Bulls School - 02/12/2019

School Context

Bulls School is a primary located in Bulls township for students in Years 1 to 8. The current roll of 160, includes 44 Māori and smaller groups of students from other ethnic backgrounds.

Since the December 2016 ERO report, the roll has remained stable, the board chairperson is new, and some new trustees have been elected. The principal continues in the leadership role and the teaching team has remained largely unchanged.

The school vision is to ‘create collaborative, connected and active lifelong learners in a modern, innovative community school environment’. The vision is underpinned by the PRIDE values of ‘Positivity (Whanaungatanga), Respect ( Manaakitanga), Integrity (Pono), Determination (Mana Motuhake), Excellence (Whakamana)’.

Current strategic goals include striving for excellence across the national curriculum with a strong emphasis on literacy and numeracy.

Leaders and teachers regularly report to the board, schoolwide information about outcomes for students in the following areas:

  • reading
  • writing
  • mathematics
  • learning support interventions
  • key competencies
  • PRIDE Values.

Teachers have had external professional development in mathematics. They have also have begun extensive professional learning through the South Rangitikei Kāhui Ako in developing a localised curriculum, exploring the teachers’ roles as Te Tiriti o Waitangi partners through the lens of cultural revitalisation.

Evaluation Findings

1 Equity and excellence – achievement of valued outcomes for students

1.1 How well is the school achieving equitable and excellent outcomes for all its students?

The school is working towards achieving equitable and excellent outcomes for all its students.

School data for 2018 shows that in reading approximately 80% of all students achieved at expected curriculum levels and a slightly lower proportion in mathematics and writing.

This school-wide data also shows that:

  • in reading, girls achieved at significantly higher levels than boys and Māori achieved at higher levels than other students
  • in writing, girls achieved at higher levels than boys, and Māori achieved at similar levels to other students
  • in mathematics, boys and girls achieved at similar levels, and Māori and other groups of students also achieved at similar levels.

School-wide data gathered for 2016 - 2018 shows overall increasing levels of achievement in reading, consistency in writing and a slight fall in mathematics.

School data about the achievement in relation to the key competencies of The New Zealand Curriculum and the school PRIDE values shows that many students are progressing in these areas.

1.2 How well is the school accelerating learning for those Māori and other students who need this?

The school’s achievement information for 2018 shows effective rates of acceleration for those students who are at risk of not achieving at expected levels in reading, writing and mathematics. Over half of these learners experienced accelerated progress. However, rates of acceleration for Māori students were not as high as for other groups of learners.

2 School conditions for equity and excellence – processes and practices

2.1 What school processes and practices are effective in enabling achievement of equity and excellence, and acceleration of learning?

High levels of student engagement across classrooms in flexible environments support student learning and success. Teachers use many effective strategies to plan and deliver teaching programmes and build their own capability. Teaching practice is supported by collegial relationships and team work between teachers and within teaching teams. Targeted teaching includes focused conferencing with students where effective questioning skills are used and strong rapport between teachers and students is evident.

Teachers deliberately foster student success in relation to the key competencies of The New Zealand Curriculum with a visible focus on self-management. These environments reflect the language, culture and identity of Māori learners and New Zealand’s bicultural partnership. Relevant and well-considered use of digital technology supports student learning. There are planned targeted interventions to accelerate progress for learners with identified learning needs.

Initiatives to build teacher capability are supported by relevant professional learning. This learning involves high levels of collaboration among teachers and is well aligned to school values.

The school is engaged in relationships with parents focused on student learning and wellbeing. There are multiple opportunities for whānau involvement in school events and activities. Communication processes enable inclusion of the community in the life of the school and ensure parents and whānau are informed about student successes.

A planned approach to consultation with whānau supports partnerships within the school community. Involvement with the Kāhui Ako is enhancing partnerships with the wider regional community. The Kāhui Ako has contributed to more authentic engagement with local iwi. The school is in the process of considering ways to align its strategic goals with those of the Kāhui Ako.

Governance processes are well-aligned with a focus on improving outcomes for students. Trustees are representative of the school community. They are empowered by school leaders to undertake their governance roles and receive useful reports about student engagement and achievement. Board effectiveness is supported by relevant training and the many skills and experiences that trustees bring to their roles. Effective governance enables trustees to make decisions that ensure students and teachers to have access to the resources needed to continually improve learning environments and student achievement.

2.2 What further developments are needed in school processes and practices for achievement of equity and excellence, and acceleration of learning?

The school is on a journey of developing and implementing the local place-based, contextual curriculum. This development is in keeping with one of the Kāhui Ako achievement challenges and is necessary to enable the local curriculum to be fully representative of who the students are.

The school has trialled the use of a learning progression framework to support assessment, planning and internal evaluation across the school. The consistent use of such a fit-for-purpose assessment tool is needed to support information sharing through a common language of assessment and progress between and among students, teachers, whānau and Kāhui Ako.

3 Board Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the board 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 the following:

  • board administration
  • curriculum
  • management of health, safety and welfare
  • personnel management
  • finance
  • asset management.

During the review, ERO checked the following items because they have a potentially high impact on student safety and wellbeing:

  • emotional safety of students (including prevention of bullying and sexual harassment)
  • physical safety of students
  • teacher registration and certification
  • processes for appointing staff
  • stand down, suspension, expulsion and exclusion of students
  • attendance
  • school policies in relation to meeting the requirements of the Children’s Act 2014.

4 ERO’s Overall Judgement

On the basis of the findings of this review, ERO’s overall evaluation judgement of Bulls School’s performance in achieving valued outcomes for its students is: Well placed.

ERO’s Framework: Overall Findings and Judgement Tool derived from School Evaluation Indicators: Effective Practice for Improvement and Learner Success is available on ERO’s website.

5 Going forward

Key strengths of the school

For sustained improvement and future learner success, the school can draw on existing strengths in:

  • relationships and communications that contribute to equity and belonging
  • teaching strategies that support students’ holistic development and wellbeing
  • governance that is empowered to guide school development and direction.

Next steps

For sustained improvement and future learner success, priorities for further development are in:

  • planned developments in assessment to support student agency, teacher efficacy and learning partnerships
  • planned developments to design and implement a local place-based curriculum.

Phillip Cowie

Director Review and Improvement Services Central

Central Region

2 December 2019

About the school

Location

Bulls

Ministry of Education profile number

2343

School type

Full Primary (Years 1 to 8)

School roll

160

Gender composition

Male 54% Female 46%

Ethnic composition

Māori 28%
NZ European/Pākehā 63%
Samoan 6%
Other ethnic groups 3%

Students with Ongoing Resourcing Funding (ORS)

No

Provision of Māori medium education

No

Review team on site

September 2019

Date of this report

2 December 2019

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review, December 2016
Education Review, February 2014
Education Review, May 2009