Hinds School - 20/01/2014

1 Background and Context

What is the background and context for this school’s Arotake Paetawhiti review?

This review follows on from the October 2011 ERO review which identified a number of areas for improvement. Since the time of the last review, the Hinds School board and school leadership have maintained an ongoing relationship with ERO. The findings of this review are based on the evidence collected by ERO during a series of visits and information sharing that has occurred over the last two years.

Hinds School has management of the Mid Canterbury Technology Centre which is also referred to in this report.

Changes since the 2011 ERO review include:

  • the appointment of a new, but experienced, permanent principal
  • the rebuilding of the Mid Canterbury Technology Centre and additional classrooms and learning spaces at the Hinds School site
  • welcoming new students as a result of the closure of the nearby Lowcliffe School
  • the election of new trustees and a change in board chairperson
  • an increase in teaching resources and more use being made of information and communication technologies to support students’ learning.

Since the ERO 2011 report, the board, school leaders and teachers have been proactive in seeking the advice and guidance of external providers. Their work with these providers has helped to support sustained school improvement. The board, school leaders and teachers have made very good progress towards addressing the areas for review and development identified in the 2011 ERO report.

2 Review and Development

How effectively is the school addressing its priorities for review and development?

Priorities identified for review and development

The 2011 ERO review identified the following priorities for review and development:

  • the collection and use of student achievement data
  • supporting Māori educational success as Māori
  • curriculum development
  • improving leadership and management, including implementing better systems for appraisal and attestation
  • self review and aspects of governance, such as seeking more regular feedback from teachers, students and the community to inform school improvement.

Progress

Collection and use of student achievement information

School leaders and teachers have made significant progress in the collection and use of student achievement information.

Good systems now exist for systematically gathering, storing and using assessment information to analyse student achievement and progress. The development of better assessment practices has improved the quality of this achievement information. Teachers’ overall judgements about student achievement are now more accurate.

The board now receives regular and informative reports about student achievement and progress. Carefully considered improvements have been made to the way student achievement and progress is reported to parents. Reports to the board and to parents now make clear how students are achieving in relation to the National Standards.

Student achievement information is now used better at all levels of the school. The improved use of achievement information includes the way:

  • the board uses the information it gets to provide significant additional staffing, to extend resources and to fund focused and appropriate school-based professional development
  • school leaders use achievement information to set timely and appropriate annual school and syndicate improvement targets and plans
  • teachers use the information arising from their assessments to focus their teaching, continually adjust groupings and provided feedback and significant additional support for targeted students
  • the junior syndicate leader is making good use of achievement information to identify, report and respond to students’ strengths and needs in their first year at school.

The board, school leaders and teachers have appropriately identified that their next steps are to:

  • continue to focus on raising student achievement, particularly in regard to increasing the number of students achieving above the National Standards
  • increase teachers’ confidence in teaching and assessing mathematics beyond numeracy and statistics.

Supporting Māori educational success as Māori

Through school-wide development in the collection and use of achievement data, the board and school leaders now have a clearer picture of Māori student achievement school wide. They are now confident that Māori students as a group are achieving at similar levels to their peers. Other initiatives have included:

  • meeting with whānau, and involving whānau in planning and advisory groups in the school
  • collecting student views about aspects of their learning in reading and ensuring that the teaching of reading is interesting and engaging for these students.

The school leaders have identified, and ERO agrees, the next steps to realising the potential of Māori students and supporting their educational success as Māori are to:

  • explore more ways to include bicultural perspectives in class programmes and
  • increase school leaders’ and teachers’ awareness and use of Ministry of Education documents.

Curriculum Development

Teachers have made good progress in improving aspects of the curriculum and learning opportunities for students. For example:

  • the board, school leaders and the teachers have revisited and revitalised the school vision and values to ensure these are meaningful to students, teachers and the community
  • teachers have used different ways to improve student achievement in reading and written language
  • teachers’ knowledge, understanding and confidence in teaching and assessing achievement in numeracy has greatly improved
  • teachers have benefited from receiving more regular and useful feedback about the quality of their teaching and class programmes.

As part of ongoing planning and sustaining in-depth curriculum review, the school leaders and teachers have identified teaching and learning in science as their next curriculum area to focus on.

3 Sustainable performance and self review

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

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

Progress

Leadership and Management

Significant progress has been made in improving school leadership. The principal has high expectations, provides strong professional leadership and is promoting a positive school culture through collaborative practices.

School leaders have been extending and building leadership capacity across the school to promote sustainability. The deputy and assistant principals have had more opportunities to demonstrate leadership. School leaders are making better use of teachers’ strengths to share curriculum responsibilities. There is evidence of more collaborative decision making, improved communication and leadership opportunities for staff and senior students.

The board has developed a robust approach to managing the performance of the principal. Trustees engage an external resource person to help make sure that this process is systematic, focuses on school priorities and provides useful feedback to both the principal and the board.

School leaders have also introduced more systematic and useful attestation and appraisal practices for most teaching staff. There is a good balance between staff contributing to this process and receiving ongoing feedback about their work from leaders and others.

The school has identified, and ERO agrees, that with more staff involved in school leadership and increased expectations on school leaders it is important that appraisal of these staff is now extended to include appraisal of the leadership aspects of their roles.

School leaders are also aware they should now extend provisions for appraising the work of teachers in the technology centre.

Governance

The board continues to be effective in promoting school improvement.

This has been supported by:

  • highly effective board leadership by the previous and current chairperson
  • the board maintaining a consistent focus on students, their wellbeing and achievement
  • the increased use of student achievement data and more detailed reporting to inform decisions
  • the board’s proactive approach to seeking advice and support from appropriate agencies.
  • There is a strong sense of partnership between the board, principal and staff.

Self review

The area of greatest progress in self review is the development of a school culture that promotes teachers’ willingness to critically reflect upon and improve teaching programmes and practices. This culture creates a good environment for conducting meaningful self review.

The board, school leaders and teachers now gather a wider range of information as part of review processes. Review practices now make better provision for gaining regular feedback from parents and students in a variety of areas.

A more systematic approach to curriculum self review has been established that includes a good mixture of incidental and more formal evaluations and self reviews. Review plans, processes and formats are providing useful information to school leaders and the board.

The use of action plans to promote and monitor initiatives helps to make sure that professional development, external support and self-review findings are well used to help foster school improvement and benefit students.

The next step for the board and school leaders is to continue to refine self-review practices in ways that promote evaluative thinking and identify those things that may be helping or hindering student achievement.

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

20 January 2014

About the School

Location

Ashburton, Mid Canterbury

Ministry of Education profile number

3375

School type

Full Primary (Years 1 to 8)

School roll

137

Gender composition

Boys 54% Girls 46%

Ethnic composition

NZ European/Pākehā

Māori

Filipino

Pacific

Other ethnicities

71%

12%

11%

2%

4%

Special Features

Management of Mid Canterbury Technology Centre

Review team on site

November 2013

Date of this report

20 January 2014

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Supplementary Review

Education Review

October 2011

June 2009

May 2008