Stoke School - 03/07/2013

1 Context

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

Stoke School, in Nelson, caters for children in Years 1 to 6. The roll includes 27% Māori students and 5% from Pacific nations.

A strong sense of honouring New Zealand’s bicultural heritage is evident in the school. Teachers and trustees place importance on inclusive practice and a culture of respect for all. Students demonstrate the school’s values and enact the catchphrase “We’re stoked!” in their sense of belonging and enthusiasm for school.

Parents, whānau and members of the community are highly involved in the life of the school. They contribute to a wide range of activities and initiatives supporting students to experience success.

Trustees and leaders have built strong community links and have successfully acquired funding for recent property developments and other initiatives. Classrooms and outdoor areas have been recently renovated.

School personnel have supported the development of an onsite playcentre to boost early childhood participation and engagement with families of preschoolers.

The board, leaders and teachers have responded well to the recommendations of the 2010 May ERO report. Professional development programmes for teachers and involvement with a Student Achievement Function Practitioner (SAFP) from the Ministry of Education have sharpened the focus of teachers and leaders on student achievement, particularly for underachieving students.

2 Learning

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

Teachers appropriately identify students who are achieving below in relation to the National Standards. A wide range of support is provided to address their learning needs. Teachers collaborate with families and external specialists to support students’ learning and holistic wellbeing. Leaders regularly monitor the progress of underachieving learners and evaluate the impact of programmes in place to support them. Evaluations show that they are effective for many of these students.

The school’s achievement information suggests that there has been some good growth in the overall percentages of students achieving at and above against the National Standards. The general achievement pattern for Māori students shows similar steady progress.

There are clear guidelines for teachers about the use of assessment. School leaders use National Standards information to report regularly to the board of trustees about student achievement and progress in literacy and mathematics. Information is analysed and target groups are clearly identified for future planning, monitoring and teaching. Teachers use assessment to inform families about their children’s achievement and progress.

Effective self review, clear strategic planning and successful school-wide initiatives promote ongoing positive engagement for students and their families. These include Positive Behaviour for Learning and SAFP-supported projects.

ERO’s evaluation found very good levels of student engagement, evidenced by:

  • positive and respectful interactions between students
  • happy, welcoming and enthusiastic student behaviours
  • positive engagement data (for example, attendance, stand-downs, consultation surveys)
  • students working purposefully in lessons
  • students who are clearly proud of their school and participate confidently in cultural activities and bicultural traditions.

Agreed priorities

ERO and leaders agree that their priorities are to continue to:

  • refine assessment analysis so that the strengths and needs of both specific students and groups of learners are always clear and can be used more effectively to inform planning
  • find ways to increase student responsibility for their learning so they are clear about what they need to learn.

3 Curriculum

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

A range of curriculum processes and practices contributes to positive learning experiences for students.

The development of the Stoke School Curriculum has been thorough and well considered. There is a sense of collective ownership with teachers, students, whānau and trustees having ongoing input into the design of the curriculum. It is flexible and provides scope for responsiveness to both the local context and student needs. Literacy and numeracy are clear priorities for teaching and learning.

Teachers use a range of effective teaching strategies to engage students and promote their learning. They are affirming, warm and respectful towards students. Teachers effectively support students to work independently and follow routines well. The school values of respect, responsibility and safety are seen and heard around the school. Strong relationships at all levels and the concepts of manākitanga and whanaungatanga are promoted, pursued and evident.

Some teachers skilfully and naturally integrate te reo Māori into classroom programmes and there is some reflection of te ao Māori around the school. Through self review teachers have recognised that they need to extend the reflection of tikanga Māori throughout the curriculum. ERO affirms this next step and teachers should continue to find ways to reflect the cultures of Pacific students and other nationalities represented in the school.

As a result of parent consultation some strong processes have been developed to support positive transitions to intermediate school.

Clear, documented guidelines support teachers to have shared curriculum understandings. Many effective processes are in place to help teachers to improve their practice. These include a robust performance management system, collaborative teacher inquiry and a range of professional learning opportunities.

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

There are strong partnerships between the school and whānau that are focused on supporting learning and student wellbeing. Māori students are full participants in all aspects of school life. Leaders, teachers and trustees are highly committed to improving achievement and success for Māori students. The school has developed effective processes for consulting appropriately with whānau.

A successful strategic focus has contributed to improved engagement for Māori students and their families. A sound foundation has been established to build teachers’ cultural awareness and competencies. Clear action plans, thorough self review and well-considered approaches should provide ongoing support for teachers and lead to improved success for Māori learners.

4 Sustainable Performance

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

Stoke School is very well placed to sustain and improve its performance. Factors promoting sustainability and capacity-building include:

  • a shared vision and collective culture of commitment to improving outcomes for all students that are supported by well-aligned plans, systems and actions
  • effective governance. The board governs strategically and reflectively. Documented guidelines support shared understanding about governance roles and responsibilities. Trustees are well informed about outcomes for students, particularly priority learners. They make good use of achievement information to set relevant improvement targets
  • positive community engagement. The principal and trustees continue to consult well with parents, whānau, students and staff
  • effective leadership. The principal is improvement-focused and leads a coordinated and collegial approach to improving outcomes for students. He has appropriately identified the need to distribute school leadership more and make good use of teachers’ strengths
  • a robust appraisal process to support teacher development and student achievement
  • the ongoing use of evaluation and self review to sustain and improve school performance.

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.

When is ERO likely to review the school again?

ERO is likely to carry out the next review in four-to-five years

Joyce Gebbie

National Manager Review Services Central Region (Acting)

3 July 2013

About the School

Location

Stoke, Nelson

Ministry of Education profile number

3223

School type

Contributing Primary (Years 1 to 6)

School roll

196

Gender composition

Male 49%, Female 51%

Ethnic composition

NZ European/Pākehā

Māori

Pacific

Other ethnic groups

63%

27%

5%

5%

Review team on site

April 2013

Date of this report

3 July 2013

Most recent ERO reports

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

May 2010

May 2007

September 2003