Arakura School - 30/10/2020

Findings

On the basis of the findings of this review, ERO ‘s overall evaluation judgement of Arakura School’s performance in achieving valued outcomes for its students is: Developing.

1 Background and Context

What is the background and context for this school’s review?

Arakura School in Wainuiomata caters for students in Years 1 to 6. The current roll of 152 students includes 48% who are Māori and 13% who are of Pacific heritage.

The November 2017 ERO report identified concerns related to assessment, student progress and achievement, the curriculum and evaluation.

Arakura School began the Positive Behaviour for Learning (PB4L) programme in 2017. Leaders and teachers have worked with professional development facilitators to focus on the curriculum and Te Tiriti o Waitangi. A Student Achievement Facilitator has supported the school’s improvement journey and the school also engaged with Leadership Advisor Support. The board of trustees has been working with the New Zealand School Trustees Association (NZSTA).

At the time of this review, the long-standing principal had recently retired and the deputy principal was currently acting in this role. A new principal has been appointed to begin in 2021.

2 Review and Development

How effectively is the school addressing its priorities for review and development?

Priorities identified for review and development

The November 2017 ERO report identified that the school needed to strengthen the following areas:

  • leadership which promotes aligned actions for improved student outcomes

  • effective use of achievement information to accelerate student achievement

  • further building and implementing a responsive curriculum, particularly for Māori learners

  • developing a cohesive approach to school improvement, review and evaluation.

Progress

Progress has been made in all identified areas.

The Arakura School Annual Plan is pivotal in effectively aligning school priorities, annual targets, curriculum expectations and appraisal. The PB4L MANA values are integral to the Learner Vision. These values are: Make positive choices, Act with respect, Never give up attitude, Always show empathy.

Leaders and teachers have reviewed and improved systems for the collection and analysis of assessment, student progress and achievement. Moderation of assessment has increased the consistency of achievement judgements. The Arakura Support Model outlines how teachers identify and support children at risk of underachieving. Regular reports to the board inform trustees of schoolwide achievement and the progress of priority learners.

End-of-year student achievement information from 2019 showed that approximately half of students achieved at or above expectations in mathematics. Less than half achieved at or above expectations in writing and reading. There continues to be some disparity between the overall achievement of Māori students and NZE/Pākehā students in reading, writing and mathematics.

Between Term 2 2019 and Term 2 2020, there has been an increase of 13% in the number achieving at or above expectations in reading. There was a small increase in the number of Māori students achieving well in reading.

Approximately 40% of priority learners have made accelerated progress in the first two terms of 2020 in reading, writing and mathematics.

Positive, respectful interactions are evidence of well-developed teacher-student relationships. Children are active learners and work collaboratively at their tasks. Teachers communicate clear expectations for learning. ERO observed some examples of effective teacher questioning. Continuing to develop these skills is likely to promote increased student agency.

Appropriate appraisal processes and documentations support all staff to inquire into and further develop their practice. Leaders have begun the process of embedding the new Professional Growth Cycle model.

One of the school’s strategic aims is to develop and implement a responsive curriculum. Significant progress has been made with this. Learners are beginning to have opportunities to pursue their interests and goals. This is likely to enable them to experience a broad, rich curriculum with connections to their cultures and local community. Leaders have identified that their next steps are to:

  • further develop the school’s learner vision

  • embed the principles of Te Tiriti o Waitangi to further strengthen relationships with whānau.

3 Sustainable performance and self review

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

The school is making good progress with developing sound processes and practices to sustain and continue to improve its performance.

Learner-focused internal evaluation processes are in the early stages of being implemented by trustees, leaders and teachers.

School leaders have identified, and ERO agrees, that a next step is to embed a shared understanding of internal evaluation. This should guide ongoing school development, including further acceleration of student progress and achievement.

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
  • school policies in relation to meeting the requirements of the Children’s Act 2014.

Conclusion

On the basis of the findings of this review, ERO ‘s overall evaluation judgement of Arakura 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.

Dr Lesley Patterson

Director Review and Improvement Services (Southern)

Southern Region - Te Tai Tini

30 October 2020

About the school

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