Plateau School - 28/07/2015

Findings

Relationships are positive, supportive and affirming. Students are on task and engaged in their work. They enjoy success in academic, sporting, artistic, cultural or leadership activities. In 2014, a majority of students achieved at or above National Standards in reading, writing and mathematics.  Leaders continue to review and develop curriculum and assessment processes.

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

1 Context

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

Plateau School is located in Te Marua, a semi-rural district north of Upper Hutt. At the time of the review the roll was 160 students, with 20% identifying as Māori.

It is an active Enviro-School with a strong commitment to sustainable practice. The outdoor environment, including the extensive adjacent native bush area, is well used to promote and support student learning. A pre and post-school child care service is offered.

Plateau School is part of a Learning and Change Network to grow staff capability and enhance partnerships with families and whānau. Regular whole-school professional development, in writing (2014) and mathematics (2015), seeks to enhance teacher practice, student learning and achievement. School leaders continue to address matters identified in the June 2012 ERO report.

2 Learning

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

The school is developing its processes to effectively use student achievement information to promote engagement and learning.

School leaders report that a majority of students achieved at or above in relation to National Standards in reading, writing and mathematics in 2014. This information also shows that Māori students are achieving at similar levels to their peers in the school. Parents, families and whānau receive appropriate plain language reports on their children's progress and achievement.

The school uses a wide range of assessment tools to identify students’ progress and levels of achievement in reading, writing and mathematics. Achievement information is well used to inform schoolwide decision making, school targets and to identify students in need of additional help or extension. Teachers use data to guide planning, reflect on practice and group for instruction. Appropriate systems and interventions support students with special learning needs.

Teachers are collaboratively refining processes related to making overall teacher judgements. Leaders know the importance of regularly reviewing and adjusting moderation practice to further improve consistency and reliability.

School leaders recognise the importance of continuing to focus on developing teachers' use of student achievement information. Ongoing professional development to support the consistent, deeper analysis and use of classroom data should enhance teacher planning to meet identified student needs. This should also strengthen teachers’ ability to monitor progress and evaluate the impact of teaching strategies and programmes.

3 Curriculum

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

Students’ learning is well supported by the broad curriculum. There are many opportunities for students to participate and celebrate success in academic, sporting, artistic, cultural or leadership activities.

School leaders are developing a new curriculum framework to underpin all aspects of school life. A range of voices have contributed to key aspects of the Plateau School approach. There is a strong literacy and numeracy focus throughout the curriculum document.

Teachers maintain positive, supportive and affirming relationships with their students. A range of appropriate strategies is used to engage students with learning. Staff have a collective focus on, and responsibility for student wellbeing.

A robust system supports teacher reflection on practice that is research and evidence based. These reflections contribute to whole-staff professional discussion. There is ongoing, externally facilitated, schoolwide professional development programme on effective teaching and assessment of mathematics.

Leaders recognise the importance of continuing the review and development of the overarching curriculum framework as identified in the 2012 ERO report. It is important that this review develops clearly articulated expectations for systems and processes to implement integrate and monitor:

  • school values, key competencies and principles of The New Zealand Curriculum
  • the use of local contexts, knowledge and experiences
  • expectations for the inclusion of te ao Māori and bicultural practices in schemes and unit plans
  • culturally-responsive teaching practices
  • the coverage of all learning areas and initiatives such as Enviro-Schools.

Having specific indicators for best practice in each of these areas should promote shared understanding, common approaches and the effective evaluation of outcomes.

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

The school values aspects of tikanga Māori. A range of strategies is in place to build Māori students’ sense of belonging. These include kapa haka, leadership roles and schoolwide timetabled te reo Māori classes. Regular whānau hui give Māori parents opportunities to contribute to school programmes and future direction.

School leaders have begun investigating Ministry of Education documents Ka Hikitia - Accelerating Success 2013-2017 and Tātaiako: Cultural Competencies for Teachers of Māori Learners to help review and define culturally-responsive teaching practices to support Māori students. Key strategies have recently been to be given prominence in the school’s strategic and annual planning.

4 Sustainable Performance

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

School leaders recognise that continuing to address a number of areas identified in this report will leave them better placed to sustain and improve their performance.

Board members bring a range of skills and valuable community links to their governance role. They access appropriate, targeted training and focus on student achievement and improvement. School leaders are enthusiastic and passionate about their school and its students. There is a collective commitment to growing and developing teaching practice and staff capability.

The school has a positive, affirming and highly supportive culture that is inclusive and welcoming. The holistic wellbeing of each student is a priority. Parents, whānau and community are highly supportive, with large numbers actively involved in many aspects of school life.

Trustees and leaders have identified, and ERO agrees, that rationalising and aligning significant aspects of school operation is a priority. Key points include:

  • clearly defining and communicating expected purpose, framework and outcomes for initiatives and change
  • evaluating the impact of these changes, initiatives and processes to ensure positive developments are embedded and sustained
  • managing the move from paper-based to online systems to ensure procedures are well monitored and appropriately completed.

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

Relationships are positive, supportive and affirming. Students are on task and engaged in their work. They enjoy success in academic, sporting, artistic, cultural or leadership activities. In 2014, a majority of students achieved at or above National Standards in reading, writing and mathematics. Leaders continue to review and develop curriculum and assessment processes.

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

Joyce Gebbie
Deputy Chief Review Officer Central

28 July 2015

School Statistics

Location

Te Marua, Upper Hutt

Ministry of Education profile number

2959

School type

Contributing (Years 1 to 6)

School roll

160

Gender composition

Female 51%, Male 49%

Ethnic composition

NZ European/Pākehā
Māori
Pacific
Other ethnic groups

73%
20%
  3%
  4%

Review team on site

June 2015

Date of this report

28 July 2015

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review
Education Review
Education Review

June 2012
May 2009
April 2006