Ohaeawai School - 25/06/2014

1 Context

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

Ohaeawai School, situated in a rural community in the Far North, provides high quality education for its Year 1 to 6 students in a supportive, learning-focused environment. The school has maintained and built on successes outlined in previous ERO reports. The board, principal, senior leaders and staff work together effectively to meet school goals and are committed to continuous improvement.

Home/school partnerships are founded on well formed, trusting relationships. The board and staff value the contributions of parents, whānau and the community. In turn, parents value the ways that the board and teachers engage children in learning. Māori students, who make up over half the school roll, have opportunities to learn through their culture, language and identity.

Since the 2009 ERO review, professional learning and development, linked to the school’s involvement in a variety of school networks, have strengthened effective teaching and learning practices, particularly in writing. School developments have also increased students’ voice in their learning.

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 very well to make positive changes to learners’ engagement, progress and achievement.

School achievement information shows the majority of students achieve at and above the National Standards, particularly in reading. The board, senior leaders and teachers effectively use achievement information to identify groups of learners and individuals who require targeted support. This information also helps the board to set appropriate targets that focus on raising the achievement of students who are not achieving at expected levels. Of interest also to trustees are the ways teachers extend students who achieve at and above in relation to the National Standards.

Due to the recent publication of Public Achievement Information (PAI), comparative data for 2012 is yet to be formally used to inform charter and strategic planning and self review. ERO’s discussions with the board focused on comparisons between the school’s student attendance and achievement levels for 2012 and 2013, and confirmed that the school is tracking well to meeting the Better Public Services (BPS) targets.

Students are highly engaged in their learning. Very good attendance levels indicate that students and their families value learning. Tuakana / teina relationships enhance learning in classrooms and across the school. Students are confident in their interactions with adults and their peers. They contribute positively to school decision making and have a positive view of themselves as learners. Students freely share their ideas and curriculum decisions build on their capabilities.

Students have a clear understanding about their role in the learning process. They set learning goals with support from their teachers and family. Senior leaders recognise that goal setting could be further enhanced so that students can more easily identify their next steps for learning and monitor their own progress.

Very good systems are in place to support teachers to make reliable overall teacher judgements in relation to the National Standards for reading, writing and mathematics. Teachers also monitor and report students’ progress and achievement in all eight essential learning areas of The New Zealand Curriculum.

Comprehensive student portfolios are a positive feature of the schools twice yearly reporting to parents. Portfolios include work samples and self and peer assessments and useful information about children's' achievement in terms of curriculum reading levels and ages, writing levels and numeracy stages. Child lead parent conferences where the teacher acts in a support role are well attended by parents and whanau.

The school's on-going review of its reporting processes has resulted in further clarity for parents in written reports, about how well their children are progressing and achieving in relation to the National Standards. Senior leaders have taken a proactive approach to self-review in this area. Report information is providing parents with useful information to help children with their next learning steps at home.

3 Curriculum

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

The school’s values based curriculum is highly effective in promoting and supporting student wellbeing and learning. A culture of positive relationships and inclusiveness contributes to students viewing themselves as socially, physically and emotionally successful learners.

Very good teaching and learning practices are consistently evident across the school. Teachers plan varied programmes that support students’ holistic development. A foundation of well understood school values promotes friendly, constructive relationships. This positive school culture contributes to students having a sense of belonging, connectedness, and ownership of their learning environment.

Students influence the direction and scope of their learning. They have ready access to resources to support their independence. Parents, with board support have recently invested in digital devices so that each student is able extend their learning by communicating their ideas and thinking with others. Teachers respect students’ contributions by responding to their interests, concerns and feedback. Students are increasingly taking responsibility for, and control of, their learning. They collaborate well with their teachers and other students and are receptive to new ideas and experiences.

Learning partnerships are evident at all levels in the school. Opportunities students have to connect with the people and whenua of Ohaeawai district and the world supports them to:

  • contribute to environmental sustainability
  • share what is special about being a child of the North.

The school’s recent focus on promoting effective writing is supported by involvement in a local network of schools. Senior leaders and teachers from Ohaeawai and two other local schools are currently involved in a project that promotes innovative teaching and learning practices consistent with the principles of The New Zealand Curriculum.

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

Māori students represent sixty percent of the school roll. Many parents of Māori students choose the school for the education and manaaki that their tamariki experience. Sixty-eight percent of Māori students attending Ohaeawai School live outside the school’s immediate area. The school’s information shows that parents of Māori children value:

  • ways te Ao Māori is normalised through the school’s tikanga and kawa
  • celebrations of significant Māori events that contribute to promoting whanaungatanga
  • positive Māori adult role models in the school and from the community.

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.

There is strong alignment between the school’s vision, strategic direction and action plans. Staff respond well to change and work well with each other to ensure positive student outcomes. Teachers reflect on and adapt their practice to cater for students’ diverse learning requirements. They are well supported by their colleagues and senior leaders to develop their professional practice. Senior leaders respect staff and the positive contributions they make to promote high levels of school performance.

The board, staff, students and parents support and adhere to the school vision of ‘to be the best I can be’. The school is well served by:

  • a well established board
  • coherent systems
  • an experienced principal and deputy principal
  • committed teachers and staff
  • a highly involved school community.

To improve practice the board plans to explore ways to build on its consultation processes with parents of Māori children. To strengthen school links with the community, the board has approached the local runanga to foster a working partnership. Senior leaders are committed to supporting staff in their use of te reo Māori. The school wants to sustain a sequenced programme that builds on students’ te reo Māori capabilities as they progress through the school. This type of programme would also acknowledge and extend Māori students whose parents and whānau speak te reo Māori.

The board and principal demonstrate integrity in their governance and leadership roles. Their positive influence in the school and the community has resulted in meaningful learning partnerships at all levels, including the wider educational community. Networking is viewed as essential to continuous school improvement. Self review has been strengthened as a result of external evaluation.

Self review has a positive impact on the school’s strategic direction. It is:

  • informed by parents, community, staff and students
  • evidence-based and is tested by critique and feedback
  • integral to the successful operation of the school by informing ongoing school priorities focused on positive outcomes for students.

The board and school leaders also use external review and professional expertise to determine areas for development. ERO is confident that the board, senior leaders and staff have the capability to use the school’s well developed self-review processes to sustain their provision of high quality education.

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.

When is ERO likely to review the school again?

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

Dale Bailey

National Manager Review Services Northern Region

25 June 2014

About the School

Location

Ohaeawai, Northland

Ministry of Education profile number

1058

School type

Contributing (Years 1 to 6)

School roll

139

Gender composition

Boys 51% Girls 49%

Ethnic composition

Māori

NZ European/Pākehā

60%

40%

Review team on site

March 2014

Date of this report

25 June 2014

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

November 2009

November 2006

February 2003