve highly in literacy and mathematics. For example, the majority of students are achieving above the National Standards in reading, mathematics and written language. Comparisons with previous years, indicate a general lift in achievement levels since the school’s last ERO review.

Students also achieve significant success in a variety of other areas including both sporting and cultural activities.

The board, school leaders and staff have developed an effective learning environment for students. Factors contributing to this environment include the:

  • very positive and supportive relationships that exist across the school and the way students help one another
  • high priority placed on fostering values, promoting students’ wellbeing and celebrating their successes
  • established school and class routines and practices that ensure a strong focus is maintained on learning
  • interactions that encourage students to take appropriate risks and respond to challenges in ways that extend their learning.

A strong sense of whānau helps to promote a safe learning-focused environment, where students’ wellbeing and sense of belonging are actively fostered.

The learning opportunities students experience, are consistent with the school’s goal to provide a rich, balanced and relevant curriculum. The school’s collaboratively designed curriculum is supported by the wide range and varied nature of experiences students have both within, and beyond the school.

School programmes are balanced and engaging and result in students having opportunities to achieve success across the curriculum. Teachers consistently take into account students' strengths, interests and everyday experiences in their planning and this makes their learning meaningful.

A sample of students talked to by reviewers confirmed that they enjoy coming to school and appreciate the range of learning experiences they take part in.

Teachers make consistent use of a wide variety of effective practices known to foster student progress and achievement. For example teachers:

  • have high and clear expectations and actively support students to reach these
  • make sure their teaching is purposeful and well paced
  • use practices and provide feedback to students that give focus to their learning, extend their thinking and increase their independence
  • make effective use of a variety of resources to support learning and teaching.

The quality of teaching programmes and practices successfully motivates and engages students in their learning.

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

The school’s positive learning environment, rich and varied curriculum and its recognition of students’ cultural background provides Māori students with a good platform for achieving success as Māori. Students are strongly encouraged to use their abilities in ways that lead to success and achievement.

The community, board and staff are fully committed to ensuring all students develop a strong awareness of Aotearoa/New Zealand’s bicultural heritage. For instance the board and school leaders are successfully establishing stronger links with local iwi and a trustee is actively exploring additional ways of extending opportunities for bicultural learning.

All students have good opportunities to further their awareness and knowledge of te reo and tikanga Māori. They take part in a pōwhiri when visiting their local marae. The school is supported by a Māori advisor with cultural expertise. Such activities, along with others noted above, help Māori students to enjoy success as Māori.

Māori students are achieving very well academically in this school. Their achievement is similar to their peers, and in some instances, a little higher.

4 Sustainable Performance

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

This school is very well placed to sustain and improve its performance.

The principal, with the support of other leaders and staff, effectively leads the school and sets the direction for learning and teaching. He makes well-informed decisions and has a strong commitment to continually improve teaching and learning.

The principal, along with others, has successfully created a school culture that promotes high expectations, welcomes new ideas and promotes critical thinking. Good use is made of staff strengths. Teachers are encouraged to be innovative and reflective about their teaching and students’ learning. Collaboration and collegiality are strongly evident. As a result leaders and teachers work together in ways that clearly benefit students.

The board governs the school effectively. Trustees have the range of skills and experiences necessary to perform their roles. The board shows the same strong commitment to ongoing school improvement and continuing to raise student achievement as the principal.

A strong sense of partnership exists between the board, principal, other leaders, staff and the community. This sense of partnership and effective governance is promoted by clear direction setting, good communication and the regular monitoring of planned developments along with how well the board is meeting its obligations.

The board’s ongoing programme of self review provides regular opportunities for staff, parents, and students to provide it with useful feedback. Trustees' effective use of this feedback, along with information provided by the principal and teachers, to inform their decisions.

The board actively supports teaching and learning through their practical assistance, provision of resources and significant additional staffing.

Areas for Review and Development

Some refinements to curriculum self-review practices would increase their usefulness. For example, greater focus on evaluating the factors that are contributing to student achievement would help to clarify what is working well and where improvements could occur.

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 four-to-five years.

Graham Randell

National Manager Review Services

Southern Region

11 April 2014

About the School

Location

Richmond, Nelson

Ministry of Education profile number

3180

School type

Contributing (Years 1 to 6)

School roll

102

Gender composition

Boys 54% Girls 46%

Ethnic composition

NZ European/Pākehā

Māori

Pacific

Other Ethnicities

87%

10%

1%

2%

Review team on site

February 2014

Date of this report

11 April 2014

Most recent ERO reports

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

February 2011

April 2008

May 2005