Epuni School - 06/11/2010

1. The Education Review Office (ERO) Evaluation

Epuni School is located in Hutt City and provides education for students from years 1 to 6. Its multicultural community is evident in the cultural diversity of students on the roll. Of the 127 students attending at the time of the review, 44% identified as Māori. All but three percent of the remaining proportion was made up of similar numbers of students from Pacific, Asian or New Zealand European/Pākehā backgrounds.

The school’s reporting history with ERO indicates steady performance under the long-serving principal’s leadership. The 2007 ERO review identified the school could make more difference for students by strengthening review processes and responding to the findings of analysed achievement information. Since then there have been few changes of school personnel and a continuing focus on school improvement.

The board, principal and staff form a united and highly effective team. All share responsibility and accountability for student learning and well-being. Self review is well embedded and used to make a positive difference for students.

The quality of programme provision is high. Students are supported to take ownership of learning. They are developing confidence in giving and receiving feedback and setting goals. Instruction in literacy and mathematics is sound and students apply and share their skills for learning across the other curriculum areas. The school provides a variety of opportunities for students to explore individual talents or interests. Students enjoy school and are well engaged with their learning.

Overall achievement in reading, writing and numeracy has been raised significantly since the previous ERO review. In 2007, the performance of more than 50% of students gave cause for concern. Māori and Pacific students were over-represented in the underachieving group. At the time of this review, about 75% of all students are on track to achieve national expectations by the end of the year. Those identified with specific learning needs, and requiring assistance to meet the set standards, receive additional support through a variety of well monitored interventions.

Interactions are positive and constructive across the school and wider community. Contributions are made by local business, church groups and volunteers. Transition of children from the nearby kindergarten is well managed. Parents are regularly consulted and informed about school matters. High numbers of parents attend the student progress, achievement and goal-setting discussions. Feedback indicates satisfaction with the clarity of information received and a strong sense of community within a welcoming and supportive environment.

Future Action

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

2. Epuni School’s Curriculum

How effectively does the curriculum of Epuni School promote student learning - engagement, progress and achievement?

School context and self review

Epuni School mainly serves its local community. Students come from diverse cultural backgrounds. While nearly half the roll identifies as Māori, all but three percent of other students come from Pacific, Asian and Pākehā backgrounds. About 20% of the school receives English language learning support.

The school’s reporting history with ERO is positive and indicates steady performance under the principal’s leadership. The 2007 review identified the school could make more difference for students by strengthening review processes and responding to the findings of analysed achievement information. Since then there have been few changes of personnel and a continuing focus on school improvement.

Student learning and well-being are at the heart of planning and operation. Direction is clearly articulated in the charter vision, values and documented expectations, incorporating the principles of The New Zealand Curriculum. These are well communicated, understood and implemented at all levels of the school.

Trustees and staff form a committed, enthusiastic, well functioning team that embraces change positively. Senior managers and teachers have worked collaboratively to design the school’s curriculum, implement National Standards and incorporate national strategies for realising Māori and Pacific potential. Professional development since 2007 has involved reflection on teaching practice and analysis of assessment data to more effectively identify and cater for students’ strengths and needs. The school has been part of the Naenae Literacy Enhancing Achievement Project for promoting successful transition to the next stage of education.

A significant outcome of school improvement is the model adopted for self review. This has evolved from research into best practice, teacher inquiry and evaluation. There is shared responsibility and accountability for making a difference. Self review is implemented schoolwide to reflect on effectiveness and decide next steps.

Areas of strength

Analysis and use of assessment informationAssessment processes have been effectively led and consistently embedded across the school. Expectations for achievement have been reviewed in alignment with the National Standards. Information is gathered using suitable assessment tools and is of high quality. Teachers inquire deeply into their data to target student learning and improve how they teach. Achievement information is collated to monitor whole school performance and student progress against expectations and over time.

Student achievementMost students achieve at national expectation for literacy and numeracy and their rate of progress is good. The achievement of Māori students is similar to that for all students. At the beginning of 2010, 60% were achieving at or above expectations for reading. The mid year results indicate this percentage is likely to be greater by the end of the year.

In November 2009 75% met, and 33% exceeded, year-level expectations in writing. By mid 2010 just over half of the students are already achieving at the national end‑of-year expectations, with a further 25% on track to reach this goal. Fifty percent of all students, and 70% of those in years 4 to 6, have already made the expected rate of progress for the year.

In November 2009 50% of students were working at the appropriate stage in numeracy and a further 10% performed above this level. The mid 2010 results show that about 30% of all students are already working at the appropriate stage for the end of the year and a further half are on track to reach expectation within the timeframe.

Teachers know patterns of student performance across and within classes. The achievement of students targeted for accelerated progress is monitored within the classroom and also by the special needs coordinator. Analysis of the register shows no over‑representation of any ethnic group and that the consistently greatest number receiving support is the group supported to learn English.

Learning programmesStudents experience a range of stimulating and valuable learning opportunities and have access to good quality resources. The curriculum is student-centred and contexts are relevant to their lives. Planning and teaching include development of skills for inquiry and competencies across the curriculum. Programmes are enriched through the inclusion of te reo me ngā tikanga Māori so that the principles and values embraced in the Māori action plan become naturally embedded. Most of the NZC principles are apparent in classroom programmes and the wider school culture.

Priority is given to building students’ literacy and mathematics skills. The range of learning needs is effectively met. Teachers plan individual learning steps in response to analysis of assessment information. Judgements are checked for reliability and fairness through team discussion and comparison. Progress is monitored closely and, as a result, teachers and the principal know individual students well.

Student engagementStudents know expectations for work, settle quickly and go about their activities with purpose and confidence. They take ownership of their learning. Strategies effectively fostering engagement include:

  • positive interactions between teachers and students and amongst students;
  • the inquiry-based approach to teaching and learning that seeks student input; and
  • empowerment of students as self-regulating learners to develop goals and success criteria, to use these for self and peer assessment, give and receive feedback and take part in an evidence-based reporting process.

Community engagementPartnerships with the immediate and wider community continue to grow and enhance school direction. Parents/whānau/fono, have many opportunities to be involved in school life and their contributions are valued. Students’ learning experiences are enriched through the school’s liaisons with local business and church groups and the support of community volunteers. A close relationship with the nearby kindergarten and planned transition processes help to foster a successful entry to the beginning class.

Communication about school matters is timely and useful. The board receives regular reports about curriculum programmes and student achievement. Parents are well informed about the learning and progress of their children throughout the year. Reporting takes different forms and is substantiated with student work samples and assessments. Parents know the achievement expectations for age, time at school and year level, and how well their child is achieving and progressing. Goals and supporting strategies are agreed on the basis of these discussions. Parents report a high level of satisfaction and express appreciation for the inclusive, supportive environment provided.

Implications for Action

ERO and the board of trustees agree that school personnel should continue to use evidence-based self review to; evaluate how well curriculum design and delivery contributes to outcomes for students, identify further opportunities for improvement; and sustain the gains made over the past three years.

3. Board Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the board of trustees and principal of Epuni School completed an ERO Board Assurance Statement and Self-Audit Checklist. In these documents they attested that they had taken all reasonable steps to meet their legal obligations related to:

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

During the review, ERO checked policies, procedures and practices about compliance in the following areas (because they have a potentially high impact on students’ achievement):

  • emotional safety of students (including prevention of bullying and sexual harassment);
  • physical safety of students;
  • teacher registration;
  • stand-downs, suspensions, expulsions and exclusions; and
  • attendance.

4. Future Action

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

Kathleen Atkins

National Manager Review Services

Central Region 

6 October 2010

About The School

School type

 Contributing primary (years 1 to 6)

Decile 

2

School roll

127

Gender composition

Male 52%,

Female 48%

Ethnic composition

Māori 44%,

Pacific 20%,

New Zealand European/Pākehā 18%

Asian 15%,

Other ethnic groups 3%

Review team on site

July 2010

Date of this report

6 October 2010

Previous three ERO reports

Education Review June 2007

Education Review May 2004

Accountability Review June 2000

To the Parents and Community of Epuni School

These are the findings of the Education Review Office’s latest report on Epuni School.

Epuni School is located in Hutt City and provides education for students from years 1 to 6. Its multicultural community is evident in the cultural diversity of students on the roll. Of the 127 students attending at the time of the review, 44% identified as Māori. All but three percent of the remaining proportion was made up of similar numbers of students from Pacific, Asian or New Zealand European/Pākehā backgrounds.

The school’s reporting history with ERO indicates steady performance under the long-serving principal’s leadership. The 2007 ERO review identified the school could make more difference for students by strengthening review processes and responding to the findings of analysed achievement information. Since then there have been few changes of school personnel and a continuing focus on school improvement.

The board, principal and staff form a united and highly effective team. All share responsibility and accountability for student learning and well-being. Self review is well embedded and used to make a positive difference for students.

The quality of programme provision is high. Students are supported to take ownership of learning. They are developing confidence in giving and receiving feedback and setting goals. Instruction in literacy and mathematics is sound and students apply and share their skills for learning across the other curriculum areas. The school provides a variety of opportunities for students to explore individual talents or interests. Students enjoy school and are well engaged with their learning.

Overall achievement in reading, writing and numeracy has been raised significantly since the previous ERO review. In 2007, the performance of more than 50% of students gave cause for concern. Māori and Pacific students were over-represented in the underachieving group. At the time of this review, about 75% of all students are on track to achieve national expectations by the end of the year. Those identified with specific learning needs, and requiring assistance to meet the set standards, receive additional support through a variety of well monitored interventions.

Interactions are positive and constructive across the school and wider community. Contributions are made by local business, church groups and volunteers. Transition of children from the nearby kindergarten is well managed. Parents are regularly consulted and informed about school matters. High numbers of parents attend the student progress, achievement and goal-setting discussions. Feedback indicates satisfaction with the clarity of information received and a strong sense of community within a welcoming and supportive environment.

Future Action

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

Review Coverage

This report provides an evaluation of how effectively the school’s curriculum promotes student learning - engagement, progress and achievement. ERO’s evaluation takes account of the school’s previous reporting history and is based on:

  • what is known about student achievement information, including the achievement of Māori and Pacific students;
  • decisions made to improve student achievement using assessment and self‑review information; and
  • teaching strategies and programmes implemented to give effect to the school’s curriculum.

ERO also gathers information during the review to contribute to its national reports. The national reports are published on ERO’s website.

If you would like a copy of the full report, please contact the school or see the ERO website, www.ero.govt.nz.

Kathleen Atkins

National Manager Review Services

Central Region