Gordonton School - 08/06/2017

Summary

Gordonton School is a semi-rural school located north east of Hamilton, and caters for children in Years 1 to 8. The current roll of 247 includes 39 Māori students and five international students.

Since the 2012 ERO review, the experienced principal has continued to provide well-informed leadership for the school. The leadership structure has been strengthened in response to a growing roll and new staff appointments have been made. The board chairperson and several trustees are new to their stewardship roles and have undertaken some training in governance practice. The board and school leaders have strengthened the school’s focus on raising student achievement.

At the time of this review, the majority of children, including Māori, were achieving at and above the National Standards in reading, writing and mathematics. The board has made significant developments to the school grounds to reflect the local environment and history. Leaders and teachers have focused on developing culturally responsive practices in the school.

How well is the school achieving equitable outcomes for all children?

The school is responding well to Māori and other children in the school whose learning and achievement need acceleration.

There are several processes that are effectively enabling the achievement of equity and excellence. These are leadership for learning, assessment, partnerships for learning with parents and the board’s commitment to raising achievement.

Leaders need to take a more strategic approach to internal evaluation.

The school has capacity and capability to accelerate learning for all children. However, disparity in achievement for Māori remains.

Leaders and teachers:

  • need to improve the school conditions that support the acceleration of children’s learning and achievement.

The school agrees to:

  • develop more targeted planning to accelerate learning for children
  • monitor targeted planning, improved teaching, and children’s progress
  • discuss the school’s progress with ERO.

ERO will provide an internal evaluation workshop to support the school to develop effective planning and monitoring processes to support equity and excellence for all children.

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

Equity and excellence

How effectively does this school respond to Māori and other children whose learning and achievement need acceleration?

The school is responding well to Māori and other children in the school whose learning and achievement need acceleration.

The majority of children, including Māori, are achieving at the expected National Standard. This pattern is consistent from 2013 to 2016, in reading and writing. Māori as a group are achieving at slightly lower levels than their same age peers in writing. In mathematics there has been a slight decline in achievement levels for all students since 2013. Leaders are making a positive response to this through targeted professional development about effective teaching practice in mathematics, and group teaching initiatives.

The school gathers achievement information using nationally referenced tests, teacher observations and a range of other useful assessment strategies. Leaders and teachers use this data to make dependable judgements about each child’s achievement in relation to National Standards.

While teachers monitor children’s progress carefully, school-wide achievement information does not show overall rates of progress over time for gender, ethnic and year level groups.

School conditions supporting equity and excellence

What school processes are effective in enabling achievement of equity and excellence?

Leaders are providing well-informed support and guidance for teaching practice. The new leadership structure reflects a more distributed model. There is increased teacher dialogue and sharing within and across teaching teams about effective teaching practice for at risk learners.

Teachers use a range of appropriate assessment tools and follow a school-wide assessment schedule to identify children’s learning needs, goals and next steps. The principal uses this information to identify groups of children who are at risk of not achieving.

Contexts for learning are meaningful and highly engaging for most students. Teachers know priority learners well and gather in-depth information from parents, carers and whānau to provide effective practices and programmes. This inclusive process promotes equity and excellence for at risk learners.

Parents, teachers and children are engaged in reciprocal, learning centred relationships. These partnerships are particularly strong for parents and whānau of priority learners. Parents are kept well informed about each child’s level of progress and achievement, and are involved in goal setting and decisions about learning.

The board has strengthened its focus on raising student achievement. Resourcing decisions are based on achievement information from school leaders. They are developing useful tools and strategies in order to carry out their statutory responsibilities.

Sustainable development for equity and excellence

What further developments are needed in school processes to achieve equity and excellence?

Leaders need to take a more strategic approach to internal evaluation. The following developments are necessary to ensure processes are systematic and aligned to achieving equity and excellence for all children.

  • There needs to be a collaborative process for the scrutiny of school-wide data by leaders and teachers. Currently, data is not well used to monitor and show rates of progress for at risk learners.

  • Achievement targets for identified groups of learners should be specific and measurable.

  • The school’s curriculum is in need of review to ensure that it is current and reflects the recent inquiry into culturally responsive practices.

  • Teachers are not yet consistently inquiring into the effectiveness of their teaching practice, particularly for those children whose achievement and progress needs to be accelerated.

  • Current performance management systems do not meet the requirements of the Education Council.

Board assurance on legal requirements

Before the review, the board 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 the following:

  • board administration

  • curriculum

  • management of health, safety and welfare

  • personnel management

  • asset management.

During the review, ERO checked the following items because they have a potentially high impact on student safety and wellbeing:

  • emotional safety of students (including prevention of bullying and sexual harassment)

  • physical safety of students

  • teacher registration and certification

  • processes for appointing staff

  • stand down, suspension, expulsion and exclusion of students

  • attendance

  • school policies in relation to meeting the requirements of the Vulnerable Children Act 2014. 

Provision for international students

The school is a signatory to the Education Pastoral Care of International Students Code of Practice 2016 (the Code) established under section 238F of the Education Act 1989. The school has attested that it complies with all aspects of the Code.

At the time of this review there were five international students attending the school.

The school has good systems and processes in place to support international students. They are settled and integrated into the school and wider community and are progressing well with their learning. A report should be made available to the board on a regular basis about international students’ welfare, progress and integration.

ERO identified non-compliance in relation to

  1. Performance management, including attestation and practices to meet New Zealand Education Council requirements.

In order to address this the board must:

  • Ensure that the attestation process for all teaching staff is consistently implemented annually against the relevant professional standards.
    [s77(c) State Sector Act 1988]
  • Ensure that teachers are consistently gathering evidence of their performance in relation to the Practising Teacher Criteria (PTC).
    [Part 31 Education Act 1989]

Going forward

How well placed is the school to accelerate the achievement of all children who need it?

The school has capacity and capability to accelerate learning for all children. However, disparity in achievement for Māori children remains.

Leaders and teachers:

  • need to improve the school conditions that support the acceleration of children’s learning and achievement.

The school agrees to:

  • develop more targeted planning to accelerate learning for children

  • monitor targeted planning, improved teaching, and children’s progress

  • discuss the school’s progress with ERO.

ERO will provide an internal evaluation workshop to support the school to develop effective planning and monitoring processes to support equity and excellence for all children. 

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

Lynda Pura-Watson

Deputy Chief Review Officer Waikato / Bay of Plenty

8 June 2017

About the school 

Location

near Hamilton

Ministry of Education profile number

1728

School type

Full Primary (Years 1 to 8)

School roll

247

Gender composition

Girls 51% Boys 49%

Ethnic composition

Pākehā 67%

Māori 15%

Indian 4%

Other Euro 3%

Other Asian 2%

South East Asian 2%

Chinese 2%

Other 5%

Provision of Māori medium education

No

Review team on site

March 2017

Date of this report

8 June 2017

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review November 2012

Education Review December 2009

Education Review December 2006