Pukeokahu School - 14/06/2016

Findings

Ongoing staff change continues to impact on sustaining improvement. Trustees have gained experience, but still need external support to develop procedures. Assessment practice and systems to monitor student progress and achievement are limited. Underachievement of students is evident. External support is recommended to make the required improvements.

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?

Pukeokahu School is a small Years 1 to 8 school located 30 kilometres east of Taihape. Of the 13 students presently attending, five are Māori. The school is the focus of the rural community.

ERO’s November 2014 review noted that students were learning in a calm environment where positive relationships were evident. A new principal had been appointed and there was an urgent need to develop a curriculum and sustainable systems and processes to support ongoing improvements in teaching and learning.

ERO recommended that the board and principal seek Ministry of Education (MoE) support to address matters raised in the report and decided to carry out a review over the course of 1 to 2 years.

The MoE and New Zealand School Trustees Association (STA) provided support during the two years.

The principal resigned at the end of term 1, 2016. At this stage, the board has not appointed a new principal. Two relieving principals have been engaged to share this position in term 2.

2 Review and Development

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

Priorities identified for review and development

The ERO November 2014 report identified the following priorities for the principal and board to develop and improve:

  • achievement in mathematics
  • teachers' analysis and use of assessment information to plan and teach to students’ identified strengths and needs
  • assessment procedures to provide more reliable student achievement data
  • the Pukeokahu School curriculum
  • consultation to develop a shared understanding and approach to extending Māori educational success
  • understanding of trustees' roles and responsibilities including engaging in board training
  • the teacher appraisal process
  • maintaining an ongoing programme of self-review in relation to policies, plans and programmes
  • demonstrating that health and safety requirements were met.

Progress

The support provided by the MoE and STA has enabled some progress over the past two years. Staffing has remained stable, and trustees are more experienced. They have attended a number of training sessions and are more aware of their stewardship role.

The classroom environment is settled and students are engaged in the set tasks. There are positive interactions. Students demonstrate enthusiasm and enjoyment in kapa haka.

Wide community consultation facilitated the development of an updated charter that includes school values and a graduate profile.

Further progress has been made on developing a Pukeokahu School curriculum.

With STA support, the board has begun to review the policy framework and there is now evidence of regular review and recording of health and safety monitoring.

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 not well placed to sustain and continue to improve and review its performance. The current principal has resigned and the board has not yet appointed a new principal.

The Pukeokahu School curriculum is still in draft form and has not been completed.

Some progress in students’ reading, writing and mathematics achievement is evident, but accelerated progress for all students is required for them to reach their potential, especially in mathematics and writing. No students are achieving above National Standards in writing and mathematics. The board’s annual plan should have a more focused goal on acceleration for all students.

Teachers need to make in-depth use of standardised tests and wider moderation to inform their overall teacher judgements when assessing students' achievement in relation to the National Standards.

The principal has been appraised by an external appraiser who provided positive support and guidance. The appraisal includes input from teachers and trustees. However, the appraisal does not clearly show that each of the practising teacher criteria has been met. There is also a need for all teachers to retain a record of evidence to demonstrate inquiry into their practice.

Other teaching and non-teaching staff have not been appraised in 2016.

The STA has provided helpful support but this contract has now ended. The guidance has not yet had the desired results. For example, the policy framework is incomplete and key procedures related to health and safety have not been appropriately updated.

The board must urgently review its employment procedures prior to appointing a new principal. In particular, the procedures must meet the expectations of the Vulnerable Children Act, 2014.

The board has developed a review schedule and work plan. This positive development will help key tasks to be actioned in a timely manner. However, the board should review its self-review policy and procedures and facilitate effective internal evaluation.

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 course of the review several areas of non-compliance were identified. In order to meet requirements, the board of trustees must:

  • through the principal and staff, develop and implement a curriculum for students in Years 1 to 8 to provide students with effective learning programmes in all curriculum areas
    [National Administration Guideline 1 (a)i, (b) i,ii, (c),(d),(f)]
  • maintain an on-going programme of self-review in relation to policies, plans and programmes
    [National Administration Guideline 2 (b)]
  • develop and implement personnel policies that promote high levels of staff performance
    [NAG 3]
  • ensure staff appraisals are completed and improvement focused and are consistent with the Education Council Aotearoa New Zealand expectations.
    [s77C State Sector Act 1988 and NAG 3. Part 31 Education Amendment Act 2015].

4 Recommendations

ERO recommends that the Ministry of Education consider providing support for the school to:

  • assist the newly-appointed principal and teacher to further develop, embed and sustain effective teaching, learning and assessment practices that promote equity and excellence for all students
  • develop a Pukeokahu School curriculum that is aligned with The New Zealand Curriculum
  • develop, embed and sustain high quality governance capability.

Conclusion

Ongoing staff change continues to impact on sustaining improvement. Trustees have gained experience, but still need external support to develop procedures. Assessment practice and systems to monitor student progress and achievement are limited. Underachievement of students is evident. External support is recommended to make the required improvements.

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

Joyce Gebbie

Deputy Chief Review Officer Central

14 June 2016

About the School

Location

Taihape

Ministry of Education profile number

2428

School type

Full Primary (Years 1 to 8)

School roll

13

Gender composition

Female 9, Male 4

Ethnic composition

Pākehā

Māori

8

5

Review team on site

April 2016

Date of this report

14 June 2016

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

November 2014

April 2012

January 2009