Eskdale School - 02/06/2015

1 Context

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

Eskdale School is situated in Esk Valley, Hawkes Bay and caters for students from Years 1 to 8. There has been considerable roll growth over the past year. At the time of this review, the roll is 204, and 17% of the students identify as Māori.

A new principal was appointed in term 1, 2014. As a result of roll growth, an additional teacher was appointed at the beginning of 2015. The board and staffing has remained stable during this time of change.

The large spacious grounds have allowed the school to develop its own gardens, which include plantings of native trees and a propagation shed. There is a focus on education for sustainability.

The school is well supported by the local and wider community. Many parents and members of the community attend school events. Parents willingly volunteer their time and skills to take extra curricula activities that contribute to the learning programme.

Areas identified for review and development in the 2012 ERO report have been successfully addressed.

2 Learning

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

Professional leadership from the recently appointed principal contributes to:

  • senior leaders' and teachers' deeper analysis of student achievement information to inform decision making
  • teachers' strengthened interpretation and use of assessment information to inform teaching and learning programmes
  • teachers' greater understanding and consistency of moderation to support their overall judgements about students' achievement.

This is resulting in a more effective response to, and use of data to inform decisions about student learning.

The 2014 school-reported student achievement data indicates that most are achieving at National Standards expectations in reading, writing and mathematics. Teachers identify that some Māori students and some boys are not achieving as well as their peers. The school has set appropriate targets to accelerate the progress of these students.

Students with identified learning needs are supported through a range of appropriate programmes and interventions to support their learning.

Parents are well informed about their child’s progress and achievement in relation to National Standards in reading, writing and mathematics. Students' portfolios of work provide useful information to support written reports.

3 Curriculum

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

Students experience a broad curriculum with opportunities for them to extend their learning and to pursue interests beyond the classroom.

The Eskdale School curriculum is under review, with the purpose of meeting the needs of 21st Century learners. A well-planned and considered approach ensures that all aspects of the curriculum will be reviewed in a timely manner. Action plans to support the implementation of this review have been developed. Curriculum priorities are: literacy, mathematics, e-learning and integrating education for sustainability across the curriculum.

Teachers are developing a shared understanding of effective literacy and mathematics teaching practice. This is supported by their ongoing professional development.

There is a planned approach to developing e-learning across the school. In 2015, all students in Years 5 to 8 access the curriculum using a device of their choice. A strategic approach to the implementation of this initiative is ongoing particularly around building teachers' capacity to ensure learning across the school is enhanced.

Staff know students well and are focused on raising achievement, particularly for those individuals needing additional support and extension. Teachers use a range of effective teaching strategies to engage students in learning. High levels of interest and motivation are evident.

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

Teachers know Māori students as learners and as individuals. Many are achieving well. Leaders and teachers are aware of the need to accelerate the progress of Māori students who are not achieving as well as their peers.

There is a commitment to engaging Maori parents and whānau and listening to their ideas and aspirations. As a result of consultation with whānau in 2014, the school has made a positive connection with Hukarere Māori Girls College. Hukarere senior students plan to support the development of the school kapahaka group. The board is working with key people from Petane Marae to form a working relationship and establish a kaumatua position for the school.

The school has developed a useful statement about the teaching of te reo me ngā tikanga Māori. This is at the early stages of implementation. Senior leaders have considered Ka Hikitia: Accelerating Success 2013-2017, when planning for 2015. When reviewing the curriculum staff should continue to use Ministry of Education resources to ensure the curriculum is relevant and responsive to Māori learners, parents, family and whānau.

4 Sustainable Performance

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

The school is well placed to continue to review and develop its performance. There is a considered and planned approach to change, to move the school forward. Strategic decisions are based on the possible future needs of students. This has brought alignment between strategic and annual planning, teaching and learning programmes and systems to build teacher capability.

Teachers are highly reflective. They are energised and continue to respond positively to ongoing development and change. The new school structure encourages and supports staff to work collaboratively.

A newly implemented appraisal process incorporates the Registered Teacher Criteria and provides a useful framework for teachers to inquire into the effectiveness of their practice to improve student achievement. It has the potential to successfully support teachers’ professional growth and development.

Trustees bring a wide range of knowledge, skills and experience to the governance role. They proactively seek external advice and guidance when needed. High quality achievement information enables them to make informed decisions to support students' learning. Trustees are well informed about school developments and initiatives. Being clear about the desired outcomes of these, should enable them to better evaluate the impact of board decisions on student learning.

Parents, families and whānau and the community are welcomed and involved in school activities as valued partners. Board and staff should continue to strengthen these partnerships to support learning.

Senior leaders have identified, and ERO agrees, that they should continue to use inquiry and review to:

  • build on the quality of teaching and learning through teachers inquiring into the effectiveness of their practice
  • develop a student-centred curriculum to further improve student progress and achievement.

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

There is a well-considered and planned approach to change. Strategic decisions are based on the future needs of students. This includes a review of the school curriculum. School leaders and teachers have strengthened their use of achievement information to improve teaching and learning. Most students are achieving well.

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

Joyce Gebbie

Deputy Chief Review Officer Central

2 June 2015

About the School

Location

Napier

Ministry of Education profile number

2557

School type

Full Primary (Years 1 to 8)

School roll

204

Gender composition

Female 53%, Male 47%

Ethnic composition

Māori

Pākeha

17%

83%

Review team on site

April 2015

Date of this report

2 June 2015

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

April 2012

March 2009

January 2006