Omata School - 05/02/2016

Findings

The Omata School curriculum provides for rich, meaningful learning. Students are supported to be confident, independent learners. Teachers and students learn and grow within a caring, respectful learning community. Further alignment of systems, processes and practices should improve the evaluation of the effectiveness of strategies to accelerate progress for targeted learners.

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?

Omata School is a semi-rural school located on the outskirts on New Plymouth. It caters for students from Years 1 to 8, many of whom spend their eight primary years at the school. Of the 164 students, 8% identify as Māori.

Students transition into the school from a range of early childhood services. A playgroup operates on the school grounds. A Learning Pathways Collaboration has been formed with nearby primary schools, an intermediate school and the secondary school to promote shared understandings about effective teaching and assessment practices for writing.

The principal and staff are experienced practitioners and long-serving at the school. The senior leadership team includes a recently appointed deputy principal.

Teachers participate in various local networks and have had a range of professional learning opportunities. Students and teachers benefit from sustained involvement in the Accelerated Literacy Learning (ALL) project. Participation in Accelerated Learning in Mathematics (ALiM) began in 2015.

Recent property developments include a new flexible learning space and improvements to other classrooms and the school grounds. The native bush area adjacent to the school, recently recognised by the local council as a reserve, is used well for learning, recreation and promoting students’ sense of environmental responsibility.

2 Learning

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

Teachers use assessment information effectively to identify students’ strengths, needs and next steps for learning and teaching. They monitor, track and discuss the progress of individual students.

Leaders have developed schoolwide systems for tracking and monitoring the progress of individuals and groups of learners. Continued development should assist further inquiry into trends and patterns in the data, and knowledge building about the effectiveness of specific strategies for accelerating learning.

School-reported data shows that most students achieve at or above National Standards and many students achieve highly in reading, writing and mathematics, particularly girls. Māori students achieve well in reading and writing.

Teachers are appropriately focused on raising the achievement of groups of students achieving below the Standard. School data shows boys are often over-represented in these groups.

The school acknowledges the need for clearer alignment between data analysis, target-setting and ongoing monitoring of progress towards targets. This should assist trustees, teachers and leaders to evaluate the effectiveness of implemented actions and strategies in accelerating student progress.

Teachers use a range of appropriate data to make professional judgements about reading, writing and mathematics in relation to progressions of learning and National Standards. External moderation of writing judgements with other schools has occurred. To continue to strengthen practice, staff should ensure there is a robust process for regular internal and external moderation for mathematics and reading.

Students identified with specific learning needs or who are at risk of not meeting expected levels of achievement are provided with appropriate, holistic support. Programmes are in place to promote confidence, engagement and positive attitudes for identified learners.

The ALL programmes have been successful in accelerating learning for some participating students. Teachers share and extend new approaches and strategies in their classrooms. They recognise the importance of learning partnerships with parents and whānau in providing successful outcomes for priority learners and have worked to strengthen these.

Students have opportunities to reflect on and learn from assessment information. They are supported to understand and develop their next steps through specific feedback, goal setting and self and peer assessment. Parents are well informed about their child’s learning achievements and next steps.

3 Curriculum

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

The Omata School curriculum provides for rich, relevant, meaningful learning. There is a clear, sustained focus on developing students as confident and empowered learners. Ongoing review and development of curriculum occurs in response to new learning and emerging priorities.

Students engage in the curriculum through purposeful learning opportunities which enable them to make meaningful connections. Learning experiences are well planned for, connect to the student world and build on prior learning. Learning-to-learn is well supported and strongly evident. Students’ responsibility for their behaviour, learning and the environment is promoted.

The curriculum document clearly outlines expectations for teaching that support the vision for learning. It provides for breadth and depth of experiences across all learning areas.

Teachers care about students’ learning and recognise the importance of wellbeing in promoting success. They deliberately foster positive partnerships with students and their families, and support effective peer relationships. Classroom environments and practices are well organised to promote learning. Oral language development is well considered and supported through a range of strategies.

The school site and environment are used well to enrich the curriculum. Te ao Māori aspects are considered and included. Localised and place-based learning continues to develop.

Students’ transitions into and within the school are well considered. Some useful initiatives are in place to increase communication, build shared understandings and enhance transitions to college.

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

Māori students are successful learners. Culturally responsive teaching practice and teachers' knowledge of te ao Māori are developing. There are well-considered opportunities for Māori students to make links to aspects of their heritage.

A next step is to further develop the Māori development plan, in consultation with whānau and the wider community. The plan should more clearly articulate how Omata School promotes and defines success for Māori students as Māori. This has the potential to continue to strengthen the school’s promotion of students’ identity, language and culture through the curriculum and school practices.

4 Sustainable Performance

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

The school is well placed to continue to sustain and improve its performance.

There are well-established practices to assist teachers and leaders to reflect on effectiveness and promote ongoing improvement. Trustees and staff work in a consultative, collaborative and responsive way, supported by a culture of relational trust and respect.

Students and teachers are well supported to learn and grow within a caring, respectful learning community. Innovation is valued. Shared understandings and approaches to teaching and learning are built through reflective, critical, professional discussion. Consistency of practice and coherency of curriculum are promoted through sharing of practice. Philosophy and practice are well aligned.

Teachers are acknowledged for their strengths and take on leadership roles. They are valued and respected as capable professionals. Regular opportunities for well-considered professional learning and development support curriculum innovation and teachers’ practice. They actively seek to improve their practice and integrate new learning. Development of meaningful appraisal and systematic inquiry into teaching continues.

A recent review of science provides a useful framework and model for self review. It used a range of sources of evidence to strengthen and explore the effectiveness of curriculum implementation, and provided directions for improvement.

Trustees are experienced, offer a wide range of expertise and are highly committed to the success of the school and to promoting positive student outcomes. The board is well informed about initiatives, student learning experiences and achievements. Clearer reporting of progress in relation to specific targets set in response to data should increase trustees' knowledge about the extent of progress for targeted groups of learners.

Developing rich learning partnerships with students and their families is a clear focus. The views of the parent community and students are sought and responded to. Students participate and contribute positively in the life of the school. Their leadership is encouraged and supported.

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 Omata School curriculum provides for rich, meaningful learning. Students are supported to be confident, independent learners. Teachers and students learn and grow within a caring, respectful learning community. Further alignment of systems, processes and practices should improve the evaluation of the effectiveness of strategies to accelerate progress for targeted learners.

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

Joyce Gebbie

Deputy Chief Review Officer Central

5 February 2016

School Statistics

Location

Omata, New Plymouth

Ministry of Education profile number

2214

School type

Full Primary (Years 1 to 8)

School roll

169

Gender composition

Male 54% Female 46%

Ethnic composition

Māori

Pākehā

Other European

Other ethnic groups

8%

84%

6%

2%

Review team on site

October 2015

Date of this report

5 February 2016

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

December 2011

November 2008

November 2005