Murchison Area School - 29/06/2015

Findings

The school is inclusive and welcoming. Students have a good range of learning experiences that link to the Murchison area history and community. The board, the senior leadership team and teachers are adjusting to changed systems, practices and responsibilities. Implementing and embedding new initiatives will ensure ongoing sustainability.

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

1 Context

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

The school serves a large rural area with many students having to travel long distances to attend. Students come from diverse backgrounds. Many students stay at this school for short periods of time. Students’ learning and wellbeing is well supported by an inclusive, family-like school culture. Teachers know students and their families well.

Classes are small, particularly in the secondary part of the school. Many curriculum areas for senior students are covered by distance learning.

The school has had many staff changes since the 2012 ERO review. The board requested that the Ministry of Education (MOE) appoint a limited statutory manager (LSM). The LSM guided the board during the change of principals in 2013 and 2014. The new principal was appointed in November 2013. A stable staff has now been in place since the beginning of 2014.

The board, managers and teachers, with MOE support, have made good progress in addressing ERO’s 2012 review recommendations. A student achievement facilitator (SAF) has supported the board, principal and teachers to improve the analysis and reporting of student achievement information and family/whānau/community engagement.

2 Learning

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

The leaders and teachers make good use of student achievement data to make positive changes to learners’ engagement, progress and achievement. Most students in Years 1 to 8 are achieving at or above National Standards in literacy and mathematics. Most students targeted in writing made good progress in 2014, and continue to be closely monitored and supported in 2015.

Professional development (PD) has helped teachers to develop useful systems to make overall teacher judgements about student achievement. These are used to develop school achievement targets.

All students in Years 9 to 13 are on individual education plans. Their progress and achievement towards achieving National Certificate of Educational Achievement (NCEA) is closely monitored, well analysed and regularly reported to parents and the board.

Students in the secondary school are well supported to make good use of vocational pathways. Programmes such as STAR and Gateway, with community involvement, support students’ learning and achievement.

Students who are at risk of not succeeding are effectively identified and are well supported by a good range of programmes and effective resources. The school’s recently-reviewed learning support programme is well organised and provides clear guidelines for teachers and support staff.

It is agreed that there is a need to strengthen:

  • use and analysis of assessment and student achievement information
  • ways students, teachers and parents can work together in accelerating the achievement of students at risk of not achieving.

3 Curriculum

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

The school curriculum effectively provides students with a wide range of interesting learning programmes and experiences.

The school values for supporting successful learning and positive relationships are well embedded in students’ learning programmes and the wider environment.

Students have opportunities to engage in well-planned class and school-wide programmes. This is helping them to extend their thinking, and to support the development of their social skills and relationships with others. Their learning is further enhanced through a wide range of sporting, cultural and outdoor education programmes.

Learning and teaching expectations across the school for teachers and students, known as ‘Growth Mindset’, is proving a successful model to support students’ achievements and attitudes. This mindset is used effectively by senior leaders and teachers to review and document the curriculum. Curriculum review is in its early stages. The early drafts of learning areas of the curriculum show a comprehensive range of learning experiences that link to the Murchison area history and current community.

Leaders and teachers have identified that they are continuing to develop the use of modern learning spaces and practices to support the effective delivery of the school's curriculum.

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

Positive relationships and a caring, inclusive culture promotes educational success for Māori as Māori. Leaders and teachers are successfully implementing a number of initiatives to support Māori students to succeed as Māori. Teachers plan and integrate aspects of te reo and tikanga Māori in the curriculum and in the environment. Students from Years 1 to Year 13 enjoy regular kapa haka together, and as a performance group.

Māori families have been given good opportunities to share their aspirations for their children.

The next steps to better support Māori students to achieve as Māori include:

  • collating and analysing the collective voice of parents of Māori students
  • developing leadership, teacher confidence and competency to model and use te reo and tikanga Māori in learning and teaching
  • developing a school goal and planning that will give further direction to school initiatives that support Māori students to achieve as Māori.

4 Sustainable Performance

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

The school is developing the capacity to sustain and improve its performance. There have been significant leadership and staff changes in 2013 and 2014. The MOE support and well-targeted professional development for the board, teachers and leaders has contributed to improved school performance.

The board’s policies, procedures and systems help ensure smooth, accurate and rigorous governance and management practices. The board has had stable membership. All trustees have had regular PD to help them with direction setting and decision making.

The principal provides the board with useful achievement information that enables trustees to make sound resourcing decisions. These reports are aligned to, and show progress towards, achieving the annual goals.

Appraisal processes and well-targeted professional development are effectively helping the principal and teachers to:

  • improve student engagement and the quality of teaching programmes
  • develop a positive learning school culture and improved outcomes for students.

The school is central to the local community. The board and staff are developing good relationships with the community.

The board, the senior leadership team and teachers are making positive progress in adjusting to changed systems, practices and responsibilities. The next steps for the board and leadership team to ensure ongoing sustainability include:

  • making sure leadership is distributed and senior leaders’ and teachers’ roles and responsibilities are clear
  • implementing and embedding the new appraisal system for teachers
  • developing and embedding self review as a culture within the school.

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

The school is inclusive and welcoming. Students have a good range of learning experiences that link to the Murchison area history and community. The board, the senior leadership team and teachers are adjusting to changed systems, practices and responsibilities. Implementing and embedding new initiatives will ensure ongoing sustainability.

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

Graham Randell

Deputy Chief Review Officer Southern

29 June 2015

About the School

Location

Murchison, Tasman

Ministry of Education profile number

299

School type

Composite (Years 1 to 13)

School roll

127

Gender composition

Girls 68; Boys 59

Ethnic composition

Pākehā

Māori

Other ethnicities

87%

11%

2%

Review team on site

May 2015

Date of this report

29 June 2015

Most recent ERO reports

Education Review
Education Review
Supplementary Review

June 2012
May 2009
April 2006