Mt Somers Springburn School

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Education institution number:
3441
School type:
Full Primary
School gender:
Co-Educational
Definition:
Not Applicable
Total roll:
84
Telephone:
Address:

Ashburton Gorge Road, Mount Somers, Ashburton

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School Context

Mt Somers Springburn School is a rural school in Mid Canterbury for students in Years 1 to 8. They learn in five classrooms, which have small student numbers. At the time of the review, the school had a roll of 83 students, with a small number of Māori and Pacific students.

The school’s vision is for students to be well-educated learners who show grit, determination and resilience in all learning situations. The board is currently reviewing the school’s vision and strategic goals.

In 2019 priorities for student learning were to accelerate progress for a target group of students in numeracy, increase boys’ motivation in writing, and increase student understanding and articulation of key competencies.

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

  • achievement information for individual students in Years 2 to 8 in reading, writing and mathematics.

The school is part of the Opuke Kāhui Ako | Community of Learning (CoL). Professional learning and development (PLD) opportunities are being accessed by individual teachers through the CoL. This learning is across four domains: Whanaungatanga, Innovation, Student Agency, and Hauora. There has been no targeted schoolwide PLD focus since 2018.

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?

Achievement information provided by the school during the onsite stage of the review shows it is achieving equitable outcomes for most students.

Most students in Years 2 to 8 achieve at or above expected curriculum levels in reading and mathematics. A large majority of students also achieve at or above expected curriculum levels in writing. From 2018 to 2019 there was improvement in overall achievement in reading, writing and mathematics. This was particularly noticeable in boys’ achievement in mathematics and reading. There is evidence of some disparity in girls’ achievement in reading and mathematics, and in boys’ achievement in writing.

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

The school did not accelerate the learning in numeracy for those targeted students identified as needing this in 2019. Beyond this group, ERO is not able to evaluate how effectively the school is accelerating learning for those Māori and other students who need this, as the school does not yet use achievement information to identify accelerated progress for students.

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?

Individual students’ achievement and progress is well tracked to support their learning. The principal and teachers are actively building and sharing their knowledge of students as learners. Students with additional learning needs are appropriately identified and responded to through access to additional resources, targeted programmes and increased adult support. The board prioritises funding to increase support for these students and initiatives.

Community collaboration is enriching learning opportunities for students. The principal and teachers make regular use of the local community and resources. This provides students with a diverse range of learning experiences that enable them to achieve success in different ways. Well-established connections with other local schools extend students’ learning opportunities and support transitions between schools.

Students learn in a curriculum that is responsive to their interests and ideas, and makes connections to their everyday lives. The principal and teachers provide meaningful and authentic learning experiences, including a wide range of leadership opportunities. The board targets funding to these initiatives to support equity of access to opportunities for students.

Leadership promotes a supportive and collaborative environment so that teachers know and understand the learning needs of individual students in their classrooms. The principal provides multiple opportunities for students to give feedback on the quality of the teaching they receive and its impact on their learning and wellbeing. The recent redevelopment of the school’s curriculum document provides clearer guidelines for coverage of the curriculum.

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

The board, principal and teachers need to strengthen understandings of culturally responsive practices and the implementation of a bicultural curriculum. Some aspects of board responsibilities for consulting and working in partnership with Māori have not been met.

Internal evaluation is not yet being used effectively. The school regularly collects information about what is provided for students. They now need to develop more effective processes to help them know about the impact of these provisions on outcomes for students’ learning and wellbeing. This includes:

  • developing a framework to help guide and support teachers and the board to understand and use robust internal evaluation
  • making use of a wider source of evidence, including achievement information, to inform curriculum reviews
  • strengthening teacher inquiry.

The school is not yet making effective use of achievement information to identify and respond to disparity and support equitable outcomes for all students. There has been limited school-wide achievement data reported to the community since 2018. The school now needs to undertake further analysis of the useful individual achievement information it collects. This is likely to help identify patterns and trends for groups of students, improve the setting of goals and targets to accelerate achievement, and allow for more regular reporting of appropriate achievement information to the community.

To meet the requirements of the Teaching Council, the appraisal system needs to be strengthened to ensure that the school’s appraisal procedure is well followed and documented, and appraisal is finalised with an annual summary.

The board needs to strengthen its awareness and understanding of governance responsibilities. Many trustees are new to their roles. The board is currently reviewing the school vision and strategic goals. It is timely that the board seeks training to support trustees to develop greater knowledge of the board’s responsibilities, with an emphasis on the Treaty of Waitangi and legislative requirements.

The school has made some progress on the recommendations in the 2017 ERO report. More improvement is needed in internal evaluation, appraisal, systems for identifying acceleration of learning, and developing the bicultural curriculum to support sustained school improvement.

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 have 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 Mt Somers Springburn School’s performance in achieving valued outcomes for its students is: Developing.

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:

  • tracking achievement of individual students that helps target effective support and resources to individual students whose learning needs acceleration
  • community connections that extend students’ learning opportunities
  • the use of student perspectives that provide valuable information for internal evaluation.

Next steps

For sustained improvement and future learner success, ERO and the school agree that priorities for further development are in:

  • strengthening culturally responsive practices, and implementing a bicultural curriculum to fully enact the New Zealand Curriculum and promote equitable outcomes for all students
  • using internal evaluation to identify the impact of the curriculum on improving student outcomes
  • improving analysis, use and reporting of school-wide achievement information to identify disparity and promote equity and valued achievement outcomes
  • strengthening appraisal to meet school and Teaching Council expectations
  • increasing board understanding of Treaty of Waitangi and legislative obligations to strengthen governance.

Actions for compliance

ERO identified non-compliance in relation to:

  • reporting student achievement to the community
  • consultation with Māori
  • teacher appraisal and reporting appraisal to the board
  • development of policies and procedures for concerns and complaints, bullying, managing behaviour, physical restraint and ensuring student cyber safety.

In order to address these, the board of trustees must:

  • on the basis of good quality assessment information, report to the school’s community: on the progress and achievement of students as a whole, and on the progress and achievement of groups; and in consultation with the school’s Māori community, develop and make known to the school’s community, policies, plans and targets for improving the progress and achievement of Māori students
    [NAG 2 (d), NAG 1(e)]
  • implement policies and procedures for the appraisal of staff
    [s77C State Sector Act 1988; NZ Gazette and relevant collective employment agreement]
  • ensure adequate policies and procedures are in place and followed for concerns and complaints, bullying, managing behaviour and ensuring student safety on the internet.
    [NAG 5]

Since the onsite stage of the review, the board has developed policies and procedures for complaints, bullying, behaviour management and cyber safety.

Areas for improved compliance practice

The board identified a significant number of unsure responses in the ERO self-audit checklist.

To improve current practice, the board of trustees should:

  • develop a greater understanding of their compliance responsibilities so that they are assured they are meeting all legislative requirements.

ERO recommends that the Ministry of Education and New Zealand School Trustees Association consider providing support for the school in order to bring about improvement in:

  • the analysis, use and reporting of student achievement information, including consulting and working in partnership with Māori
  • internal evaluation
  • trustees’ understandings of the Treaty of Waitangi and legislative obligations.

Dr Lesley Patterson

Director Review and Improvement Services Te Tai Tini

Southern Region

12 June 2020

About the school

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

Summary

Mt Somers Springburn School has a roll of 90 children. The new principal commenced at the school in 2017. There is also a new board chair and two new board members.

Since the last ERO review, the school has made progress towards addressing some areas for improvement identified in the 2014 report. However:

  • curriculum guidelines, including the integration of bicultural perspectives, have not been updated
  • internal evaluation processes have not been developed
  • appraisal requirements for all staff have not been met.

School-wide achievement information shows a positive trend over time, with the majority of children achieving at or above the National Standards in literacy and mathematics.

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

The school is aware that achieving equitable outcomes for children whose learning is most at risk of poor educational outcomes is a priority. The board, school leaders and teachers need to ensure that school systems, programmes and practices are meeting the learning needs of these children.

Consistent and sustainable systems are required across school operations.

ERO’s next external evaluation of the school is likely to be in three years.

Equity and excellence

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

Although most children are achieving well, the learning of some groups of children needs to be accelerated. Systems and practices to accelerate learning need to be developed to improve outcomes for these groups of learners.

Children benefit from a broad curriculum. Staff have a strong collaborative approach to the pastoral care and wellbeing of children.

Current assessment procedures are not sufficiently consistent to give assurance that overall teachers’ judgements against the National Standards are consistent across the school. Continuing to develop effective moderation practices is likely to enhance the rigour of these decisions. 

Effective engagement with the Kāhui Ako/Community of Learning (CoL) has resulted in an innovative joint agreement that has begun to address identified needs around the high level of transience across the schools.

School conditions supporting equity and excellence

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

The school has a number of effective processes that are helping to promote equity and excellence.

Children benefit from strong pastoral care and positive, respectful relationships. The board, leaders and teachers foster a home-like environment across the school.

Parents are very supportive of the school. Leaders and teachers use a range of ways to communicate with parents and involve them in their children’s learning. There are thoughtful, child-centred transition-to-school procedures and information in place.

The board and principal have useful strategic goals in place to promote positive outcomes for all children. Trustees work with an external consultant to access stewardship training.

The board and school leaders have taken a strategic approach to engagement with the community. Board and Home and School objectives are now closely aligned.

Children are effectively empowered to take active roles in decision making. They feel they belong and are valued.

Teachers have been involved in targeted professional development in writing and mathematics.

The school is committed to working with a group of schools as a Kāhui Ako/Community of Learning.

Sustainable development for equity and excellence

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

The school currently needs to develop some systems and processes that are essential to achieve equity and excellence for all learners.

Trustees, leaders and teachers need to improve the use of internal evaluation in order to ensure ongoing improvements across school operations.

The school should develop clear and consistent systems to monitor progress over time, particularly for those children whose learning needs acceleration.

An appraisal system must be implemented that meets Education Council requirements.

The school also needs to:

  • update and further develop the curriculum, including the embedding of bicultural perspectives
  • develop and extend the leadership capability of staff to ensure sustainability of systems, practices and positive outcomes for children.

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.

Actions required

ERO identified non-compliance in relation to:

  • appraisal.

To meet requirements trustees must:

  • ensure the professional leaders of the school appraise staff in teaching positions based on the Practising Teacher Criteria established and maintained by the Education Council for the issue and renewal of practising certificates.
    [Section 31, Education Act 1989]

Going forward

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

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

Leaders and teachers:

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

  • need to develop and implement approaches that effectively meet the needs of each child

  • need to improve the school conditions that support the acceleration of children’s learning and achievement.

  • need 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.

ERO will provide an internal evaluation workshop to support the school to develop effective planning and monitoring processes to support equity and excellence for all children.

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

Dr Lesley Patterson
Deputy Chief Review Officer Southern/Te Waipounamu

30 June 2017 

About the school 

Location

Mid Canterbury

Ministry of Education profile number

3441

School type

Full primary

School roll

90

Gender composition

Boys 53; Girls 37

Ethnic composition

Pākehā 80
Māori 2
Pacifica 2
Other ethnicities 6

Provision of Māori medium education

No

Review team on site

February and March 2017

Date of this report

30 June 2017

Most recent ERO reports

Education Review February 2014
Education Review December 2010