Methven School - 17/11/2014

Findings

Students learn in a positive and supportive environment. They experience a well-balanced and rich variety of learning experiences that helps them to achieve very well. Leaders and teachers are very responsive to the needs of students they identify as not achieving as well as expected. Strong professional leadership and effective board practices put the school in a very good position to sustain and improve its performance.

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

1. Context

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

Teachers make effective use of the school’s community and the local, rural environment to enhance learning opportunities for students.

The roll is growing. Students come from an increasing range of cultural backgrounds. This cultural diversity is enriching student learning.

School leaders and staff have benefited from well-planned and targeted professional development. The effect of such development is most evident in improvements to the teaching of written language and the way teachers and students are using technologies to support teaching and learning.

The board appointed a new principal in 2011. His work, along with that of other school leaders and the board, has continued to improve the quality of education provided for students.

The board, leaders and staff have successfully retained and built on the many strengths identified in the school’s October 2009 ERO report. They have responded positively to the areas identified as next steps in that report. For example, improvements have been made to the way students and their families are supported when starting and leaving the school. The principal and teachers have further improved the analysis of achievement information and student goal setting.

2. Learning

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

School leaders and teachers make very effective use of achievement information to promote student learning.

This is most evident in how this information is used by:

  • teachers and team leaders to evaluate and adapt programmes, adjust groupings and target additional support for students
  • leaders to establish well-considered annual targets to raise achievement and provide the support and resources to help students make better progress
  • leaders to provide the board with regular and informative reports about achievement in relation to the National Standards and other learning areas.

Teachers make good use of reliable assessments to help them make clear judgements about student achievement and progress. These judgements are becoming increasingly accurate as teachers share and discuss their assessments with their peers.

Leaders and teachers are very responsive to the needs of students they identify as not achieving as well as expected. The support they provide is well resourced and increasingly tailored to meet the specific needs of individual students. These interventions are well planned, taught and evaluated.

Teachers are strengthening their working relationships with parents to more successfully advance the learning of individual students.

The school has been active in improving learning opportunities for gifted and talented students within the school and district. These opportunities are helping to motivate, enrich and extend the learning of these students.

Areas for review and development

To further enhance the work of the school, school leaders should:

  • refine aspects of the annual targets and the plans set to improve student achievement
  • build on the work they are doing to improve the way achievement and progress is reported to students and parents.

3. Curriculum

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

The school’s curriculum is effectively promoting and supporting student learning. This effectiveness is most apparent in the high levels of student achievement in reading and mathematics in 2012 and 2013. Students being provided with intensive individual support in literacy by their teachers are making very good progress in their learning.

The school provides students with a well-balanced curriculum and a rich selection of learning experiences. Particular features of the curriculum include the actions teachers are taking to:

  • make learning meaningful through linking this to students’ everyday experiences
  • motivate students by taking into account their interests when planning activities
  • help students make connections and apply what they learn in one area to other aspects of their learning.

Teachers make effective use of a range of practices to engage and motivate students. This includes:

  • placing an appropriate emphasis on helping students learn how to learn
  • continually making changes to their programmes in response to emerging student strengths and needs
  • critically reflecting on their teaching practices in ways that lead to ongoing improvements.

Students learn in a positive and supportive environment. The active promotion of the school’s values along with the quality of relationships between teachers and students, and among students, creates a positive learning environment. Students actively assist one another with their learning.

Area for review and development

School leaders should continue to update the school’s curriculum guidelines to:

  • incorporate the uniqueness of their students and community as well as parent aspirations
  • reflect the ongoing improvements that have been made to programmes and practices
  • refine expectations for what counts as high-quality teaching.

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

The school is promoting educational success for Māori as Māori well.

School practices acknowledge and affirm the cultural identity of Māori students in ways that support their success as Māori. For example, teaching programmes increasingly integrate aspects of te reo and tikanga Māori, including local Māori history. The school’s kapa haka group has a high profile.

Consultation processes foster a sense of partnership between the parents of Māori students and staff. The school is responsive to the feedback it receives from parents and whānau.

Māori academic achievement has varied as the make-up of the school roll has changed. For example, in 2012, Māori students were achieving at similar levels to other students in literacy. They were also achieving above other Māori students nationally. In 2013, their achievement was lower in literacy but many students made significant progress in mathematics.

Area for review and development

School leaders should further promote the use of teaching practices that support Māori success through professional development and appraisal practices.

4. Sustainable Performance

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

The school is very well placed to sustain and continue to improve its performance.

The principal, with the support of other leaders, has created a positive, improvement-focused school culture. A comprehensive, ongoing programme of self review, along with targeted professional learning, promotes well-informed decision making.

Strong professional leadership and teamwork exist among all staff with leadership responsibilities. High expectations, a willingness to critically reflect upon programmes and practices, and the ability to bring about positive change are particular strengths of the school’s leadership.

School leaders make effective use of staff strengths, and give appropriate priority to purposeful and targeted professional development, support and feedback for staff. They foster high levels of staff collaboration and sharing.

The board and school leaders work effectively in partnership to achieve shared goals. Ongoing training continues to support improvements to the board’s practices.

Good decision making is promoted through the quality and range of reports and information the board receives. The board is appropriately focused on raising student achievement. Trustees are very responsive to requests related to this goal. They continue to improve school facilities and resources to benefit students and staff.

Parents and the wider community are supportive of the school. Cultural events and consultation are helping to develop positive relationships with the school’s increasingly diverse community.

Area for review and development

To enhance self-review practices:

  • school leaders should include the views of students and parents more consistently in curriculum reviews
  • the board should seek more regular formal feedback from staff as part of its ongoing programme of self review.

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 learn in a positive and supportive environment. They experience a well-balanced and rich variety of learning experiences that helps them to achieve very well. Leaders and teachers are very responsive to the needs of students they identify as not achieving as well as expected. Strong professional leadership and effective board practices put the school in a very good position to sustain and improve its performance.

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

Graham Randell National Manager Review Services Southern Region

17 November 2014

About the School

Location

Methven, Canterbury

Ministry of Education profile number

3436

School type

Contributing (Years 1 to 6)

School roll

274

Gender composition

Boys 55%

Girls 45%

Ethnic composition

NZ European/Pākehā

Māori

Pacific

Filipino

Asian

African

Other Ethnicities

80%

9%

1%

3%

4%

2%

1%

Review team on site

October 2014

Date of this report

17 November 2014

Most recent ERO reports

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

October 2009

December 2006

October 2003