Pakowhai School - 22/12/2014

Findings

The school uses achievement information well to make positive changes to learners’ engagement, progress and achievement. The Pakowhai School Curriculum is responsive in its promotion and support of students’ learning. The school is well placed to sustain and improve its performance. The inclusion of outcomes in the school’s annual plan should further strengthen the board’s measurement of progress towards charter goals.

ERO is likely to carry out the next review in four-to-five years.

1 Context

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

Pakowhai School is located between Napier and Hastings. It is family-focused, with student learning and success based on values of respect, confidence, exploration and resilience. Students have a wide range of opportunities, in school and the community, to learn and achieve. They enjoy the rural environment.

The board, principal and teachers have a strong focus on the wellbeing of all students. Trustees, the principal and teachers ensure all students have equitable access to learning resources to support their engagement and success as learners and achievers.

Parents and whānau are valued as partners in their children’s education and care.

2 Learning

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

The school very effectively uses achievement information to make positive changes to learners’ engagement, progress and achievement.

Teachers consistently use assessment information to track and monitor students’ progress and evaluate the effectiveness of their teaching strategies. Student data informs programmes that are linked to students’ needs and strategies teachers use to deliver the curriculum.

A well-considered focus on personalising learning is an ongoing initiative in the classroom and at home. Teachers, students and their families construct learning goals together. Children’s work is used to assist them to identify and understand more about next steps to improve their learning. This information is put on the school’s website where students and families access it through a portal. The individualised approach is increasing conversations about school programmes and students’ learning with family and whānau.

Achievement information reported in 2013 shows that most students achieved at and above the National Standards in reading, writing and mathematics. Those students not achieving at expected levels were identified in school and classroom achievement targets and provided with programmes responsive to their needs. Analysis of data shows that not all made expected progress.

Eighteen students are Māori and their progress and achievement is closely monitored and reported to the board. Achievement data for 2013 shows that many Māori students achieved at and above, in relation to the National Standards, in reading, writing and mathematics. Teachers have in place appropriate programmes and interventions to accelerate the progress of the few Māori students whose achievement is of concern.

Students with additional, specific needs are well catered for through individual education plans and external agency support. The school ensures their families and whānau are integral to conversations about their learning and progress.

The principal’s reports to the board keep trustees informed about student achievement trends and patterns. The board uses the information to discuss learning programmes and make decisions about resourcing.

Parents and whānau receive very informative reports about their children’s progress and achievement in relation to the National Standards in reading, writing and mathematics. Reports also include students’ goals and self-assessments of their learning.

Pacific students come from Samoa. Appropriate support for learning English as a second language and other programmes are put in place to assist these students. Teachers ensure the Pacific students’ family is engaged in school activities and conversations about their children’s learning.

3 Curriculum

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

The Pakowhai School Curriculum effectively promotes and supports students' learning.

A clear rationale is evident for selecting reading, writing and mathematics and integrated units as key areas of emphasis in classroom programmes. Teachers plan as a team. They ensure programmes enable students to develop key competencies and understanding of school values. Māori whānau goals for their children’s education are incorporated in learning areas.

The curriculum makes links to students’ prior knowledge. These are extended through authentic learning experiences. Refinement of the school curriculum is ongoing. The written curriculum document does not fully reflect changes apparent in teaching. Staff agree with ERO, that consideration should be given to stating, in the principles and goals of the Pakowhai School Curriculum, relevant place-based aspects that include local features and culture. Doing this should help to reflect the aspirations for successful learning held by parents, whānau, students and staff.

Teachers’ inquiry into their practice has continued to develop and enable them to critically think about how their teaching is improving students’ learning. They look closely at the progress and achievement of their students and identify specific groups requiring extra support. Data is used to adapt learning programmes to ensure these are responsive to students' needs. Teachers are constantly reviewing their practices for those students who are not progressing as expected.

Transitions into, within and beyond school are sensitively managed and based on each student’s needs. This enhances the student’s confidence and sense of security at school.

Teachers effectively use a wide range of strategies that engage students in purposeful learning. These include:

  • conversations that support students to explain their understanding and learning
  • strategies to enable students to make learning connections with other subjects
  • promoting positive and affirming relationships amongst students and with teachers
  • a focus on students being self-managing and independent
  • well planned lessons that have a clear sequence and links to prior learning
  • learning activities that are meaningful and based on students’ experiences.

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

The board, principal and teachers effectively promote and support Māori students’ success as Māori. The goals and aspirations of whānau for their children’s education are included in the school charter. Integration of te ao Māori in learning programmes enables rich connections to be made with Māori students’ culture, language and identity.

Māori students keenly participate in learning and a diverse range of school activities. Whānau engage regularly in conversations with teachers about their children’s learning.

4 Sustainable Performance

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

The school is very well placed to sustain and improve its performance. The board, principal and teachers have in place an effective cycle of evidence-based self review that identifies priorities for improvement. There is very good alignment between charter goals, systems and practices across the school and in classrooms.

Most of the board members are new. They bring a wide range of skills to their role. Trustees’ participation in training is adding to their knowledge of governance. They work closely with the principal and teachers to ensure their decisions are student-centred and inclusive of families and whānau.

Trustees and ERO agree that review at board level needs to include expected outcomes linked to each goal in the annual plan. This should enable closer evaluation of each goal’s progress and effectiveness.

The 2011 ERO review indicated that trustees and the principal should include an action plan for student achievement targets in reading, writing and mathematics in the charter. This continues to be an area for development.

The principal provides considered, consultative, student-centred leadership. Staff are a cohesive collegial team. They share ideas and use student achievement data and education research to reflect on how effectively their teaching practices are improving students’ learning. Decisions about their professional learning are clearly linked to students’ needs and classroom practices. The teacher appraisal process is focused on individual goals and the Registered Teacher Criteria. However, it could be further strengthened through:

  • teachers setting more specific goals
  • increasing the use of class observations to provide needs-based feedback.

Parents, families and whānau are welcomed and involved in school activities. They are valued partners in their children’s learning.

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.

In order to improve practice the board should ensure that procedures for regularly police-vetting non-teaching employees and contractors are established and implemented.

Conclusion

The school uses achievement information well to make positive changes to learners’ engagement, progress and achievement. The Pakowhai School Curriculum is responsive in its promotion and support of students’ learning. The school is well placed to sustain and improve its performance. The inclusion of outcomes in the school’s annual plan should further strengthen the board’s measurement of progress towards charter goals.

ERO is likely to carry out the next review in four-to-five years.index-html-m2a7690f7.gif

Joyce Gebbie

National Manager Review Services

Central Region

22 December 2014

About the School

Location

Napier

Ministry of Education profile number

2638

School type

Contributing (Years 1 to 6)

School roll

45

Gender composition

Male 26

Female 19

Ethnic composition

Māori

NZ European/Pākehā

Samoan

16

27

2

Review team on site

October 2014

Date of this report

22 December 2014

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

February 2012

September 2008

September 2005