Hope School - 02/07/2014

Findings

The school continues to provide a supportive and inclusive learning environment. The curriculum offers students interesting and varied learning experiences. There are many opportunities for students to work together cooperatively. Teachers adapt their teaching to effectively meet individual students' learning needs. Leadership and governance are in a good position to make better use of self review to sustain and build on the school’s performance.

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?

Hope School is a small, semi-rural school catering for students in Years one to six. The staff know all students and their families well. Positive and caring relationships exist between students, teachers, the board and parents.

The school fosters a family-like culture. There is a strong sense of community care and support for families and their children. The school has a well-established partnership with the local community.

Since the May 2010 ERO review there have been a number of changes in staff. The principal is long serving and actively makes professional links with other schools in the area, particularly through the local music initiative.

2 Learning

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

The school has increased and improved its use of achievement information to promote students’ learning and engagement since the 2010 ERO review.

School achievement information shows that most students are achieving the National Standards. Teachers have identified that most girls achieve better in writing, and boys in mathematics. Students’ progress is monitored over time and shows some improvements in reading, writing and mathematics.

Teachers use well-established processes for identifying, responding to, and tracking the progress of students most at risk of not achieving in reading, writing and mathematics. Students with specific learning needs are clearly identified within their class. Additional staffing and resources are provided for extra in-class support.

Since the 2010 ERO review, teachers have developed a greater understanding about how they use and analyse school-wide achievement information. Trustees now receive regular information about progress towards the school’s achievement targets and how well students are progressing towards meeting National Standards in reading, writing and mathematics.

Students with identified learning needs have individual learning plans that are developed with their parents and other relevant support agencies. Teachers and teacher aides provide modified programmes that allow students to be included in class programmes.

Students’ progress and learning is regularly shared with their parents. They are provided with an end of year report that clearly shows how well they are achieving against National Standards and their next steps for learning. Teachers should now review the recent changes they have made to the mid-year report to ensure that it continues to clearly provide information about how well students are progressing towards meeting the National Standards.

Students are actively involved in their school work and some students are responsible for setting their own learning goals. They regularly reflect on how well they are doing and what they need to work on next. Learning in other curriculum areas is recorded in individual journals that are also shared regularly with parents.

Area for review and development

The principal and board need to further strengthen the school’s achievement targets to ensure that they clearly identify the groups of learners who are most at risk of not achieving at the expected level.

3 Curriculum

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

The school’s curriculum is effective in promoting and supporting students’ learning and wellbeing.

The school vision of ‘a positive attitude is everything’ is strongly reflected in all aspects of school activities, the way teachers teach and the learning attitudes teachers encourage in students. The school curriculum provides students with good opportunities to work together and form friendships with other students of varying ages and abilities.

The curriculum places an appropriate emphasis on improving students' achievement in mathematics, reading and writing. It also provides students with opportunities to experience a broad range of interesting learning experiences in other areas of the curriculum, such as music and sport. Students with identified special needs are well included in all aspects of the school’s curriculum and learning experiences.

Teachers respect students’ contributions to their learning by encouraging them to choose resources that most interest them and involving them in decisions around topic planning. Students learn in well-equipped classrooms. There is an increasing emphasis on using electronic resources to help motivate students more in their learning.

The principal and teachers work well together to promote students' wellbeing and learning. Teachers are highly reflective and regularly adapt the curriculum and the ways they teach to better meet the interests and learning needs of students. The school’s curriculum statements reflect the current best practices.

The principal and teachers have developed useful links with local early childhood services and other schools. These links help students, including students with special needs, to transition more easily into, and between schools.

Area for review and development

The next step is for the principal and teachers to extend on the school’s current self review systems. This includes a regular cycle for reviewing all curriculum areas and specific school initiatives, such as support for students with special needs. These reviews should be used to inform and assure the board about how effective the school’s curriculum is being implemented.

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

The school is in a good position to build on the way it promotes educational success for Māori as Māori.

At the time of this review, the school had a very small number of Māori students. Teachers know these students well as individuals and have good relationships with their whānau. They closely monitor students' progress and achievement in reading, writing and mathematics, identify when they need additional support or extension and respond appropriately. Some aspects of te ao Māori are integrated into lesson plans, school-based learning opportunities and education outside the classroom, such as visits to relevant local areas of significance.

The principal and teachers have recently developed a useful action plan to improve bicultural aspects of school programmes and success for Māori as Māori. The next steps are for:

  • the principal and teachers to successfully implement this action plan
  • trustees to strengthen their understanding of governance responsibilities in promoting Māori success as Māori.

4 Sustainable Performance

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

The school is in a good position to sustain and build on its performance.

The board has a strong focus on improving learning outcomes for students. Trustees works closely with the principal and staff. They are provided with useful information about school happenings and developments. Trustees and the principal make use of individual skills and strengths within the board and teaching staff.

Recent board training is resulting in clearer planning. Trustees have improved the process they use for reviewing policies and procedures.

The board, principal and teachers use a wide variety of useful ways to consult with parents.

Areas for review and development

The board and principal agree that it is timely for the board to take a greater role in developing the school’s strategic plans. This should include:

  • seeking the community and student views on the direction for the school,
  • receiving reports that relate to all of the school’s strategic aims beyond student achievement goals.

The board and principal also need to strengthen the appraisal process, including developing a formal system for appraising teacher aides. They should also further strengthen the school-wide professional learning programme to ensure it closely links to staff appraisal goals and the school-wide priorities.

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.

Some policies and procedures need to be strengthened. This includes better documenting:

  • procedures relating to dealing with parents with court orders affecting their contact with a child at school
  • procedures for managing visitors to the school
  • procedures for reporting child abuse.

Conclusion

The school continues to provide a supportive and inclusive learning environment. The curriculum offers students interesting and varied learning experiences. There are many opportunities for students to work together cooperatively. Teachers adapt their teaching to effectively meet individual students' learning needs. Leadership and governance are in a good position to make better use of self review to sustain and build on the school’s performance.

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

Graham Randell

National Manager Review Services Southern Region

2 July 2014

About the School

Location

Richmond, Nelson

Ministry of Education profile number

3196

School type

Contributing (Years 1 to 6)

School roll

89

Gender composition

Boys 52 Girls 37

Ethnic composition

NZ European/Pākehā

Māori

Asian

Other Ethnicities

82

3

2

2

Review team on site

May 2014

Date of this report

2 July 2014

Most recent ERO reports

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

May 2010

May 2007

June 2004