National Park School - 13/02/2015

Findings

The school has responded positively to the areas for improvement identified in the May 2013 ERO report. A broad curriculum successfully promotes learning and provides many positive experiences for students. Extensive use is made of the local environment. Continuing to build assessment and self-review practice should be a priority for the new principal.

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?

National Park School caters for students from Years 1 to 8. It is located close to Tongariro National Park, adjacent to the Mount Ruapehu Ski-field. The unique local environment is used to provide many learning opportunities for students. It also contributes to the transient nature of the school community. There are usually two classes, increasing to three in Term 3, to include a skiing extension group.

Students are encouraged to be independent, resilient and involved in a wide range of activities. The attractive learning spaces are well resourced. Computer technology is currently being updated to increase digital learning opportunities. Student success and involvement is celebrated.

The May 2013 ERO report identified areas for improvement. Since then the school has participated in an ongoing ERO evaluation process to assist improvement. Support has been provided by a professional development facilitator, a board advisor and the Ministry of Education. Many of these areas for improvement have been addressed.

The current principal retires at the end of Term 1, 2015. A new principal begins in Term 2, 2105. Continuing to build the extent of curriculum self review should be a focus for the board and newly appointed principal.

2 Review and Development

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

Priorities identified for review and development

The May 2013 ERO report identified areas for development:

  • improving the use of assessment information to make judgements about students' progress and achievement and for reporting to parents and trustees
  • documenting the attendance and curriculum of students in the Term 3 Ski Academy
  • promoting success for Māori students
  • strengthening the appraisal process for the principal and teachers
  • documenting and developing school-wide understanding of self review to further promote positive outcomes for students.

Progress

National Standards and other achievement information indicate that students continue to progress and achieve well. Most students are at or above in relation to the National Standard for their year level in reading, writing and mathematics. Year 8 leavers are well-equipped to access the curriculum in Year 9.

Teachers have increased their understanding and use of assessment. A range of information, including nationally standardised assessment, is used for judgements about student achievement and progress. Assessment information informs the focus of teaching. Students whose learning should be accelerated are identified. Strategies are put in place to respond to the needs of these targeted students. Teachers use assessment information to assist their reflection on the impact of teaching. Achievement information is regularly reported to the board.

Teachers are currently reviewing assessment practice for 2015. Review should include consideration of the tools to be used and how they can contribute to improved learning.

Written reports to parents include achievement and progress information in reading, writing, mathematics and a range of other learning areas. To further improve reporting, next steps for learning and how parents can contribute to this should be more evident.

The broad curriculum provides many opportunities for students to be enthusiastically engaged and extend their learning. There is an appropriate focus on literacy and mathematics. The programme includes experiences in a range of physical environments. All students are involved in a ski programme during Term 3. The Academy enables some students to focus more on extending their skiing skills.

Teachers use a variety of strategies to effectively engage students and promote learning. Respectful and affirming relationships are evident. Students take increasing responsibility for achieving their own learning goals as they move through the school. Expectations are high and there is a strong focus on learning.

Developing assessment and teaching practice in writing is the current focus of teacher professional learning. Students are effectively supported to have greater understanding of their learning and next steps in writing.

Te ao Māori is reflected in the curriculum and this contributes to building understanding of students' bicultural heritage. The board and teachers should consider how they could promote further success for Māori students. Using resources such as Ka Hikitia: Accelerating Success 2013-2017 andTātaiako: Cultural Competencies for Teachers of Māori Learners should assist the necessary review of current practices.

3 Sustainable performance and self review

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

The school has developed its self-review capacity using evidence that includes student achievement information. It is well placed to sustain and continue to improve its performance.

Trustees form a relatively new board and they are building understanding of their responsibilities. Comprehensive policies and procedures are in place to support trustees in their role. A programme has been developed to support the new principal to transition to her position. Trustees should continue to be involved in training to build their capability, particularly in relation to self review.

An appropriate performance appraisal process, focused on reflection and improvement, is in place for the principal and teachers.

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 has responded positively to the areas for improvement identified in the May 2013 ERO report. A broad curriculum successfully promotes learning and provides many positive experiences for students. Extensive use is made of the local environment. Continuing to build assessment and self-review practice should be a priority for the new principal.

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

Joyce Gebbie,

Deputy Chief Review Officer-Central,

13 February 2015

About the School

Location

National Park

Ministry of Education profile number

2405

School type

Full Primary (Years 1 to 8)

School roll

49

Gender composition

Female 27, Male 22

Ethnic composition

Māori

NZ European/Pākehā

1

48

Review team on site

December 2014

Date of this report

13 February 2015

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

May 2013

March 2010

June 2006