Hauroko Valley Primary School - 17/03/2014

1 Context

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

Hauroko Valley Primary is a small rural school with students from Years 1 to 6. Students learn in multi-level classrooms. Increasingly, students from a range of ethnicities attend the school. Many students come from families whose work is based around farming.

The school is a focal point for the local community. There is strong parent, board, and wider community support for all aspects of school life. Students benefit from significant local fundraising to support their learning.

This is a welcoming, friendly school. Students learn in an expansive outdoor environment where older students willingly learn and play with younger students. The school has its own heated swimming pool and uses this to promote water safety and swimming skills.

Students spoken to by ERO described their school as a place where they enjoy learning. Staff have good relationships with students and parents. Children and their families are well supported in their transition to school. Teachers collaboratively share ideas and resources.

Since the last ERO review in 2010, there have been many staff changes. In 2013 the school has had two principals. The current principal has been appointed permanently.

2 Learning

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

There is increasing use of student achievement information to promote learning.

Most students ERO spoke with could describe aspects of their next learning steps in reading, writing and mathematics. These students are aware of how well they are achieving in relation to the National Standards.

There is variability in the way teachers assess and use student achievement information. ERO observed some very good assessment practices. These included:

  • specific written feedback and next steps in written language books
  • useful discussions about the intended learning and students’ individual learning goals
  • ongoing daily assessment in reading and mathematics being used to plan future learning.
  • The board has set targets and developed a plan of action to raise student achievement.

Parents receive useful written reports about their children’s achievement in relation to The National Standards. They show their child’s progress over time, and detailed guidance on how they can help their child at home.

Areas for review and development

Better use could be made of school-wide student achievement information to:

  • identify trends and patterns over time
  • more closely track, monitor and report on the progress of groups of students receiving targeted support
  • identify and report how well other groups of students are supported, achieving and progressing.

The school needs to:

  • extend its range of assessment tools to include other externally referenced assessments to better support teachers in making reliable overall teacher judgements (OTJs)
  • develop specific guidelines for assessment including approaches that will ensure consistent OTJ's against the National Standards.

Students could take a more active role in the assessment of their learning and understanding of their next learning steps. They could also take a more central role in discussions about their learning and progress with their teachers and parents.

3 Curriculum

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

Overall, the school’s curriculum promotes and supports students’ learning. The school’s information shows that the majority of students achieve at or above the National Standards in reading and mathematics. The school has identified that lifting students’ achievement in writing is a priority.

ERO visited all classrooms and observed some examples of good and very good-quality teaching.

  • The school’s curriculum strengths include:
  • students being involved in relevant learning experiences in their local environment, such as studies at the local limestone caves, museum and early settlers' activities
  • good use of local people and resources to enrich students’ learning
  • the thoughtful inclusion of aspects of Māori culture and local history.

In 2012 the school consulted with parents and developed relevant local goals to underpin the curriculum.

Areas for review and development

The school now needs to:

  • develop guidelines that describe the school’s expectations for teaching and learning
  • develop a comprehensive schedule and guidelines for curriculum review
  • implement regular planned self review of different curriculum areas and report on this to the board.

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

The school governance framework has a specific policy to raise achievement of Māori students.

In 2012 the school hosted a large hui (meeting) with a powhiri (welcome), visiting kapa haka group and hangi.

At school Māori identities share their knowledge with students. The board and new principal are committed to improving how they support their Māori students, communicate with parents of Māori students, and how they record this.

The school’s next steps are to:

  • reflect on, evaluate and review how well the school is enacting its policy for raising the achievement of Māori students
  • review and improve the inclusion of te reo Māori in students’ learning programmes.

4 Sustainable Performance

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

The school is now better placed to sustain and improve its performance. It has been through a challenging period. The board has carefully managed these challenges. The board is effectively developing and implementing sustainable governance processes, including self review. The school’s financial situation has improved and better financial management practices are now in place.

The board is:

  • strongly focused on school improvement and increasingly basing its decisions on what will best support students’ learning
  • capable and committed and developing a good understanding of effective governance
  • very capably led by the chairperson.

The board has sought and acted on external advice to assist it in its governance role.

The new principal has quickly established good working relationships with the board, teachers and parents. Teachers spoke positively about recent changes and are working well together. There is a stronger focus on teachers’ professional learning, making a difference for priority learners and lifting school-wide student achievement.

Areas for review and development

The board and principal should:

  • extend and deepen self-review processes, such as staff and student surveys, review of policies and procedures and regular reporting on progress in implementing the school’s annual plans and achievement targets
  • ensure reviews identify what is going well, what is not and what needs to change
  • review against good practice indicators for success
  • develop more useful strategic and annual plans so that they reflect the priorities for the future direction of the school.

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.

When is ERO likely to review the school again?

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

Graham Randell

National Manager Review Services Southern Region

17 March 2014

About the School

Location

Clifden, Western Southland

Ministry of Education profile number

3938

School type

Contributing (Years 1 to 6)

School roll

56

Gender composition

Girls 30; Boys 26

Ethnic composition

NZ European/Pākehā
Māori
Asian

50
4
2

Review team on site

November 2013

Date of this report

17 March 2014

Most recent ERO reports

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

September 2010

February 2008

June 2004