Patea Area School - 14/09/2015

Findings

Following a period of change, Patea Area School is better placed to make positive changes to learners’ engagement, progress and achievement. Continuing to build the capability of teachers and leaders to implement, manage and review planned developments to the curriculum should help to improve equity and excellence of outcomes for all students.

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

1 Background and Context

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

Patea Area School is coeducational and provides for students from Year 1 to 13. The roll of 150, of which 77% of the students identify as Māori, is drawn from Patea, Waverley and surrounding districts of South Taranaki.

The November 2012 ERO review of the school found a range of concerns impacting on students' engagement, progress and achievement. ERO decided to undertake a 1 to 2 year review process to evaluate the school's progress in making necessary improvements. The Ministry of Education (MoE) has supported the school over this time, providing some interventions and programmes to assist review and development. A Student Achievement Function practitioner has been appointed by the MoE to address some areas of concern. The school has participated in a range of externally facilitated professional development.

In mid 2014, the MoE appointed a Limited Statutory Manager (LSM) to oversee personnel and curriculum. He continues to work with the school staff and the board of trustees.

An acting principal was appointed for Terms 2 and 3 of 2015. Trustees are beginning a process that will lead to the appointment of a new principal.

Most of the areas identified for improvement identified in the previous ERO report have not been sufficiently addressed and remain in need of review and development. The acting principal has provided professional leadership to plan and begin to establish systems and processes that have the potential to build capability, support organisational change and improve outcomes for students.

2 Review and Development

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

Priorities identified for review and development

In November 2012 the following areas were identified for improvement:

  • engagement, progress and achievement for all students
  • curriculum review and development
  • teachers use of achievement information to improve progress and achievement
  • the quality of teaching and how effectively it responds to students strengths and needs, in particular learners who require accelerated progress
  • processes and systems that build professional capability
  • effective leadership and governance
  • internal evaluation of the impact of strategies and initiatives
  • the quality of strategic planning and target setting.

Progress

The acting principal is providing a clear direction for the school. A strengthened and carefully considered approach to planning has been initiated, supported by wide consultation. Strategies to implement and support the existing key goals have been introduced. Changes are being managed in a timely, sensitive and measured manner. An increase in momentum towards improving outcomes for students is evident.

Through consultation early in 2015 the school has developed and introduced the shared values of participation, respect, integrity, diversity and excellence (PRIDE). These should support teachers to develop a positive learning environment. The values are becoming more explicit in daily school activities.

A student mentoring programme has recently been introduced, intended to promote a more individualised approach to supporting learning and wellbeing. Parents are better informed about their child’s achievement and are involved in goal setting.

Closer tracking and monitoring of data is providing a clearer picture of how well students are making progress. Modified achievement targets reflect increased expectations for students to reach their potential. In the newly established curriculum and assessment meetings, teachers discuss student progress and plan strategies for helping students whose learning is of concern.

Clear expectations for systems and processes have been introduced. Guidelines to inform how teachers can better use assessment information to analyse and report achievement are now in place. Teachers are continuing to develop their ability to make accurate assessments and overall teacher judgements in relation to National Standards

New systems and processes have been developed to support teachers and leaders to build their capability and understanding of how to be more effective. School leaders have addressed the lack of a suitable performance management process. The recently introduced appraisal system is in a developmental phase. Opportunities for staff to share good practice in school have increased, and a range of external providers facilitate whole school professional learning. The school has increased the provision of digital technologies available to teachers.

Trustees are developing a greater understanding of their governance roles and responsibilities through support and training. They indicate that there is increased involvement of parents and whānau in school activities, and express a goal of strengthening partnerships that support students to improve learning.

The attendance and retention of students have not improved since the previous report and continue to be areas of concern that have a significant impact on students’ achievement. Trustees need to consider including targets and actions for their improvement as part of annual planning.

Key next steps

To significantly strengthen how teachers use data to improve engagement, progress and achievement leaders and teachers need to review and develop:

  • the use of appropriate assessment tools to provide reliable and accurate data across all year levels to determine achievement and rates of progress
  • how well teachers respond to students individual learning needs and use strategies to accelerate their progress
  • evaluation practice to determine what makes the biggest difference to children’s learning.

Leaders have established that the curriculum requires a thorough and systematic review. The development of a new curriculum framework should include:

  • close alignment to The New Zealand Curriculum principles
  • cohesive and relevant student pathways to success from Years 1 to 13
  • responding to individual needs and strengths and support for students to reach their potential
  • a strong focus on building literacy and numeracy skills across the school.

Teachers and leaders need to build their professional capability to improve how well they respond to students' individual needs. To further strengthen the newly introduced appraisal process and provide the necessary support for teachers to improve this should include:

  • clear expectations for what is effective teaching practice at Patea Area School
  • close reference to the Practising Teacher Criteria and Tātaiako - Cultural Competencies for Teachers of Māori Learners.
  • professional learning in response to teachers' individual needs and whole-school priorities.

3 Sustainable performance and self review

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

Patea Area School is developing its capacity to sustain, continue to improve and review its performance. Some improvements have been made that form a base for further development. New plans, systems and processes have been designed to provide a framework that promotes improved outcomes for students.

Guidance for self review and internal evaluation are in place, and a culture of ongoing inquiry is being promoted. Students’ voice is valued and increasingly provides useful information for review.

During this review, ERO, trustees and leaders discussed development of an action plan that addresses improvement in the three priority areas. Defining indicators of good practice to support the evaluation of success should be an important aspect of this plan.

Key next steps

The school needs to further develop its expertise to inquire into practice, evaluate its impact and build organisational and system knowledge about what makes the difference for student learning.

A crucial next step is to continue to build the capability of teachers and leaders across the school to implement, embed, monitor and evaluate the impact of change on improving equity and excellence of outcomes for all 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.

During the review areas of non-compliance were identified. The board of trustees must:

  1. Implement suitable human resource management practices including regular appraisal of staff
    [section 77A State Sector Act; Good practice; MoE Guidelines]
  2. Establish and implement procedures for the Police vetting of employees and contractors
    [Education Act 1989 Sections 78C to 78D]

In order to improve practice the board should:

  • ensure it has a comprehensive, recently reviewed set of policies and procedures that reflect current best practice, guide future practice and satisfy legislative requirements
  • ensure all policies are fully implemented
  • ensure all teachers have appropriate registration status
  • consult with the community to develop the health curriculum
  • use attendance information to set targets and make plans to improve student engagement at the school.

4 Recommendations to other agencies

ERO recommends that the Ministry of Education consider providing support for the board in order to bring about improvements to:

  • the quality of teaching
  • leadership across the school
  • use of student achievement information to improve learning
  • curriculum development
  • internal evaluation
  • governance

Conclusion

Following a period of change, Patea Area School is better placed to make positive changes to learners’ engagement, progress and achievement. Continuing to build the capability of teachers and leaders to implement, manage and review planned developments to the curriculum should help to improve equity and excellence of outcomes for all students.

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

Joyce Gebbie
Deputy Chief Review Officer Central

About the School

Location

Patea

Ministry of Education profile number

185

School type

Composite (Years 1 to 13)

School roll

112

Gender composition

Female 51%, Male 49%

Ethnic composition

Māori
Pākehā
Pacific
Asian

72%
23%
  1%
  4%

Review team on site

August 2015

Date of this report

14 September 2015

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review
Education Review
Education Review

November 2012
September 2009
June 2006