Reporoa School - 12/05/2015

Findings

Students at Reporoa School experience a broad range of educational experiences, including traditional country school events. The school is well resourced and classrooms settled and productive. Achievement levels are comparable to national averages. Trustees are working with the principal to strengthen relationships and communication in the school.

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?

Reporoa Primary School is a contributing primary catering for students in Years 1 to 6 from the township of Reporoa and surrounding rural areas. The student roll has remained stable since the 2012 ERO report and is currently 100. The proportion of students who identify as Māori has increased to approximately half, and a majority of them whakapapa to the two local iwi Ngāti Whaoa and Ngāti Tāhu.

School leadership has remained stable, with the experienced principal and deputy principal continuing to provide guidance for curriculum development and promote participation in local and regional educational networks. There have been significant changes of staff since the last ERO review. The chairperson of the board and most of the trustees are new to their governance roles since the last elections in 2013. Trustees have undertaken considerable training related to their responsibilities and sought external advice and guidance as appropriate.

The school’s aim is to ‘foster children’s confidence, curiosity and creativity so they develop as connected, caring people’. Strategic priorities reflected in the school charter include the further development of the ‘Positive Behaviour for Learning’ (PB4L) project, information and communication technologies and raising achievement levels of all students, including Māori.

The board of trustees is seeking a more productive partnership with the principal to fully implement the areas of review and development identified in the 2010 and 2012 ERO reports. These are yet to be effectively actioned. The leadership of change for sustained improvement, and the use of achievement information to report student progress over time and to evaluate initiatives remain areas for strengthening.

2 Learning

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

The school has made effective use of achievement information in 2015 to make positive changes to learners’ engagement, progress and achievement.

The school collects a range of appropriate student achievement information using a number of standardised and norm-referenced assessment tools. Teachers use this to inform their planning and to establish learning and ability-based groups within their classes. They work collaboratively to report to parents about student achievement in relation to National Standards. The school signed up to the PaCT tool for writing in 2014. The tool is used across three senior classes to moderate Overall Teacher Judgements (OTJs) under the direction of the deputy principal.  The school has introduced PaCT because of difficulties with teacher consistency in determining OTJs but will not know the usefulness of the tool until the end of 2015 when final OTJs are made.  

Students and teachers are beginning to develop portfolios that contain samples of work in them, which can be shared at parents meetings. School leaders analyse achievement data to identify students in need of additional support in their learning. These students receive useful support provided by a team of dedicated teacher aides in the classrooms and through specific interventions. An important next step is for teachers and school leaders to strengthen the monitoring and reporting of the progress of these learners during the year and as they move through the school.

School data from the end of 2014 indicates that the proportion of students achieving at or above the appropriate National Standard in reading and mathematics is comparable to national averages. The proportion achieving at or above National Standards in writing is slightly below national averages. The same data shows that in general, girls are achieving at higher levels than boys, and Māori student achievement is below that of non-Māori.

School leaders make recommendations to the board about resource allocations in line with strategic priorities. They report about student achievement for each year level, and provide advice relating to setting targets, which include the progress of Māori students and those at risk of not achieving to their potential. There is limited evidence of how effective this target setting is, in promoting sustained improvement in educational outcomes for the students involved.

Student achievement information is analysed and reported, predominantly, within the current school year. There remains the expectation that student progress from year to year should be effectively analysed, shared with teachers, and reported to parents and trustees. This development would allow more robust and evidence-based evaluation of programme and school effectiveness.

3 Curriculum

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

The school’s curriculum effectively promotes and supports student learning.

The school’s curriculum is well designed and provides a broad range of academic, sporting, cultural and social learning experiences for students. Students and their families have established a strong sense of pride and belonging, especially as they enjoy participation in traditional rural activities such as Pet Day. Staff and students know each other very well, and the caring relationships that are evident between them contribute to a safe, inclusive and welcoming atmosphere. The recent implementation of the Ministry of Education (MoE) initiative PB4L is further enhancing the culture of the school.

There are close links, and increasing cooperation, between the school, local early childhood centres and the nearby college. The curriculum is effectively supported by the physical environments. At the start of 2015, the school started an attractive reception room to support new entrants as they transition into school. Classrooms are well resourced, and the outside areas are very well maintained and presented, with spacious grounds, mature trees and a swimming pool.

Teachers establish and maintain affirming and mutually respectful relationships with students. Classrooms are settled and productive, with high levels of student engagement in learning programmes observed by the review team. There are many examples of effective formative practice where the purpose of learning is shared, structured feedback given to students, and open questioning to extend understanding used. The school maintains a strong focus on literacy and mathematics skills for students, and this is complemented by termly integrated topics that incorporate other curriculum areas. The effective use of information technologies to enhance student learning and progress is at an early stage of development.

School leaders provide well-documented guidelines for teaching and daily operations. They use analysis of achievement data and information from the performance management programme to identify priorities for teacher development. Teachers are encouraged and supported to record reflections on their practice and relevant professional readings they have done. Currently, school priorities are to raise the levels of success in writing, and use positive language to support high expectations for student learning and success.

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

The promotion of educational success for Māori as Māori is becoming increasingly important for the school, as the proportion of Māori and the roll increases. The two local iwi give direct practical support to Māori students who whakapapa to Ngāti Whaoa or Ngāti Tahu. A recently returning teacher, who is Māori, brings strong links to local iwi, and she supports other teachers to develop their knowledge and confidence in te reo and tikanga Māori. There is Māori representation on the board of trustees.

All students have had the opportunity to visit and learn about places of significance to Māori in the local area. Junior and senior kapa haka groups practice each week, and enjoyed considerable success in 2014 cultural events. These important activities provide the opportunity for the whānau of Māori students to contribute to their child’s educational success.

The next step is for the school to develop more productive partnerships with the whānau of their Māori students, as described in the MoE Ka Hikitia document. These partnerships would provide greater opportunities for whānau to increase their positive role and contribution to Māori success, as Māori. In addition, the school is yet to implement a clearly structured programme to guide the learning of te reo and tikanga in the school.

4 Sustainable Performance

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

The school is well placed to sustain and improve its performance. The following factors support the school to improve its performance:

  • trustees bring a range of skills and expertise to their governance role
  • the involvement of the principal, staff and the whole school in supportive local educational networks
  • the continuing support of the parent and wider community who maintain a strong sense of identification with the school

Key next steps

The important and urgent challenge for the school is to improve the quality and effectiveness of the principal’s relationships with trustees and parents.

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.

Recommendations to other agencies

That the Ministry of Education maintain close liaison in support of the board of trustees to address the matters identified in this report.

Conclusion

Students at Reporoa School experience a broad range of educational experiences, including traditional country school events. The school is well resourced and classrooms settled and productive. Achievement levels are comparable to national averages. Trustees are working with the principal to strengthen relationships and communication in the school.

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

Dale Bailey

Deputy Chief Review Officer Northern

12 May 2015

About the School

Location

Reporoa, Waikato

Ministry of Education profile number

1923

School type

Contributing (Years 1 to 6)

School roll

100

Gender composition

Boys 50% Girls 50%

Ethnic composition

Māori

Pākehā

Samoan

Indian

Other European

48%

47%

3%

1%

1%

Review team on site

March 2015

Date of this report

12 May 2015

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

May 2012

May 2010

May 2007