Moerewa School - 19/06/2015

Findings

Moerewa School is entering a new stage of educational development and self determination. The new board and principal wish to build on the strengths of the past, such as the strong nurturing relationships student enjoy and the high value given to students’ Māori language, culture and identity. This next stage involves a greater emphasis on learning relationships and accessing more support to raise student achievement.

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?

Moerewa School, Northland, caters for students from Years 1 to 10. Māori students of Ngāti Hine and Ngāpuhi descent make up almost the entire roll. The school has six mainstream and two te reo Māori immersion classes operating within a Kaupapa Māori framework. Mainstream classes deliver The New Zealand Curriculum and the immersion classes te Marautanga o Aotearoa.

At the time of the February 2013 ERO report a commissioner was in place, under Section 78N of the Education Act 1989, to govern the school. The 2013 ERO report noted that students displayed confidence in their cultural identity and enjoyed good relationships with each other and with their teachers. However, the report highlighted concerns about student achievement, staff access to external professional learning opportunities, and the quality of strategic planning and self review. For these reasons ERO decided to continue to monitor the school’s progress through a longitudinal review process.

In June 2014 a phased return to self governance began with the handover from the commissioner to an alternatively constituted Board of Trustees (the board). The board has four ministerial appointments, one community elected trustee, one staff elected trustee and the principal. The Ministry of Education (MoE) appointed a specialist adviser under Section 78K of the Education Act 1989 to support governance transition. The board worked well with the specialist advisor and the intervention ended in December 2014, with the board feeling positive and confident in their role of governing the school.

In 2013 the school worked with the MoE Student Achievement Function (SAF) team to develop a plan for improvement. Staff have participated in the MoE Leadership and Assessment Contract to support the implementation of the National Standards in reading, writing and mathematics in English and Māori medium classes. In 2014 the school was also successful in accessing a professional learning contract to support the use of digital technologies in the school curriculum.

Over the last two years there have been changes in school leadership. Changes in associate principal roles occurred in 2014 and a new principal was appointed to begin the 2015 school year.

2 Review and Development

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

Priorities identified for review and development

ERO developed the following priorities for the review:

  • reporting student achievement information
  • implementation of National Standards in reading, writing and mathematics (Year 1-8)
  • consideration of current developments in teaching and learning practices
  • strengthening strategic planning and self review
  • establishing a board to govern the school.

Progress

Student achievement information is now more clearly reported, showing a picture of how students at each year level are achieving and progressing. As a result of working with the SAF practitioner, school leaders now identify in the annual charter school improvement achievement targets for students achieving below expectation. The school refers to these students as Unrealised Potential Students (UPS). The achievement of these students is closely monitored and supported by an action plan to raise achievement. Student achievement information reported at the end of 2014 shows the need for continued urgency in raising achievement levels for many students in the school.

Some progress has been made with the implementation of the National Standards as a result of staff participation in the Leadership and Assessment professional learning contract. A formal assessment schedule has been established and a framework developed to support teachers in making overall teacher judgements in relation to the National Standards. Professional learning and development needs to continue for staff as they develop familiarity with the different assessment tools. Consideration should also be given to strengthening moderation practices between year levels and neighbouring schools. This good practice would promote further the validity and reliability of Moerewa School’s achievement information.

There is still a need to strengthen strategic planning and self-review processes. The school carried out some self review as part of the SAF process in 2013. Also an independent review was sought by the commissioner in 2014 to look at the contested nature of student achievement and the quality of curriculum delivery. However, limited use has been made of the findings from these reviews to support ongoing school improvement. ERO recommends that the board and new school leaders develop systematic self-review processes and use review findings to inform future strategic goals for the school.

A successful governance transition has occurred. The new board has worked well with the specialist advisor and this work has resulted in the board feeling positive and confident in their role of governing the school.

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 its current good practices and continue to improve its performance.

A positive working relationship is evident between the board and the new principal. The principal and board are working closely together to implement a strategic plan, which identifies future priorities and sets a new direction for the school. This plan should help to ensure the work of the board and school management is well coordinated. It will also be useful for the board to use the plan to monitor progress and evaluate the effectiveness of outcomes.

Future priorities for the board, school leaders and teachers to support ongoing school improvement include:

  • building stronger learning focused relationships between students and staff
  • broadening the school curriculum and including greater student voice
  • implementing useful self review models that identify priorities for improvement
  • accessing all available resources and support for students, teachers and the board in order to support positive outcomes for students.

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

Moerewa School is entering a new stage of educational development and self determination. The new board and principal wish to build on the strengths of the past, such as the strong nurturing relationships student enjoy and the high value given to students’ Māori language, culture and identity. This next stage involves a greater emphasis on learning relationships and accessing more support to raise student achievement.

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

Dale Bailey,

Deputy Chief Review Officer Northern,

19 June 2015

About the School

Location

Moerewa, Northland

Ministry of Education profile number

2103

School type

Composite (Years 1 to 10)

School roll

165

Gender composition

Boys 52%

Girls 48%

Ethnic composition

Māori

Pākehā

99%

1%

Special Features

2 te reo Māori immersion classes

Review team on site

March 2015

Date of this report

19 June 2015

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

February 2013

December 2009