Puriri School - 16/08/2016

1 Context

Puriri School is a sole charge rural primary school near Thames that provides education for children from Years 1 to 8. The school has a roll of 24 children, 3 of whom are Māori. A new principal was appointed in April 2015 and a principal release teacher was recently appointed. The principal is currently participating in professional development for first time principals. The school is a member of the newly formed Thames Community of Learners, a group of eight schools, who will work in collaboration to raise the achievement of children who are underachieving. Two new trustees have been appointed to the board of trustees in the past year.

2 Equity and excellence

The vision and valued outcomes defined by the school are for all children to achieve their potential. These outcomes are underpinned by the school's values, Be True - Kia Pono (trust, respect, understanding, equity). The school has a commitment to work in partnership with whānau, friends, teachers and children to support each child.

The school’s achievement information shows that in 2014 and 2015, all Māori children achieved National Standards in reading and mathematics, and almost all in writing. Data for other children indicated that a very small number achieved below National Standards in reading and mathematics, with a slightly larger number underachieving in writing. From 2013 to 2015, there has been a steady increase in the number of children achieving at and above National Standards in reading and mathematics, and smaller increases in writing. There are more boys than girls achieving at expected levels in all areas.

The principal has participated in professional development in relation to making accurate judgements about children's overall achievement. She is participating in recent meetings to compare these judgements with other local schools.

Since the last ERO evaluation the school has benefited from initiatives implemented by the new principal to promote equitable and excellence outcomes for Māori and other children. These include:

  • developing a positive school culture and improving the physical environment of the school
  • the introduction of systems and processes to gather and analyse achievement information
  • programmes based on children's individual interests and strengths
  • the provision of additional support for at risk learners
  • the documentation of the school's curriculum, including priority on the teaching of literacy and mathematics. 

3 Accelerating achievement

How effectively does this school respond to children whose learning and achievement need acceleration?

Under the leadership of the new principal, the school is implementing useful strategies to respond to children whose learning and achievement need acceleration.

The principal effectively uses appropriate systems and processes to gather and analyse achievement information. This information identifies children at risk of underachievement. The recent implementation of a student management system should enable teachers to identify progress over time. The principal has identified a need to continue building the robustness and reliability of overall teacher judgements through continued shared moderation and the use of the Progress and Consistency Tool (PaCT).  

Achievement information is shared with the board of trustees (BoT), who set annual targets to raise student achievement. This data shows some children made accelerated progress in 2015. There is a need for the BOT to strengthen their ability to scrutinise achievement information and evaluate the effectiveness of the interventions in accelerating children’s achievement.

The principal is focusing on a holistic approach to reduce learning barriers for targeted children. This includes a focus on motor skills and cognitive development, and what children do well and enjoy. Both strategies are contributing to an increase in children's engagement and success in learning. The principal and teacher should now use assessment information on a deeper level in order to identify the gaps in the learning of individual children. This should then enable teachers to plan specifically, and teach more deliberately, to accelerate the progress of these children.

An experienced teacher aide implements a small range of intervention programmes in reading and writing. In the classroom, teachers have developed individual learning programmes for some of the targeted children and have identified learning goals in writing and mathematics. The principal recognises the need to strengthen the involvement of children and their parents in identifying achievement, monitoring progress and determining next steps for learning. This should lead to increased levels of ownership, understanding of specific learning needs, and how teachers, children and parents can work together to make a difference.

4 School conditions

How effectively do the school’s curriculum and other organisational processes and practices develop and enact the school’s vision, values, goals and targets for equity and excellence?

The school's curriculum and other organisational practices and processes are contributing more positively to the development and enactment of the school's vision and values.

The school has successfully improved children’s wellbeing and pride in their school. The school values, and motto, 'Where tiny seeds grow into proud Puriri trees' are well understood by all members of the school community. The school environment has improved with a new playground and regular maintenance. These initiatives are contributing to higher levels of children’s engagement in, and more positive attitudes towards, their learning.

The board has made strategic decisions when appointing school staff. They have employed personnel who have specific and complementary skills to support the principal and the school's targets for equity and excellence.

The school community participated in useful consultation to support the development of the school's curriculum. This has resulted in a curriculum that provides meaningful contexts for learning and teaching to engage children. The curriculum also reflects the community's priorities and aspirations of Māori and other parents.

The principal places priority on building reciprocal relationships with parents and the provision of a supportive and inclusive school culture. Parents appreciate the support their children receive and the ongoing informal sharing of information about their progress and achievement. The principal recognises the need to continue building formal partnerships for learning, particularly with parents of Māori and other children at risk of underachieving.

The principal has participated in professional learning and development to build her leadership knowledge and capacity. She has established professional networks that provide advice and guidance. These links provide valuable support to build the school's capability to realise its vision and goals for equity and excellence.

In the past twelve months, the school has prioritised the improvement of the school culture, policies and processes, strategic planning and the school curriculum. The school acknowledges that a coordinated approach to internal evaluation and inquiry at all levels of the school will strengthen the effectiveness of all school operations.

5 Going forward

How well placed is the school to accelerate the achievement of all children who need it?

Leaders and teachers:

  • know the children whose learning and achievement need to be accelerated
  • respond to the strengths, needs and interests of each child
  • regularly evaluate how teaching is working for these children
  • need to systematically act on what they know works for each child
  • need to have a plan in place to build teacher capability to accelerate the achievement of all children who need it.

Strengths of the school in working to achieve and sustain equitable and excellent outcomes for all children are:

  • a well-resourced and supportive environment for learning and teaching
  • a commitment to accelerate the progress of children who are not yet meeting National Standards
  • high level of parental support for the school
  • continue building on the recent improvements to school goals, plans, processes and programmes.

Ongoing priorities for review and development for Puriri School are to strengthen:

  • the analysis, scrutiny and use of achievement information to implement effective differentiated interventions to accelerate individual children’s achievement
  • the involvement of children and their parents/whānau in a stronger partnership for learning, based on specific learning needs
  • ·         strategic self review to enable the school to monitor and evaluate the effectiveness of interventions against measurable targets, and all aspects of school performance.

Action: The board, principal and teachers should use the findings of this evaluation, the Effective School Evaluation resource, the Internal Evaluation: Good Practice exemplars and the School Evaluation Indicators to develop a Raising Achievement Plan to further develop processes and practices that respond effectively to the strengths and needs of children whose learning and achievement need to be accelerated.

As part of this review ERO will continue to monitor the school’s Raising Achievement plan and the progress the school makes. ERO is likely to carry out the next full review in three years.

6 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 the following:

  • board administration
  • curriculum
  • management of health, safety and welfare
  • personnel management
  • asset management.

During the review, ERO checked the following items because they have a potentially high impact on student safety and wellbeing:

  • emotional safety of students (including prevention of bullying and sexual harassment)
  • physical safety of students
  • teacher registration
  • processes for appointing staff
  • stand down, suspensions, expulsions and exclusions
  • attendance
  • compliance with the provisions of the Vulnerable Children Act 2014

7 Recommendation

The board and principal seek relevant training and professional development to fulfil the intent of the Review and Action Plan to support the accelerated progress of children whose learning and achievement need acceleration. 

Lynda Pura-Watson
Deputy Chief Review Officer

16 August 2016

About the school 

Location

Thames

Ministry of Education profile number

1911

School type

Full Primary (Years 1 to 8)

School roll

24

Gender composition

Boys 13
Girls 11

Ethnic composition

Pākehā
Māori
Other

17
  3
  4

Review team on site

May 2016

Date of this report

16 August 2016

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review
Education Review
Education Review

May 2013
August 2010
October 2007