Ngamatapouri School - 11/06/2020

School Context

Ngamatapouri School is a remote, rural full primary school located 47kms from Waitotara on SH3, and 80kms from the main service centre, Whanganui. At the time of this review there were nine children on the roll. School personnel includes a teaching principal, a part-time release teacher and a fulltime staff member who is a trained teacher aide and also the school administrator.

An alternate governance model has remained in place since the June 2017 ERO review. There are two co-opted members on the board who represent the families and community of Ngamatapouri.

The school’s vision statement, ‘A high quality learning environment and inclusive culture where students feel valued and supported by school whanau and community’, is underpinned by the CARE values; ‘Confidence āheia, Attitude ngākau reka, Respect hūmārie, Excellence hiranga’. The school is a recognised Enviroschool.

The school states in its annual goals that staff will continue to: raise student achievement through effective teaching practice in reading, writing and mathematics; through the values and meaningful learning experiences, collaborate with local communities and learn about the surrounding environment; and staff to actively engage and collaborate with parents and whānau to support student learning. 

Leaders and teachers regularly report to the board, schoolwide information about outcomes for students in the following areas:

  • wellbeing
  • achievement in reading, writing and mathematics
  • progress and acceleration for target students in reading, writing and mathematics. 

Since the previous ERO review, a new first-time principal has been appointed.

In 2019, and continuing into 2020, the school has been involved in the Ngamatapouri School Waitotara River Monitoring Project. This involves collecting data on changes in the river over a year with support from external science experts. The project also includes a technology component to create weather instruments and a remote flood warning system for the school. The school was recognised for its contribution in an award ceremony at the end of 2019.

Through Ministry-funded professional development the school has undertaken development in the teaching of science and digital technologies. There has also been professional development in  literacy. In 2020, school staff are undertaking development in the delivery of the mathematics curriculum. The staff and students will also be supported in learning te reo Māori and te ao Māori by Ngā Rauru.

The school is part of the Takitini Toru Kāhui Ako.

Evaluation Findings

1 Equity and excellence – achievement of valued outcomes for students

1.1 How well is the school achieving equitable and excellent outcomes for all its students?

The school is effective in achieving equity and excellence for all its students. Most students achieve at or above curriculum expectation in mathematics. The majority achieve at or above in reading and writing.

School reported information indicates students identified positive wellbeing.

1.2 How well is the school accelerating learning for those students who need this?

The school is effectively responding to those children at risk of underachievement. Small numbers of children were identified in reading, writing and mathematics in 2019. Of these, all children made accelerated progress in reading and writing and nearly all in mathematics.

2 School conditions for equity and excellence – processes and practices

2.1 What school processes and practices are effective in enabling achievement of equity and excellence, and acceleration of learning?

There is an appropriate strategic intent to continue developing processes and systems to support sustainability of the school’s valued outcomes.

Positive school conditions support learning and engagement. Those students whose learning needs acceleration are identified and their needs known. School personnel are focused on student wellbeing and ensuring progress and acceleration in achievement for all students. Effective assessment, tracking and monitoring systems are in place.

Leadership and school staff have collaboratively developed the school’s charter and vision by gathering perspectives from all stakeholders. The school is focused on providing and ensuring learning opportunities are enriching, extending and meeting the needs of the students, parents and community.

The principal and trustees have provided a collaborative, transparent strategic plan that aligns annual goals and targets and is supported by professional development that has impacted positively on learning for both teachers and students.

Ongoing communication is used to engage parents in the school, in learning and in providing and supporting learning opportunities. Children have opportunities to share their learning with parents and whānau. Digital tools and resources are used effectively to support learning and engagement and students are developing digital fluency.

The school and community work closely together to resource and enrich learning for students. Curriculum connections to students’ lives are made through inquiry learning, responding to their interests, events and the local community. There is a focus through the learning opportunities and the use of community place and people to build connected, confident and actively involved learners.

There are coherent, aligned, organisation processes and practices that with continued embedding, should continue to develop and strengthen evaluation, inquiry and knowledge building to lead to sustained improvement in learning and teaching.

2.2 What further developments are needed in school processes and practices for achievement of equity and excellence, and acceleration of learning?

The school has appropriately begun a review of their curriculum. A key next step is to document expectations and guidance for teaching practice and learning and ensure it reflects the current effective teaching practices and connections to place and context. This should also include guidelines for students:

  • development in agency
  • leading their learning
  • assessment for learning.

The school has recognised the acknowledgement of students’ culture, language and identity needs to be further promoted. Connections and partnerships with iwi are steadily developing. Continued partnerships with local iwi and opportunities to access expertise should effectively and collaboratively further strengthen understanding, development and learning opportunities of te reo Māori, tikanga, and te ao Māori across the school for staff and students.

Strengthening all these areas should support the school in their aim of developing a meaningful graduate profile.

3 Board Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the board 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
  • finance
  • 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 and certification
  • processes for appointing staff
  • stand down, suspension, expulsion and exclusion of students
  • attendance
  • school policies in relation to meeting the requirements of the Children’s Act 2014.

4 ERO’s Overall Judgement

On the basis of the findings of this review, ERO’s overall evaluation judgement of Ngamatapouri School’s performance in achieving valued outcomes for its students is: Well placed.

ERO’s Framework: Overall Findings and Judgement Tool derived from School Evaluation Indicators: Effective Practice for Improvement and Learner Success is available on ERO’s website.

5 Going forward

Key strengths of the school

For sustained improvement and future learner success, the school can draw on existing strengths in:

  • tracking, monitoring and assessment systems that clearly identify needs and plan for acceleration of achievement for students
  • learning opportunities that are effectively developed to enable increased student collaboration, participation and engagement
  • building relationships and connections from community, resources and expertise that increase learning and teaching opportunities for all students.

Next steps

For sustained improvement and future learner success, priorities for further development are in:

  • continuing the development of an overarching curriculum document to provide expectations and guidance for teaching practice and learning and ensure it reflects the current practices and connections to place and context

  • reflecting the commitment to te ao Māori in the reviewed curriculum so that it is valued and promoted throughout learning.

Areas for improved compliance practice

To improve current practice, the board of trustees should:

  • review procedures for the adoption of new policies
  • implement the formalised careers programme.

Darcy Te Hau

Acting Director Review and Improvement Services (Central)

Central Region - Te Tai Pūtahi Nui

11 June 2020

About the school

The Education Counts website provides further information about the school’s student population, student engagement and student achievement.