Oamaru North School - 22/12/2015

Findings

Students benefit from teachers who care about their wellbeing and their learning. Students come from diverse cultural backgrounds, with 42% of students Māori or Pacific. These and other cultures add a richness to relationships and learning. Students’ learning is enhanced by interesting contexts including the effective use of local geographic and historical features. A major building project will take place in 2016 to modernise the learning environment.

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?

Students benefit from positive relationships with each other and their teachers. Students ERO spoke with said that teachers care about their wellbeing and their learning. A positive behaviour programme is supporting a caring and respectful culture across the whole school. Students and their families benefit from pastoral care provided by the board, principal and teachers, for example the Breakfast Club and adult reading tutoring.

Oamaru North School is an urban school providing education for Years 1 to 6 students. Long-serving, experienced teachers deliver learning programmes across six classrooms. In 2016 this will reduce to five classrooms. Students come from diverse cultural backgrounds, with 42% being Māori or Pacific students. These and other cultures add a richness to relationships and learning.

Since the 2012 ERO review, the board has reviewed and redeveloped the strategic plan. Curriculum reviews now align more closely to the school’s vision and curriculum guidelines.

2 Learning

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

The board, principal and teachers use student achievement information well to make positive changes to learners’ engagement, progress and achievement. Students’ achievement is assessed and monitored across all learning areas. Teachers know their students and families well. They use assessment information effectively to:

  • group and regroup students throughout the year to ensure they are being challenged at the appropriate levels
  • plan for individual students' needs and determine their next learning steps
  • closely monitor students who need to make accelerated progress, for example five-weekly discussions about the progress of individual students
  • identify students who need extension or extra support
  • report to students and parents.

The principal and trustees use student achievement information well to:

  • support teachers to improve outcomes for students through professional development, for example for mathematics in 2015
  • make well-informed, strategic resourcing decisions
  • set achievement targets according to assessment results
  • access and support suitable interventions
  • contribute to self review.

Students, particularly in the junior school, can talk about their goals and next learning steps. They understand the purpose of the learning. This needs to become more consistent across the school.

Key next steps

As teachers are exploring and trialling new learning approaches, it is timely to review how consistently all students understand and are involved in the process of learning.

The principal acknowledges the urgent need to address a concerning number of under-achieving students in the senior school.

The principal and teachers need to consider developing and implementing a school-wide system to track and show student progress over time. This would make it easier to report to the board about shifts made by the under-achieving students.

3 Curriculum

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

The school’s curriculum provides students with rich contexts for learning. It is underpinned by the values and key competencies. Sporting, cultural, arts and academic opportunities that enhance students’ learning include:

  • effective use of local geographic and historical features
  • a focus on students developing as well-rounded, successful citizens
  • a regular programme of education outside the classroom
  • aspects of Māori and Pacific Island cultures
  • good use of digital technologies as a learning tool
  • support for parents to develop the skills to help their children learn to read.

Students with English as a second language receive assistance from a skilled and experienced teacher aide. Those who require extra help to succeed are well supported by intervention programmes and skilled teacher aides.

Staff work collaboratively to share students’ learning information and plan to meet their needs.

Teachers are in their first year of trialling new approaches to teaching and learning. This is working particularly well in the junior school where students have choice in their learning and are becoming increasingly aware of the responsibility they need to take.

Students’ views are sought regularly, listened to and acted upon. A student council has recently been introduced to give students more opportunity for having a say in how the school is run.

Key next steps are for the newly developed learning approaches to be implemented consistently across the school.

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

There are opportunities for Māori and Pacific students to celebrate, learn and feel proud of who they are and where they come from. Māori concepts of manaakitanga, whanaungatanga, ako and wānanga are valued and included in the key competencies within the curriculum.

A teacher with particular skills in te reo and tikanga Māori supports other teachers to grow in competence and confidence. Their next step is for this to be more evident in classrooms throughout the day.

4 Sustainable Performance

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

The board is well placed to improve its performance. Trustees are well informed about student achievement and the programmes being used to support learning.

The board has placed a high priority on professional development. Trustees regularly attend board training. This year, teachers and the principal have particularly focused on mathematics, writing and exploring new approaches to learning that are flexible and adaptive.

The leadership team is experienced and able. Staff work well together to benefit all students. To ensure robust appraisal processes, leaders should include formal, documented observations of teaching to support ongoing improvement.

A recently reviewed curriculum plan provides the board and teachers with good guidelines for review and assessment.

Trustees benefit from a Samoan parent who advocates for Pacific Island families and guides the board and school about sensitive cultural inclusion.

In 2016, major building works will take place. The board, principal and teachers are approaching the future changes to property in a well-considered way.

Key next step

Further refinements to the strategic plan should ensure school priorities, such as the introduction of a positive behaviour programme and new approaches to learning and Māori/Pacific cultures are explicitly reflected, rather than including aspects that are business as usual.

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.

ERO identified the following area of non-compliance. Where a school has students enrolled in Years 1 to 8, the board of trustees, with the principal and teaching staff, is required to use the National Standards to report to students and their parents on the student's progress and achievement in relation to National Standards. Reporting to parents in plain language in writing must be at least twice a year. Currently, mid-year reports to parents do not show student progress and achievement in reading, writing and mathematics in relation to the National Standards.

Action

The school must comply with the legislation about reporting to students and their parents. [National Administration Guidelines, 2A1].

Conclusion

Students benefit from teachers who care about their wellbeing and their learning. Students come from diverse cultural backgrounds, with 42% of students Māori or Pacific. These and other cultures add a richness to relationships and learning. Students’ learning is enhanced by interesting contexts including the effective use of local geographic and historical features. A major building project will take place in 2016 to modernise the learning environment.

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

Chris Rowe

Deputy Chief Review Officer Southern (Acting)

22 December 2015

School Statistics

Location

Oamaru

Ministry of Education profile number

3785

School type

Contributing (Years 1 to 6)

School roll

120

Gender composition

Boys 53%

Girls 47%

Ethnic composition

Pākehā

Māori

Pacific

Asian

58%

13%

28%

1%

Special Features

Base school for Resource Teacher of Literacy

Review team on site

November 2015

Date of this report

22 December 2015

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

December 2012

March 2009

February 2006