Epuni School - 18/11/2014

Findings

How effectively is this school’s curriculum promoting student learning - engagement, progress and achievement?

Epuni School is a positive and welcoming place for students, their families and the community. Learning is meaningful and enjoyable for students. The majority achieve in relation to the National Standards. Assessment information is used well to support some students to meet these expectations. The continuous drive for improvement places the school well for promoting student success.

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?

Epuni School in Hutt City provides education for students in Years 1 to 6. At the time of this ERO review, there were 90 students enrolled, including 41 Māori and 25 Pacific students.

The principal has led the school for many years. She is well known to the community. Since the October 2010 ERO report, two teachers and some board members are new to the school. Other personnel have long associations with the school and provide continuity.

School development has continued. The principal and teachers have participated in professional learning for fostering student success through strengthening assessment, cultural responsiveness and relationships with parents, families and whānau.

The school and wider community are partners in the Common Unity Project Aotearoa, an initiative for developing life skills with students and local families. A play group and music school also operate on site. Inclusion and active community involvement are part of school culture and significant for students' curriculum experiences.

2. Learning

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

Leaders, teachers and trustees use information effectively to respond to students' learning needs and interests and promote their success. Data is regularly analysed and reported to relevant people to use in planning for improvement.

National Standards data for reading, writing and mathematics is collated to establish a picture of achievement schoolwide. The 2013 end-of-year judgements in relation to the Standards showed that the majority met or performed above these expectations in the three areas. Moderation between Epuni teachers and those from other schools in the professional development cluster has helped leaders and teachers to be confident that judgements made are accurate and fair.

Patterns across groups are identified and analysed to raise performance. The school knows which groups and individuals to target and areas of teaching to develop. In 2014, the focus has been on assisting Māori and Pacific students to meet the Standards in specific areas and on increasing numbers performing above the Standards in writing and mathematics. All National Standards data is evaluated for the purpose of supporting priority learners and continuously improving practice.

Teachers know their target students. Assessment information is used to set expectations for progress and plan for specific learning needs. Teachers consider how to make a difference to the rate of progress and regularly reflect on success, using subsequent assessments. Records show progress as a result of targeted teaching and judgements in relation to the Standards over the year. Teachers are at different stages in the level of critical reflection they bring to this process and the principal is working toward consistency.

Additional learning support is provided for students through literacy and mathematics interventions. Some of these are through specialist agencies or targeted interventions. While conclusive data was not yet available to judge the total impact made, some progress information shared indicates that these strategies are worthwhile for students requiring more assistance.

Students with high and complex needs are well catered for in an inclusive environment. Planning for their learning and progress is collaboratively done by teachers, parents and specialists. Goals are evaluated and reviewed regularly to be sure students' needs are met.

Parents receive useful information during the year to support understanding of their child’s progress and achievement. Written reports show achievement in relation to the National Standards, next steps for learning and how these can be supported at home. Other communications assist the focus on partnerships for learning.

Teachers continue to work on using strategies to engage students in discussing their learning meaningfully. Information from student reflections is linked to teachers' inquiries into their effectiveness for supporting learning and accelerating progress.

3. Curriculum

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

The Epuni School curriculum purposefully promotes student learning, presence and engagement.

The principal shares high expectations and clear guidelines for teaching and learning. Since the previous 2010 ERO report, the school community has revisited its curriculum. The mission, vision and context for learning have been reviewed to incorporate the aims of the Common Unity project, which provides an authentic context for responsive curriculum design. The principles, values and key competencies of The New Zealand Curriculum remain embedded in the framework.

Students, parents and the wider community participate in meaningful opportunities linked to sustainability, nutrition and the natural environment. Gardening, recycling and knitting projects are real-life contexts for students to learn across the curriculum and be productive through hands-on activities. Teachers help students to develop their understanding of the value of cooperation, participation and self management for being life-long learners.

Student wellbeing is fostered. Culture is acknowledged and valued. Relationships between teachers, students, their peers and participating adults are positive. The principal, board and staff have worked with the Ministry of Education's Pasifika Education Plan 2013 – 2017 to develop an action plan for promoting positive and responsive partnerships with Pacific families. The aims support the need to raise Pacific achievement.

Students are well engaged in their activities. Teachers use strategies that make learning a positive and enjoyable experience. Continuing with current professional development programmes is likely to enhance consistency of effectiveness across curriculum areas and classes.

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

Māori students experience positive relationships with their peers and teachers. They contribute purposefully to all aspects of school life. Māori students’ culture, language and identity are reflected in relevant cultural contexts for learning. Students know their language is valued through teachers' use of te reo Māori. Teachers are in their third year of studying the language through a wananga provided Mauri Ora programme.

The 2014 focus, for promoting success for Māori as Māori, is on productive partnerships. The school can show how it has worked toward this. The Māori action plan has been reviewed to reflect the updated aims of Ka Hikitia - Managing for Success: The Māori Education Strategy 2013-2017. Members of the Māori community have formed a whānau support group. This team is active in discussing achievement data, making suggestions for student and teacher learning and curriculum design. Links with the local marae help to reinforce school understanding of te ao Māori and whānau aspirations for student outcomes.

4. Sustainable Performance

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

The school is well placed to sustain and improve its performance. Ongoing reflection and evaluation lead to continuous development. Goals and actions for moving forward are interconnected and monitoring systems generate good information. The board, principal, teachers and community are well informed and collectively responsive to the findings of reports.

Trustees are committed to serving students and the community well. They bring a range of skills and expertise to their role. They have taken advantage of training opportunities in all aspects of governance. Board planning focuses on priorities for development and is supported with action plans in key areas. These provided a basis for evaluation and setting next steps for development. Board business is conducted efficiently and focused on student wellbeing and success.

School leadership is effective in promoting a welcoming and inclusive culture where learning is a shared experience. The principal models high expectations and open communication. She is supportive of her staff and community. Good performance is systematically promoted through honest and constructive discussion. Teachers engage positively in critical reflection across several dimensions.

Parents, whānau and the wider community are welcomed and purposefully included in the life of the school. The principal, teachers and trustees continue to consider and develop practices that extend these relationships and enrich partnerships for learning. As part of curriculum review, students and families have collectively designed a symbol to visually represent their school and what it stands for. The vision is shared.

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

Epuni School is a positive and welcoming place for students, their families and the community. Learning is meaningful and enjoyable for students. The majority achieve in relation to the National Standards. Assessment information is used well to support some students to meet these expectations. The continuous drive for improvement places the school well for promoting student success.

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

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Joyce Gebbie

National Manager Review Services

Central Region

18 November 2014

About the School

Location

Lower Hutt

Ministry of Education profile number

2836

School type

Contributing (Years 1 to 6)

School roll

90

Gender composition

Male 46

Female 44

Ethnic composition

Māori

Pacific

NZ European/Pākehā

Other ethnic groups

41

25

19

5

Review team on site

August 2014

Date of this report

18 November 2014

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

October 2010

June 2007

May 2004