Kaingaroa Forest School - 29/06/2016

Findings

Kaingaroa Forest School has made good progress in addressing the requirements of two longitudinal ERO reviews. Students enjoy small class sizes and up-to-date resources. Recent governance and management issues necessitate ongoing support from the Ministry of Education and further monitoring by ERO.

ERO intends to carry out another review over the course of one-to-two years.

1 Background and Context

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

Kaingaroa Forest School is situated in the village of Kaingaroa Forest and caters for students in Years 1 to 8. Since the 2013 ERO review, the roll has decreased from 28 to 10 children of whom all are identified as Māori.

ERO’s 2013 review found that the school had made very good progress in addressing the areas for development in the 2011 ERO review. It noted that in both classrooms, there was a strong focus on literacy and mathematics learning, and a tradition of promoting all-round learning and development to meet the needs of all students had continued. Small classes allowed teachers to maximise opportunities for learning discussions with individuals and groups. Lessons were purposeful, behaviour was well managed and classes were settled.

The principal and board had participated in an initiative that significantly increased the school’s capacity to support computer technology, and assist children and parents to develop computer skills. There had been a significant increase in community participation in school events and activities.

ERO’s 2013 review also found that there was a need for further board training to increase the governance capability of the newly elected trustees. In addition, there was a need to further develop curriculum, assessment and teaching practices in order to continue to accelerate progress for students who were yet to achieve National Standards. ERO has, therefore, continued to review and monitor school improvements and progress over the past two and a half years.

2 Review and Development

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

Priorities identified for review and development

  • governance, including board training in understanding trustee roles and responsibilities, including self review
  • curriculum, including assessment practices and professional development in literacy and mathematics.

Progress

Governance

Trustees have responded well to training about their roles and responsibilities, which has provided helpful guidance in increasing their understanding of governance and management practices. The board receives regular reports on students’ progress and achievement. It has continued to employ an external consultant to appraise the principal and has received regular feedback about his performance.

Finances and resources have been well managed. New shade sails have been purchased and new digital devices donated to further increase the use of computers as tools for learning. A school/community trust has been established to provide a vehicle for school fund raising. Until the end of 2015, the board supported a bilingual play group, which took place in a designated extra classroom and received support from the Ministry of Education.

Curriculum and assessment

Targeted children who are at risk of underachieving continue to be monitored and challenged to accelerate their academic progress. A high proportion of these children have made more-than-expected progress towards meeting National Standards. Teachers have engaged in professional development to improve teaching practice in literacy and mathematics. External advisers have moderated teachers’ judgements about literacy and mathematics achievement. Students’ workbooks have showed progress through the year with agreed next steps based on self-assessment information. Students are confident about discussing their progress and achievement.

The school’s curriculum has been further developed to include learning progressions in reading, writing and mathematics. Students have enjoyed a wide range of opportunities for education outside the classroom and learning about their local region. Good levels of te reo Māori have been integrated throughout class programmes.

Key next steps

There is now a need to:

  • continue the unrelenting focus on accelerating the progress of children who are yet to achieve National Standards in reading, writing and mathematics
  • ensure that new teaching and assessment approaches, gained from recent professional development, continue to be implemented and are embedded in the school’s curriculum guidelines.

3 Sustainable performance and self review

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

Kaingaroa Forest School is not yet well placed to sustain and improve its performance.

Findings

Since the 2013 ERO review, there have been a number of board changes. The long-serving principal has recently resigned necessitating the appointment of an acting principal at the beginning of Term 2, 2016. This will coincide with elections for a new board of trustees.

ERO finds that the new board will not be well placed to continue to govern the school and manage the appointment and performance of a new principal, without considerable external guidance and assistance. New trustees will also need support to implement the key next steps arising from this review.

Key next steps

The board, with external support, should ensure that it develops and implements:

  • suitable induction processes for the incoming board
  • strategic self-review processes that include a regular cycle of policy review and curriculum reviews that lead to improved outcomes for children
  • suitable policies and procedures for personnel management, including appointments, complaints and police vetting that meet legal requirements, and appraisal that meets Education Council requirements.

The incoming board of trustees should provide ERO with an action plan to show how it will address the key next steps in this ERO report.

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.

ERO identified areas of non-compliance:

  1. The board must ensure that all health and safety policies and procedures are in place. Policies must be regularly reviewed and procedures must be implemented. In particular, there is a need to ensure that safety hazards are identified and property checks are recorded.
    [National Administration Guidelines, 5]
  2. The board of trustees has not yet addressed the requirements of The Vulnerable Children’s Act 2014. In particular, the board must ensure that: - the school’s appointments policy and procedures for all staff, including the principal, meet the requirements of the Act - all non-registered employees are police vetted every three years.
    [National Administration Guidelines, 5]
  3. The board must consult its community about the content of the school’s health curriculum.
    [Education Act, 1989, Section 60B]

4 Recommendations

Recommendations, including any to other agencies for ongoing or additional support.

ERO recommends that the Ministry of Education provides targeted support and guidance for the incoming board of trustees in its governance roles and responsibilities, particularly its responsibility for the appointment of a new principal.

Conclusion

Kaingaroa Forest School has made good progress in addressing the requirements of two longitudinal ERO reviews. Students enjoy small class sizes and up-to-date resources. Recent governance and management issues necessitate ongoing support from the Ministry of Education and further monitoring by ERO.

ERO intends to carry out another review over the course of one-to-two years. 

Lynda Pura-Watson

Deputy Chief Review Officer

29 June 2016

About the School

Location

Kaingaroa Forest, near Murupara

Ministry of Education profile number

1759

School type

Full Primary (Years 1 to 8)

School roll

10

Gender composition

Boys 6 Girls 4

Ethnic composition

Māori

10

Review team on site

April 2016

Date of this report

29 June 2016

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Supplementary Review

July 2013

July 2011

May 2010