Aramoho School - 14/09/2016

Findings

The commissioner, current principal and staff have made some progress in addressing the identified areas that required urgent improvement. However, the school’s environment and educational provision lack the necessary quality and stability to adequately promote equity and excellence for all students. ERO has concerns about the school’s viability and capacity to sustain and improve its performance.

ERO will make a decision about the next review of Aramoho School in consultation with the Ministry of Education.

1 Background and Context

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

Aramoho School is a full primary school catering for students from Years 1 to 8 in the suburbs of Whanganui. There are 13 students attending at the time of this review and 10 are Maori. The roll has fallen significantly over recent years.

A Limited Statutory Manager was appointed in 2014. This role then transitioned to a Commissioner, replacing the board of trustees later in the same year. A second commissioner was appointed at the end of 2015 and remains in place. The school has had five principals in the past two years. The present principal appointed Term 4 2015, is leaving after three terms. A replacement principal has yet to be found.

Current staffing provision enables the school to operate two separate classrooms for juniors and seniors. Due to the declining roll the school is likely to become a principal sole-charge in 2017.

The school is beginning its participation in the Ministry of Education (the Ministry) project ‘Accelerated Learning in Mathematics’ which is designed to improve support for students who are at risk of underachievement in mathematics.

The school continues to address serious historical property issues in order to make the school a healthy and safe environment for students. Some school buildings have been decommissioned and demolished. Others are due for demolition.

Aramoho School has a poor reporting history with ERO over many years. This report concludes the second of two consecutive 1 - 2 year longitudinal reviews.

2 Review and Development

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

Priorities identified for review and development

The areas for improvement identified in the February 2014 ERO report were to:

  • develop and implement teaching and learning programmes to improve outcomes for learners, particularly those at risk of underachievement
  • develop a relevant curriculum with specific guidelines and expectations for teaching and learning
  • strengthen the validity and use of assessment information to promote engagement, progress and achievement
  • increase the effectiveness of the board of trustees
  • develop and fully implement a teacher and principal performance management process.

Progress

Multiple changes in personnel and a lack of structured teaching and learning programmes over time have had a significant impact on children’s learning and progress. Reported data for 2014 and 2015 show that most students achieved levels below or well below the National Standards in reading, writing and mathematics. Students at Aramoho School have consistently achieved levels well below comparable schools in the local area and nationally over several years.

In the first half of 2016 there is evidence that some students are making good progress in some aspects of their learning. However the majority of students remain at risk of not meeting expectations. They are the focus of school-wide goals and are targeted for accelerated progress.

The teaching team at the time of this review, have begun to address some aspects identified for improvement in the previous ERO report. Progress is noted in:

  • design, development and introduction of a curriculum intended to promote engagement, learning and achievement, including guiding documents and expectations for effective teaching
  • the establishment of a more positive learning environment, where classrooms are well managed, have a calm and purposeful tone, and good relationships are evident between teachers and their students
  • the use of assessment to show progress and achievement and to track and monitor student performance
  • teachers' inquiry into the effectiveness of their practice to build a clearer picture of what works in their teaching and what does not.

Issues that still need to be addressed are to:

  • develop a suitable performance management framework and implement an appraisal process for the principal and teachers
  • improve teachers' use of assessment to make reliable overall judgments about achievement and to respond more effectively to students’ individual needs
  • enable a shared understanding and use of internal evaluation to determine the impact of practices and programmes on improving outcomes for all students
  • establish positive and beneficial connections with the school community.

A commissioner currently acts in place of the board. He has developed a change and improvement plan based on ERO’s dimensions of an effective school. It has the potential to provide the school with a clear direction for improvement. Fully implementing the planned actions and evaluating their impact is a next step.

A new policy framework has been introduced in 2016. Work still needs to be done to establish procedures for school operation that complement the policies.

3 Sustainable performance and self review

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

ERO has serious concerns about the school’s viability and capacity to sustain and improve its performance. Key issues include:

  • most students are achieving below and well below national standards
  • the sustainability of recent improvements made to teaching practices and children’s learning, due to staffing changes
  • a new permanent principal has yet to be appointed
  • the school does not have a board of trustees in place
  • newly introduced systems and processes are not yet fully implemented or embedded
  • the lack of effective internal evaluation
  • a suitable appraisal process is not in place for all teachers
  • a wide range of building issues need resolving in order to provide a healthy and safe physical environment for students.

These areas need to be urgently addressed to ensure the school’s environment and educational provision adequately promote equity and excellence for all students.

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.

During the course of the review ERO identified areas of non-compliance. In order to address these, the board of trustees must:

  • develop and implement a suitable performance management process for the appraisal of all staff.[s77 State Sector Act 1988; NZ Gazette and relevant Collective Employment Agreement]

4 Recommendations

Recommendations, including any to other agencies for ongoing or additional support.

ERO recommends that the Secretary for Education consider continuing the existing intervention under Part 7A of the Education Act 1989 in order to bring about improvement in:

  • governance, leadership and management
  • teaching and learning
  • community partnerships.

Conclusion

The commissioner, current principal and staff have made some progress in addressing the identified areas that required urgent improvement. However, the school’s environment and educational provision lack the necessary quality and stability to adequately promote equity and excellence for all students. ERO has concerns about the school’s viability and capacity to sustain and improve its performance.

ERO will make a decision about the next review of Aramoho School in consultation with the Ministry of Education.

Joyce Gebbie

Deputy Chief Review Officer Central

14 September 2016

About the School

Location

Whanganui

Ministry of Education profile number

2335

School type

Full Primary (Years 1 to 8)

School roll

13

Gender composition

Boys 7, Girls 6

Ethnic composition

Māori

Pacific

Pākehā

10

2

1

Review team on site

June 2016

Date of this report

14 September 2016

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Supplementary Review

February 2014

May 2012

February 2009