Aramoho School - 25/02/2014

1 Background and Context

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

Aramoho School in Whanganui caters for 35 students in Years 1 to 8. Twenty three identify as Māori. The roll has dropped significantly over recent years. Most students live beyond the school’s immediate catchment area. Students have one classroom as their homeroom and are withdrawn to smaller spaces for instructional teaching. Three teachers are employed.

In 2012, ERO found that review and development was required by the school to improve learning programmes and increase rates of progress for students. Teachers needed to develop and implement an appropriate curriculum and assessment practices. The quality of governance, leadership and management required support through training and professional development.

ERO worked with the school and the Ministry of Education (MoE) Student Achievement Function (SAF) practitioner’s plan for improvement. In January 2013, this development plan was revised to focus wholly on the areas requiring improvement that were identified in the May 2012 ERO report. There has been little progress in addressing key objectives.

The SAF role with the school was reviewed at the end of 2012 and the MoE decided to continue to provide SAF support in 2013. Teachers have been involved in professional development in literacy.

The board submitted the 2013 charter to the MoE. Goals and targets for student achievement were approved.

2 Review and Development

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

Priorities identified for review and development

In May 2012, the following were identified for review and development:

  • the quality of teaching to better cater for students’ learning needs
  • assessment practices including teachers’ ability to make overall teacher judgements in relation to the National Standards
  • a curriculum specific to Aramoho School
  • professional learning and development for teachers to improve their capability.

Progress

The school does not have a curriculum that reflects Aramoho students’ needs, interests and experiences. A specific focus on improving student achievement must be a priority. Considerable work is required to develop a relevant curriculum that has specific guidelines and useful expectations for teachers. Recent professional development in literacy may provide relevant material for a new curriculum.

Most students are achieving at levels below or well below the National Standards. ERO cannot be assured that students’ progress will be sufficient to make the gains required. Assessment information is collected for individual students, but it is unclear how results are analysed and used as the basis for teaching. The way in which overall teacher judgements are made also requires clarification.

3 Sustainable performance and self review

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

Priorities identified for review and development

The quality of governance, leadership and management required significant development to build capability at all levels.

Progress

The previous board was offered governance training in 2012. Despite the flexible timing of sessions including availability to coincide with board meetings, most trustees did not attend and the outcome was minimal.

Trustees, newly elected in 2013, have access to a training programme that has been discussed with the chairperson. It is hoped that training will begin early in 2014. ERO stresses that full and regular attendance by trustees is essential for the board to increase its ability to effectively govern the school. Board members are enthusiastic about their new role and opportunities for training.

The school’s performance management process is incomplete. Teachers have not been appraised as required. A focus on aspects which require attention to improve teaching and learning is not evident.

The principal is appraised by an external appraiser. A draft written report has been completed for the principal’s consideration. Future goals should focus on the immediate priorities of curriculum development, teacher appraisal and accelerating achievement for all students. The principal should also be appraised as a teacher. The chairperson has not been informed about the outcomes of the principal’s appraisal for 2012 or 2013.

Student achievement information presented to trustees is unreliable. A comment in reports to the board that student achievement has improved greatly is contradicted by assessment results. Trustees are not able to see the impact of teaching on student progress. Future planning and resourcing decisions cannot be based on evidence. The principal is beginning to address the anomalies. This is an aspect requiring urgent attention and some sound guidelines.

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 policies and procedures for employment and appraisal of staff [s77 State Sector Act 1988; NZ Gazette and relevant Collective Employment Agreement]
  • develop and implement teaching and learning programmes (curriculum) [Education Act 1989 section 60A National Administration Guideline1]

In order to improve current practice the board of trustees should:

  • review and develop efficient policies and procedures to cover the National Administration Guidelines and support effective management and governance.

4 Recommendations to other agencies

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

  • governance, leadership and management
  • teaching and learning.

When is ERO likely to review the school again?

ERO intends to carry out another review over the course of one-to-two years.

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Joyce Gebbie

National Manager Review Services

Central Region (Acting)

25 February 2014

About the School

Location

Whanganui

Ministry of Education profile number

2335

School type

Full Primary (Years 1 to 8)

School roll

35

Gender composition

Male 19

Female 16

Ethnic composition

Māori

NZ European/Pākehā

Samoan

23

6

6

Review team on site

December 2013

Date of this report

25 February 2014

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Supplementary Review

Supplementary Review

May 2012

February 2009

June 2007