Lumsden School - 29/06/2016

1 Context

This is a small rural school. The board funds a teacher for the fifth classroom with the intention of keeping class sizes small and ensuring children get quality teacher time.

Children come from increasingly diverse cultural backgrounds. Some are supported in their English learning through a special programme (ESOL). The school is welcoming and inclusive to both children and their families. It is well supported by parents and the wider community. A parent group, the Friends of Lumsden School (FoLS), very actively supports children’s learning, providing extra, targeted resources.

There is a mixture of new and experienced, long-serving staff. The school has a good relationship with its local preschool and is part of a cluster of local schools. This cluster aims to address shared challenges and benefit from the combined resources and expertise.

This school has a history of positive ERO evaluations. It has made good progress against the recommendations in the last (2013) ERO report.

2 Equity and excellence

The vision and valued outcomes defined by the school for all children are to give children the skills that will enable them to be successful life-time learners. This includes interpersonal skills, an eagerness to learn, confidence, a sound foundation in literacy and mathematics, and the ability to use technology to support their learning.

The school’s achievement information shows that over 80% of children achieve at or above the National Standards in reading and about 80% in mathematics. Achievement in writing is slightly lower and the school has plans in place to address this. Almost all Māori children achieve at or above the National Standards in all three areas.

ERO is confident about the accuracy of the school’s achievement information. Teachers make well-informed assessment judgements. These are based on a range of learning information.

Since the last ERO evaluation the school has:

  • been part of the Ministry of Education Accelerated Learning in Mathematics and Accelerated Literacy Learning programmes
  • at a staff and board level, worked hard and accessed professional support to improve how it supports Māori learners and values Māori culture
  • significantly developed its ICT capacity and use
  • worked hard to strengthen how it works with and involves parents in their children’s learning
  • developed a programme to extend children with special abilities.

3 Accelerating achievement

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

The school very effectively supports its Māori children to experience success as learners and to stand proud in their culture.

Teachers and school leaders know each Māori child well as a learner and as an individual. Any child who is below the National Standards or not working to full potential is quickly identified. Specific help is provided and the progress of the child and the effectiveness of the support are carefully monitored.

For children below the standard, the school has a range of well-planned interventions to help each child catch up in reading, writing or mathematics. For Māori and other children, this includes:

  • intensive small-group teaching
  • one-to-one instruction with the principal or experienced and competent teacher aides
  • teachers working with parents as to how they can best support their child at home.

For Māori children, school leaders and teachers intentionally:

  • work to build rapport with Māori children and their sense of mana (pride)
  • have deepened their own knowledge of Māori language and culture
  • encourage tuakana-teina and ako approaches to learning
  • include Māori concepts, perspectives and contexts in learning programmes.

This school has good evidence about how it has helped individual Māori children make accelerated progress in their learning and catch up to and maintain the expected levels of achievement.

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

Senior leaders, teachers and teacher aides work together to support other groups of children who need additional help to succeed. These groups include ESOL learners, some children transferring from other schools, and some boys with their writing.

Teachers quickly identify any child or group of children below the National Standards in reading, writing or mathematics and ensure they get additional support. The support listed above for Māori children applies to this group.

For reading and mathematics, the majority of children who receive additional support make accelerated progress, more than usually expected in one year. The school has had less success in lifting boys’ achievement in writing. A variety of well-planned strategies have been used with some success. However, this remains a target area and leaders and teachers are exploring alternative ways to make the difference required. 

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 targets for equity and excellence?

The school’s curriculum and practices very effectively enact and support its vision for learning. This can be seen in the:

  • strong focus on developing children’s skills, and ability to use these independently
  • confident way children can talk about their learning and their next steps for improvement
  • innovative use of ICT as a tool for learning, teaching and communication
  • settled, focused, supportive learning environments that make flexible use of different spaces.

The school’s links with children’s families and whānau effectively strengthen learning-centred relationships. The principal, teachers and trustees do this by:

  • actively seeking parents’ ideas and acting on the feedback in a well-considered way
  • promoting an open-door policy that parents respond to positively
  • keeping parents regularly well informed about their child’s learning, particularly progress
  • very effectively linking with parents and the early-learning centre as each child begins school.

The principal leads purposefully to continue to strengthen staff capacity to improve outcomes for children. He does this by:

  • leading collaboratively, valuing staff members’ strengths and growing their leadership
  • modelling inclusivity and valuing the perspectives of staff, children and parents
  • ensuring programmes and practices have an orderly, supportive focus on learning.

The principal and teachers investigate in depth how well they support children, particularly those who need to make extra progress. They analyse learning information to know what is going well and what needs improving. They share this with trustees who scrutinise the analysis, ask purposeful evaluative questions, and make well-informed resourcing decisions.

Trustees are well-informed about all aspects of school operations, especially what matters most for children. They are knowledgeable about their roles and have good systems for new trustees to know how to carry out these roles in the future. The key priorities for long-term planning are highly evident in the annual plan.

The next steps are for:

  • the board, principal and teachers to continue to sharpen the focus on improving boys’ writing
  • the principal to review and develop the curriculum statements so they match the current high expectations and best practice in the school
  • trustees to strengthen review and evaluation by aligning compliance and best-practice expectations against stated procedures, actual practice and impact on children.

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.

Children, including children at risk of not achieving the appropriate standards, are actively engaged in their learning. A very high proportion of children are progressing and achieving well, particularly in reading and mathematics. The small number of children not yet making accelerated progress in writing are well supported to do so.

The board, principal and teachers work well together to target those children at risk of not achieving well. They have sound, coherent systems for sustaining current good practices.

ERO is likely to carry out the next evaluation 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

ERO discussed with the board the need to update procedures and practices in response to recent changes in relation to:

  • Education Council requirements for the issue and endorsement of Practising Teacher Certificates
  • the Vulnerable Children Act requirements for safety checking of workers.

ERO also discussed with the principal and board the need to document thoroughly each step when carrying out stand-downs.

7 Recommendation

To continue to promote equitable and excellent outcomes for all learners, ERO recommends the school acts on the next steps identified in this report.

Lesley Patterson

Deputy Chief Review Officer Southern

29 June 2016

About the school

Location

Lumsden

Ministry of Education profile number

3980

School type

Contributing (Years 1 to 6)

School roll

93

Gender composition

Boys: 53

Girls: 40

Ethnic composition

Pākehā

Māori

Chinese

Filipino

Fijian

African

Australian

Nepalese

73

11

2

2

2

1

1

1

Review team on site

May 2016

Date of this report

29 June 2016

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

March 2013

September 2009

September 2006