Lepperton School - 18/02/2015

Findings

The key ideas that underpin the curriculum are student ownership of their learning, key competencies, student engagement and relationships. The principal, trustees and teachers are reflective and improvement focused. Trustees should continue to develop their shared understanding of governance, and school systems and processes should be strengthened to sustain ongoing improvement.

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?

Lepperton School is a rural primary school catering for students in Years 1 to 6. At the time of this ERO review, 175 students attend the school and 20 are Māori.

The school is the focal point of the local community. The roll has increased since the October 2011 ERO report, along with population growth in the area. The principal and board of trustees are currently working with the Ministry of Education to plan major property development.

The school vision statement has a strong focus on relationships. It states ‘It’s all about relationships with ourselves, with others and with our learning’.

2 Learning

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

Teachers use achievement information well to make positive changes to learners’ engagement. The process of reporting student achievement to the board and parents should be strengthened.

Teachers use a range of assessment tools to effectively identify students who require additional support. They plan their lessons to meet students’ needs and monitor their ongoing progress. Teacher aides work with individuals and small groups of students on focused learning activities. Data shows that all students involved in these activities, in 2014, have made progress. Increased emphasis on accelerating the progress of students achieving at a level below the National Standards should be a future goal.

The school’s achievement data at the end of 2013 showed that approximately three quarters of students were achieving at and above the reading, writing and mathematics National Standards. At that time, overall Māori student achievement was lower in reading and writing, and boys' overall achievement was lower in writing. The 2014 assessment information shows that those Māori students who were underachieving have made sound progress in reading.

While the board receives reports about student achievement, this process should be strengthened to include:

  • mid-year information about the overall picture of achievement in relation to the National Standards
  • analysed information about the achievement of groups of students, including ethnicity and gender
  • regular reports of the progress of students achieving below the National Standards.

The board, senior leaders and teachers should improve the process of setting school targets by selecting specific targets that are evidence-based and reflect analysed National Standards data.

Students talk confidently about their work. They know about their general achievement and what they have to do to keep improving.

Reports to parents about their child’s achievement include students’ well-considered reflections about their learning. They also include assessment of the wider curriculum. However, reports to parents do not clearly state each student’s achievement in relation to the National Standards.

3 Curriculum

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

The school’s curriculum promotes student learning well. Teachers work with individual students and small groups and ask relevant questions to promote focused conversations. Students are supported to manage their learning.

The key ideas that underpin the school curriculum are student ownership of learning, key competencies, student engagement and relationships. Teachers have established a shared understanding of the key competencies from The New Zealand Curriculum and promote students’ understanding of what these look like in practice. Students regularly reflect on their use of these competencies. Classrooms are well resourced and thoughtfully presented. Student work and learning prompts are effectively displayed. Information and communication technologies are integrated into the senior school curriculum.

Positive relationships between teachers and students are evident. Students work together collaboratively and respectfully, often working in pairs and small groups. Students are profitably engaged.

The bicultural curriculum should be strengthened. Currently senior students have the option of participating in kapa haka and some teachers use basic te reo Māori words and phrases. The principal has identified that increasing responsiveness to Māori culture and language throughout the curriculum is a next step. ERO’s evaluation supports this direction. The school has begun to consider ways of strengthening the curriculum by learning about the history of the area and visiting local marae.

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

Trustees, the principal and teachers should continue to explore ways they can promote Māori success as Māori. Development should include consultation with Māori whānau. Exploring the Ministry of Education resource, Tātaiako: Cultural Competencies for Teachers of Māori Learners together, is likely to increase teachers’ shared understanding of how they can best support the progress of Māori students as Māori, at Lepperton School.

4 Sustainable Performance

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

Further strengthening of school systems and processes is required to promote and sustain improvement.

The board of trustees is supportive of the principal, staff and students. Trustees bring a range of experience to their roles. To strengthen governance and promote sustainability, trustees should develop a shared understanding of their responsibilities. This should include updating their knowledge about employment, appraisal and self review. The board is developing a new strategic plan to guide school direction, including major property development. Aligning other school documents and processes with this plan should be a future priority.

The appraisal system for principal and teachers requires strengthening to better support their development. Useful feedback from the principal about teachers’ planning and assessment and teachers inquiring into their practice promote improvements. To improve appraisal:

  • feedback about planning and assessment should be integrated into the overall appraisal process
  • development goals should be clear and aligned with school direction and professional learning
  • documents should be signed and dated
  • the Registered Teacher Criteria should be part of the process
  • principal appraisal should be evidence-based.

Positive relationships between the school and families are evident. Parents are well informed about school events. A next step is to build learning partnerships with all parents so that they are active participants in their children’s learning. Involving families in their children's goal setting is an example of fostering this partnership.

The principal, trustees and teachers are reflective and improvement focused. To strengthen self review, trustees and staff should increase their capacity to evaluate the impact of initiatives to improve decision-making.

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.

During the course of the review ERO identified two areas of non-compliance. The board of trustees and principal should:

  • obtain a police vet of all non-teaching and unregistered employees who work at the school, and renew these every three years.[s78C & s78CA Education Act 1989]
  • ensure that twice annually, written reports to parents clearly state each child’s progress and achievement in relation to the National Standards.[NAG 2a]

In order to improve current practice, the board and principal should review systems related to health and safety and ensure that practice adequately reflects school policies.

Conclusion

The key ideas that underpin the curriculum are student ownership of their learning, key competencies, student engagement and relationships. The principal, trustees and teachers are reflective and improvement focused. Trustees should continue to develop their shared understanding of governance, and school systems and processes should be strengthened to sustain ongoing improvement.

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

Joyce Gebbie

National Manager Review Services Central Region

18 February 2015

About the School

Location

New Plymouth

Ministry of Education profile number

2182

School type

Contributing (Years 1 to 6)

School roll

175

Gender composition

Boys 57%, Girls 43%

Ethnic composition

Māori

Pākehā

Other ethnic groups

11%

84%

5%

Review team on site

November 2014

Date of this report

18 February 2015

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

October 2011

November 2008

June 2005