Methven School - 06/10/2009

1. The Education Review Office (ERO) Evaluation

Methven Primary School is a Year 1 to 6 contributing rural school. It is located in the tourist township of Methven. Students come from diverse backgrounds including tourism, life style blocks and farming. Over half of the students are transported to school by bus.

Since the 2006 ERO review, the school roll, staff and the board have remained stable. However, there has been a significant increase in the number of transient students attending the school for shorter periods of time. This has resulted from increasing short term employment opportunities in the school’s enrolment area. The board and the senior managers are developing new strategies to ensure these students and their families feel part of the school culture in a short time.

The school’s vision and values, which focus on students’ resiliency, self awareness and belief, are well embedded into the learning environment and curriculum programmes.

The board and the principal have a collaborative approach to leadership which incorporates the skills and knowledge of staff and trustees. Trustees, managers and teachers recognise the importance of students understanding New Zealand’s bicultural identity.

Students in Years 1 to 6 achieve at, and mostly above, school and national expectations in reading, listening, written language and mathematics. The community expects that students will be involved in sport, and skiing is seen as a natural part of the school’s curriculum.

The most positive aspects of learning and teaching identified by ERO include:

  • positive and affirming relationships among staff and students;
  • teaching approaches that challenge, interest and engage students particularly in reading, written language, mathematics, physical education and Māori;
  • clear guidelines and expectations for teachers’ planning, assessment and delivery of programmes;
  • the analysis and use of student achievement information to identify students’ needs, trends over time and to inform decision making; and
  • the strong focus on and involvement in professional learning by trustees and staff.

The school has well developed self-review practices at board, management and classroom levels. The board has effective policies and procedures to ensure effective school operations, and health and safety.

Future Action

ERO is very confident that the board of trustees can govern the school in the interest of the students and the Crown and bring about the improvements outlined in this report. ERO is likely to carry out the next review in four to five years.

2. The Focus of the Review

Student Achievement Overall

ERO’s education reviews focus on student achievement. What follows is a statement about what the school knows about student achievement overall.

In 2007, the board set targets in numeracy and oral language. The teachers used national assessment tools to assess these targets. Seventy five percent of all students achieved the school’s basic facts and place value targets. Most students achieved the oral language target and were able to recognise and use higher order questioning skills.

The board set general targets in information communication technologies (ICT) and specific, extending reading targets in 2008. In this year most students (including Māori students) progressed to achieve at and mostly above school and national expectations in reading and a significant number of students displayed improved use of multi-media skills.

The principal provides the board and the Ministry of Education with detailed analysis that shows the patterns of student improvement against achievement targets.

School Specific Priorities

Before the review, the board of Methven Primary School was invited to consider its priorities for review using guidelines and resources provided by ERO. ERO also used documentation provided by the school to contribute to the scope of the review.

The detailed priorities for review were then determined following a discussion between the ERO review team and the board of trustees. This discussion focused on existing information held by the school (including student achievement and self‑review information) and the extent to which potential issues for review contributed to the achievement of the students at Methven Primary School.

ERO and the board have agreed on the following focus areas for the review:

  • the quality of learning and teaching with an emphasis on reading.

ERO’s findings in these areas are set out below.

The Quality of Learning and Teaching with an Emphasis on Reading

Background

In 2008, teachers identified a trend in reading that showed a number of students needed to strengthen their comprehension skills. The senior managers set teacher targets in 2009 linked to professional learning and development and appraisal to improve teaching approaches in reading. The board proposed and ERO agreed to evaluate the quality of learning and teachingwith an emphasis on reading.

Areas of good performance

Vision and values. The school’s vision is clearly expressed, understood and agreed to by the community, and supported by staff and students. T underpins the school’s curriculum, teaching guidelines and links to the key competencies. It is included in board, management and staff decision making and is implemented into class programmes. Teaching plans and practices clearly incorporate the school’s vision, values and key competencies. Classroom wall displays provide a range of examples of how the vision influences the life of the school.he Methven Primary School visionMake Pathways to the Stars(MPS) initiative

Analysis and use of student achievement data. The principal and teachers make effective use of achievement information to assist them in evaluating student learning outcomes. Teachers use a range of assessment tools, including nationally referenced tests and ongoing classroom assessments, to collect information from student assessment in reading, written language, mathematics, Mäori and physical education. They carefully analyse the information that they gather for individuals and groups of students. Teachers meet together to review syndicate and school effectiveness. The board with the senior managers set annual student achievement targets for improving overall student achievement.

Professional learning community. Staff have a shared commitment to school-wide and personal professional improvement. They are informed by professional readings and fully engaged in school-based and externally facilitated programmes of professional learning. All staff are developing a shared understanding of best practice that has resulted in consistent planning, assessment and teaching practices particularly in reading, physical education, and Mäori. learning and development is an Staff are reflective practitioners and professionalintegral part of performance management.

Learning environment. Students learn in well-organised, calm and settled classrooms. Positive and affirming relationships are evident among staff and students. Learning areas are suitably resourced to support students and teachers. Students have ready access to visual prompts that support their learning in a range of curriculum areas. The learning environments contribute positively to student engagement. Students also have access to a well-resourced library. Classroom walls celebrate students’ visual art works, topics studied in social studies and science.

Leadership opportunities. The school provides opportunities for students and staff to develop and demonstrate leadership. School house leadership is shared amongst senior students, and changes each term. This means that a greater number of students can experience a leadership role. Students are selected to monitor and lead classroom learning, mentor classmates and other students in reading and the use of technology and support students in the playground. The principal believes in a collaborative approach to leadership. The senior management team and teachers with curriculum strengths and skills lead literacy, information technology, health and physical education, Māori and the development of the New Zealand Curriculum.

Teaching practices. Teachers use the knowledge of their students to inform teaching content and approaches. There are clear school wide guidelines and expectations for planning, teaching and assessment. Classroom descriptions that teachers write include information about students’ learning strengths, interests and skills. Teachers use this information and student achievement data to group students particularly in mathematics and reading. They use a range of sound learning strategies to help students learn. These include sharing the purpose of learning and how students will know when they have completed the learning task successfully. Teachers make links to previous learning, identify next learning steps and use effective questioning strategies, particularly during reading lessons.

Māori language and culture. The board, principal and teachers regard Māori language and culture as an important part of belonging to the school, and knowing about New Zealand’s heritage. This is one of the student achievement targets this year. A staff member is responsible for guiding and supporting teachers to plan te reo programmes. She also observes teachers in class. The board, staff and students have participated in assessment to determine their prior language, culture and place knowledge. The principal and teachers are participating in a national Māori culture and language course in their own time. This includes knowledge of effective teaching and learning resources. Regular assessment by external moderators supports teachers’ learning. A school-wide language programme is based on te reo Māori curriculum document and implemented daily in classrooms. In some classrooms students confidently lead this programme.

Self review. The school has an ongoing cycle of self review that identifies priorities for improvement. The board and principal have developed a clear and planned approach to self review and provide opportunities for spontaneous review. The board and teachers regularly reflect on the previous years’ student achievement targets to support them in establishing priorities and resourcing for learning and teaching. The processes are well understood by trustees and staff. They are clearly linked to the school’s strategic goals. Teachers regularly evaluate their planned programmes and these ideas are shared at syndicate level and with the board. The board regularly survey parents about safety and wellbeing.

Areas for improvement

Strategies for transition. The board and teachers have identified that the significant increase in the number of transient students attending the school for shorter periods of time has had an impact on some students’ learning and behaviour. strategies to ensure students make the transition into the school smoothly. [Recommendation 6.1]Senior managers need to continue to work on

Extending analysis of student achievement information. Teachers report detailed, analysed, school-wide student achievement information in reading, writing and numeracy to the board. Extending the scope of this information to include more analysis of school entry data should help identify trends and patterns of student achievement in the first two years at school. [Recommendation 6.1]

Extend student involvement in goal setting. Teachers are helping students to know what they are learning and what they need to learn next. Senior mangers have identified that the next step is to extend these practices to enable students to develop more ownership of and confidence in their learning. [Recommendation 6.2]

3. Areas of National Interest

Overview

ERO provides information about the education system as a whole to Government to be used as the basis for long-term and systemic educational improvement. ERO also provides information about the education sector for schools, parents and the community through its national reports.

To do this ERO decides on topics and investigates them for a specific period in all applicable schools nationally.

Methven Primary SchoolDuring the review ofERO investigated and reported on the following areas of national interest. The findings are included in this report so that information about the school is transparent and widely available.

Success for Māori Students: Progress

In this review, ERO evaluated the extent to which the school was familiar with the Māori Education Strategy – Ka Hikitia: Managing for Successand progress made since the last review in promoting success at school for Māori students.

The school reports it has not yet discussed the document but expects to do so in the near future.

Areas of progress

Consultation. The board and senior managers used some effective strategies to increase Māori parent participation in the school. A recent survey about community perceptions of the school showed a significant increase in the number of responses from Māori parents. The feedback showed that parents were generally pleased with the school’s focus on te reo and tikanga Māori. The board and principal will continue to use the same processes to maintain contact with parents.

Sense of belonging. The student achievement target for the year has raised the profile of te reo and tikanga Māori in the school. The board, principal and staff have developed their own skills in each of these areas. This increased the place of Māori culture and language in all aspects of school life. Informal conversations with Māori parents have shown that they are supportive and genuinely pleased with the school focus. All students are developing a sense of belonging and now have increased knowledge about their place in Aotearoa and in the wider world.

Preparing to Give Effect to the New Zealand Curriculum

Schools are currently working towards implementing The New Zealand Curriculumby February 2010. During this review, ERO investigated the progressMethven Primary School is making towards giving full effect to the curriculum as part of its planning, organisation and teaching practice.

ERO found that school leaders and teachers at Methven Primary School are making good progress towards giving effect to The New Zealand Curriculumin their planning, organisation and teaching.

In preparing for teaching the New Zealand Curriculum in 2010 the school has made significant progress in developing its curriculum. The senior managers have developed a well planned and implemented professional learning and development programme. As a result, the school has:

  • embedded and aligned the vision;
  • reviewed aspects of literacy and physical education;
  • integrated the key competencies to some learning areas; and
  • reviewed the school values.

Next steps

The school has decided that its priorities for preparation over the next year are to:

  • align the vision, values, principals and key competencies with planning, assessment and the delivery of the curriculum;
  • decide how they will consolidate professional learning and development initiatives; and
  • complete guidelines for all learning areas deciding what will be assessed and reported.

Including Students with High Needs

During this review, ERO investigated the extent to which the board and school leaders of Methven Primary School provide an inclusive education for students with high needs. This included collecting evidence about the school’s policies, processes and practices to support the enrolment and induction of students with high needs and to support their participation and achievement at school. The information collected during this review will contribute to information that will be reported in a national education evaluation report.

Prior to a review, a board of trustees and principal attest in the Board Assurance Statement that they have taken all reasonable steps to meet their legal requirements including those detailed in Ministry of Education circulars and other documents.

The board of Methven Primary School was asked to attest to whether it had ‘ensured that teachers of students with disabilities, and other contact staff, have a sound understanding of the learning needs of students with disabilities and, where necessary, have put in place support systems centred on each individual with disabilities’. The board was also asked to attest that ‘policies and procedures that relate to students who have special education needs are implemented without discrimination’.

ERO’s findings confirm these attestations.

4. Board Assurance on Compliance Areas

Overview

Before the review, the board of trustees and principal of Methven Primary School completed an ERO Board Assurance Statement and Self-Audit Checklist. 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; and
  • asset management.

During the review, ERO checked the following items because they have a potentially high impact on students’ achievement:

  • emotional safety of students (including prevention of bullying and sexual harassment);
  • physical safety of students;
  • teacher registration;
  • stand-downs, suspensions, expulsions and exclusions; and
  • attendance.

Compliance

During the course of the review, ERO identified one area of non-compliance.

The board minutes contain some private information relating to personnel.

In order to improve current practice, the board of trustees should:

  • meet privacy requirements by moving into and out of committee. [Local Government Official Information and Meeting Act 1987]

5. Recommendations

ERO and the board of trustees have developed the following recommendations to improve outcomes for students.

The board and staff review practices:

  • for students transitioning into the school; and
  • to strengthen student ownership of and self belief in their learning.

6. Future Action

ERO is very confident that the board of trustees can govern the school in the interest of the students and the Crown and bring about the improvements outlined in this report. ERO is likely to carry out the next review in four to five years.

Dr Graham Stoop

Chief Review Officer

6 October 2009

About the School

Location

Methven

Ministry of Education profile number

3436

School type

Contributing (Years 1 – 6)

Teaching staff: Roll generated entitlement Other Number of teachers

11.7 0.4 12

School roll

230

Gender composition

Girls 48%;

Boys 52%

Ethnic composition

New Zealand European/Pākehā 83%;

Mäori 8%;

Cook Island 1%;

Asian 4%

Other 4%

Review team on site

August 2009

Date of this report

6 October 2009

Previous ERO reports

Education Review December 2006

Education Review October 2003

Discretionary Review May 2000

Accountability Review November 1999

Assurance Audit June 1997

Effectiveness Review June 1993

Assurance Audit October 1992

To the Parents and Community of Methven Primary School

These are the findings of the Education Review Office’s latest report on Methven Primary School.

Methven Primary School is a Year 1 to 6 contributing rural school. It is located in the tourist township of Methven. Students come from diverse backgrounds including tourism, life style blocks and farming. Over half of the students are transported to school by bus.

Since the 2006 ERO review, the school roll, staff and the board have remained stable. However, there has been a significant increase in the number of transient students attending the school for shorter periods of time. This has resulted from increasing short term employment opportunities in the school’s enrolment area. The board and the senior managers are developing new strategies to ensure these students and their families feel part of the school culture in a short time.

The school’s vision and values, which focus on students’ resiliency, self awareness and belief, are well embedded into the learning environment and curriculum programmes.

The board and the principal have a collaborative approach to leadership which incorporates the skills and knowledge of staff and trustees. Trustees, managers and teachers recognise the importance of students understanding New Zealand’s bicultural identity.

Students in Years 1 to 6 achieve at, and mostly above, school and national expectations in reading, listening, written language and mathematics. The community expects that students will be involved in sport, and skiing is seen as a natural part of the school’s curriculum.

The most positive aspects of learning and teaching identified by ERO include:

  • positive and affirming relationships among staff and students;
  • teaching approaches that challenge, interest and engage students particularly in reading, written language, mathematics, physical education and Māori;
  • clear guidelines and expectations for teachers’ planning, assessment and delivery of programmes;
  • the analysis and use of student achievement information to identify students’ needs, trends over time and to inform decision making; and
  • the strong focus on and involvement in professional learning by trustees and staff.

The school has well developed self-review practices at board, management and classroom levels. The board has effective policies and procedures to ensure effective school operations, and health and safety.

Future Action

ERO is very confident that the board of trustees can govern the school in the interest of the students and the Crown and bring about the improvements outlined in this report. ERO is likely to carry out the next review in four to five years.

Review Coverage

ERO reviews do not cover every aspect of school performance and each ERO report may cover different issues. The aim is to provide information on aspects that are central to student achievement and useful to this school.

If you would like a copy of the full report, please contact the school or see the ERO website, www.ero.govt.nz.

Dr Graham Stoop

Chief Review Officer