Opua School - 19/11/2015

1. Context

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

Opua School provides education for students in Years 1 to 8 and operates five classrooms. The roll of 109 includes 40 students of Māori descent, most of whom whakapapa to the local iwi, Ngati Hine. There have been significant structural renovations to the buildings and grounds.

Since the ERO review in June 2012 there have been some changes to the staffing and leadership of the school. A new principal was appointed in February 2013. Some trustees, including the chairperson, are new to their positions.

Teachers have been involved in professional learning and development in the areas of literacy, ICT and assessment practices.

During the review ERO observed settled classrooms and high levels of student engagement. A particular strength of the school is the strong tuakana/teina relationships evident in older students supporting their younger peers.

2. Learning

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

The school is making good use of student achievement information to bring about positive changes for students.

Trustees receive relevant information about student achievement which they use to inform long-term planning and make decisions about resourcing. School leaders use achievement data to monitor the progress of students, particularly in reading, writing and mathematics. They also use this information to identify students who require additional support.

Teachers collect an appropriate range of student achievement information that they use to group students for instruction. Some teachers make very good use of achievement information to implement specific teaching and learning programmes for groups and individual students. Priority should be given to ensuring that this good practice is implemented consistently throughout the school.

Parents are well informed about the children’s progress and achievement through twice yearly comprehensive written reports, parent teacher conferences and informal contact with their children’s teachers.

The school reports that, at the end of 2014, a significant majority of students, including Māori, achieved at or above the National Standards in reading, writing and mathematics. These results indicate that the school is meeting the Government’s target of having 85% of students achieving at or above the National Standards.

However, there is a need for the school to implement more robust processes to support teachers to make reliable judgements in relation to the National Standards. The principal has recently accessed professional development for teachers to support their understanding of moderation of assessment in relation to the National Standards.

3. Curriculum

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

The school provides a broad curriculum that places appropriate priority on literacy and mathematics.

Particular features of the school’s curriculum include:

  • the use of real-life learning contexts
  • opportunities for students to develop their leadership skills
  • a meaningful focus on the environment and sustainability.

Recent consultation with parents of children at the school has resulted in the development of a leavers’ profile that identifies the key characteristics of a successful learner at Opua School.

Students enjoy many opportunities to develop their creativity in music, visual arts and dance. Classrooms are attractive and well resourced. The school supports students to experience safe physical challenge in playground activities and education outside the classroom programmes.

To further develop the school’s curriculum consideration should be given to the development and implementation of learning progressions in oral language, reading and writing to support teachers and students to identify achievement and next learning steps.

Students have access to an appropriate range of resources including computer technology. ERO observed teachers using a wide range of strategies that promote student engagement in learning.

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

Māori students’ sense of culture and identity is promoted by:

  • active involvement of a respected kaumatua who teaches te reo Māori in each class and acts as a resource person for the principal and teachers
  • regular visits to the local marae and celebration of events that are important for Māori
  • active participation of whānau and members of the wider Māori community in sharing their knowledge and expertise with students
  • inclusion of some aspects of tikanga Māori in school ceremonies and events.

The next step for the school is to strengthen its connection with Ngati Hine by incorporating the history, traditions, and places of significance for Ngati Hine into the school’s curriculum.

4. Sustainable Performance

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

Trustees have an increasing focus on positive student learning outcomes. The board is continuing to develop useful self-review processes including regular consultation with parents and students. Trustees are continuing to strengthen their understanding of their governance roles. Ongoing external mentoring will also be valuable for the principal as he continues to develop his role as leader of learning in the school.

The principal is committed to ongoing school improvement and works with teachers, parents and families. He provides regular feedback to teachers about their teaching practice as part of the school’s appraisal process. It is important that the school reviews and strengthens this process to meet the new requirements of the Education Council.

The board and principal have reviewed school values, and school guidelines and processes to promote student safety and wellbeing.

The school will be able to sustain and improve its performance, with the good use of available ongoing support.

Provision for international students

The school is a signatory of the Code of Practice for the Pastoral Care of International Students (the Code) established under section 238F of the Education Act 1989. No international students were enrolled at the time of this ERO review.

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.

To meet its agreed accountabilities, the board of trustees must consult with the school’s Māori community to develop and make known to the school’s community, policies, plans, and targets for improving the achievement of Māori students.

National Administration Guideline 1e

Conclusion

Students at Opua School receive a broad curriculum that places appropriate priority on literacy and numeracy. Students spoken to by ERO said that they enjoy school and the wide range of learning experiences available. Trustees are committed to continuing the positive development of the school.

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

Graham Randell
Deputy Chief Review Officer Northern

About the School

Location

Opua, Bay of Islands

Ministry of Education profile number

1063

School type

Full Primary (Years 1 to 8)

School roll

109

Number of international students

0

Gender composition

Boys      61%
Girls       39%

Ethnic composition

NZ European/Pākehā
Māori
Fijian
other

57%
37%
  4%
  3%

Review team on site

August 2015

Date of this report

19 November 2015

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review
Education Review
Education Review

February 2012
June 2008
June 2005