Waerenga School - 18/12/2018

School Context

Waerenga School is located 13km east of Te Kauwhata and caters for students in Years 1 to 6. The roll is currently 98. There are 11 students who identify as Māori.

The school’s mission is to teach its students to have the attitude, knowledge, understanding and skills they need to continue learning throughout their lives. The school culture is based on the ‘Waerenga Way’. This encompasses the values of pride, respect, self organisation and care for themselves, each other, learning and the environment. 

A new first-time principal was appointed in term four 2017, after a difficult year for the school that impacted on teacher and student wellbeing.

Leaders and teachers regularly report to the board, school wide information about outcomes for students in the following areas:

  • reading, writing and mathematics.

The 2015 ERO report identified the key areas for improvement as strengthening student knowing and understanding of their learning, teachers making reliable decisions in relation to curriculum expectations, reviewing and strengthening appraisal, and increasing Māori perspectives throughout programmes of learning. Whilst there has been some improvement, these areas remain priorities for the school.

Evaluation Findings

1 Equity and excellence – achievement of valued outcomes for students

1.1 How well is the school achieving equitable and excellent outcomes for all its students?

The school is working towards achieving equitable outcomes for all learners.

Overall achievement data shows that most students achieve well in relation to curriculum expectations in reading, writing and mathematics.

There have been significant improvements in Māori learners’ achievement in reading over time. These students now achieve significantly higher than non-Māori learners. However, there has been a significant decline in levels of achievement for Māori learners in mathematics over time and writing has stayed the same. Māori learners achieve significantly lower than their peers in writing and mathematics.

1.2 How well is the school accelerating learning for those Māori and other students who need this?

The school is beginning to identify rates of acceleration in progress, learning and achievement of students.

Achievement information collated during the onsite phase of the review shows that the impact of classroom programmes was effective for all groups of students, including Māori identified as below curriculum expectations in mathematics, and for most groups in writing. These programmes were less effective in reading. 

2 School conditions for equity and excellence – processes and practices

2.1 What school processes and practices are effective in enabling achievement of equity and excellence, and acceleration of learning?

Trustees bring a wide range of knowledge, expertise and experience to their role and are strengthening their understanding of effective governance. Resourcing decisions are responsive to improving student achievement and wellbeing. Relationships between trustees, leaders and teachers reflect a high trust approach.

Collegial and collaborative ways of working are fostered. Teachers and students genuinely care for one another and their environment. Trustees, leaders and teachers have well established rapport and relationships are focused on promoting student wellbeing. A wide range of events welcome and involve parents and whānau in the life of the school. Students are respectful, engaged and actively participate in learning, further supporting acceleration of learning for those who need this.

Students and teachers have a strong sense of belonging and security.The ‘Waerenga Way’ is actively promoted to enhance teaching and learning schoolwide. Students clearly know and understand what is expected of them and this guides their decision-making and interactions with others. Positive interactions for learning between teachers and students are highly evident.

Well considered processes and inclusive practice effectively supports students with additional needs. Meaningful goals inform individual education plans and are focused on student’s holistic learning. Parent’s voice and ideas are valued. A wide range of external agencies are engaged to enhance programmes for learning. Students with additional needs are empowered to fully participate in all aspects of school life, alongside their peers.

2.2 What further developments are needed in school processes and practices for achievement of equity and excellence, and acceleration of learning?

Strengthening leadership for learning is an important next step. This should include improving knowledge in current research and practice for high quality teaching and learning. Implementing appropriate systems and processes for accountability and high quality teaching and learning is essential. Ensuring alignment, coherency and consistency of targets on addressing disparity school wide should strengthen the impact on equity, excellence and acceleration of learning.

Extending leaders and teachers understanding of the effective use of achievement information including targeted planning to accelerate learners’ progress is needed. This should include strengthening tracking and monitoring systems and knowing the impact of purposeful initiatives on all student’s progress who have been identified at risk of poor educational outcomes. Strengthening teachers’ understanding and effective use of high quality assessment for learning is necessary to further support acceleration of learning.

Establishing an authentic and responsive curriculum that reflects the unique position and importance of te ao Māori school wide is a key next step. Of priority is developing leaders’ and teachers’ knowledge, understanding, confidence and competence in biculturalism and culturally responsive pedagogy. Ensuring meaningful partnerships for learning are developed and sustained with whānau and iwi should support leaders’ and teachers’ to enhance equitable and excellent outcomes for all learners.

3 Board assurance on legal requirements

Before the review, the board 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 the following:

  • board administration

  • curriculum

  • management of health, safety and welfare

  • personnel management

  • finance

  • asset management.

During the review, ERO checked the following items because they have a potentially high impact on student safety and wellbeing:

  • emotional safety of students (including prevention of bullying and sexual harassment)

  • physical safety of students

  • teacher registration and certification

  • processes for appointing staff

  • stand down, suspension, expulsion and exclusion of students

  • attendance

  • school policies in relation to meeting the requirements of the Vulnerable Children Act 2014.

Actions for compliance

ERO identified a non-compliance in relation to personnel.

In order to address this, the board of trustees must:

  • ensure the requirements for police vetting, staff appointments, and contractors onsite are known, understood and implemented school wide
    [Vulnerable Children Act 2014].

Areas for improved compliance practice

To improve current practice, the board of trustees should:

  • review and align practices to the changes in health and safety requirements

  • review and align school policies and procedures to current legislation and education guidelines including the development of procedures for education outside the classroom and for the search and retention of property

  • develop policies and procedures for emergency evacuation and preparedness

  • ensure procedures for renewing teacher’s practising certificates are in accordance with the Education Council requirements and are appropriately implemented.

4 Going forward

Key strengths of the school

For sustained improvement and future learner success, the school can draw on existing strengths in:

  • collegial and collaborative teaching that empower student’s willingness to engage in learning programmes

  • growing stewardship understanding that is focused on improving outcomes for learners.

Next steps

For sustained improvement and future learner success, priorities for further development are in:

  • extending leadership for learning that promotes high quality teaching and learning

  • developing a responsive curriculum that responds to students’ culture, language and identity
  • strengthening the effective use of achievement information to understand the impact strategies, interventions and initiatives have on accelerating learning

  • targeted planning to accelerate learning

  • internal evaluation processes and practices
    [ERO will provide an internal evaluation workshop for trustees and senior leaders.]

Recommendations to other agencies

ERO recommends that the Ministry of Education consider providing support for the school in order to bring about improvement in:

  • leadership for learning

  • professional development in data literacy and effective strategies for acceleration.

ERO’s next external evaluation process and timing

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

Phil Cowie

Director Review and Improvement Services

Central Region

18 December 2018

About the school

Location

Te Kauwhata

Ministry of Education profile number

2046

School type

Contributing (Years 1 to 6)

School roll

98

Gender composition

Girls 55 Boys 43

Ethnic composition

Māori 11
Pākehā 83
Other 4

Students with Ongoing Resourcing Funding (ORS)

Yes

Provision of Māori medium education

No

Review team on site

October 2018

Date of this report

18 December 2018

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review June 2015
Education Review May 2012
Education Review May 2009