Meremere School - 28/06/2016

Findings

Meremere School has benefitted from sound educational leadership and provides a relevant and interesting curriculum that engages and interests children. Ongoing developments to lift children’s achievement are likely to continue improving children’s learning outcomes. Building the board’s capacity to undertake internal governance related evaluation is likely to help the board track progress towards the school’s vision of children achieving success through education.

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?

Meremere School is small semi-rural school situated in the Meremere village south of Pukekohe serving children from Years 1 to 6. The majority of children on the school’s roll of 32 children have Māori heritage.

In 2014 ERO reviewed the school and identified a number of concerns regarding student achievement, the quality of curriculum and teaching and learning and governance; including self-review. Following this ERO began a longitudinal review to evaluate the school’s progress towards addressing these concerns as the board and the recently appointed principal worked with external, Ministry of Education (MoE) and other support.

This review finds that the principal has worked concertedly with the board, external advisors and MoE support over the past two years. As a result, significant progress has been made to improve teaching and learning and to strengthen the school’s capacity to lift student achievement. In addition, improved leadership, governance and internal evaluation now supports teachers and trustees to more effectively promote children’s wellbeing, learning and progress.

2 Review and Development

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

Priorities identified for review and development

In consultation with ERO, the principal and the board priorities for review and development were identified. These were to:

  • lift children’s achievement by improving teaching and learning and in particular processes for assessing, analysing, using and reporting learning progress and achievement
  • develop and document a responsive curriculum that reflects the local area and history and is linked appropriately to The New Zealand Curriculum (NZC) framework and other MoE guidelines
  • build the capability and capacity of school leaders and trustees to plan strategically, undertake self-review and sustain and embed development.

Progress

The principal has effectively lifted the quality of curriculum, assessment and teaching and learning. Considerable progress has been made in all of these areas. This progress has been well supported by a range of external and internal professional development.

The majority of children attending the school are Māori and they benefit from the school mission and vision which promote children’s success and achievement by building on children’s strengths. A Māori dimension and respect for cultural diversity are clearly reflected in the school’s teaching and learning programmes and practices.

The principal has developed a more responsive curriculum that increasingly draws on and reflects the local area and children’s Māori heritage. A concise curriculum document based on the NZC framework provides sufficient guidance for teachers to plan their teaching programmes. Ongoing consultation with parents and whānau will help to ensure that there is a strong Māori dimension in the curriculum and that it aligns to parents’ aspirations for their children.

Children’s understanding of their learning, progress and achievement is growing. There is a strong emphasis on building children’s understanding of how to learn and their skills in literacy and numeracy. Classrooms are bright and vibrant and well organised to help children learn. There is a positive and warm tone and children work collaboratively and well together within a framework of high expectations and well established routines. Displays in classrooms are designed to make learning visible, showing children’s learning goals, good examples of their work and graphs of their progress and achievement.

Teachers provide programmes that are well tailored to meet children’s diverse learning needs. Children benefit from focussed instruction. Teachers also support children to explain their learning strategies and to reflect and comment constructively on other children’s strategies.

Children have good access to resources including reading materials, computers and mathematics equipment. This enables them to have hands-on experiences and to model their learning. These approaches are successfully motivating and engaging children and helping them to see the links between school learning and their experiences outside school.

The principal has established good procedures for gathering, using and tracking assessment information. Children’s specific learning needs are being identified and their progress is being well monitored. Parents, children and teachers work together to set goals for individual children’s learning. Lifting children’s achievement in writing is a priority. There is further planned professional learning and development in this area to help teachers achieve this. Teachers’ assessment in relation to the National Standards is now more reliable and accurate as a result of good moderation processes.

The school’s annual plan includes goals, targets and strategies for accelerating the progress of children who are below the national standards. The school’s most recent achievement data show that most children are having their achievement levels lifted and in many cases they are making accelerated progress to meet the standards. The principal provides useful reports to the board about children’s learning outcomes.

Key next steps

The principal and ERO have identified that the next steps for teaching staff are to continue:

  • lifting achievement and accelerating the progress of children who are not yet at the National Standards
  • developing approaches that give children the opportunity and the skills necessary to manage and lead aspects of their own learning
  • building teacher inquiry processes that help teachers make links between their practice and learning outcomes for children.

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 well placed to sustain and continue to improve its performance.

The principal has worked with the board well to build leadership and governance capability and capacity. As a result of this, the school is well placed to sustain and embed the positive curriculum and teaching and learning developments noted above.

The principal is providing effective educational leadership. She has a good working relationship with the board who respect her professional knowledge and commitment to improving the quality of teaching and learning and lifting children’s achievement.

The board receive useful information about children’s learning outcomes. This together with consultation with the community, has helped the board to develop the school’s charter, set targets and priorities and make strategic decisions about resourcing. This has helped the principal and board to develop a cohesive and well synchronised approach to school development.

The board has benefitted from very well focussed advice and guidance through New Zealand Trustees Association (NZSTA). A large number of trustees also attended the NZSTA conference. This up skilling has helped them to understand key aspects of their legal obligations and responsibilities. This will help them to contribute to ongoing rationalisation and review of school policies and procedures.

With pending board elections the board has appropriately decided to establish a robust induction process for new trustees. Further professional learning about the role of self-evaluation at the governance level would help the board and the principal work together to evaluate progress towards strategic goals.

Over the past three years the school grounds and property have been significantly improved. This has included converting part of the school into a facility for early childhood provision. The school now provides an environment that is tidy, well-resourced and increasingly well suited to children’s different ages and stages of learning and development.

Key next steps

The principal, board and ERO agree that the key next steps for trustees are to:

  • continue clarifying and building their understanding of their governance responsibilities for meeting legislative and other requirements
  • access professional learning and development about how to carry out good self-evaluation at the governance level.

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

Meremere School has benefitted from sound educational leadership and provides a relevant and interesting curriculum that engages and interests children. Ongoing developments to lift children’s achievement are likely to continue improving children’s learning outcomes. Building the board’s capacity to undertake internal governance related evaluation is likely to help the board track progress towards the school’s vision of children achieving success through education.

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

Graham Randell

Deputy Chief Review Officer Northern

28 June 2016

About the School

Location

Meremere, North Waikato

Ministry of Education profile number

1373

School type

Contributing (Years 1 to 6)

School roll

26

Gender composition

Boys 14 Girls 12

Ethnic composition

Māori

other

23

3

Review team on site

May 2016

Date of this report

28 June 2016

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

May 2014

May 2011

January 2008