Mihi School - 02/12/2016

1 Context

Mihi School, located near Reporoa, provides education for children in Years 1 to 6. The school's roll of 50 includes 31 Māori children. Since the 2013 ERO review the roll has remained relatively stable. School leadership and two of the three classroom teachers have remained the same.

One new parent trustee was elected at the recent board elections to join the long-serving chairperson and one other parent elected trustee. The board is currently seeking further parent representation to support ongoing sustainability. The school is well supported by a parent group, Friends of Mihi School that fund additional resources to support children's learning. The school is part of a recently established Community of Learners with other neighbouring schools.

2 Equity and excellence

The vision and valued outcomes defined by the school for all children are to demonstrate self belief and leadership:

  • to be independent
  • show enthusiasm in how we think
  • to be inventive, creative and curious
  • show kindness and empathy.

The school’s achievement information shows that between 2013 and 2015 approximately 75% of Māori children achieved at or above the National Standards in reading. Māori children achieved at significantly lower levels in writing and mathematics. The achievement levels for other children at the school were above expectations in reading and mathematics, and below in writing. In reading and writing, girls achieved at higher levels than boys but slightly lower levels in mathematics.

Since the last ERO evaluation the school has accessed Ministry of Education funded professional development for teachers in the areas of literacy and mathematics. In 2016 an external facilitator is working with teachers to strengthen the teaching of writing.

3 Accelerating achievement

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

The school has yet to develop effective processes to respond to all Māori children whose learning and achievement needs accelerating.

School leaders have identified those Māori children who require accelerated progress to meet the appropriate National Standards. The board has set specific achievement targets in the school's charter focused on raising the achievement of these children. Additional programmes, including those funded by the board of trustees and local iwi, Ngāti Tahu and Ngāti Whaoa, utilise external expertise to provide additional support for identified Māori children in aspects of reading, writing and mathematics. Recent professional learning has been accessed to support teachers to better respond to these at risk learners, particularly in writing.

There is a need to strengthen processes that support teachers to make reliable judgements. In order to accelerate the achievement of Māori students, and to reduce the disparity between Māori and other children, leaders should give priority to:

  • further building teacher capability, especially in the use of achievement data to respond to children's learning needs
  • implementing a robust teacher appraisal process
  • closely monitoring the progress of at risk Māori learners throughout the year and reporting this information to the board
  • implementing systems that support teachers to inquire into the effectiveness of their practices in accelerating Māori student achievement.

The principal has recently started to track the progress of Māori children's achievement over time in relation to the National Standards. Further developing and embedding this system is likely to support leaders and trustees to make more evidence-based decisions. In addition, this is likely to assist them to evaluate the impact of programmes and initiatives implemented to accelerate Māori children's achievement.

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

The responses that are required to accelerate the achievement of Māori children are also necessary to accelerate the achievement of other at risk learners. Particular attention should be given to the achievement of boys in reading and writing.

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 targets for equity and excellence?

Organisational processes and practices are yet to be effective for all children in meeting targets for enacting equity and excellence.

Children enjoy participating in a curriculum that provides a wide range of learning experiences. The school's values are well understood by children and contribute to a positive and inclusive climate for learning. Appropriate emphasis is placed on literacy and mathematics teaching and learning. Māori children's language, culture and identity are naturally integrated into the curriculum. Children confidently use te reo Māori in their interactions with one another, and tikanga Māori practices are incorporated into the life of the school. Increased access to digital technology supports children's engagement in the learning programme. A special feature is the strong tuakana-teina relationships that contribute to the school's family-like atmosphere.

Teachers use a limited range of assessment tools to make overall judgements in relation to the National Standards. Priority should be given to extending assessment practices to support teachers to make more reliable judgements.

The principal is respected by trustees, teachers and the wider community. She has developed appropriate expectations for teaching practice at Mihi School, and acknowledges the importance of building teacher capability to improve equitable learning outcomes for children. It is important that the principal strengthens the school's appraisal processes to ensure that teachers receive regular and robust feedback about the effectiveness of their practices, and meet the requirements of the Education Council. Strengthening these processes is also necessary to provide a more coherent approach to building teacher capability in regard to accelerating progress of at risk learners.

Teachers have established positive and respectful relationships with children and their families. They work collaboratively with each other to share successful approaches to teaching and learning. To address the school's achievement challenges there is an urgent need to strengthen teachers' use of children's assessment information to:

  • identify children's progress and next steps for learning
  • plan and implement specific learning programmes focused on accelerating progress of individual and groups of children
  • support children to have and increased knowledge of their achievement and specific next learning steps.

Parents and whānau are well informed about their children's learning through comprehensive written reports, parent interviews and frequent discussions with teachers and the principal. Teachers maximising these trusting relationships is likely to establish stronger partnerships for learning, by sharing with whānau strategies that can be used to assist with their children's learning at home.

5 Going forward

How well placed is the school to accelerate the achievement of all children who need it?

Leaders and teachers:

  • have not yet adequately built their knowledge of the children whose learning and achievement need to be accelerated
  • have not yet adequately established necessary conditions to effectively accelerate learning and achievement
  • are not well placed to achieve and sustain accelerated achievement for all children who need it.

The following aspects provide a good foundation for trustees, leaders and teachers to address the challenge of accelerating the achievement of the significant number of Māori and other children achieving below the National Standards:

  • trusting relationships between leaders, teachers and whānau
  • the willingness of teachers to participate collaboratively in professional learning
  • trustees focus on accelerating Māori children's achievement through the setting of specific charter targets
  • the commitment to equitable outcomes by the principal, trustees and teachers.

School leaders and trustees should now give priority to aligning school practices and processes to focus on accelerating achievement including:

  • building teacher capability, especially in the use of achievement data to plan and implement programmes that are responsive to children's learning
  • strengthening teacher appraisal processes
  • developing robust systems to support teachers to inquire into the effectiveness of their teaching in accelerating the progress of targeted learners
  • more systematically monitoring the progress and achievement of targeted learners over time
  • implementing systematic evidence-based internal evaluation practices.

ERO intends to carry out a process of ongoing evaluation to support development over the course of one-to-two 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

To improve current practice, the board of trustees must ensure that:

  • the appraisal of teachers meets Education Council requirements, and includes appropriate feedback about their practice.
    [s77c state Sector Act 1998]

7 Recommendation

ERO recommends that the board of trustees work with the Ministry of Education to access external in-depth professional development to further build teacher capability to accelerate children's achievement.

Lynda Pura-Watson

Deputy Chief Review Officer

2 December 2016

About the school

Location

Reporoa

Ministry of Education profile number

1826

School type

Contributing (Years 1 to 6)

School roll

50

Gender composition

Boys 26 Girls 24

Ethnic composition

Māori

Pākehā

Other

31

17

2

Review team on site

September 2016

Date of this report

2 December 2016

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

January 2014

February 2011

June 2008