Tisbury School - 01/07/2015

Findings

The school provide a curriculum responsive to students’ interests, needs and cultures. Teachers know their students well as learners and students have a very good awareness of their achievement levels. School planning is based on identified key priorities with a specific focus on raising student achievement and ensuring a supportive and appropriate environment for learning.

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

1. Context

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

Tisbury School is a small semi-rural school providing education for students in Years 1 to 6. The school’s vision is that with support of family its students will become confident, resourceful, life-long learners. The school’s curriculum places an emphasis on literacy and mathematical learning.

There were a number of changes in teaching staff at the beginning of 2015. The school is appropriately focusing on ensuring that teachers have a shared understanding of the school’s vision and how students are to be supported in their learning.

Since the last ERO review in 2012 all trustees on the board are new. The school has made significant progress with the recommendations made in the last ERO report. These include the development of the school’s curriculum and a more rigorous school-evaluation process.

Reports to the board show that most students are achieving well across the learning areas, including reading and mathematics. Achievement levels are lower for writing. The school has set an appropriate target to lift achievement in this area.

2. Learning

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

The school uses a range of achievement information very effectively to make positive changes to improve students’ learning.

Findings to support this judgement

Teachers know their students well as individual learners. They use achievement information effectively to:

  • identify students’ learning needs, interests and abilities
  • guide their planning and teaching
  • evaluate the impact of their teaching, especially in writing as this is a major 2015 focus area.

School leaders carry out comprehensive analyses of school-wide and cohort achievement data. This leads to:

  • identifying areas of need and setting targets to address these areas
  • purposeful performance-management systems, including relevant professional learning and development (PLD) and appraisal goals for teachers
  • useful evaluation of the impact of teaching and learning programmes across all learning areas
  • informed use of teacher aides and learning-support programmes
  • informative and useful reports to the board.

The board of trustees has an in-depth and relevant knowledge of student achievement and the work of the school. Trustees use this information effectively in their planning to improve outcomes for students.

Students have a very good awareness of their achievement levels in relation to what is expected of them. Some students carry out assessment of their own work and identify their next learning steps.

3. Curriculum

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

Students’ learning is promoted and supported successfully by the school’s curriculum and responsive teaching.

Findings to support this judgement

They use a teaching approach that makes purposeful links across curriculum areas. Students develop useful skills to access and process information, in particular about their inquiry topics.Students’ benefit from a broad range of experiences. Teachers seek and respond to students’ interests.

The school values are shared regularly with students, building their appreciation of what they mean in practice. The school is currently involved in a programme to enhance the school culture and create a more supportive environment for learning.

Further significant features of the curriculum include:

  • specific initiatives in oral language, mathematics and reading designed to address identified areas of need
  • purposeful use of teacher aides to support students’ learning
  • teachers using a range of appropriate and effective communication approaches to engage parents and families with their children’s learning
  • the school’s belief that kotahitanga/working together, whanaungatanga/developing relationships and ako/focused learning will benefit students’ learning.

Next step

School leaders acknowledge that teachers need to provide students with specific and useful feedback on their learning and next steps for ongoing improvement. This should contribute further to the school’s value of students taking responsibility for their own learning.

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

A significant number (13%) of students at the school identify as Māori. These students achieve very well in reading and mathematics, and slightly lower in writing.

Māori students are seeing and hearing their culture become part of school practices. This includes daily karakia, students knowing their mihi and a school kapahaka group.

The school has held hui to gather Māori whānau perspectives and aspirations. Ongoing school evaluations increasingly include reviewing school programmes and practices from a Māori point of view.

Teachers, leaders and trustees are committed to providing a culturally responsive curriculum. They recognise that this is an area for ongoing development.

4. Sustainable Performance

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

The school has robust evaluation processes. This means that the school is very well placed to sustain and improve its performance. There is a strong alignment between governance, leadership, management, teachers, the curriculum and student learning. This gives the school a strong sense of purpose and a very close focus on the student's achievement and wellbeing.

Findings to support this judgement

The principal coordinates comprehensive and useful evaluations of learning programmes. These are informed by multiple perspectives from parents, students and teachers. The school collaborates with other schools and accesses external support to affirm and improve performance and expectations to ensure good student outcomes. Evaluation reports to the board include suitable recommendations with supporting action plans for implementation.

The board uses thorough processes to review its policies and its own performance.

Decisions made at board and school leadership levels are based on strong evidence. Evaluation findings lead to meaningful strategic and annual planning. The planning is based on identified key priorities with a specific focus on raising student achievement and ensuring a supportive and appropriate environment for learning.

The principal and board recognise and use the strengths and interests of people within the school community.

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.

Conclusion

The school provide a curriculum responsive to students’ interests, needs and cultures. Teachers know their students well as learners and students have a very good awareness of their achievement levels. School planning is based on identified key priorities with a specific focus on raising student achievement and ensuring a supportive and appropriate environment for learning.

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

Graham Randell

Deputy Chief Review Officer Southern

1 July 2015

About the School

Location

Invercargill

Ministry of Education profile number

4029

School type

Contributing (Years 1 to 6)

School roll

110

Gender composition

Boys 51% Girls 49%

Ethnic composition

NZ European/Pākehā

Māori

Pacific

Other

81%

13%

3%

3%

Review team on site

June 2015

Date of this report

1 July 2015

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Supplementary Review

2012

2010

2007