Leithfield School - 08/10/2018

School Context

Leithfield School is a semi-rural, Year 1 to 8 school with a roll of 132 students. The school’s valued outcomes are for students to achieve and demonstrate the school’s ‘RISE’ values of respect, involvement, self-management and excellence. Ngāi Tahu values are also evident in the school’s environment and curriculum. Confidence and wellbeing are also highly valued as student outcomes. The board’s strategic goals are:

  • to provide quality teaching and learning
  • for the school to be an integral part of their community
  • to ensure that resources meet the learning needs of students.

The board’s annual achievement targets focus on raising achievement in mathematics for Years 2 and 3, writing in Years 5 to 8 and reading for Year 3 students. Improving outcomes for boys in writing remains a focus.

Leaders and teachers regularly report to the board, schoolwide information about outcomes for students in the following areas:

  • achievement in reading, writing and mathematics
  • achievement in other essential learning areas against curriculum levels
  • achievement of targeted students in reading, writing and mathematics
  • students’ wellbeing information

Since the 2013 ERO review, a new board chair, principal and deputy principal have been appointed. There have also been changes in trustees and staff. The school has participated in professional learning and development to accelerate learning in mathematics.

The school is a member of Puketeraki Kāhui Ako|Community of Learning (CoL).

Evaluation Findings

1 Equity and excellence – achievement of valued outcomes for students

1.1 How well is the school achieving equitable and excellent outcomes for all its students?

The school is effectively working towards equitable and excellent outcomes for all its students.

Achievement data for 2017 shows most students achieve at or above curriculum expectations for reading, writing and mathematics. Boys achieved less well in literacy.

Leaders and teachers collect and report to the board on learner information in other curriculum areas against specific objectives. In 2017, achievement information showed that 73% of students achieved at or above curriculum expectations in aspects of science, 91% in social science and 86% in technology. In 2018 social science achievement identified 78% of students were at or above expectations for specific curriculum objectives. The school is using this information so that, over time, they are able to make evidence-based judgements on the school’s provision for students’ learning in these curriculum areas.

1.2 How well is the school accelerating learning for those Māori and other students who need this?

The school is achieving success in accelerating the achievement for some Māori and other students who need this.

Some students receiving additional support with mathematics are making considerable progress. Individual and group-adapted learning plans demonstrate accelerated progress made by some students and identify the teaching strategies that are most effective in supporting these students. Teachers also report most students have made positive shifts in reading engagement and attitude.

Some reports to the board do not always show students’ progress based on gender and ethnicity. In these reports it is unclear how well different groups of students who are receiving additional support are accelerating their progress.

The school is actively investigating more robust and reliable methods of analysing and reporting rates of students’ learning progress.

2 School conditions for equity and excellence – processes and practices

2.1 What school processes and practices are effective in enabling achievement of equity and excellence, and acceleration of learning?

A number of effective processes and practices are contributing to the achievement of equity, excellence and acceleration of learning.

Students with learning and other additional needs are well supported by leaders and teachers. Effective systems and processes ensure there is close monitoring of individuals, with programmes adapted in response to identified needs. Interventions are monitored so leaders and teachers can identify those who are contributing to improving outcomes for students. Positive approaches to promoting the wellbeing and improved achievement of these students include:

  • careful consideration of transitions into, through the school and onto high school
  • increasing collaboration amongst teachers to meet students’ needs
  • supporting students to develop a positive mindset.

A collaborative teaching culture is enhancing professional discussions and inquiry related to raising student achievement. Professional learning and development (PLD) is influencing the use of specific teaching strategies. This is particularly evident in mathematics where equitable results are evident in the 2017 achievement information. Teacher appraisal is aligned with PLD and the school’s annual achievement targets. Teachers reflect critically on what they are doing well and ways they can improve their practice.

Educationally powerful connections are effectively supporting positive outcomes for students. There is increasing involvement of parents, and the formation of learning partnerships is supporting this. This is particularly so for students needing additional support to improve their learning. There are strong reciprocal relationships between the school and local community. Very good use of external agencies is contributing towards students’ learning and wellbeing. Active involvement in the Puketeraki Kāhui Ako|Community of Learning is positively impacting on teaching and learning practices.

Strong leadership of curriculum is contributing to teachers’ shared understandings about teaching and learning and the use of effective teaching strategies known to improve student outcomes. The school’s curriculum is responsive to students’ interests and needs. The well-designed curriculum provides useful guidance for teachers and a clear focus on the importance of each essential learning area. Digital technology is effectively supporting students’ learning, particularly in the senior area of the school. Community input is sought and used to inform curriculum decisions. As a result, science, music and student wellbeing have received a greater focus in learning programmes. The integration of the school’s RISE values and the introduction of Ngāi Tahu values are contributing to an increased bicultural emphasis in the curriculum.

The board and senior leaders work well together to support students’ learning. The school’s values and a focus on positive outcomes for students strongly influence the board’s decision-making processes. There is coherence between the school’s charter, strategic and annual plans, provision of PLD and other key school documents. Community, parent and student views and opinions are valued and support the school’s strategic direction. The school is on a pathway of continuous improvement.

2.2 What further developments are needed in school processes and practices for achievement of equity and excellence, and acceleration of learning?

Further developments to build on the existing effective practices identified in this report include:

  • using the reflective culture evident in the school to develop a more rigorous approach to internal evaluation, including the board’s role in scrutinising achievement information and rates of progress
  • making learning expectations more visible so that students are able to have greater understanding and take increasing ownership of what they need to do to reach the next achievement level
  • continuing to develop culturally responsive practices and the positive influence this can have on teaching and learning.

Leaders should ensure that ongoing consultation with Māori includes an increased focus on Māori student achievement and the aspirations parents have for their children.

3 Board assurance on legal requirements

Before the review, the board 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

  • finance

  • 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 and certification

  • processes for appointing staff

  • stand down, suspension, expulsion and exclusion of students

  • attendance

  • school policies in relation to meeting the requirements of the Vulnerable Children Act 2014.

Actions for compliance

ERO identified non-compliance in relation to careers education for Years 7 and 8.

In order to address this, the board of trustees must:

  • provide appropriate careers education and guidance for all students in Year 7 and above.

Areas for improved compliance practice

To improve current practice, the board of trustees should strengthen:

  • record keeping for complaints so it better reflects the school’s complaints policy.

Since the onsite stage of this review the board has responded positively to address this issue.

4 Going forward

Key strengths of the school

For sustained improvement and future learner success, the school can draw on existing strengths in:

  • the strong focus on students’ learning and wellbeing

  • educationally powerful connections with the school community, the Puketeraki Kāhui Ako and external support agencies

  • effective curriculum leadership, professional learning and development in mathematics, and effective teaching practices.

Next steps

For sustained improvement and future learner success, priorities for further development are in:

  • improving internal evaluation so it is evaluative and includes students’ rates of progress where appropriate

  • continue to support students’ understanding, independence and ownership of their next level of learning

  • developing bicultural practices, including increased emphasis during consultation on Māori students’ achievement and the aspirations of the Māori community.

ERO’s next external evaluation process and timing

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

Alan Wynyard

Director Review & Improvement Services

Te Waipounamu - Southern Region

8 October 2018

About the school

Location

Amberley

Ministry of Education profile number

3411

School type

Full Primary Year 1-8

School roll

132

Gender composition

Boys 52%

Girls 48%

Ethnic composition

Māori 16%

Pākehā 79%

Other ethnicities 5%

Students with Ongoing Resourcing Funding (ORS)

Yes

Provision of Māori medium education

No

Review team on site

August 2018

Date of this report

8 October 2018

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review November 2013

Education Review November 2010