Clarkville School - 06/10/2014

Findings

Students achieve highly in National Standards for reading, writing and mathematics. A rich, student-centred curriculum challenges their thinking, develops problem-solving skills and encourages them to work cooperatively.

The board, principal, staff and students work effectively together to achieve the school’s vision for students. School goals, plans and practices promote ongoing educational improvement.

ERO is likely to carry out the next review in four-to-five years.

1 Context

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

Clarkville School provides high-quality education for Years 1 to 8 students in a rural location near Christchurch.

The students learn in multi-level classrooms. Several teachers are in each classroom and work together to provide programmes for the students. The board, principal and teachers are redesigning the classrooms to better support the cooperative learning and teaching occurring in the school.

The school is part of a local cluster of schools and also has links with a number of other schools. These educational links help to extend opportunities for students and teachers.

The board, school leaders and teachers have made significant progress in addressing the recommendations in the September 2009 ERO report. Effective systems are in place to more accurately identify how well students are achieving the National Standards in reading, writing and mathematics. Teaching practices are better targeted to ensure students achieve well and are challenged in their learning.

2 Learning

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

The school makes highly effective use of a good range of student achievement information. This is particularly evident in the way leaders and teachers use literacy and mathematics achievement to make well-informed decisions, set appropriate targets and develop specific plans to raise student achievement further.

Leaders and teachers continue to raise their expectations of students in regard to their learning and achievement.

Teachers make accurate judgements about overall levels of student achievement. These assessments include a suitable range of teacher, peer and self assessments.

The leaders and teachers share achievement information with students, parents and trustees effectively. This includes:

  • students, parents and teachers being actively involved in goal setting and in-depth reflection about student progress and learning
  • informative board reports about learning in literacy and mathematics that guide their decision making in ways that support students and teachers.

The school’s well-developed curriculum and the high quality of teaching is supporting students to achieve and progress very well. For example, the overall level of student achievement is high in relation to the National Standards in reading, writing and mathematics. Levels of achievement have improved over time. Many students demonstrate the attitudes and skills associated with becoming capable and responsible learners who are well prepared for their future education.

Leaders and teachers regularly explore ways of responding to those students whose learning needs are greatest. They make appropriate use of strengths within the staff, along with external support to promote the progress of these students.

Area for review and development

School leaders should build on the work they are doing to establish the most effective ways of evaluating and reporting on the overall progress of students in areas beyond literacy and mathematics.

The school recognises that it needs to look at how best to evaluate and report about the impact of the additional support students receive.

3 Curriculum

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

The school’s curriculum very successfully promotes and supports student learning.

The teachers provide the students with a rich, student-centred curriculum that incorporates many aspects of students' learning and development. The curriculum achieves a good balance between providing students with challenge, choice and opportunities to take responsibility for their learning. It is flexible, evolving and very responsive to students’ strengths, abilities and interests.

Other features of the school’s curriculum include the:

  • strong focus on developing students’ key competencies and leadership skills
  • way teachers make learning meaningful for students by relating activities to their everyday experiences
  • extent to which students have the opportunity to influence aspects of their studies
  • degree to which studies are integrated so that students have the opportunity to develop and apply their learning in a variety of settings.

Students learn in a positive learning environment. Respectful and supportive relationships exist at all levels, with students actively supporting one another with their learning. Well-established routines and high levels of student engagement and behaviour enable teachers to concentrate on their teaching and students on their learning. The teachers provide students with a range of opportunities to take risks to extend their learning.

Teachers consistently use a wide range of effective teaching practices. For instance they:

  • have high expectations for students' learning and the quality of their own teaching practices
  • see themselves as learners and model ways to be active learners for students
  • provide students with clearly focused high-quality group teaching and individual support
  • actively support students to develop independence and confidence as learners
  • make effective use of a range of technologies to support students' learning and enhance their teaching.

A strength of the school is the way the teachers work with one another and critically reflect on their practices. This is particularly evident in the quality of collaborative teaching occurring in all classes.

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

The school is making good progress in promoting educational success for Māori as Māori.

Māori students are well supported to achieve success as Māori and to learn about aspects of their culture. Membership of the whānau and kapa haka is actively sought by other students. Students and teachers are proud of their progress in learning their mihi and regularly share them with others. The school strategic plan goals promote strong partnerships with Māori in the local and wider community.

More students and families are identifying as Māori and wanting to know about their culture and heritage.

Māori students are achieving very well in mathematics, writing and reading. Their achievement in some areas is a little above other students at this school.

Area for review and development

The school has identified, and ERO agrees, that the next step to increase Māori success as Māori is more inclusion of te reo and tikanga Māori across the curriculum.

4 Sustainable Performance

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

The school is very well placed to sustain and improve its performance.

The principal’s leadership is a critical factor in ensuring that the school’s vision, beliefs and values are clearly evident in the day-to-day operation of the school. A strong leadership team, works well together. Team members challenge each other and use their individual strengths to help ensure there is ongoing school improvement.

Leadership and management practices promote:

  • well-considered and research-based innovations
  • team work and collaboration
  • effective ongoing professional development and support
  • a positive school culture and a willingness to critically review practices and programmes.

The board, principal and other leaders work effectively together. They show a strong commitment to achieving the collaboratively-developed plans and goals, and work in partnership to achieve these. The board has effective systems and practices in place for performing its governance role, including reviewing and reporting. Trustees give appropriate priority to fostering student achievement and wellbeing.

The board and school leaders use a range of effective strategies to promote partnerships with parents and whanau. Regular surveys, and the use of focus groups provide useful feedback which is used by teachers, leaders and trustees to inform their decision making. Parents are given regular opportunities to learn about and contribute to the school’s curriculum.

Area for review and development

The board and principal should extend self-review practices to include more in-depth reviews of aspects of the school’s curriculum beyond literacy and mathematics.

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

Students achieve highly in National Standards for reading, writing and mathematics. A rich, student-centred curriculum challenges their thinking, develops problem-solving skills and encourages them to work cooperatively.

The board, principal, staff and students work effectively together to achieve the school’s vision for students. School goals, plans and practices promote ongoing educational improvement.

ERO is likely to carry out the next review in four-to-five years.

Graham Randell

National Manager Review Services Southern Region

6 October 2014

About the School

Location

Kaiapoi, North Canterbury

Ministry of Education profile number

3321

School type

Full Primary (Years 1 to 8)

School roll

211

Gender composition

Boys 50% Girls 50%

Ethnic composition

NZ European/Pākehā

Māori

Fijian

Indian

Other Ethnicities

80%

18%

1%

1%

Review team on site

August 2014

Date of this report

6 October 2014

Most recent ERO reports

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

September 2009

August 2006

August 2003