Ararimu School - 18/01/2012

1. Context

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

Ararimu School is located in a rural district between Bombay and the Hunua Ranges. It has a roll of 112 students in Years 1 to 8, who predominately identify as New Zealand Pākehā/European. The board provides a well-appointed and richly resourced educational environment for students, staff and families. The pou garden, recently established by students and teachers, is symbolic of a concerted effort to acknowledge the importance of Māori cultural heritage and the concept of whanaungatanga (belonging).

Since the last ERO review in 2009, a new principal has been appointed and there has been a strong focus on strengthening school-wide operations to improve teaching and learning. The principal is providing well-considered and inclusive leadership, and has been instrumental in forming collegial relationships amongst the staff, and a reflective and open culture for learning. Under her leadership, and with support from a committed board, extensive self review has occurred. This has enabled clear direction to be set and priorities for development to be identified.

Revitalising the school’s partnership with its community has been a priority. Staff and trustees are working collaboratively to involve members of the parent and wider community in all aspects of school life.

2. Learning

How well are students learning – engaging, progressing and achieving?

Teachers gather a range of assessment information and make good use of externally referenced tools to measure and report student achievement and progress, in comparison to national expectations. The principal makes effective use of this information to report to the board about the overall achievement patterns for year level, gender and ethnic groups. The principal and board acknowledge that an appropriate next stage is to continue to develop longitudinal data so that programme effectiveness and patterns of progress and achievement can be evaluated over time.

The schools 2010/2011 achievement data for reading indicates that the significant majority of students are achieving at and above the expected level for their age. Professional learning and development in 2011, for teaching and assessment in numeracy and writing, is contributing to considerable improvement in student achievement in these areas. Teachers report that students have made significant progress and expect the majority to be achieving within the expected numeracy stage, and curriculum level in writing, by the end of the current school year. Senior leaders recognise the need to introduce some additional assessment tools in writing and mathematics to enable them to further triangulate this data.

Under the leadership of the principal and with the use of external expertise, teachers are making good progress with the implementation of National Standards in reading, writing and mathematics. They are developing moderation processes and using a wide range of assessment information to make sound overall teacher judgements about individual students' level of achievement.

How well does the school promote Māori student success and success as Māori?

Māori students achieve at and above nationally expected levels. The principal has actively promoted Ka Hikitia, Managing for Success, Māori Education Strategy with the board, staff and parents. The school’s integrated curriculum has had a major focus on whanaungatanga this year, thus strengthening the Māori dimension in learning programmes and the school environment.

3. Curriculum

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

The school’s curriculum, the Ararimu Way, was developed in consultation with staff, students, the board and community, and has continued to evolve since 2007. The agreed vision and values are clearly documented and contribute to respectful relationships that are focused on learning. The principles and key competencies of The New Zealand Curriculum are integral and underpin the school’s integrated approach to programme development and implementation. Literacy and numeracy are identified priorities in a curriculum that is designed to develop learners who are able to think critically and creatively. The principal and curriculum leader have planned strategically and have begun to comprehensively review the Ararimu Way. Through this process, current ownership, interpretation and understanding by teachers of the curriculum’s intent will be clarified, and relevant professional learning and development provided.

Features of the school’s curriculum that effectively promote and support student learning are:

  • effective teaching practice in literacy and mathematics
  • the increasing use of formative assessment practices to involve students in their learning
  • additional learning support or extension for students with identified needs or abilities
  • the involvement of parents in the curriculum to enrich learning opportunities for students
  • the provision of authentic learning contexts through an integrated approach
  • the broad curriculum opportunities, including; care for the environment, traditional events such as agricultural day, and school productions.

Considerable teacher development has occurred since the principal’s appointment in mid 2010. The principal and senior leaders recognise, and ERO agrees, that a period of consolidation and time to embed agreed best practices in teaching and assessment in literacy and mathematics is likely to further enhance learning outcomes for students.

4. Sustainable Performance

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

Ararimu School is well placed to sustain and continue to improve its performance because:

  • the board is committed to ongoing self review to inform decision-making in a timely and strategic manner
  • the principal provides strong and well-informed educational leadership for the school community
  • there is a responsive process of professional learning and development for staff
  • teachers readily reflect and are committed to building on their professional practice
  • student achievement information is well used to inform self review
  • there are high expectations for student achievement and behaviour
  • there is a strong and reciprocal school and community partnership.

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
  • stand-downs, suspensions, expulsions and exclusions
  • attendance.

Recommendations to other agencies

Not applicable.

When is ERO likely to review the school again?

ERO is likely to carry out the next review in three years.

Makere Smith

National Manager Review Services Northern Region

18 January 2012

About the School

Location

Franklin District Auckland

Ministry of Education profile number

1207

School type

Full Primary (Years 1 to 8)

Decile1

10

School roll

112

Gender composition

Girls 62%

Boys 38%

Ethnic composition

NZ European/Pākehā

Other European

Asian

NZ Māori

Samoan

92

13

4

2

1

Review team on site

November 2011

Date of this report

18 January 2012

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

August 2009

September 2006

May 2003

1 School deciles range from 1 to 10. Decile 1 schools draw their students from low socio-economic communities and at the other end of the range, decile 10 schools draw their students from high socio-economic communities. Deciles are used to provide funding to state and state integrated schools. The lower the school’s decile the more funding it receives. A school’s decile is in no way linked to the quality of education it provides.