Aranga School - 17/02/2014

1 Background and Context

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

Aranga School, located in Kaipara district, is a small school that caters for students from Years 1 to 8. The majority of students identify as Māori. Te Roroa is the prominent iwi, with Ngāpuhi to the north and Ngāti Whātua to the south. The school continues to be the focal point for the local community.

In 2011, the school’s board of trustees accepted ERO’s offer of an Arotake Paetawhiti review to assist in evaluating the school’s progress and improvement over a period of time. ERO has visited the school regularly to monitor progress in areas identified for development and review. School improvement has been supported by significant professional development provided by the Ministry of Education.

Since the 2011 ERO review, all staff are either new to the school or are in new roles. The roll has stabilised after an initial drop in numbers.

2 Review and Development

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

Priorities identified for review and development

The Aranga School plan for review and development was prioritised around:

  • implementation of National Standards
  • responding to student underachievement
  • governance roles and processes
  • health and safety reporting
  • connecting with the community.

Progress

Teachers have made good progress with the implementation of the National Standards. They make increasingly reliable overall teacher judgements about student achievement in reading, writing and mathematics. Teachers report this information to parents twice a year in writing. The principal reports to the board on student achievement. Māori students have a strong sense of belonging in the school. Their language, culture and identity is clearly reflected in learning programmes.

Teachers make good use of the student management system to collate and manage information on student achievement. They share this information with students. As a result, students know how well they are achieving in reading, writing and mathematics and can set appropriate goals for their learning.

School achievement data indicated that students’ skills in writing were an area for improvement. Teachers have engaged well with a Ministry of Education facilitator to develop their practice in this area. They discuss and reflect on their professional practice and its implications for their students. Teachers plan to continue building their knowledge and skills in teaching writing and mathematics through intensive professional development in 2014. This should help embed the good practices developed in 2013 and support their transfer to other learning areas.

Trustees have undertaken some training and have developed greater confidence in their governance roles. They have good working relationships and express a strong commitment to the school. Succession planning is in place to support the new board chair and to ensure the board has full parent representation when the current chair retires in 2014.

The principal has made significant progress in building community confidence in the school. She has a good knowledge and awareness of the community. School events are well supported and parents have taken the opportunity to see their school in action during open days. The school tone is positive with strong connections between students across all age groups allowing for meaningful tuakana/teina relationships throughout the school.

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 well placed to sustain and continue to improve and review its performance.

The principal has engaged in useful professional learning and has a good understanding of the management tasks required of a school leader. She is receptive to guidance and provides good leadership for the school as it overcomes challenges.

Further training, and being proactive in accessing informal support, could help trustees to continue to build their capacity. Other worthwhile next steps could include:

  • receiving principal’s reports that show progress towards the school’s strategic goals
  • trustees assuming responsibility for areas of school operations, such as property and health and safety
  • using ERO’s Board Assurance Statement to help manage and review board responsibilities
  • rationalising the board’s policies and procedures and ensuring they meet current requirements
  • reviewing the extent to which policies and procedures are reflected in practice.

The board has identified the methods of consultation preferred by the community. Informal consultation occurs as community connections are strengthened. Planning for consultation with whānau, and documenting the findings, could be helpful in further supporting Māori students.

Some self review is undertaken. Strengthening and documenting the process could be helpful in promoting a climate of ongoing improvement. Next steps could include:

  • developing action plans to guide the implementation of decisions made
  • evaluating the impact of initiatives after they have been put into operation.

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.

Dale Bailey

National Manager Review Services

Northern Region

17 February 2014

About the School

Location

Aranga, Northland

Ministry of Education profile number

1001

School type

Full Primary (Years 1 to 8)

School roll

30

Gender composition

Girls 17

Boys 13

Ethnic composition

Māori

NZ European/Pākehā

Other

19

9

2

Review team on site

December 2013

Date of this report

17 February 2014

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

November 2011

December 2008

November 2005