Leigh School - 31/05/2016

1 Context

Leigh School is a small rural school that serves a coastal community north of Warkworth. Children in Years 1 to 6 work in three age-related classes. Most children who attend the neighbouring preschool enrol at the school.

Over recent years teachers have engaged in professional learning aimed at accelerating children's progress in literacy and mathematics. In 2016 two new classrooms are to be built to offer more open, flexible spaces for innovative, responsive teaching. Teachers have begun to adapt their teaching approaches in preparation for the move into the new classrooms later this year.

2 Equity and excellence

The school's vision and valued outcomes focus on building children's emotional strength and ability to learn by connecting children's interests to their culture and local community. The school aims to support children to become independent learners and give them a sound foundation in reading, writing and mathematics. There is also a strong emphasis on promoting interactions that are respectful, compassionate and honest. The vision and valued outcomes are based on what the school community believes are essential for children to succeed.

The school’s achievement information over time shows that most children achieve at or above National Standards. Achievement in reading is higher than achievement in writing and mathematics. The challenge for the school is to meet the Ministry of Education target that 85 percent of all children will achieve at or above National Standards in writing and mathematics, and sustain their very good achievement in reading. Over recent years the achievement of Māori students has been at a slightly lower level than the overall school profile. The principal, board and staff are continuing to explore ways to reduce this discrepancy.

The principal and the board have used the 2013 ERO report recommendations well to guide school and curriculum developments. Teachers now make better use of achievement information to provide data on children's progress over time. Teachers are more deliberately evaluating how effectively their teaching programmes promote children's engagement and achievement.

3 Accelerating achievement

How effectively does this school respond to children whose learning and achievement need acceleration?

The board, principal and teachers focus on the needs of the small number of children who need to make accelerated progress. There are clear links between the school's achievement targets and the deliberate actions taken to accelerate these children's progress.

Children are respected as capable learners who can make decisions about their learning. They demonstrate confidence as learners and engage well in class programmes. Teachers quickly identify children's learning needs and implement relevant strategies and programmes. School documentation shows evidence of children's accelerated and sustained progress.

Teachers support children's progress by giving them useful feedback about what they are doing well and how they could improve their learning. Learning progressions and exemplars are increasingly used by children to identify their achievement and next learning steps. These practices are helping children to have an increasing sense of control over their own learning and progress.

Teachers regularly monitor and evaluate children’s progress. They use a range of appropriate assessments to guide their overall judgements about each child's achievement. Programmes for children achieving below the standards include individual learning plans tailored for each child's specific learning needs.

Teachers provide parents with clear information about children's learning. Parents have regular opportunities to discuss their children’s achievement and to work with teachers to support their child's learning progress.

Teachers share a collective responsibility for promoting children's learning. They regularly meet together to develop and plan strategies to support children to achieve. Teachers are keen to increase their opportunities to work with others to improve the reliability of the decisions they make about children's achievement in relation to the National Standards.

4 School conditions

How effectively do the school’s curriculum and other organisational processes and practices develop and enact the school’s vision, values, goals and priorities for equity and excellence?

Good processes and practices are used to promote equity and excellence in children's outcomes. The school charter, learning programmes and teacher appraisals have a clear common focus on improving practices to ensure all children are successful learners. The principal, trustees, staff and children show a sense of pride and belonging in the school.

The school’s curriculum aligns well to the values, principles and key competencies of The New Zealand Curriculum. Children are benefitting from a broad, meaningful and localised curriculum that connects the different learning areas and links children to their local community and environment. In particular, the local marine reserve is used well to offer children interesting, varied and enjoyable learning experiences.

Children are being encouraged to become increasingly self-directed, inquiring learners and problem-solvers. The school's 'Best You Can Be' programme guides the development of children's social and emotional competencies to ensure they have a sound foundation for their learning. Tuakana teina relationships are also supporting children's learning, particularly in reading.

The school continues to demonstrate its commitment to bicultural practice. A strategic action plan has been developed to guide further development to support Māori children's educational success and identity in the school. All children have opportunities to gain knowledge and confidence in Māori language and culture. Children confidently participate in and lead kapa haka which is a valued part of the school's curriculum and protocol.

The principal and trustees consult with local iwi and the school’s kaumatua to appropriately integrate te reo Māori me ōna tikanga in curriculum programmes. The board has employed tutors to teach and guide these programmes. The teacher appraisal and development process has been strengthened through links to Tataiako: Cultural Competencies for Teachers of Maori Learners.

The school enjoys high levels of community engagement. The principal and trustees seek, value and include the perspectives of the school’s community in planning and decision-making. Strengthening and extending partnerships with parents/whānau to support their children's learning and progress has been identified as a priority.

The school is well led. There are clear shared expectations about what constitutes successful learning. The principal actively promotes leadership and collaboration. Consistent teaching approaches are supporting children's learning confidence as they transition through the school.

The principal and teachers take advantage of local school cluster initiatives. They integrate knowledge of current theories and best practice into their programmes.

The board focuses on promoting student learning, as well as meeting the school’s operational requirements. Trustees work well as a team, understand their responsibilities and are keenly interested in the reports they receive about student achievement. They use the reports to consider how the board can best support children's progress. Trustees acknowledge that they could usefully evaluate their governance work and stewardship and share this with the incoming board.

Internal evaluation is used effectively by the principal, trustees and teachers to sustain improvements and guide school development. They regularly evaluate progress towards the charter's strategic aims and annual objectives. Teachers regularly reflect on how effectively their teaching practices impact on student learning. As a result, children benefit from programmes and practices that are responsive to their learning strengths, needs and interests.

5 Going forward

How well placed is the school to achieve and sustain equitable and excellent outcomes for all children?

Leaders and teachers:

  • know the children whose learning and achievement need to be accelerated
  • respond effectively to the strengths, needs and interests of each child
  • regularly evaluate how well teaching is working for these children
  • act on what they know works well for each child
  • build teacher capability effectively to achieve equitable outcomes for all children
  • are well placed to achieve and sustain equitable and excellent outcomes for all children.

Leigh School is well placed to make ongoing improvements that impact positively on children's learning. The board, principal, staff and community have a shared commitment to the school’s direction for curriculum development and student learning.

The principal and the board have identified appropriate development priorities that include further:

  • growing children's ownership of their learning
  • extending higher achieving students' learning
  • developing children's e-learning opportunities and skills
  • building partnerships with parents/whānau to accelerate their children's progress.

The principal and teachers are developing useful ways to document evidence of how teachers meet the Practising Teacher Criteria in line with Education Council requirements.

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

6 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 the following:

  • Board administration

  • Curriculum

  • Management of health, safety and welfare

  • Personnel management

  • Asset management.

During the review, ERO checked the following items because they have a potentially high impact on student safety and wellbeing:

  • Emotional safety of students (including prevention of bullying and sexual harassment)

  • Physical safety of students

  • Teacher registration

  • Processes for appointing staff

  • Stand down, suspensions, expulsions and exclusions

  • Attendance

  • Compliance with the provisions of the Vulnerable Children Act 2014

7 Recommendation

ERO recommends that the school continues to consolidate and build upon the improvements made in curriculum and teaching practices. 

Graham Randell

Deputy Chief Review Officer Northern

31 May 2016

About the school

Location

Leigh, Warkworth

Ministry of Education profile number

1340

School type

Contributing (Years 1 to 6)

School roll

51

Gender composition

Girls 29 Boys 22

Ethnic composition

Māori

Pākehā

Pacific

other

12

32

4

3

Review team on site

April 2016

Date of this report

31 May 2016

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

June 2013

November 2011

August 2008