Maori Hill School - 06/10/2015

1. Context

What are the important features of this school that have an impact on student learning?

Students at Maori Hill School benefit from rich learning experiences, enhanced by access to the facilities and geographic features the city of Dunedin has to offer. They are motivated learners working towards the school’s vision of ‘Active Learners Loving Learning’.

The school is in the midst of planned changes to the curriculum and strategic direction. A new principal began in March 2015. Since 2010, there has been a number of staffing changes including teachers holding senior leadership responsibilities. The school roll has remained stable over many years with a richness added by the increased number of Māori students, as well as students from other ethnicities and backgrounds.

Students enjoy supportive, caring relationships with each other and their teachers. Teachers work collaboratively and collegially to provide meaningful learning opportunities for their students. Parents are highly supportive of the school and learners.

Reports in 2014 showed very good achievement in reading and mathematics in relation to the National Standards. Significant progress was made in mathematics and writing achievement in 2014.

The school has addressed the recommendations from the 2010 ERO report. Building the level of students’ involvement in making decisions about their learning is continuing, and an area for further development.

2. Learning

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

The school uses achievement information effectively to make positive changes to learning.

Teachers work collaboratively to identify students’ learning strengths and needs, and to monitor student progress. Teachers respond deliberately and explicitly to particular students’ strengths and learning needs within the classroom and through supplementary programmes.

 

They evaluate the impact their teaching has on learning and adjust their teaching, when required, to make a greater difference to learning.

School leaders use achievement information to identify students who would benefit from additional learning support or challenge. The progress of individual students receiving learning support is well tracked.

Trustees have high expectations that all students will achieve and progress well. They use achievement reports to ascertain the progress students have made. Deeper analysis and evaluation of achievement and rates of progress information would enhance this use.

The principal has identified, and ERO agrees, that there is a need to strengthen the consistency across the school of the students’ role in the learning process. This includes all students being clear about and able to articulate how well they are learning, the purpose of their learning, their next learning steps and how they are going to get there.

3. Curriculum

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

The school’s curriculum effectively promotes and supports student learning.

The curriculum provides breadth and depth of learning for all students. Teachers and school leaders have a shared responsibility that supports the diversity of student learning and promotes student wellbeing.

Teachers’ deliberate alignment of teaching, related activities and resources supports student achievement of intended learning. Teaching approaches encourage students to make connections between different curriculum areas. This helps students make sense of their learning. This is shown in the way oral language is purposefully integrated into many learning experiences.

Teachers have effective relationships with parents to support their children’s learning. There are purposeful activities to achieve this, including open days and parent meetings to share ideas of how to support home learning.

Other positive features of the curriculum include:

  • the range of opportunities for students to develop leadership skills
  • the use of specialist teachers to support learning, including music, Māori, and English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL)
  • trained teacher aides supporting teachers and working with individual and groups of students.

The curriculum is in the process of being revised. This is to better respond to the changing needs, wishes, strengths and interests of the community and students, and to focus on the wider desired outcomes for students.

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

Māori students experience aspects of their identity, language and culture in school life and learning.

All students learn their mihi with appropriate support from the school’s specialist teacher. Mihi are personalised to students’ iwi to allow their particular identity to be recognised and celebrated. Qualities prized by Māori are identified within students and are given time and nurturing to flourish, including leadership, language and oratory abilities.

Teachers deliberately include Māori perspectives and dimensions within class studies and school events to enhance Māori students’ learning and identity. Senior students take part in kapa haka activities and perform at some school and community occasions. This year all students, their whānau and families, and teachers joined together to learn about and celebrate matariki.

The school meets regularly with the whānau Māori. An upcoming hui is to discuss and gain whānau input to the school’s review of its strategic direction. This discussion provides an ideal opportunity for the school and whānau to define what ‘success as Māori’ could look like at Maori Hill School.

4. Sustainable Performance

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

The school is very well placed to sustain and improve its performance. The Board of Trustees has a clear understanding of its role in representing and serving the Maori Hill School community.

Trustees adopted a deliberate and collaborative approach to the process of appointing a new principal to lead the school in its next phase of development. The vision for that development maintains the strong focus on learners which is important to the trustees, principal and teachers, and is also future focused and responsive.

The new principal has initiated positive change in a range of areas to improve the coherence and effectiveness of the overall strategic framework that supports ongoing school improvement.

The school currently gathers a range of data and information related to student outcomes and school improvement.

The next step for the school is to adopt a more evaluative approach to the gathering, analysis, reporting and use of data and evidence.

School leaders need to implement systematic inquiry and evaluation processes linked to the school’s vision, values and newly-established priorities. These processes will help the school to evaluate the effectiveness of programmes in relation to the desired outcomes at student, teacher and whole-school levels. This includes the school appraisal procedures.

An evaluative approach would sharpen the focus of initiatives designed to improve aspects of school performance, enable better scrutiny of the effectiveness and impact of selected improvement initiatives and provide more robust information for decision-making. 

Provision for international students

The school is a signatory to the Code of Practice for the Pastoral Care if International Students (the Code) established under section 238F of the Education Act 1989. The school has attested that it complies with all aspects of the Code.

At the time of this review there were two international students attending the school.

The international students are well integrated into the school community. The school has good processes for ensuring the wellbeing of these students, including regular meetings with the students’ parents.

Students’ learning needs are well addressed in classroom programmes and through the school’s ESOL programme. Individual student’s progress and achievement is well monitored. The school recognises the need to report to the board on the progress and achievement of these students as a group.

5. 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.

Conclusion

Students are motivated learners and benefit from rich learning experiences. They enjoy supportive, caring relationships with each other and their teachers. Teaching staff have a shared responsibility for the learning and wellbeing of all students. Teachers and leaders are redefining the school’s strategic direction and curriculum to ensure teaching and learning continue to be current and responsive to community needs and aspirations.

ERO is likely to carry out the next review in four-to-five years.

Chris Rowe

Deputy Chief Review Officer Southern (Acting)

6 October 2015

About the School

Location

Dunedin

Ministry of Education profile number

3768

School type

Contributing (Years 1 to 6)

School roll

229

Number of international students

2

Gender composition

Boys: 53%

Girls: 47%

Ethnic composition

Pākehā 72%

Māori 11%

Asian 5%

Pacific 2%

Other 10%

Review team on site

August 2015

Date of this report

6 October 2015

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review September 2010

Education Review September 2007

Supplementary Review February 2005