Harrisville School - 24/12/2015

Findings

Harrisville School has a “town and country” character, and a strong community focus. The school has a capable board and an experienced, knowledgeable principal. Teachers are learning about how to implement modern teaching approaches. Students benefit from a positive school environment and settled classrooms. Their National Standard achievement levels are high.

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?

Harrisville School is a contributing (Year 1 to 6) school in Tuakau in northern Waikato. The school has long established links with its local neighbourhood and is a focal point for its community. It has maintained a “town and country” character and a noticeably family feel for many years. The school roll is 57 percent Pākehā and 31 percent Māori. Children with Indian and Pacific Island heritages also attend.

The school has a stable staffing profile. New staff join others who are well known in the school and the community. Careful management of changes in membership on the board of trustees further promotes the school’s sense of continuity and of connection with its setting.

Over the past two years, classrooms have been restructured into four teaching and learning hubs, with two teachers in each hub. The physical changes to classrooms have opened up opportunities for the introduction of new and improved approaches to teaching and learning.

2 Learning

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

The school monitors student achievement and progress very well. The principal’s comprehensive reports about student achievement feature well analysed data for year levels, gender and ethnicities. The reports enable school leaders to identify where the attention of teachers and of school resources need to be focussed. They provide useful information to inform the board’s strategic targets, the principal’s annual plans, and the good range of special learning support programmes. Teachers are now using student achievement data to cater for student learning levels in more flexible and responsive ways.

School data show that a high percentage of students achieve at or above National Standards in reading, writing and mathematics. These results are positive when compared with those from similar schools, and with other schools within the region and nationally. The achievement of Māori students also compares very well with similar, regional and other national schools. It was particularly high for mathematics in 2014. The achievement of the school’s small number of Pacific students is well monitored on a more individual basis.

Teachers could now focus more specifically on using achievement information to increase students’ understanding of their next learning steps. Improved implementation of formative teaching approaches would support students to gain the knowledge, skills and attitudes that promote effective, self-monitored and self-managed learning.

3 Curriculum

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

The design of the school’s curriculum promotes and supports student learning well. The curriculum has been thoughtfully developed using collaborative and cooperative team approaches. It is very well researched and documented, and has a strong student focus. Curriculum documents demonstrate the goal of providing integrated, relevant and high quality learning opportunities for students.

The school’s curriculum continues to make good use of the local environments. It includes specialist teaching in physical education, and features te reo and tikanga Māori sessions. The addition of financial literacy and science to the core curriculum links programmes to real life contexts. The emphasis placed on citizenship and on inquiry learning set sound foundations for well balanced programmes.

The school provides strong support for student wellbeing. Teachers have made good progress in promoting a positive environment for students’ learning. Classrooms are settled and students are focused on the tasks they undertake. The challenge now is for teachers to ensure that the tasks they set for students are stimulating, thought provoking and considerably more inspiring.

Teachers have had valuable opportunities to learn about shared teaching approaches and ways of maximising the advantages of their new teaching hubs. These spaces have enabled increased student involvement and active participation in their learning. Although all teachers have made some adaptations in their teaching, the overall adoption of modern learning approaches is not yet evident. Faster teacher uptake is needed if students are to benefit from modern and future-focused programmes that promote their critical thinking.

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

Previous ERO reports have encouraged school leaders to promote wider acknowledgement and use of the cultural heritage of Māori students within the school. Meaningful progress has been made in this regard. The curriculum has increased links to Māori topics and to tikanga Māori and the school environment reflects the Māori side of New Zealand’s bicultural heritage more directly. Māori students stand proud when promoting Māori culture and identity.

The board has responded positively to information about how it can promote educational success for Māori, as Māori. Trustees review Māori student achievement well. The board acknowledges that although Māori students are achieving well in National Standards, they are not yet matching “whole school” results. The board is monitoring this discrepancy and ensuring that support is put in place for students who need it.

The school is now well placed to provide a graduated te reo Māori programme that includes extension for Māori students who are more fluent in te reo Māori.

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. The board has knowledgeable trustees who understand the school, its setting and its operational requirements. The principal continues to promote teaching and learning approaches that reflect best practices and that are closely focused on what is best for students. Senior leaders are supportive, resilient and prepared to consider new ways of thinking about and implementing appropriate change.

The board and school leaders are committed to meeting the school’s obligations and legal undertakings. Management procedures are well developed and well implemented. Appraisal processes have been updated to reflect current expectations and to support ongoing staff development. The school’s participation in a local network of educational services promotes the collaboration and professional decision-making that support a smooth transition for students.

The principal and trustees are aware of the need for ongoing improvement in the school. Through the school’s charter, they have relevant major strategic goals of:

  • transforming teaching and learning
  • providing students with more future-focused learning opportunities
  • designing a curriculum that provides high quality learning opportunities.

Although progress has been made in each of the areas, particularly the last one, development needs to be faster and more effective if the school’s goals are to be met within a reasonable timeframe.

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

Harrisville School has a “town and country” character, and a strong community focus. The school has a capable board and an experienced, knowledgeable principal. Teachers are learning about how to implement modern teaching approaches. Students benefit from a positive school environment and settled classrooms. Their National Standard achievement levels are high.

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

Graham Randell

Deputy Chief Review Officer Northern

24 December 2015

School Statistics

Location

Tuakau, Waikato

Ministry of Education profile number

1303

School type

Contributing (Years 1 to 6)

School roll

188

Gender composition

Boys 50% Girls 50%

Ethnic composition

Māori

Pākehā

Fijian

Indian

Tongan

other

31%

57%

4%

3%

3%

2%

Review team on site

November 2015

Date of this report

24 December 2015

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

October 2012

August 2009

June 2006