Dalefield School - 11/06/2020

School Context

Dalefield School is a rural school west of Carterton that caters for students in Years 1 to 8. Of the 51 pupils currently attending, four identify as Māori.

Valued outcomes for students are expressed as ‘Ka whakaute ana tātau – We are respectful; He mea auhua mātou – We are creative and He ākonga mātou – We are learners’.

Targets for student achievement in 2020 are in mathematics and literacy. Teachers are undertaking professional development in mathematics.

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

  • progress and achievement in reading, writing, mathematics and science
  • wellbeing
  • attendance.

The school is part of the South Wairarapa Kāhui Ako| Community of Learning.

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 toward achieving equitable and excellent outcomes for all students. School achievement data is showing an improvement in mathematics. In 2019 Māori achieved similarly to their peers in mathematics. Most students achieve at or above school expectations in reading and mathematics. Levels of achievement have been sustained over time in literacy.

The majority of students achieve at or above school expectations in writing. Boys are not achieving as well as girls in reading, writing or mathematics.

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

There is evidence to show accelerated progress for some students. The principal includes acceleration data in his student achievement reports to trustees.

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?

Teachers have created a positive culture for learning. Students engage positively in learning experiences in settled classrooms. They have a strong sense of pride and belonging. Teachers have good knowledge of their strengths, interests, friendships and learning needs.

Leadership and staff are fully committed to the learning and holistic wellbeing of each child. They care about and promote student success. Increasing learner agency is a key focus. Students are supported to make decisions about their learning. Thoughtfully planned guidelines support them to identify their successes and next steps.

The newly developed maths curriculum provides guidance for teaching. The accompanying professional development effectively supports teachers’ improved practice. A deliberate approach to develop the consistency of teaching practice in mathematics and literacy is evident.

Māori success as Māori is promoted for students through their participation in the Kaitiaki Academy run within the Kāhui Ako.

The school has an inclusive approach to students with additional needs. Identified individuals are well supported to achieve success alongside their peers. External agencies are accessed as appropriate, in consultation with whānau.

A useful appraisal system has been developed and implemented. It is appropriately designed to build staff capability and strongly supports teachers to reflect on their practice and learning.

The new leadership team is highly improvement focused and is working collaboratively to pursue the school’s strategic aims. A distributed approach to leadership is developing.

The strategic goals are deliberately aligned to those of the South Wairarapa Kāhui Ako.

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

There is a growing alignment between the school’s values, current initiatives and future direction. A next step is to further adapt the strategic plan to more clearly show the sequence of priorities, and actions to address these, year by year. Annual targets should be refined to more directly show where improvement is needed.

Teachers’ online planning shows clear links to The New Zealand Curriculum. A next step is for the school to develop a local curriculum that celebrates the unique stories and whakapapa of the area. This should include expectations for teacher practice and reflect the aspirations of the community. It is important to complete subject area statements within the school’s curriculum.

Leaders’ and teachers’ approach to internal evaluation is at an early stage. As current developments progress, it is important to evaluate the impact of these on outcomes for students. This includes evaluating the impact of school goals and targets on outcomes for students.

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 Dalefield School’s performance in achieving valued outcomes for its students is: Developing.

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:

  • knowledge of students and their whānau that supports their wellbeing and engagement with school
  • collaborative leadership that builds staff capability.

Next steps

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

  • documenting a localised curriculum that reflects community aspirations
  • strategic planning that prioritises school development
  • further accelerating student progress and achievement to support long-term learner success.

Areas for improved compliance practice

To improve current practice, the board of trustees should ensure that:

  • school policies are fully implemented
  • the hazard register is kept up to date and made known to visitors
  • maintain detailed records of accidents
  • medication registers record all details of medication administration to students
  • board in- committee processes are regularly implemented effectively
  • a complaints file is in place to record any concerns, should they occur.

Dr Lesley Patterson

Director Review and Improvement Services (Southern)

Southern Region - Te Tai Tini

11 June 2020

About the school

The Education Counts website provides further information about the school’s student population, student engagement and student achievement.