Mount Biggs School - 09/09/2015

1 Context

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

Mount Biggs School is located in a rural area to the northwest of Feilding. It provides education for 87 students in Years 1 to 8 and 10 are Māori. Parents and the community have close involvement with the school.

The community hall is in the school grounds, providing additional space for assemblies, events and programmes. Students experience a learning environment with a wide range of opportunities for physical activity, exploration and challenge.

The principal has led the school since 2003. Two new staff appointments were made in 2014.

The board of trustees responded positively to the areas for development identified in the January 2013 ERO report.

2 Learning

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

The school uses achievement information effectively to identify and cater for students who need learning support or extension. Individualised programmes and interventions are developed to make positive changes to learners’ engagement, progress and achievement. Actions taken to improve outcomes for students are well coordinated and monitored.

At the end of 2014, most students were achieving at or above in relation to the National Standards in reading, writing and mathematics. Māori learners succeeded at similar levels to their peers. The proportion of boys at the expected levels in reading and mathematics was slightly lower than for girls.

Judgements made and reported about students' achievement in relation to National Standards are increasingly reliable. Staff have developed a robust set of learning progressions for reading, writing and mathematics. Moderation processes within the school and with local other schools assist teachers in their use of multiple sources of data to assess learners’ progress with consistency.

The principal regularly provides student achievement information for the board. End-of-year National Standards data is used to set targets for improving achievement. Deeper analysis of this data should indicate trends and patterns over time and identify specific groups who are underachieving. This sharper focus is likely to place trustees in a stronger position for target setting, decision making and allocation of resources.

Teachers systematically inquire into the impact of teaching strategies on students’ progress. They are continuing to build schoolwide consistency in the close tracking of students at risk of poor educational outcomes.

3 Curriculum

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

The school’s curriculum effectively promotes and supports student learning. Building students’ skills to self-manage learning is a priority. The recently developed graduate profile clearly reflects the vision and values of the school.

Reading, writing and mathematics programmes are systematically reviewed at the beginning of every year. Teaching in these areas and the wider integrated curriculum is informed by clear, explicit guidelines and expectations.

The breadth and scope of the curriculum provide rich opportunities for students to learn and succeed in academic, sporting and cultural activities. There is a strong focus on interacting with the natural environment. Digital technologies are used purposefully as tools for teaching and learning.

Te ao Māori is well integrated into teaching programmes. Culturally responsive classroom practice is developing. Teachers continue to build their knowledge and understanding of te reo me ngā tikanga Māori. Students enjoy learning about the language and culture of the tangata whenua, and participate with enthusiasm in waiata, karakia and kapa haka.

Professional learning and development for staff is well aligned to school priorities. It effectively promotes and supports ongoing improvement in teaching practice. Staff demonstrate a highly collegial approach to making positive changes for increasing students’ engagement, progress and wellbeing.

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

Māori students experience an environment where their language, culture and identity are respected, valued and celebrated.

Trustees and leaders are strengthening links with parents, whānau, hapū and iwi. They are building relationships with key local people and marae. This priority is ongoing.

Māori learners benefit from the positive, inclusive tone of the school. They confidently take on leadership roles and participate in cultural activities with pride.

4 Sustainable Performance

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

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

A restructured leadership system recognises and builds on the professional strengths and interests of teachers. Leaders and staff have well-defined roles and responsibilities. The principal supports and promotes initiative and innovation.

Regular networking with other local schools contributes to shared knowledge and capacity building.

Strategic and annual planning is cohesive and based on improving outcomes for students. A major charter review sought the views and ideas of parents and staff.

Appraisal processes are robust and cohesive. The system reflects schoolwide strategic and annual goals. Trustees recognise the need to review performance management policies and procedures, to ensure that these reflect current and best practice.

Board members, parents and families are highly supportive of the school. They are actively involved day-to-day, as well as volunteering for events, fundraising and excursions.

Leaders, teachers and trustees are developing processes to:

  • inquire into practices and programmes
  • evaluate their impact on student outcomes
  • build organisational and system knowledge about what works.

ERO’s evaluation agrees that these next steps are likely to strengthen and embed effective systems and processes that improve students’ learning.

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 stimulating environment that provides a wide range of opportunities for them to participate and succeed. Most achieve well in relation to National Standards in reading, writing and mathematics. Teachers encourage and support students to be self-managing learners. The school fosters close links with parents and whānau.

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

Joyce Gebbie

Deputy Chief Review Officer Central

9 September 2015

About the School

Location

Feilding

Ministry of Education profile number

2404

School type

Full Primary (Years 1 to 8)

School roll

87

Gender composition

Boys 50,

Girls 37

Ethnic composition

Pākehā 75

Māori 10

Other ethnic groups2

Review team on site

August 2015

Date of this report

9 September 2015

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review January 2013

Education Review November 2009

Education Review November 2006