Eketahuna School - 16/02/2017

1 Context

Eketahuna School in located in the central Wairarapa and caters for Years 1 to 8 students. At the time of this ERO review there were 126 students on the roll, and about 40% identify as Māori. The roll has grown since the May 2014 ERO report.

The school has joined a newly established Community of Learning involving 13 schools in the Wairarapa area.

Areas for review and development outlined in the previous ERO report continue to be a focus for improvement.

2 Equity and excellence

The vision and valued outcomes defined by the school for all children are to prepare today's child for tomorrow's world, with an 'I can do it' approach.

The school’s achievement information shows that in 2015 many students achieved at or above in relation to the National Standards in reading and mathematics. Just over half of all students met the Standards in writing.

School reported data shows that achievement in reading for all students has improved since 2014. Māori students achieved similarly to other learners in this area.

Student achievement in mathematics showed an improvement in 2015, particularly for Māori and boys. Boys are doing well in mathematics, however the gap between them and girls has widened.

Writing achievement has declined since the previous ERO review, with a significant group of students now not reaching the Standard. While there has been slight improvement for Māori, the school has not yet successfully promoted achievement in writing at or above the Standard for the majority or reduced the gap between Māori learners and their peers in the school.

Since the previous ERO evaluation the school has focused on:

  • raising student achievement in reading
  • building capability in the teaching of writing through professional learning
  • improving the teacher performance management process
  • increasing digital technology resources and use
  • increasing the engagement of students in their learning
  • strengthening communication and engagement with parents and whānau
  • building the school's response to students' culture, language and identity. 

3 Accelerating achievement

How effectively does this school respond to Māori children whose learning and achievement need acceleration?

Eketahuna School is continuing to develop its response to Māori learners whose learning and achievement need acceleration. Reported achievement information shows that teachers are having an impact on increasing the progress for some of these students, but not all.

There has been some improvement in the achievement of Māori students in reading and mathematics, where the gap between Māori and their peers in the school has narrowed since 2014. However, the effectiveness of the school's strategies to improve Māori achievement in writing has been minimal.

The school has had limited success in achieving its annual targets for raising the achievement of groups that include Māori students, who were identified as at risk of underachieving in relation to National Standards. Data for 2016 shows that some of the students targeted, including Māori, have experienced accelerated progress in reading and spelling.

The school uses a suitable range of assessment tools to measure student achievement. These identify students' strengths and their gaps in learning. They have the potential to show progress over time. Teachers and leaders are currently reviewing the choice and purpose of assessment tools and continue to explore better ways to use them to show student progress over time.

Teachers use data to group students for teaching and inform planning. They are collaborative and collegial. They discuss student achievement and progress at meetings, and engage in processes to ensure the increased accuracy of their judgements about students' achievement in relation to the National Standards. A next step is to work with other schools to further strengthen this moderation process.

How effectively does this school respond to other children whose learning and achievement need acceleration?

In 2015, the school was successful in reaching its target for improved reading achievement for specific groups. Overall achievement of boys in writing improved significantly, indicating many boys are achieving accelerated progress.

School leaders identify that raising achievement in writing overall remains an urgent requirement.

4 School conditions

How effectively do the school’s curriculum and other organisational processes and practices develop and enact the school’s vision, values, goals and targets for equity and excellence?

The Eketahuna School curriculum is effective for the majority students. The school is continuing to review and develop its practices that are intended to promote equity and excellence for all.

Leaders identify priorities for improvement and set the strategic direction. They have established a climate of trust and collaboration, and a caring, inclusive community that focuses on promoting student wellbeing.

The school has recognised that improving the effectiveness of how teachers use achievement information to track and monitor students' progress, would provide better information to show which students, particularly priority students, are experiencing accelerated progress.

School leaders use data to set annual raising achievement targets and strategic priorities. These focus on improving outcomes for all students. Trustees are becoming better informed about student achievement in relation to National Standards. A next step is to strengthen targets so that they clearly articulate:

  • the expected, measurable outcomes for students
  • what accelerated progress is required in response to individual needs.

Knowing how well students are meeting expectations for acceleration over time should better assist the board to make informed decisions and review the effectiveness of planned actions.

Reports to parents are clear and provide information about their child’s achievement in relation to National Standards. Next steps for learning are included. Parents are provided with suggestions to support their child’s learning at home. Strengthening how reports show progress should support learning conversations with whānau.

There is increased use of digital devices in classrooms to support students' learning, and for interaction with parents that celebrates students' successes. The school plans to continue to develop digital resourcing for senior students. Leaders have identified that building teachers' knowledge and practices for eLearning to more effectively enhance outcomes for students is a next step.

For students requiring additional support, extra staffing resourced by the board supports their learning and integration into the classroom. Teacher aides work well with identified students to support targeted learning programmes. External agencies are engaged when required. Next steps are to:

  • strengthen goal setting, planned responses and monitoring of progress for these students
  • know more about the impact of practices and interventions on students' success. This should assist the school to continue to improve its responsiveness to student needs.

Response to students' language, culture and identity has increased. A tutor supports students and teachers to grow their knowledge and understanding of te ao Māori. As a consequence, all students know their mihi, participate in pōwhiri and are gaining a basic knowledge of te reo Māori.

The reviewed performance management system includes the components of a suitable appraisal process. Teachers are becoming increasingly reflective and use newly introduced digital tools to gather evidence of how they to meet the Practising Teacher Criteria. Continuing to refine and strengthen this process is a next step. The board has engaged an external appraiser for the principal, which should strengthen the process and provide a stronger focus on building practice.

Teachers are at the early stages of inquiring into the effectiveness of their practice. A new system for teacher inquiry is to be introduced in 2017. This should seek to ensure a focus on students whose progress needs acceleration. Increasing the use of achievement information should support teachers to show the impact of changes in their practice on the outcomes for students. 

The school has improved is communication with families. Digital platforms support teachers to share information about the learning, progress, success and wellbeing of children with their parents and whānau. The school acknowledges that building partnerships that promote learning is an ongoing area for development.

The board is improvement focused. Good systems are in place to support effective governance, and provide a positive learning environment for children. The board is becoming better informed about student progress and achievement. Trustees access training when possible in order to further develop their understanding of their roles.

5 Going forward

How well placed is the school to accelerate the achievement of all children who need it?

Leaders and teachers:

  • know the children whose learning and achievement need to be accelerated
  • need approaches that effectively meet the needs of each child
  • need to ensure the school is well placed to accelerate the achievement of all children who need it.

Self-review processes seek improvement to student achievement, school systems and practices. Leaders and teachers need to strengthen their capacity to use data to create a better understanding of what works, what does not and what makes a bigger difference for all learners.

The next step is to further strengthen the systematic use of evidence-based evaluation to measure the impact of practices and programmes. Improved internal evaluation should enable the school to better measure the effectiveness of the curriculum and teaching on accelerating student progress. This should improve the school's capacity to sustain and continue to improve its performance.

Action: The board, principal and teachers should participate in an internal evaluation workshop. They should use this workshop, the Internal Evaluation: Good Practice exemplars and the School Evaluation Indicators to address the findings of this evaluation and develop more targeted planning that includes a significant focus on building teacher capability to accelerate learning and achievement.

As part of this review ERO will continue to monitor the school’s planning and the progress the school makes.

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

6 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 the following:

  • board administration

  • curriculum

  • management of health, safety and welfare

  • personnel management

  • 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

  • processes for appointing staff

  • stand down, suspensions, expulsions and exclusions

  • attendance

  • compliance with the provisions of the Vulnerable Children Act 2014

7 Recommendation

Eketahuna School should continue to develop aspects of its organisation and practices to support improvement in outcomes for all children. This includes:

  • raising achievement in writing for all learners, particularly Māori
  • strengthening the use of achievement data to promote learning and progress
  • reviewing the curriculum to improve its responsiveness to all children and their individual learning needs
  • continuing to build teachers' practice and effectiveness
  • undertaking systematic evidence-based internal evaluation to determine the impact of actions on outcomes. 

Joyce Gebbie

Deputy Chief Review Officer Central

16 February 2017 

About the school 

Location

Eketahuna

Ministry of Education profile number

2835

School type

Full Primary (Years 1 to 8)

School roll

126

Gender composition

Male 50%, Female 50%

Ethnic composition

Māori

Pākehā

Other ethnic groups

42%

57%

1%

Review team on site

November 2016

Date of this report

16 February 2017

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

May 2014

February 2011

October 2007