Rawene School - 08/05/2013

1 Context

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

Rawene School, located on the shore of the Hokianga Harbour, values its place at the heart of a thriving northland community. Children from Year 1 to Year 8 benefit from a varied and interesting curriculum that provides opportunities for children to link with the local community and to explore the environment more widely. Many learning programmes, including sailing, surfing, fishing and other activities, are supported through the positive relationships that have been fostered with local community groups and agencies. The school values its bicultural heritage and uses community resource people extensively. Most Māori children are of Ngāpuhi descent and link to local hapū.

The principal models strong professional leadership. She works well in Māori and Pākehā domains and knows the families within this diverse community well. Students entering the school are made comfortable and a good foundation for learning is established in junior classrooms. Children of all abilities are supported well to learn and progress. Bilingual Māori classes at year 7 and 8 and the emphasis on te reo and tikanga Māori support Māori students to succeed.

The school has a happy and welcoming tone. Children are confident in powhiri. They enjoy positive relationships with their teachers and with each other. Regular professional development supports staff to be a team focused on improving teaching and learning practice. Trustees work together as a unified board with a clear purpose. That purpose is to take what is best from the school context and apply it to what is best for children, their progress and achievement.

2 Learning

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

The school uses student achievement information effectively to make positive changes to students' progress and achievement. Overall school achievement information indicates that students are generally progressing and achieving well. The number of students achieving below National Standard expectations has been reduced. There is accelerated progress for target children in reading writing and mathematics. Māori students who comprise seventy-four percent of the school roll are represented at all levels of achievement throughout the school.

The school has good quality systems for monitoring, tracking and using student achievement information. Features of these systems include:

  • a well chosen set of assessment tools that provide useful information
  • good quality and reliable data collated by the principal
  • teachers analysing assessment data together and using it to improve teaching
  • good target setting for identified individuals and groups of priority learners, with ongoing monitoring and reporting of progress against targets to the board.

Agreed next steps to further refine the quality of progress and achievement data include supporting teachers to:

  • monitor the progress of groups of students over time
  • increasingly focus on accelerating the progress of children of different abilities
  • increase their role in the overall analysis of achievement information to inform teaching
  • further develop assessment strategies in curriculum areas other than literacy and mathematics
  • enhance the clarity of reporting to parents on children’s progress against National Standards.

3 Curriculum

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

The school curriculum aims to give children the best start to learning. It has been developed through ongoing community consultation to put children and their strengths at the centre of learning. The curriculum makes authentic connections to children’s Māori and other heritage, local history, computers, local outdoor experiences and community resource people. Literacy and mathematics learning provide a sound basis for the school curriculum. The principal’s stated aim is to ‘hook’ children into learning with a range of interesting experiences and culturally responsive ways of teaching.

The curriculum is affirming of all students’ identity and specifically states that it will respond to children of Māori cultural backgrounds. Te reo Māori learning support is available at all levels of the school and is tailored to children’s different levels of fluency. Partnerships with parents and whānau have been enhanced through teachers’ involvement in professional development. Parents spoken to during the review, commented positively on their easy access to and involvement with teachers.

There is a good balance of experience and gender on the teaching staff. There are sound models of teaching practice and teachers enjoy working as a team to share skills and resources. They are well led by the principal. Their growing professionalism has been well supported through professional development, which is clearly evident in the quality of instruction in writing. Formative teaching practice, which was still developing at the time of the 2010 ERO review, is now very evident in classrooms, particularly in reading and writing.

There are clear expectations across the school to guide teacher planning and monitoring of student progress. Teachers make good use of assessment information to meet student learning needs. They are also meeting the needs of priority learners well through the use of individual education plans. Specific programmes designed for children who need additional support are well managed with effective planning and reporting of progress. Difference and cultural diversity are valued by teachers and this helps make the school an inclusive and supportive place for students to learn.

ERO and the school agree that areas for further development include extending students' opportunities for learning in science and music, and better integration of the learning areas of the New Zealand curriculum.

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

Māori students comprise seventy-four percent of the school roll. The many school practices that promote success for Māori students are identified in the body of this report.

4 Sustainable Performance

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

The school has some good systems for improving school performance. These include having:

  • experienced leadership and well informed board members
  • a collaborative teaching culture and thoughtful leadership by the principal
  • good systems to manage the operation of the school
  • transparent, open and consultative practices
  • detailed reporting on student progress and achievement to the board
  • good systems to support teachers’ development.

During the review, ERO, senior leaders and the board discussed the value of now strengthening self review at a governance level. While self review is strong at the management level, which includes curriculum, teaching and learning and policy review, it is not so strong at the strategic planning level. Board review of its own performance, and of the quality of implementation of strategic goals, are next steps for trustees. The identification of clear goals for the board's performance could further assist its self review.

The principal and board agree that further strengthening of school performance management processes are also necessary. The principal’s appraisal needs more objective rigour. Teachers share a very specific school wide goal and their appraisal against this goal is thorough and worthwhile. Teachers other personal professional development goals should, however, be more specific and measurable and appraised with equal thoroughness.

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.

The school currently reports to parents twice yearly on the progress of students against the National Standards. However, these reports should clearly show how students are achieving against the National Standards.

The board of trustees must ensure that they report to students and their parents on student progress and achievement in relation to the National Standards in plain language.[National Administration Guideline 2A(a)].

When is ERO likely to review the school again?

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

Dale Bailey National Manager Review Services Northern Region

8 May 2013

About the School

Location

Rawene, Northland

Ministry of Education profile number

1093

School type

Full Primary (Years 1 to 8)

School roll

94

Gender composition

Boys 56% Girls 44%

Ethnic composition

Māori

NZ European/Pākehā

Pacific

other

74%

18%

3%

5%

Review team on site

February 2013

Date of this report

8 May 2013

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

May 2010

January 2007

August 2003