Otane School - 13/12/2016

Findings

Otane School has made sound progress since the 2014 ERO review. Strong, respectful relationships are clearly evident. Trustees and staff are focused on improving learning, progress and achievement for all students.  They are continuing to build their knowledge and understanding of internal evaluation to inform ongoing improvement and future priorities for sustainability.

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

1 Background and Context

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

Otane School is a rural school for Years 1 to 8 students, situated in Central Hawkes Bay. The roll of 41, includes 24 Māori students. The school is currently undergoing significant roll growth.

Since the July 2014 ERO report, the school has experienced changes in personnel. Before the appointment of the principal in July 2015, an emergency supply principal was in place for two terms. A new principal release teacher was employed in 2016.

A new board of trustees was elected in May 2016.

The board, leaders and staff have focused on rebuilding community confidence in the school.

2 Review and Development

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

Priorities identified for review and development

The July 2014 ERO report included the following recommendations:

  • increase rates of student progress and achievement
  • strengthen assessment practices
  • complete the Otane School curriculum development
  • increase community engagement
  • continue to develop internal inquiry review and evaluation
  • continue to build trustees’ capability.
  • develop a strategic approach to promoting Māori success as Māori, including building teachers' cultural competence.

Progress

In response to the 2014 ERO report, the then board and principal developed a plan with three goals to:

  • increase rates of student progress and achievement
  • promote Māori success as Māori
  • develop and strengthen self-review practice.

In July 2015, the principal, with support from the Ministry of Education Student Achievement Function (SAF) practitioner, redeveloped a plan in response to the areas for review and development identified in the previous ERO report. Some good progress is evident in addressing these areas.

Significant improvement has been made in the following key areas:

  • increasing community engagement
  • promoting Māori success as Māori
  • building teachers' cultural competence.

The school is continuing to seek ways to provide opportunities for parents, whānau and the community to connect with the school and strengthen learning partnerships.

A welcoming, positive and respectful tone prevails. Students are nurtured through affirming interactions with their peers and teachers.

Trustees, the principal and staff have begun to rebuild the Otane School curriculum. Through consultation with the school community they have:

  • developed KA PAI Otane (Kindness, Attitude, Participation, Achievement, Identify), the valued outcomes for learners. These are linked to the school values and key competencies of the New Zealand Curriculum
  • recognised the importance of developing a place-based curriculum.

Māori language, culture and identity are key parts of this curriculum development, including connecting with and using iwi and community expertise. Teachers have high expectations for themselves and their learners to achieve success.

Ongoing curriculum development should include:

  • clear expectations to guide effective teaching in reading, writing and mathematics and processes for monitoring effective implementation
  • provision for careers education in Years 7 and 8.

School reported data from Term 1 to Term 2 2016, shows some progress in reading, writing and mathematics. Trustees, the principal and teachers acknowledge that raising student achievement in all three areas remains a priority. Through the school’s involvement in a literacy cluster, teachers are developing their knowledge, understanding and use of the Progress and Consistency Tool (PaCT) to support assessment judgements about students' achievement in writing.

Staff should continue to improve assessment systems, processes and practices and include:

  • review of the range, use and purpose of assessment tools
  • guidelines for moderation and making overall teacher judgements
  • tracking, monitoring and reporting the progress and achievement of all students, especially those most at risk.

The development of a programme to deliver the health curriculum is underway.

3 Sustainable performance and self review

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

The principal has actively sought external advice and guidance to inform change and improvement across the school. This includes:

  • participating in the First-time Principals' Programme (FTPP)
  • working with other local school principals within a range of clusters focused on improving outcomes for students.

The principal has valued and responded well to the support given by the SAF process.

Building teacher capability is supported through responsive professional development and learning linked to school priorities. An appraisal process provides a useful guide to support teacher development and teaching as inquiry. The implementation of appraisal and teaching as inquiry needs strengthening. Goal setting, observations and feedback should link to teachers' developmental needs and student outcomes. Robust, useful teacher appraisal must be a priority.

Trustees have a range of skills, knowledge and expertise. The board chair has attended initial governance training and has acknowledged that continuing to build stewardship is a priority. The board is working through policies and procedures to ensure these meet current practice and legislative requirements. Trustees are well informed about school operation and progress towards strategic goals.

Charter targets are focused on increasing achievement in reading and writing. A next step is to strengthen these to be more focused on those students most at risk, and to promote equity and excellence for all students.

Trustees, leaders and teachers are continuing to build their knowledge and understanding of internal evaluation to inform ongoing improvement and future priorities for sustainability.

Key next steps

The school has identified that the following next steps, affirmed by ERO's external evaluation, are to:

  • raise student achievement
  • build teacher capability and effectiveness
  • fully develop the Otane School curriculum
  • build internal evaluation capability.

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.

During the review a non-compliance was identified.

  • The appraisal of the principal has not occurred. The board of trustees should annually assess the principal against all of the professional standards for principals and the Practising Teacher Criteria.
    [s77C State Sector Act 1998]

In order to improve current practice the board of trustees should:

  • continue the review and development of policies and procedures in line with Health and Safety and Vulnerable Children Acts
  • ensure that consultation about the health curriculum occurs at least once every two years.

Conclusion

Otane School has made sound progress since the 2014 ERO review. Strong, respectful relationships are clearly evident. Trustees and staff are focused on improving learning, progress and achievement for all students. They are continuing to build their knowledge and understanding of internal evaluation to inform ongoing improvement and future priorities for sustainability.

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

Joyce Gebbie

Deputy Chief Review Officer Central

13 December 2016

About the School

Location

Otane

Ministry of Education profile number

2634

School type

Full Primary (Years 1 to 8)

School roll

41

Gender composition

Boys 25, Girls 16

Ethnic composition

Māori

Pākehā

Other ethnic groups

24

15

2

Review team on site

November 2016

Date of this report

13 December 2016

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

July 2014

December 2011

August 2008