Merivale School - 17/02/2016

Findings

Merivale School places a high priority on addressing the diverse learning needs of students and providing them with quality learning experiences. A responsive curriculum and well-embedded initiatives support the implementation of these priorities. Strong governance and effective leadership contributes to ongoing school improvement, sustainability and positive outcomes for students.

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

1 Context

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

Merivale Primary School is situated in Tauranga City and caters for students in Years 1 to 6. The school roll has remained constant since the previous ERO review in 2012. There are 157 students of whom a significant proportion affiliate to Ngāti Ranginui and Ngai Te Rangi iwi. The number of Pacific students has continued to increase since the previous ERO review. The Ngā Hau e Whā Team comprises an immersion and bilingual class that provides instruction for students in Years 1 to 6 through the medium of te reo Māori.

A high proportion of students begin school with a wide range of learning needs. To this end, the principal, teachers and board of trustees, through significant effort and resourcing, demonstrate a strong commitment and willingness to ensure equitable outcomes for all students particularly those students whose learning is at risk.

The principal continues to implement strategies and initiatives designed to strengthen teaching and learning and outcomes for students. Teachers have participated in a range of professional learning and development initiatives to enhance their practice. The Positive Behaviour for Learning (PB4L) programme continues to have a positive impact on the school. To build on this programme The VALE Way describes clear behaviours and expectations for successful learning. These expectations are well understood by students and have had a positive effect on the culture of the school.

2 Learning

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

The principal and teachers are making good use of student achievement information to promote positive outcomes for students.

The principal has developed useful systems that guide teachers to collect relevant achievement data, particularly in the areas of literacy and mathematics. They make particularly effective use of this information to identify students who require additional support. School leaders regularly report school-wide achievement information to the board of trustees and the community.

Trustees are well informed about school-wide student achievement. They use achievement data to inform their decision making about resource allocation including funding programmes and initiatives to accelerate the achievement of students below and well below the National Standards. The board receives some useful reports that identify the positive impact that these programmes have on raising student achievement. A next step for the principal and trustees is to ensure charter targets focus more specifically on improving the achievement of students who are below or well below the National Standards.

Teachers collect an appropriate range of student achievement information, particularly in the key areas of literacy and mathematics. They use this data to group students for instruction and some teachers make effective use of achievement information to plan and implement specific teaching programmes that respond to students’ specific learning needs.

Whānau receive two written reports each year that provide clear information about their children’s achievement in relation to the National Standards or Ngā Whanaketanga Rumaki Māori. School leaders agree that it is timely to review these reporting forms to provide whānau with a more comprehensive overview of students’ progress and achievement.

To further develop the effective use of student achievement information school leaders should provide ongoing professional development for teachers to support them to:

  • make reliable judgements in relation to the National Standards and Ngā Whanaketanga Rumaki Māori
  • more effectively plan to meet the learning needs of groups and individual students
  • make effective use of school systems that enable students to have a better understanding of their learning, progress and next learning steps.

The school’s 2014 data indicates that a majority of students, including Māori and Pasifika, achieved at or above the National Standards in reading, writing and mathematics. This information showed that boys achieved at lower levels than girls and raising the achievement of boys is an ongoing challenge for the school. The school’s 2014 achievement data for students in the rumaki and bilingual classes indicates that a significant majority achieved at or above Ngā Whanaketanga Rumaki Māori.

3 Curriculum

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

The school’s broad-based curriculum promotes and supports student learning, engagement, progress and achievement. A documented school curriculum has been developed which includes guidelines and expectations for teaching and learning, and assessment. The curriculum is a blend of The New Zealand Curriculum (NZC) and Te Marautanga o Aotearoa (TMOA) Overviews for the teaching of other learning areas such as sciences and the arts have also been developed.

A key feature of the curriculum is the high level of learning support for students with diverse learning needs. Substantial board resourcing has been committed to support these students. A wide range of programmes and initiatives are having a significant impact on improved outcomes for students. Data from these initiatives shows accelerated progress for many students. Schoolwide professional learning and development (PB4L) and the Vale Way has led to a consistent approach to behaviour management and the building of a positive school culture for learning.

Students experience success in a range of sports, cultural, and education outside the classroom (EOTC) activities and events. Pacific students' culture and identity are acknowledged, celebrated and affirmed. Other strategies and initiatives include cultural events and an active fono group. The English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) programme further supports students who require intensive English language support.

Teachers are making good use of a range of teaching strategies to engage students in learning and improve student achievement. Positive relationships between teachers and students contribute to learning environments that are caring, respectful and settled. Teachers have participated in ongoing professional learning and development in Tātaiako to enhance teachers understanding of culturally responsive practices.

Parents and whanau are encouraged to participate in the day-to-day life of the school. They are increasingly supported to actively participate in their child’s learning. Programmes such as Reading Together as well as various forums such as parent interviews and whānau hui have enhanced the school’s relationship with parents and whānau. A priority for the principal is to build on these good practices to engage all parents.

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

The school continues to explore ways to promote educational success for Māori students. These include:

  • opportunities for students to participate in pōwhiri, kapa haka, karakia and waiata
  • Māori cultural celebrations that involve families, whānau and wider community
  • the Ngā Hau e Whā syndicate who provides te reo instruction in a supportive and caring whanau setting
  • teachers’ use of Tataiako to strengthen their responsiveness to Māori learners.

There is an expectation that teachers include Māori knowledge, understandings and perspectives into their day-to-day teaching. A next step is to ensure mainstream classes consistently reflect Māori knowledge and understandings and teachers continue to develop their use of te reo Māori in class programmes.

While there is extensive learning support for Māori students in mainstream classes, there is very little intervention or support for bilingual and rumaki students. A key next step is to implement support programmes for rumaki and bilingual students who are achieving below or well below national expectations.

4 Sustainable Performance

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

Merivale School is well placed to sustain and improve its performance.

The board of trustees provides good-quality governance for the school. It is well led by a long-standing chairperson. Trustees have strong links with the local community and have a good understanding of their governance roles. They are strongly committed to supporting those students who are at risk of not achieving positive outcomes. The experienced and knowledgeable principal continues to provide effective professional leadership for the school. She has a strong focus on working in partnership with trustees, teachers, whānau, aiga and the wider community to promote equity and excellence for students. The principal, supported by other school leaders, has established useful systems and guidelines that support effective teaching and learning.

Teachers work well together in the best interests of students. They are committed to ongoing professional learning and development.

There are high levels of support for the school from whānau, aiga and the wider community.

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

Merivale School places a high priority on addressing the diverse learning needs of students and providing them with quality learning experiences. A responsive curriculum and well-embedded initiatives support the implementation of these priorities. Strong governance and effective leadership contributes to ongoing school improvement, sustainability and positive outcomes for students.

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

Lynda Pura-Watson

Deputy Chief Review Officer

17 February 2016

School Statistics

Location

Tauranga

Ministry of Education profile number

1825

School type

Contributing (Years 1 to 6)

School roll

157

Gender composition

Boys 57% Girls 43%

Ethnic composition

Māori

Pākehā

Pacific

73%

14%

13%

Special Features

Bilingual and Rumaki education

Review team on site

December 2015

Date of this report

17 February 2016

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

June 2012

June 2008

June 2005