Glentunnel School - 07/07/2014

Findings

1. Context

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

Glentunnel School highly values its role as the central focus of a small community in rural Canterbury. The board, principal and staff strongly support the school to take a leadership role in a number of community events.

The school has high levels of community support and parent participation in the school. A home and school group is very active in contributing to increased resourcing for the school.

Since the July 2011 ERO review, a number of staff changes have been well managed by the board and school leaders. Playground development has also been undertaken to further enhance the attractive environment and extend the range of activities for students.

Significant roll growth in recent years is placing increasing pressure on existing teaching spaces.

Due to the school's location and limited access to early childhood services, a high proportion of new entrants to the school have no formal early childhood involvement. Leaders and teachers are involved in a local school cluster that is focused on continuing improvement to education provisions and practices in the area.

The principal and teachers have effectively addressed the recommendations made in the 2011 ERO report.

2. Learning

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

The school uses achievement information very well to make positive changes to learners’ engagement, progress and achievement.

Leaders and teachers use achievement information to maintain a strong focus on students’ learning needs and progress. This is most evident in the ways this information is used to:

  • identify and respond to students’ learning needs when they enter the school
  • share literacy and numeracy information with the board and set annual targets for improving student progress and achievement
  • adjust programmes and groupings in response to the range of classroom learning needs
  • report to the board about student progress and achievement.

Teachers know students’ learning needs very well. The school provides a range of additional support for children who need extra help with their learning. The progress of these students is regularly monitored. Students with particular strengths and abilities are provided with extension opportunities within and beyond classrooms.

Students benefit from the way teachers use achievement information to provide comprehensive reports to parents. This is helping to build positive learning partnerships and keep parents well informed about their children’s progress.

School achievement information against the National Standards in 2013 shows that achievement is highest in reading where most students are achieving at or above the National Standards. Progress over students’ time at the school is most evident in writing and mathematics, especially in Years 5 and 6. The majority of students in these year levels are achieving at or above the National Standards.

School leaders have recently sought feedback from parents about students’ reports. Most parents were very positive about the quality of information being received. A few stated that some language needs to be easier to understand. The principal and staff have identified that this is an area for ongoing improvement.

3. Curriculum

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

The school’s curriculum is highly effective in promoting and supporting student learning. Leaders and teachers make very good use of the local environment to build interest and engagement by providing a wide range of rich learning opportunities for students.

The school’s vision and values are strongly linked to community priorities and students’ learning interests and needs. The curriculum also effectively integrates the values and key competencies of the New Zealand Curriculum. Curriculum guidelines provide clear expectations for teaching and learning practices and priorities.

Teachers promote and support the high expectation that all children will achieve beyond their potential. In classrooms, students clearly benefit from:

  • well-planned, interesting programmes that stimulate learning, creativity and curiosity
  • the support they receive to take an active role in their individual learning and their shared learning with peers
  • the integrated use of information and communication technologies (ICT) to motivate and enhance learning.

Senior students benefit from increasing opportunities to develop their leadership skills. They told ERO that their support for younger students is important to them.

Children’s wellbeing is actively promoted and supported across the school and community. The relationships between teachers and students and among students strongly reflect the school’s key values of respect and caring for others. The principal and teachers are highly committed to students’ learning progress and achievement.

Areas for review and development

The principal and teachers have identified priorities for ongoing curriculum improvement. These include continuing to:

  • embed the school’s new vision in class programmes and self review
  • integrate the use of ICT as tools for learning
  • develop further opportunities for students to give feedback about teaching approaches that are having the greatest impact on their learning and achievement.

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

The school is making good progress with promoting educational success for Māori, as Māori.

Areas of progress since the last review include:

  • improved planning that is beginning to clearly identify school priorities for the development of Te Ao Māori in the school’s practices and programmes
  • developing an increasing understanding and awareness of te reo and tikanga Māori through professional learning programmes for all staff
  • increasing opportunities for all children to engage in a range of bicultural learning and activities
  • increasing opportunities for Māori parents to contribute to school planning and practices.

School leaders have identified, and ERO agrees, that the next steps are to:

  • continue to develop relationships with the local rūnanga in order to further strengthen progress in this area
  • ensure that success as Māori is formally included in the school’s self review programme.

4. Sustainable Performance

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

The school is very well placed to sustain and improve its performance.

The trustees and school leaders are strongly committed to working closely together to achieve positive outcomes for students. They are focused on the achievement and wellbeing of students and the quality of their learning programmes and support provisions.

The board is well organised and trustees have a broad range of experience and expertise. Documented guidelines on roles and responsibilities support effective board practices. Very good self review processes are in place. A recent review of the appraisal system has led to improvements in this area. All trustees have participated in governance training.

Strategic and annual planning processes are effectively focused on support for students and continuous school improvement. The board receives high quality information about student achievement and progress. Trustees use this to make decisions about resourcing to support interventions aimed at further improving students’ learning programmes and achievement.

A particular strength of the school is the extent to which the board and principal use external expertise to support improvements at the school. This includes the principal’s involvement in an external appraisal programme and external support for curriculum development and professional learning. This is contributing to, and strengthening, ongoing improvements in these areas.

Areas for review and development

Trustees recognise that there may be value in more formally reviewing the effectiveness of their own governance practices.

Curriculum reviews could be further strengthened by ensuring that:

  • review questions are answered more evaluatively
  • next steps are clear in regard to specific actions to be taken and outcomes expected.

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

Glentunnel School uses its strong community links and attractive local environment to support students’ achievement and extend learning opportunities for them. Student wellbeing and achievement remain the key focus for the board, leaders and teachers. Ongoing improvements to some aspects of school planning and review will further enrich learning programmes and school practices.

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

Graham Randell National Manager Review Services Southern Region

7 July 2014

About the School

Location

Glentunnel, Canterbury

Ministry of Education profile number

3352

School type

Contributing (Years 1 to 6)

School roll

116

Gender composition

Boys 51% Girls 49%

Ethnic composition

NZ European/Pākehā

Māori

Pacific

Other Ethnicities

75%

14%

6%

5%

Review team on site

May 2014

Date of this report

7 July 2014

Most recent ERO reports

Education Review

Education Review

Supplementary Review

July 2011

April 2008

June 2006