Albury School - 21/02/2013

1 Context

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

Albury School is a small rural school in South Canterbury, near Fairlie. The school is the hub of the Albury community. Community involvement in all aspects of school life is strong. Teachers make good use of local resources to extend students’ learning experiences and knowledge of their community and environment. Some of the school’s resources, such as the swimming pool and tennis courts, are shared with the community. The school’s roll remains stable. Teachers have had training in the use of information and communication technologies (ICT) and ways to help students make faster progress in reading and writing.

2 Learning

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

The school makes good use of achievement information.

The principal provides effective guidelines to help teachers understand and follow the school’s expectations for assessment. Teachers use a range of reliable assessments to measure students' achievement and to show their progress over time. The information is also effectively used to identify students needing additional support and to guide teachers’ classroom practices. The principal and teachers have developed useful practices for improving the accuracy of their judgements about students’ progress and achievement against the National Standards. This includes regularly working with other urban and rural schools in South Canterbury.

The principal, teachers and the board work together to develop and monitor useful targets focused on raising student performance in relation to the National Standards. These targets place emphasis on those students at risk of not achieving and are well monitored through the year. Achievement information reported to the board in 2012 for reading, writing and mathematics shows that the majority of students have made good progress.

Written reports and meetings with teachers also provide parents with good information about their children’s progress and achievement against the National Standards in reading, writing and in mathematics. They receive useful information about their children’s learning in other curriculum areas as well.

The principal and teachers have identified and ERO agrees that they need to:

  • make decisions about the most useful assessments and practices to use to identify and improve student achievement
  • review the contents of student portfolios to make sure that all information is relevant and well understood by parents and students
  • make it clearer in school documentation the range of information teachers use to make decisions about student achievement and progress.

3 Curriculum

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

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

The curriculum is well documented with clear guidelines and expectations for student learning and teacher practices. It is effectively linked to the New Zealand Curriculum (NZC). The school’s values such as respect, caring for others and taking responsibility are prominent in student and staff relationships and the learning programme.

Students benefit from a curriculum that:

  • gives many opportunities for practical learning
  • provides a wide range of interesting learning opportunities through education outside the classroom activities and the expertise of teachers of te reo Māori and music
  • provides regular opportunities for them to be involved in a variety of physical activities
  • helps them to develop leadership qualities.

ERO observed students interested in and enjoying their learning. Relationships between students and with their teachers were positive, good-humoured and respectful.

Teachers have high expectations for learning and behaviour. They:

  • provide well-organised classroom environments
  • support students to set and monitor useful learning goals
  • make the purpose of learning clear and show what success will look like
  • cater well for the range of students' learning needs
  • increasingly consider how well their teaching practices are helping students to improve and what they could do differently to lift achievement further.

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

The school has very few students who identify as Māori. The principal and teachers have recently developed more comprehensive procedures and a curriculum programme to support students to learn about te reo and tikanga Māori. A te reo Māori teacher is supporting this language learning for teachers and students. The principal has consulted with the whānau of Māori students. The next step is for teachers to use the curriculum plan so that Māori students and other students have consistent opportunities to learn about the Māori culture and language in well-integrated class programmes.

4 Sustainable Performance

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

The school is well placed to sustain and improve its performance.

The principal provides effective professional leadership. He promotes a school-wide culture that is focused on school improvement. This includes a regular programme of self review. His networking with other schools is helping teachers to improve outcomes for students.

Trustees are experienced, knowledgeable and have a good understanding of their governance role. They have clear roles and responsibilities based on their particular strengths. The board is reflective and reviews its own performance.

The board and principal comprehensively survey parents, students and staff. They effectively use the results of these surveys to plan for future school improvements.

The board and principal now need to develop new ways for ongoing monitoring of the annual plan goals to further assure the board that sufficient progress is being made in working towards achieving these goals.

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.

Graham Randell

National Manager Review Services

Southern Region

21 February 2013

About the School

Location

South Canterbury

Ministry of Education profile number

3273

School type

Contributing (Years 1 to 6)

School roll

33

Gender composition

Boys 17

Girls 16

Ethnic composition

New Zealand European/Pākehā

Māori

31

2

Review team on site

December 2012

Date of this report

21 February 2013

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

November 2009

November 2006

August 2003