Longburn School - 27/04/2017

Findings

A variety of experiences assist learners to extend knowledge and skills relevant to future learning. Since the April 2015 ERO review trustees, leaders and teachers have built capacity to promote learning for all students. The need to improve overall achievement remains a focus.

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

1 Background and Context

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

Longburn School caters for Years 1 to 8 students and is located on the southern outskirts of Palmerston North. Of the 99 students enrolled, 34 are Māori.

The school values of ‘Respectful, Responsible, Positive Learners’ are strongly reflected in the school environment, curriculum and strategic plan. A focus on providing students with varied experiences supports learners to develop a range of knowledge and skills relevant to future learning.

The April 2015 ERO review identified areas requiring improvement to strengthen the school’s effectiveness in promoting student outcomes. The school has responded positively to the opportunities this has provided.

Since the previous review a number of new staff have been appointed. The new deputy principal’s responsibilities include assessment practices, literacy and teacher appraisal. The two senior leaders have worked in association with teachers and trustees to successfully strengthen practices.

Links to the local community and other schools are promoted. The school is part of the recently formed Palmerston North City and Rural Number Two Community of Learning/Kāhui Ako.

2 Review and Development

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

Priorities identified for review and development

To continue to improve outcomes for students, the April 2015 ERO report identified the following areas for further development:

  • clarifying guidelines for assessment practice and National Standard judgements
  • strengthening the monitoring and reporting of interventions, student progress and achievement, particularly for those at risk of underachievement
  • developing clear expectations for teaching and learning and implementing these consistently across the school
  • extending teachers’ use of inquiry and strengthening appraisal
  • building on existing school provision for Māori students
  • completing review of the board of trustees' policy and procedure framework.

Progress

The dependability of National Standard judgements have been significantly strengthened. Greater shared understanding of expected end-of-year learning levels, better use of a range of assessment tools and moderation practices have developed. Judgements for the end of 2016 are likely to have been more robust and reliable than previously.

Assessment information is more effectively used to inform teaching and consider student progress. In some cases, individual assessments indicate accelerated progress. The school’s 2016 National Standard data indicated the need to improve:

  • Māori and male literacy (reading and writing) achievement
  • early years literacy levels
  • writing achievement at all year levels.

School targets for 2017 focus appropriately on these areas of learning. Teachers and senior leaders have put additional supports in place for students at risk of underachievement.

Processes and practices to accelerate student’s learning have been strengthened. Target students are identified and their progress is regularly monitored and shared. Teaching is increasingly focused on the specific needs of these students. Teachers are supported to consider how their practice might change to respond more effectively to individual learners. Leaders and teachers are continuing to develop their use of student achievement information to assist consideration of the impact of programmes and teaching.

Deliberate strategies in the early years’ class are assisting students to make greater progress. There is a planned focus on developing oral language to enable students to better access the curriculum. 

School-wide data is collated and analysed during and at the end of the year and regularly shared with the board. Useful analysis of achievement information by senior leaders aids board understanding, review and focus on improvement. Including regular reporting on the progress of target students would assist trustees, leaders and teachers to focus further on students most in need of acceleration. In particular this would enable better evaluative information to be gained about the quality of the school’s response to these learners.

The documented curriculum delivery plan provides useful guidelines to support teaching, learning and assessment practices. It continues to be developed to reflect learning from professional development and effective responses to the needs of current students. Curriculum initiatives are assisting teachers to collaboratively build capability to support student learning. The impact of these approaches on engagement and achievement should be regularly evaluated. Embedding the practices that impact most on learner progress, should be an ongoing focus.

Teaching increasingly reflects the expectations valued by the school. Classes observed by ERO displayed generally good levels of student engagement and a positive tone conducive to learning. Learning activities were purposeful and responsive to students varying needs. Flexible, well presented physical spaces enable children to work individually and in small groups. Students are assisted to take greater responsibility for their own learning.

Strategies to build teacher capability to promote learning have been further developed. Opportunities are provided for collaboration that supports sharing of good practice. Regular professional learning and development extends teacher knowledge of explicit teaching strategies in literacy and mathematics. Appraisal and inquiry processes support teachers to reflect on and improve their teaching practice.

The principal and teachers show a commitment to better support Māori learners. Teachers are developing greater understanding of the cultural background of students and how this can contribute to their learning. A facilitator supports integration of te reo me ngā tikanga Māori within programmes. The Māori Succeeding as Māori Action Plan includes aspects designed to promote Māori success. It is timely that implementation of the plan includes sharing and engaging with whānau and putting in place formal information sharing with iwi.

A governance policy framework and procedures to support it have been developed. Procedural documentation, identified in the previous ERO review as being necessary, is in place. A three year work plan for the board that includes ongoing curriculum and policy review has been developed. 

3 Sustainable performance and self review

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

The school is addressing the areas identified for improvement in the previous ERO report. The processes and practices already in place and those being further developed should support the school to be well placed to sustain and continue to improve its performance.

The school has:

  • established a foundation of values, climate and relationships likely to sustain and improve student learning
  • increased its capacity to reflect, plan and report using evidence which includes student achievement information
  • built capability to improve student achievement
  • developed a sustainable cycle of planning, improvement and self review that is responsive to changing situations.

Since the previous ERO review, trustees, leaders and teachers have built their capacity to improve student learning. The 2016 assessment information indicated this was yet to have sufficient impact on the achievement of some students. In 2017 teachers are equipped with a larger range of skills, knowledge and resources. These are to likely to enable them to more effectively respond to the need to accelerate progress for learners at risk of underachievement.

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. 

4 Recommendations

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

The school has developed its capacity to accelerate learning for all students. The need to improve overall achievement remains a focus. The school agrees to:

  • further develop targeting to accelerate learning for students
  • monitor targeted planning, improved teaching and student’s progress
  • discuss the school’s progress with ERO.

Conclusion

A variety of experiences assist learners to extend knowledge and skills relevant to future learning. Since the April 2015 ERO review trustees, leaders and teachers have built capacity to promote learning for all students. The need to improve overall achievement remains a focus.

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

Patricia Davey

Deputy Chief Review Officer Central (Acting)

27 April 2017

About the School

Location

Palmerston North

Ministry of Education profile number

2388

School type

Full Primary (Years 1 to 8)

School roll

99

Gender composition

Female 51, Male 48

Ethnic composition

Pākehā

Māori

Other ethnic groups

64

34

1

Review team on site

February 2017

Date of this report

27 April 2017

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

April 2015

June 2012

December 2008