Omahu School - 30/04/2019

Findings

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

1 Background and Context

What is the background and context for this school’s review?

Omahu School is a small full primary school of 41 students, located on the outskirts of Hastings. The majority of students are Māori and whakapapa to Omahu and Ngāti Kahungunu.

The February 2012 ERO report, identified that the school needed to significantly improve its performance for students and whānau. This included the need to improve the school curriculum, analysis and reporting of achievement, the quality of teaching, professional leadership and self review.

The October 2014 ERO report, noted some limited progress following external support and interventions. Significant concerns remained, including a number of compliance issues. In response to an ERO recommendation, the Secretary for Education appointed a Limited Statutory Manager (LSM) in 2015 for governance, professional leadership and the use of self review for resourcing decisions to improve achievement.

A commissioner undertook governance functions during 2016 and until a new board of trustees began at the start of Term 4, 2017. ERO has provided progress evaluative feedback about progress in September 2015 and provided trustees with an internal evaluation workshop at the end of 2016.

Since the previous 2014 ERO report, there have been changes in professional leadership. A long serving principal resigned during 2016. An acting principal was in place for the first half of 2016 and a new principal began in Term 3, 2016. Many teachers and staff are longstanding employees.

Since 2014, there has been significant progress in a number of key areas that contribute to more positive student outcomes. This includes school participation in Positive Behaviour for Learning (PB4L), improving student achievement, better assessment information and a sustained focus on building teaching capacity. Improving the capacity of the board is recognised as a key ongoing next step to ensure the future sustainability of school improvements for students.

2 Review and Development

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

Priorities identified for review and development

The October 2014 ERO report identified the following key areas for review and development:

  • professional leadership for improving student wellbeing, progress and achievement including:

    • the school curriculum, assessment practice and student achievement

    • lifting the quality of teaching and learning through professional learning and development, appraisal and teacher use of inquiry to better target teaching

    • principal reports on student achievement and to inform board decision making

  • stewardship for improving student outcomes, including:

    • policy and procedure review

    • compliance to meet statutory requirements

  • the use of self review, internal evaluation and inquiry to support and sustain school improvements.

Progress

Strategic and student-centred professional leadership is increasing students’ opportunities to celebrate their language, culture and identity. Well implemented PB4L and tuakana teina approaches contribute to a positive learning environment, where students take responsibility for their learning. More leadership opportunities for students to become positive role models contributes to a sense of belonging and pride.

The school curriculum continues to develop with a clear focus on strengthening culturally responsive learning and experiences for students. This development includes a focus on te reo me ngā tikanga Māori, local history, working with Māori artists and the local marae. Key concepts, including school values, have been developed to inform the framework for the curriculum. Clear expectations for positive behaviours are well embedded schoolwide.

The school reports increased levels of student achievement in reading, writing and mathematics since 2016. Students with additional learning requirements are supported through individual education plans and increased access to external agencies.

The dependability of achievement data has improved through an ongoing teacher focus on strengthening assessment practices. This includes the use of the Progress and Consistency Tool (PaCT) in reading, writing and mathematics to plan teaching programmes.

Teachers are participating in schoolwide ongoing professional learning and development that is improving opportunities for students. The teacher appraisal cycle has been completed in 2017 and 2018.

The recent use of an online platform is lifting teachers’ understanding and ownership of evidence for their appraisal. Teachers made a positive start inquiring into how best to target their teaching for some students. These areas remain key priorities for development.

The principal provides the board with useful regular reports on student achievement in reading, writing and mathematics. There is a focus on supporting students not yet at the expected level. This data indicates general improvement in achievement and school tone over time.

Key next steps

The principal and staff should continue to:

  • develop the school curriculum and assessment practices to clarify expectations for effective teaching practices to ensure continuity of culturally responsive learning opportunities
  • build teaching capacity, to address the needs of students who require targeted support to have progress accelerated and achieve well
  • strengthen students’ ownership of learning, assessment for learning and the use of digital technologies.

3 Sustainable performance and self review

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

The school is developing its capacity to sustain and continue to improve its performance. The board has operated for five terms and in the early stages of understanding their roles and responsibilities. A board work programme is in place and some policy review and procedure development has occurred.

Trustees have responded well to external feedback to inform their practices, particularly in school finances. The board has made improving stewardship a key priority for 2019, as they are aware they need to move work together with greater urgency to be well prepared for the mid-2019 board elections.

A clear focus on building and sustaining strong historical community connections by the principal and board is evident. Community consultation over key strategic aims has occurred. School strategic goals are meaningful to students, staff and the wider school community and are well reflected in practice.

The formal use of internal evaluation for school improvement is at early stages of development. Some early progress is evident with improved monitoring and tracking of student progress and teachers’ use of inquiry.

Key next steps

The board, principal and staff should continue to:

  • develop their procedural understanding of how the board operates, including meeting records, in-committee records and the review of policies and procedures to keep up with current best practices
  • complete an audit of the governance framework using New Zealand School Trustees Association (NZSTA) expertise to ensure the framework is sufficient and robust
  • further develop review, appraisal, teacher inquiry, tracking, monitoring and internal evaluation practices to support and sustain ongoing school improvements.

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 non-compliance in relation to a school excursion, for a small group of students, supervised by staff who do not hold a teacher practising certificate.

  1. No employer may continue to employ in any teaching position any person who holds neither a practising certificate nor an authorisation, if that person is not under the general supervision of a person who holds a practising certificate.
    [Section 350(2) Education Act 1989]

In response to ERO’s longitudineal external evaluation, the principal and board have developed a governance support plan with New Zealand School Trustees (NZSTA). This plan should assist the school to improve practices in the following areas:

  • continue to strengthen their understanding of following the board’s meeting procedures, use of in-committee procedures and including supporting detail in minutes for decision making to improve student outcomes
  • ensure that policy review keeps up to date with ongoing changes in legislation and guidelines, particularly those that affect health and safety and include:
    • Education Outside the Classroom (EOTC) policy and procedures
    • records kept of how all accidents are managed to enable analysis and reporting to board reporting of emerging hazards
    • a suitable policy or procedures in place for surrender and retention, physical restraint and managing severe behaviour, police vetting of non-teaching staff and guidelines for non-custodial parents
    • reports to trustees about termly trial evacuations and the regular monitoring and management of hazards
  • strengthen the principal’s reports to the board to regularly include an analysis of attendance trends and patterns, including follow-up of non-attendance
  • strengthen personnel policies and procedures for appointments.

Conclusion

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

ERO’s Framework: Overall School Performance is available on ERO’s website.

Phil Cowie

Director Review and Improvement Services

Central Region

30 April 2019

About the School

Location

Hastings

Ministry of Education profile number

2626

School type

Full Primary (Years 1 to 8)

School roll

41

Gender composition

Female 22, Male 19

Ethnic composition

Māori
Other ethnic group

40
1

Review team on site

March 2019

Date of this report

30 April 2019

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review Education Review Education Review

October 2014
February 2012
December 2009