Argyll East School - 28/01/2015

Findings

Trustees, senior leaders and teachers are very focused on improvement. The school has made good progress in improving student achievement in relation to the National Standards. Curriculum development, strengthening the reporting of student achievement, continuing to build learning partnerships and defining Māori success as Māori are key next steps.

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

1 Context

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

Argyll East School is located in Central Hawke’s Bay. Of the 74 students attending, 16 identified as Māori. Significant roll growth has occurred since the January 2012 ERO report. Students travel from Otane, Waipawa and Waipukurau. A new principal was appointed in 2012.

Staff work to build and maintain a positive and constructive learning environment. This promotes a sense of belonging and wellbeing. The outdoors environment, including wetlands, a creek and farmland, is used to enhance students’ curriculum experiences. There is a focus on providing students with a wide range of learning opportunities.

2 Learning

How well does this school use achievement information to make positive changes to learners’ engagement, progress and achievement?

Achievement information is well used by the board, school leaders and teachers to make positive changes to students’ progress and achievement in literacy and mathematics. Data reported in November 2014 shows high proportions of students achieve in relation to the National Standards.

Teachers effectively target students who require support to reach the National Standards. Individual learning needs are clearly identified and addressed. Class action plans are developed to support, track and monitor student progress and achievement. These are reviewed at the end of each term to reset student goals and clarify next learning steps.

Achievement data boards have been developed to show student progress in relation to the National Standards in reading, writing and mathematics. Teachers use these to provide better tracking and monitoring of student progress and improve their moderation of overall teacher judgements.

Trustees receive regular schoolwide reports on student progress and achievement. These are used to inform target setting, strategic planning and resourcing decisions. Reporting to the board, should be further strengthened to show progress towards school achievement targets and the impact of special programmes.

Parents receive useful information about their children's progress and achievement in literacy and mathematics, the key competencies and other curriculum areas. Students contribute written reflections on their progress in the reporting process. Teachers’ feedback supports students’ next learning steps and strategies for parents and whānau to extend learning at home. Students’ learning folders show a range of work samples to share with parents and families. The school is continuing to review end-of-year student reports to parents to ensure they clearly report achievement in relation to the National Standards.

3 Curriculum

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

Students experience a curriculum that effectively promotes and supports their learning. Key competencies and the school values are highly evident in how students learn. There are clear expectations for teaching and learning. The principal is currently reviewing the curriculum to better reflect the local community and The New Zealand Curriculum principles and to improve student voice.

Effective teaching strategies assist students’ purposeful engagement in learning. Students are supported to be independent and self-managing learners. Collaborative learning is encouraged.

Te ao Māori and Pacific contexts are increasingly incorporated in classroom programmes and students’ topic studies. Staff are building their capability in the use of te reo Māori. The next steps for staff are to continue to embed their use of the language in classrooms and develop further te reo Māori opportunities for students. Teachers draw on community expertise and skills and the outdoor environment is used as a place of learning. This guides the development of relevant and meaningful teaching and learning programmes. Students and their families experience a strong sense of belonging and ownership.

Students’ and families' transition to school is well supported. Partnerships have been developed between the new entrant teacher and local early childhood services. This supports students’ confidence and sense of security.

How effectively does the school promote educational success for Māori, as Māori?

Since 2012, schoolwide practices to support Māori learners’ language, culture and identity have been strengthened. The school has developed links with Ngāti Kahungunu, strengthened whānau engagement, and increased te ao Māori contexts within the curriculum.

Staff participated in the Te Kauhua cluster, a joint initiative between local schools, the Ministry of Education and Ngāti Kahungunu, to support educational success for Māori learners. As a result, teachers are developing their cultural competencies and Māori students’ progress and achievement is improving to align with their peers.

ERO’s evaluation recommends that the school develop a strategic plan with an appropriate vision and focus for Māori success as Māori. Partnership with iwi, Resource Teachers of Māori and supporting documents, such as Ka Hikitia – Accelerating Success 2013-2017 and Tātaiako: Cultural Competencies for Teachers of Māori Learners, should guide this development.

4 Sustainable Performance

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

Argyll East School is well placed to sustain and improve its performance. Trustees, senior leaders and teachers are very focused on improvement.

The principal articulates high expectations for student learning and achievement and for teachers as professionals. Staff are well supported and are provided with opportunities to take on leadership initiatives within the school. The schoolwide direction is clear and focuses on meeting the diverse needs of students.

The school has an ongoing cycle of review. This helps trustees and teachers identify priorities for improvement, develop and implement action plans and monitor progress. Teachers work collaboratively to share ideas and reflect on their practice. Robust appraisal processes promotes teachers’ ongoing development and improves outcomes for students. Useful feedback and next steps from the principal supports teachers' inquiry into the effectiveness of their teaching.

The principal and new entrant teacher participated in professional learning focused on raising student achievement in mathematics. As a result, useful strategies to support students’ progress and achievement have been put in place.

Trustees continue to develop their knowledge and understanding of governance roles and responsibilities. Useful guidelines and expectations have been developed to support this. They are highly involved in school activities and focused in their support for raising student achievement.

The principal, trustees and teachers have a clear understanding of the importance of developing working relationships with parents and whānau. They make positive connections, share successes and seek ideas and opinions to support student learning. The school has identified the need to continue to build learning partnerships with all parents and whānau.

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.

Conclusion

Trustees, senior leaders and teachers are very focused on improvement. The school has made good progress in improving student achievement in relation to the National Standards. Curriculum development, strengthening the reporting of student achievement, continuing to build learning partnerships and defining Māori success as Māori are key next steps.

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

Joyce Gebbie

Deputy Chief Review Officer Central Select Region

28 January 2015

About the School

Location

Otane

Ministry of Education profile number

2542

School type

Full Primary (Years 1 to 8)

School roll

74

Gender composition

Male 47,

Female 27

Ethnic composition

Māori

Pākehā

Pacific

16

56

2

Review team on site

November 2014

Date of this report

28 January 2015

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Supplementary Review

Supplementary Review

January 2012

December 2008

November 2007