Ormond School - 14/08/2015

1 Context

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

Ormond School is a rural school out from Gisborne, for students in Years 1 to 6. The roll is 81 and 26 identify as Māori.

There are five teachers and the principal, who teaches every day. Additional staff support particular initiatives and specific students. Over the past year staff have participated in professional development in information and communication technologies (ICT) and a writing initiative. They are now participating in Accelerated Learning in Mathematics (ALiM).

The school continues to have a close relationship with the kindergarten that is located on the school grounds. Many students transition from the kindergarten to the school.

The school has had a positive reviewing history with ERO.

2 Learning

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

The principal, teachers and trustees use student achievement information to consider the learning for identified targeted groups of learners. Systems and practices for monitoring, analysing and reporting students' progress need further development.

School data for 2014 indicated that most students achieve well in relation to the National Standards in reading, writing and mathematics. Others need considerable support to accelerate learning to reach the expectations of National Standards. Data indicates that Māori students are achieving well academically.

The monitoring of the progress of students at risk of not achieving and subsequent responsiveness of teaching for these learners needs to improve. A new initiative involves the principal observing teaching and focusing on how staff accelerate student learning. These visits provide useful information for the teacher and principal to discuss teaching and learning for individuals and groups of students. The impact of this recent practice on student learning is yet to be evaluated. Overall, teaching as inquiry is in the early stages of development.

A schoolwide next step is for teachers to further analyse and report the progress of students throughout the year, so trends and patterns are clearly identified. Reporting of progress should assist trustees in appropriately resourcing for improved student outcomes. This is particularly important for those students who are in target groups and need to make accelerated progress.

The principal and teachers recognise that learning partnerships with families about students’ progress and achievement need strengthening. There is some urgency in extending the ways families and teachers communicate to support student learning.

Teachers must:

  • accelerate the learning for identified target students who are not achieving. A process for evaluating the effectiveness of strategies used and discussed with the principal must be regular and timely
  • continue to develop teaching as inquiry to ensure all students' learning needs are met
  • closely match students' independent activities to group lessons to make the most of and extend opportunities for students to practice new learning.

The principal should report ongoing progress of targeted students to trustees, so they can make interim decisions about additional resourcing that is needed to support acceleration.

3 Curriculum

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

The school's curriculum is under review. In the meantime action plans guide improvement. The revised curriculum should reflect The New Zealand Curriculum (NZC) and match the needs, interests and strengths of students in a flexible, cohesive way. Purposeful inclusion in the curriculum of te ao Maori should benefit all students. Threading this through the curriculum is necessary. The impact of a strengthened curriculum to guide teaching should further promote learning for all students.

Students participate in a range of meaningful activities that support them to achieve. Relevant themes each term provide scope for teachers and students to explore. Camps, visits, celebrations and national events are stimulating experiences. The recent celebration of 140 years of schooling in Ormond is an example of this.

Teachers include ICT as useful tools for learning. The use of ICT is linked to current professional learning and development. Professional learning undertaken should be closely evaluated to understand how well initiatives can be sustained. The direct impact these have on learners’ ongoing progress is important to ascertain.

An important next step is for teachers to deepen a shared understanding of what is valued and important for students’ learning at Ormond School. Clear evaluation processes should assist teachers in decision-making for learning.

The principal needs to lead the completion of the revision of the curriculum. This revision must include a shared vision and understanding of what is important for staff and the community for students' learning. New initiatives and te ao Māori for all must be included in the written curriculum.

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

Most students who identify as Maori are successful academic learners. It is time to define, with whānau, what success as Māori means in this school’s context. The impact of excursions, initiatives and events attended specifically by Māori for their continual engagement, progress and achievement is not clearly known or evaluated.

The principal and ERO agree a next step is to work closely with the community to find out what aspirations whānau have for their tamariki. This includes seeking over time, a range of evidence that supports how successful students are in their learning.

4 Sustainable Performance

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

The principal, teachers and trustees demonstrate a willingness to improve teaching and learning. Further development is needed in understanding self review as a tool for improvement at all levels of school operation. Knowing about and reporting student progress and achievement is an area for improvement.

Trustees receive, from the principal, regular, helpful reports about how the school operates. The board knows about and supports initiatives that are student focused, such as ICT, behaviour management and environmental sustainability. The board has deliberate strategies in place to communicate better with families.

Teacher-leadership roles are encouraged to assist in the growth of a collaborative, professional environment. Individuals use strengths to support each other. Appraisal underpins teachers' and the principal’s ongoing improvement and is linked to school priorities.

Families and members of the community indicate that they are ready and willing to work with teachers to further engage students in learning. Links to the local marae are an ongoing appropriate way to strengthen students’ learning in their community.

Key next steps are for:

  • the board and principal to strengthen the work with the school's community to determine what is valued and important for teaching and learning
  • the principal to lead the completion of the documentation that outlines the Ormond School Curriculum and expectations for high quality teaching and learning
  • staff to further develop learning partnerships with parents and whānau, focused on student outcomes
  • the board and principal to ensure that there are clear processes for evaluating the effectiveness of curriculum provision
  • the principal to ensure that the board receives regular reports about student progress, particularly for those students at risk of not achieving
  • at classroom, senior management and board levels, further development of self-review practices that evaluate the effectiveness of what is happening for students.

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.

Recommendations to other agencies

ERO recommends that the Ministry of Education consider providing support to build leadership capability for change and improvement.

Conclusion

Ormond School is a rural school out from Gisborne. Many students achieve well and they experience a wide range of activities that support ongoing engagement. Next steps include: further developing self review practices; analysis and reporting of student progress; strengthening partnerships with families and the community; and developing a localised curriculum that aligns with The New Zealand Curriculum.

ERO intends to carry out another review over the course of one-to-two years.

Joyce Gebbie

Deputy Chief Review Officer Central

14 August 2015

About the School

Location

Gisborne

Ministry of Education profile number

2631

School type

Contributing (Years 1 to 6)

School roll

81

Gender composition

Male 53,

Female 28

Ethnic composition

New Zealand European 54

Maori 26

Pacific 1

Review team on site

June 2015

Date of this report

14 August 2015

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review August 2012

Education Review June 2009

Education Review December 2006