Martinborough School - 24/06/2016

1 Context

Martinborough School is a full primary school located in the town of Martinborough in the Wairarapa district. It caters for 237 students from Years 1 to 8 and 27% identify as Māori. Nearly all students complete their first eight years of schooling here. The L.E.A.R.N.I.N.G. values continue to be a focus and are well embedded in school life. Provision of digital devices for older students and a reorganisation of classes has occurred to support flexible learning and team teaching.

2 Equity and excellence

The vision and valued outcomes defined by the school are for all children to be engaged in ‘Future Focused L.E.A.R.N.I.N.G. in a Connected Community'. A skills-based curriculum has been introduced to build on this vision and underpin teaching and learning. The values are well supported and clearly articulated by teachers and students.

Positive community relationships are valued. The school engages in a range of initiatives to provide practical support for students and families. These activities give opportunity to develop meaningful, productive partnerships with parents and families to support learning.

The school’s achievement information shows that although many students achieve well, there continues to be significant numbers below in relation to the National Standards in reading, writing and mathematics. Achieving equity for Māori students, and for boys in literacy, are key priorities. Increasing rates of progress for these learners is an important next step.

Since the April 2013 ERO evaluation, the school has had a sustained focus on providing an environment that supports students to engage in future-focused learning. This has been enacted through the skills-based curriculum and a focus on digital learning tools and modern learning environments. The school reports increased student engagement and enjoyment in learning through these approaches.

There has been externally-sourced professional development for the teaching of writing. Leaders have focused on developing a coaching approach to support teachers' professional capabilities.

School systems for accelerating learning and progress to promote equity and excellence are being developed. The school acknowledges that raising achievement in mathematics and writing is required. Further development of these areas is planned.

The school has focused on raising student achievement in literacy in 2015, through participation in a Ministry of Education (the Ministry) Accelerated Learning in Literacy project (ALL), the Early Learning in Literacy project (ELP) and a focus group of Year 6 Māori boys in writing. Strategies are beginning to be extended across the school.

3 Accelerating achievement

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

School data shows that many Māori learners are not making sufficient progress. A more systematic approach to accelerating the learning of these students is a focus for development. Tracking, monitoring, evaluating and reporting the progress of these students remains a school priority.

The importance of responding to Māori students’ identity, language and culture is acknowledged by teachers and leaders. Staff and trustees recognise the need to explore and develop this area. Development of a Culturally Responsive Education Plan has begun. An immediate priority is to further develop this plan and provide a coordinated approach to its implementation. The plan should include a clear vision and appropriately targeted and timely actions to respond to agreed, desired outcomes for Māori students. Development should be guided by Ka Hikitia - Accelerating Success 2013-2017 and undertaken in collaboration with whānau Māori and local iwi.

Developing the cultural knowledge, understanding and competence of leaders and teachers is a key next step. The principles of The New Zealand Curriculum and Tātaiako: Competencies for Teachers of Māori Learners should underpin this. The local curriculum requires strengthening to reflect te ao Māori and be responsive to Māori learners.

The school has participated in a local school cluster to develop connections with iwi across community. Improving partnerships with whānau of Māori students has been appropriately identified for improvement.

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

Teachers have improved their focus on students requiring additional learning support. The school recognises the need to ensure there are deliberate, effective strategies and opportunities for focused teaching to accelerate learning for all students not achieving at expected levels.

Increased resources and newly-developed processes and systems identify and track students with diverse needs. Making clear the school’s commitment to inclusion and provision for students with specific learning requirements, and reporting to the board on their progress and success of strategies, should guide ongoing development.

Systems and processes for tracking and monitoring Pacific students' progress and success are now in place. Specific strategies to support these learners should be explored.

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 priorities for equity and excellence?

Students benefit from positive learning environments and relationships. They are well supported to work cooperatively and collaborate in their learning. Students participate with confidence in learning tasks. Teachers work well together to plan and develop their teaching approaches within the skills-based curriculum. Staff feel well supported and have a shared understanding of the school's vision and enthusiasm for its direction.

School leaders are developing and improving teacher practice. They have implemented coaching as a platform for appraisal and to support the enactment of the school curriculum. The coaching process provides opportunities for teachers to reflect on their teaching, discuss challenges and gain support. The process should be further refined to more clearly guide how teachers will build evidence of effective practice to support their appraisal and requirements in relation to the Practising Teacher Criteria. Developing a clear process for teacher inquiry should further support staff to look into the effectiveness of their practice.

School leaders have identified the need to develop clearer expectations for effective teaching and learning in reading, writing and mathematics. Plans to develop the mathematics curriculum are appropriate. Ongoing development in these areas should focus on supporting curriculum leadership and ensuring that teaching is deliberate and effectively responds to each student's specific learning needs.

Participation in professional development has provided opportunities for improving the assessment and moderation of writing. Assessment practices should be reviewed to ensure:

  • information gathered and reported is useful for more clearly showing acceleration at all levels of the school
  • regular, robust moderation occurs for overall teacher judgements made in relation to National Standards for reading and mathematics.

Reporting of student achievement and progress to parents includes some new practices. The school is planning to review the success of these approaches in providing useful, accurate and meaningful information for families, particularly for those students requiring accelerated learning and progress.

Teachers use a range of strategies to promote students’ active participation in assessment. Further use of successful approaches should promote students’ understanding of their learning progress and next steps.

The board of trustees makes resourcing decisions to promote the school's vision for success. This includes the equitable provision of digital resources for students.

There is an appropriate focus on developing productive relationships with families.

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
  • need approaches that effectively meet the needs of each child
  • need to ensure the school is well placed to achieve and sustain equitable and excellent outcomes for all children.

Trustees demonstrate a commitment to building teacher capacity. Internal evaluation is in the early stages of development. Curriculum leaders provide summaries of successes in relation to annual goals and make useful recommendations for improvement. Change in practices and processes occurs through discussion and reflection. The board has begun to strengthen their self review through Hautū: Māori cultural responsiveness self review tool for boards of trustees. Staff and trustees should develop an understanding and robust framework for internal evaluation. This should provide clear evidence of effectiveness of initiatives and implemented actions to better guide decision-making.

Action: The board, principal and teachers should participate in an internal evaluation workshop. They should use this workshop, ERO exemplars of good practice and the School Evaluation Indicators to address the findings of this evaluation and develop a Raising Achievement Plan that includes a significant focus on building teacher capability to accelerate learning and achievement.

As part of this review ERO will continue to monitor the school’s Raising Achievement plan and the progress the school makes. ERO is likely to carry out the next full review 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 identified areas of non-compliance. To meet requirements trustees need to ensure:

  • annual cycles of regular teacher appraisal are fully implemented
    [s 77C State Sector Act 1988; NZ Gazette and relevant Collective Employment Agreement]
  • regular consultation occurs with the school's Māori community to develop and make known plans and targets for improving the achievement of Māori students.
    [National Administration Guidelines 1e]

To improve practice the board should:

  • review policies regularly to ensure they are comprehensive and up-to-date, particularly those concerning child protection and health and safety
  • ensure that procedures include more specific information to guide appropriate actions. 

7 Recommendations

ERO recommends that the board and school leaders strengthen and develop:

  • responsive teaching practice for those students whose learning and progress needs to accelerate for equity of outcome
  • provision for Māori students as Māori, in learning and the life of the school
  • teaching as inquiry
  • assessment and reporting
  • internal evaluation. 

Joyce Gebbie

Deputy Chief Review Officer Central

24 June 2016

8 About the school

Location

Martinborough

Ministry of Education profile number

2906

School type

Full Primary (Years 1 to 8)

School roll

237

Gender composition

Male 52%, Female 48%

Ethnic composition

Māori

Pākehā

Pacific

Other ethnic groups

27%

68%

2%

3%

Review team on site

March 2016

Date of this report

24 June 2016

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

April 2013

February 2010

May 2007