Glenorchy School - 27/01/2016

Findings

Students benefit from rich learning experiences enhanced by access to unique local features and facilities. Students learn in a family-like atmosphere, where positive and caring relationships are strongly evident. The principal and teachers are highly responsive to the identified learning and social needs of students. The sustained and deep emphasis placed on environmental education is a basis for much of the students’ learning.

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

1 Context

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

Students at Glenorchy School benefit from rich learning experiences enhanced by access to the unique features and facilities the Wakatipu Basin has to offer. They are motivated learners with much of their learning based around relevant environmental education programmes.

Glenorchy School is a very small school providing education for students in Years 1 to 8. There is a family-like atmosphere, where positive and caring relationships are highly evident. A playgroup meets weekly on the school site. Children from the playgroup have regular visits to the school which results in smooth transitions when they turn five.

The school is very well supported by its parents and the wider community in all aspects of school programmes and operations.

Since the previous ERO review in 2012, there have been several changes of teachers and principal. The new principal maintains a strong focus on student achievement and progress. She has established meaningful relationships between the school and school leaders within the surrounding area.

The school has a vision of encouraging inquiry in the students through enjoyable, stimulating learning that involves parents and the community, and makes substantial use of the local environment.

Overall, the school has made significant progress in the areas identified for improvement in the last ERO report.

2 Learning

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

The school makes effective use of achievement information to make positive changes to students’ learning.

Most students are at or above the National Standards in reading, writing and mathematics. Appropriate progress against the 2015 target areas of writing and mathematics has been made.

A positive feature of the teachers’ and principal’s use of learning information is their responsiveness to the identified learning and social needs of individual students and groups of students. The principal and teachers use data to:

  • closely monitor all students’ achievement and rates of progress
  • set appropriate targets that focus on students who need to accelerate their progress
  • inform curriculum priorities and strategic direction.

Students have a growing understanding of their achievement levels for literacy and mathematics, and what they have to do next to improve. They are being supported by teachers to take a more active role in their learning. This includes setting regular goals, assessing their progress against their goals and leading part of the interviews held between them, their parents and the teacher. The principal acknowledges this is an ongoing area for development and is part of the planning for 2016.

The trustees have high expectations for all students to make appropriate progress and achieve well. They are well informed about student achievement and progress. They use this information to make wise resourcing and strategic decisions.

3 Curriculum

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

The school’s curriculum very effectively promotes and supports students’ learning. The principles of the New Zealand Curriculum are clearly evident in the implementation of the school’s curriculum. These judgements are based on the following strengths:

  • the school puts the students at the centre of teaching and learning
  • the curriculum offers students a broad education that makes relevant links within and across the different learning areas
  • the school’s approach to learning and its curriculum is based on what the school community sees as important learning
  • teachers meaningfully use digital technologies within learning programmes, especially in the senior class
  • the purposeful learning beyond the classroom supports the curriculum overall.

The sustained and deep emphasis placed on environmental education provides a solid foundation for much of the students’ learning. This includes the arts, te ao Māori, science, technology, integration of literacy and the key competencies.

In consultation with students and parents, the board has revised the school’s vision. The school is now in the early stages of aligning its curriculum guidelines to the vision. The intention to develop the curriculum is in the 2016-2018 strategic plan.

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

Māori students experience aspects of their identity, language and culture. The values of manaakitanga/caring, whanaungatanga/inclusion, rangatiratanga/respect and tuakana-teina/older children supporting younger children are highly evident throughout the school.

All students learn their mihi. These are personalised to students’ iwi to allow their particular identity to be recognised and celebrated. Some qualities prized by Māori are identified within students and are given time and nurturing to flourish, including leadership and performance abilities.

Teachers deliberately include Māori perspectives and dimensions within class studies and school events to enhance Māori students’ learning and identity. Aspects of tikanga Māori have been included into school protocol as a result of the school’s preparation for the Enviro-schools’ Green-Gold award.

The school has met with whānau Māori as part of the revision of the school’s vision.

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. There is an increasing alignment between governance, leadership, teachers, the curriculum and student learning.

The new principal is an able professional leader. She:

  • consults and seeks advice widely
  • has a sound curriculum knowledge
  • manages change well while maintaining a strong focus on student achievement and wellbeing.

School-wide planning is meaningfully aligned to the school’s vision. Trustees and the principal have identified the school’s priorities and these are apparent in the planning for the next three years.

There is a culture of reflection and ongoing improvement across the school. This is evident in the:

  • amount of training the board has undertaken
  • relevant professional learning and development the principal and teachers have participated in
  • useful appraisal processes
  • determination to gain the input of all in the school community
  • relentless focus on student achievement.

The next step for this school’s improvement is to add an evaluative layer to its self-review processes. An evaluative approach will help the trustees, principal and teachers to know the extent to which priorities, policies, procedures and programmes are having a positive impact on student outcomes. It will also assist in identifying what needs to be improved.

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

Students benefit from rich learning experiences enhanced by access to unique local features and facilities. Students learn in a family-like atmosphere, where positive and caring relationships are strongly evident. The principal and teachers are highly responsive to the identified learning and social needs of students. The sustained and deep emphasis placed on environmental education is a basis for much of the students’ learning.

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

Chris Rowe

Deputy Chief Review Officer Southern (Acting)

27 January 2016

School Statistics

Location

Glenorchy

Ministry of Education profile number

3955

School type

Full Primary (Years 1 to 8)

School roll

36

Gender composition

Girls: 19

Boys: 17

Ethnic composition

Pākehā

Māori

Samoan

32

3

1

Review team on site

December 2015

Date of this report

27 January 2016

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

December 2012

June 2009

July 2006