Otorohanga School - 22/06/2015

Findings

Trustees, the principal and teachers at Otorohanga School have benefitted from professional learning and development in the last two years. There has been considerable progress in lifting levels of student achievement in relation to National Standards in literacy and mathematics. Trustees and staff are committed to continuing these improvements.

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?

Otorohanga School provides education for students from Otorohanga township and surrounding areas in Years 1 to 8. The school has a roll of 39 students, 27 of whom identify as Māori.

The ERO report in April 2013 identified that achievement levels were of concern, with a high proportion of students at all year levels achieving below expected standards. These students were not making progress and there was an urgent need to implement effective teaching strategies and additional learning support to accelerate their progress and learning.

Since the 2013 ERO review, there have been a number of changes in the membership of the board of trustees (BoT) as well as significant changes in teaching staff. This has had some effect on embedding changed practices. Two beginning teachers have recently been appointed and are being provided with support and guidance by the principal. The board, principal and staff have worked collaboratively with a limited statutory manager (LSM) to address the areas identified for development. Teachers have engaged in professional development with an external provider and school leaders. Considerable progress has been made by the school in most of the areas for review and development.

Students are confident and strongly identify with the school’s vision, ‘Give it a go! Karawhiua!’

2 Review and Development

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

Priorities identified for review and development

Areas identified for improvement in the April 2013 ERO report were:

  • implementation of deliberate acts of teaching and planned learning programmes to accelerate students’ progress and achievement
  • significantly increase the number of students across all year levels who are achieving at their expected achievement level
  • undertake board training to improve their practice and understanding of their roles and responsibilities as trustees, particularly in areas identified in the report
  • develop an effective appraisal process that builds teacher capability to raise student achievement
  • enhance parent, whānau and school community partnerships with the school to support student learning.

Progress

Accelerating students’ progress and achievement: Leaders use achievement information well to identify trends and patterns of achievement across the school. They set school-wide targets to accelerate the progress of students who are at risk of poor achievement. Classroom teachers use student assessment information to inform programme planning in literacy and mathematics. They use achievement data at regular learner progress meetings to monitor progress, inform teaching practice and identify next learning steps. This professional dialogue and analysis is enabling teachers to show that individual students are making expected and accelerated progress. Some aspects of formative practice such as the use of learning intentions are evident in classrooms. The principal and teachers agree that there is a need to continue to strengthen practices which enable students to be knowledgeable about and take ownership of their learning.

Students’ achievement: The principal has sound curriculum knowledge and is leading teachers to implement effective teaching and learning practice. The school’s 2012 to 2014 reading achievement information shows that there has been a significant increase in the number of students achieving at and above relevant National Standards. There has also been a significant increase in achievement levels in writing and mathematics, but the principal and teachers recognise there is still a need to accelerate the progress of identified groups of students in these curriculum areas. The school has registered to use the Progress and Consistency Tool (PaCT) to continue improving overall teacher judgements about student achievement and the principal is beginning training in its implementation.

Improving BOT practices and understandings: Trustees have developed a good understanding of their roles and responsibilities. Comprehensive principal reports about student achievement enable them to make well-informed decisions about supporting and resourcing teaching and learning. The next step for trustees is to action school priorities and plans for school-wide development and resourcing in a timely manner.

Effective appraisal process: The performance management system has been reviewed, with clear expectations and procedures documented. Effective practices are in place for the appraisal of the principal, and support and guidance for beginning teachers. Because of the changes in staffing, it is difficult for ERO to evaluate the effectiveness of these processes in building teachers’ capability to raise student achievement. Agreed next steps are to embed shared effective teaching and learning practices.

Parent, whānau and school community partnerships: There are many opportunities for informal and formal discussions among teachers, parents and whānau. However, there remains a need to research and implement strategies that will be more effective in strengthening partnerships between teachers and parents to support students and their learning, particularly for students who are at risk of poor educational outcomes.

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 now in a better position to continue and improve its performance because:

  • strengthening and development of the principal’s professional leadership is ensuring a focus on raising student achievement
  • trustees are committed to improving outcomes for students
  • self review is now focused on teaching and learning
  • there are clear expectations for school organisation and management practices.

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

Trustees, the principal and teachers at Otorohanga School have benefitted from professional learning and development in the last two years. There has been considerable progress in lifting levels of student achievement in relation to National Standards in literacy and mathematics. Trustees and staff are committed to continuing these improvements. 

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

Dale Bailey

Deputy Chief Review Officer Northern

22 June 2015

School Statistics

Location

Otorohanga

Ministry of Education profile number

1876

School type

Full Primary (Years 1 to 8)

School roll

39

Gender composition

Boys 23 Girls 16

Ethnic composition

Māori

Pākehā

Other

27

9

3

Review team on site

April 2015

Date of this report

22 June 2015

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Supplementary Review

Education Review

April 2013

May 2010

March 2009