Umawera School - 24/06/2015

Findings

Students benefit from the school’s positive and inclusive culture. To Mātou Wāhi, Our Place is strongly evident. Students enjoy a broad, meaningful and localised curriculum that promotes and supports their active engagement in learning. Shared leadership is a feature of the school. The school enjoys high levels of community engagement.

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?

Umawera School is a small rural school that serves a farming community in Northland. Students in Years 1 to 6 work in two or three age-related classes for different periods of the day. The board of trustees funds a play group which operates in the school for one day a week.

The school’s mission statement is to ‘inspire all learners to have integrity, beliefs and obtain knowledge so that they will strive to achieve in life’. This statement is represented as the Umawera ‘CHERRY RACER’ vision and values. This encourages students to race forward on their learning journey using strategies and dispositions that the school and community believe are essential for them to succeed.

There is strong alignment between the values of home and school so that students feel ‘at home’ in the school. The principal, trustees, staff and students show a sense of pride in and ownership of the school - To Mātou Wāhi, Our Place. More than half the students are Māori.

The experienced teachers have worked together well for several years. This has helped the school sustain curriculum improvements. They have recently introduced the Mutukāroa programme to promote home and school partnership, and consultation about students’ learning. Teachers work with whānau to develop and review personalised learning plans for each student’s time at the school.

The school has a history of positive ERO reports. The principal and the board have used the 2012 ERO report well to guide school developments.

2 Learning

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

Teachers monitor and evaluate students’ progress and achievement effectively. They use a wide range of appropriate assessments to guide their overall judgements about each student's achievement. Teachers also take advantage of opportunities to moderate their assessments with other schools.

Current school data indicate that student achievement compares well with local, regional and national levels of achievement in relation to the National Standards. School information shows that students make good progress in relation to the National Standards over their time at the school.

Teachers share a collective responsibility for promoting successful learning. They regularly strategise together to support students to achieve. Students with additional learning requirements receive very good support through inclusive and responsive practices.

Students are confident learners who engage well in class programmes. Teachers support student progress by giving them very good oral feedback about what they are doing well and how they could improve their learning. It would be useful to record this feedback so students can refer to it as they work. This practice would help teachers support students to have increasing ownership of their learning progress.

Teachers provide parents with good information about their children's learning. Parents have regular opportunities to discuss their children’s achievement and to work in partnership with teachers to support students’ learning progress. Teachers plan to use the Mutukāroa programme to extend home/school partnerships focused on students’ progress.

The principal and the board agree that key next steps include:

  • developing clearer systems to show schoolwide information about overall student progress over time
  • refining the school’s achievement targets to support a targeted action approach to accelerate the progress of students yet to achieve the National Standards
  • focusing on student progress in teachers’ appraisals.

3 Curriculum

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

Students enjoy a broad, meaningful and localised curriculum that promotes and supports their active engagement in learning. To Mātou Wāhi, Our Place is strongly evident in the school’s curriculum design and practices.

The school’s curriculum successfully promotes the values, principles and key competencies of the New Zealand Curriculum. Students benefit from targeted teaching approaches in literacy and mathematics. They are encouraged to become creative thinkers, investigators and problem-solvers. Meaningful curriculum contexts help students to make connections across the different learning areas and with their local environment.

Students are respected as capable learners who can make decisions about their learning. They have a strong sense of themselves as leaders and role models. Their perspectives are valued and included in curriculum programmes and the school environment.

Students benefit from good quality teaching and caring relationships with their teachers. Teachers know students well and they adapt their teaching practices to students’ preferred learning styles. They provide well-paced learning programmes to maximise opportunities for student learning. Students are well supported as they make transitions into and out of the school.

Teachers have a high level of commitment to ongoing professional learning. They integrate knowledge of current theories and best practice in their teaching and learning programmes. Teachers could now evaluate how well their appraisal goals are informing their teaching practice and benefitting student learning.

The principal and teachers plan to continue developing the school’s learning inquiry model. This should help to ensure that students have clear understandings and guidelines to support their individual learning inquiries.

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

Umawera School continues to demonstrate its commitment to bicultural practice. Teachers consult with whānau about appropriate integration of te reo Māori me ōna tikanga in curriculum programmes. All students benefit from a sequential programme that supports their learning of te reo and tikanga Māori.

Māori students demonstrate confidence in their language, culture and identity as Māori in the school. As a group they are achieving similarly to other students in the school. Students confidently participate in or lead karakia, mihi, waiata, karanga and whakatau.

The board is committed to acknowledging and respecting tangata whenua and trustees value the ongoing training that helps them to increase their bicultural understandings. The board funds a programme that aims to promote Māori student leadership. Mutukāroa is working well and is strengthening learning partnerships between the school and whānau.

4 Sustainable Performance

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

The school is well placed to make ongoing improvements that impact positively on students’ learning. The board, principal, staff and community share ownership of and commitment to the school’s direction for curriculum development and student learning.

The board and the principal have made good use of external advice to review the school charter and strategic planning. There is now increased alignment between the school charter, learning programmes and teacher appraisals. The board and principal could more regularly review the progress of annual and strategic goals and evaluate the impact of governance, teaching and leadership practices on student outcomes.

Trustees work well as a team and have a good understanding of their responsibilities on the board. They bring complementary skills and experience to their roles. Trustees’ skills and knowledge gained through training contributes to school improvements. The board is now focusing more on promoting student learning, as well as meeting the school’s operational requirements.

Shared leadership is a feature of the school. The principal actively promotes this approach, which helps to build capability and maintain shared expectations and understandings that support successful outcomes for students. She seeks and engages in extensive professional learning for herself and teachers to support continuing improvements to practices.

Teachers’ appraisals are appropriately linked to the Registered Teacher Criteria. Teachers continue to informally reflect on the effectiveness of their teaching practices. The principal plans to consider useful ways of documenting this reflection and other self review findings.

The school enjoys high levels of community engagement. Trustees seek, value and include the perspectives of the school’s 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.

The board of trustees should ensure that teachers implement the school’s policy for analysing and managing risks for students’ education outside the classroom.National Administration Guidelines 5 (c).

Conclusion

Students benefit from the school’s positive and inclusive culture. To Mātou Wāhi, Our Place is strongly evident. Students enjoy a broad, meaningful and localised curriculum that promotes and supports their active engagement in learning. Shared leadership is a feature of the school. The school enjoys high levels of community engagement.

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

Dale Bailey

Deputy Chief Review Officer Northern

24 June 2015

About the School

Location

Umawera, Northland

Ministry of Education profile number

1119

School type

Contributing (Years 1 to 6)

School roll

36

Gender composition

Boys 19

Girls 17

Ethnic composition

Māori

Pākehā

French

English

19

14

2

1

Review team on site

May 2015

Date of this report

24 June 2015

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

August 2012

June 2009

June 2006