Lepperton School - 09/02/2018

School Context

Lepperton School is a rural primary for students in Years 1 to 6. At the time of this ERO review, the roll was 167 students and 14% are Māori.

The school has developed a new mission statement that expresses the community’s aspirations for “empowering lifelong learners”.

Leaders and teachers regularly report to the board, schoolwide information about outcomes for students in the following areas: reading; writing; and mathematics.

A major redevelopment of the school is planned for 2018, when a completely new building will incorporate open and flexible learning spaces. At the time of this review, the school was in the process of appointing a new principal. The school works closely with others in established networks.

Evaluation Findings

1 Equity and excellence – valued outcomes for students

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

Lepperton School achieves equitable and excellent outcomes for most children.

Most students achieve well. From 2014 to 2016, overall achievement has improved in writing and mathematics, and has been sustained in reading.

For Māori students overall, achievement and improvement is the same as for their peers in the school in writing and mathematics, and slightly lower in reading.

Girls achieve marginally higher than boys in reading and writing, but lower in mathematics. 

1.2 How effectively does this school respond to those Māori and other students whose learning and achievement need acceleration?

The school is developing its response to those Māori and other learners whose progress needs acceleration.

The school’s reported achievement information indicates that it is having an impact for some Māori and other students whose learning and achievement need acceleration. Data for 2017 indicates that half of these students made accelerated progress over time. The remainder made either expected or less than expected progress.

2 School conditions for equity and excellence

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

Consultative, collaborative and strategic, improvement-focused approaches are contributing to review and development of the school’s curriculum, teaching and learning approaches, and conditions for learning.

The revised curriculum focuses strongly on the principles and key competencies of The New Zealand Curriculum. It aligns with the schools’ redesigned vision, mission, and values statements, with a priority on improving outcomes for students who are underachieving. Partnerships with parents and the community that benefit children’s learning continue to strengthen. Leaders have successfully implemented changes in practice and established an orderly and supportive environment. Teachers are supported, including through professional learning and development, to use practices that enact the new vision and revised curriculum.

Students are encouraged to make decisions, take responsibility for and lead their learning. Teachers increasingly make effective use of open learning spaces and flexible groupings. In classrooms visited by ERO, children were fully engaged in learning. Positive and supportive relationships are evident. Children enjoy the flexible, student-centred approach.

An appropriate range of standardised and formative tools is used to assess achievement. Assessment information is used to identify students at risk of underachieving and those whose progress needs acceleration. Teachers have a shared understanding of accelerated progress. They use data to inform decisions about actions to address individual learning needs. Priority learners receive additional support. Teachers’ planning provides individual students with clear next steps for learning, and goals for improvement.

In collaboration with stakeholders, trustees continue to effectively manage a period of significant change. The board is suitably informed about student achievement and progress and is becoming more evaluative about its performance.

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

Processes to set targets for improved student achievement and know about progress toward the targets need strengthening. Students at risk of underachievement are included in annual targets. The targets should be reframed to provide challenge and focus explicitly on expected progress for those Māori and other students whose learning and achievement require acceleration. This should provide a clearer basis for evaluation of movement toward the targets.

New systems are being developed to improve teachers’ tracking and monitoring of students' progress over time. Using data and other information to know more about achievement, where accelerated progress is happening, and who for, should support teachers to plan actions that respond more effectively to those whose learning requires improvement.

Strengthening internal evaluation of the curriculum, teaching practice and conditions for learning is needed. This should better inform teachers and leaders about what has the biggest impact on raising achievement, and their decision making about next steps for improvement and future development. Evaluating the effectiveness of the revised curriculum and new teaching and learning initiatives should inform leaders of how well the changes:

  • are being implemented and embedded
  • deliver successful outcomes for all students
  • promote accelerated progress for priority leaners.

Leaders are seeking to strengthen performance management. The recently revised appraisal process will be implemented in 2018. This should assist in developing and measuring the effectiveness of teacher practice in relation to the focus on improving outcomes for students.

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. 

4 Going forward

Key strengths of the school

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

  • consultative approaches and a culture of collaborative enterprise that support a positive learning environment, improvement in outcomes for students and reduction of disparity
  • conditions for learning that are student centred, and promote students’ leadership of their own learning and high levels of engagement.

Next steps

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

  • planning and target setting for accelerated learning, that includes strengthened use of achievement data to show rates of progress over time for individuals, groups and cohorts
  • internal evaluation processes and practices, that include inquiry into the impact of changes in curriculum and teaching practices on improving outcomes for students.

[ERO will provide an internal evaluation workshop for trustees and senior leaders.]

ERO’s next external evaluation process and timing

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

Alan Wynyard
Deputy Chief Review Officer Central (Acting)

Te Tai Pokapū - Central Region

9 February 2018

About the school 

Location

New Plymouth

Ministry of Education profile number

2182

School type

Contributing Primary, Years 1 to 6

School roll

169

Gender composition

Female 48%, Male 52%

Ethnic composition

Māori                   14%
Pākehā                 86%

Provision of Māori medium education

No

Review team on site

October 2017

Date of this report

9 February 2018

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review, February 2015
Education Review, October 2011
Education Review, November 2008