Waihi East School - 22/10/2014

Findings

How effectively is this school’s curriculum promoting student learning - engagement, progress and achievement?

Waihi East School is working very successfully with its parent and wider community to provide students with a wide range of worthwhile academic, sporting, cultural and social learning opportunities. School and board leadership provide a clear sense of direction, and oversee highly effective academic and pastoral support for students.

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?

Waihi East School is a contributing primary school situated in the historic mining town of Waihi. Since the 2012 ERO review the school roll has increased significantly and an enrolment scheme was put in place in 2013. Currently there are 178 students on the roll of whom 62 affiliate to iwi throughout Aotearoa.

The principal continues to provide highly effective professional and educational leadership for the school and wider community. She is well supported by two capable deputy principals. Together, they foster high expectations for learning and a school culture that affirms and values all its students, staff, parents and whānau.

The board is well informed about student achievement and regularly gathers the views and aspirations of its community to inform its self review and planning. Trustees bring a broad range of experience and expertise, and include representation of the diverse cultures in the school community.

School leaders and trustees have responded positively to aspects of school practice requiring further development identified in the 2012 ERO report. Achievement information is well managed to support student learning and greater emphasis has been given to engaging Māori whānau.

2. Learning

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

The school makes very effective use of a wide range of achievement information and other evidence to promote positive educational outcomes for students.

The new entrant teacher works closely with early childhood providers to support and encourage children as they transition to school. She gathers relevant information about student’s interests and strengths. Early assessment of literacy and numeracy levels are shared and discussed with parents to strengthen their involvement as partners in their child’s learning. Teachers in the junior syndicate report achievement in reading, writing and mathematics in relation to National Standards on the anniversary of each student’s starting date.

As students move through the school, achievement information from the previous year is well used by subsequent teachers to inform planning to meet diverse learning needs and establish ability groups for instruction. Students make purposeful use of their teacher’s feedback to set goals for their own progress. Teachers use evidence effectively as they work together to moderate professional judgements about student achievement in relation to National Standards in reading, writing and mathematics. This information is reported to parents with guidelines on how they can continue to support their child’s learning.

Teachers also prepare detailed Individual Education Plans (IEPs) for all students identified as achieving below or well below National Standards. These plans are developed with parents, reviewed at least once a term, and a make a positive difference to the learning progress of these students. In addition, these IEPs inform the tracking and reporting on the annual student achievement targets set for priority learners by school leaders and the board.

School data from the end of 2013 indicates that overall student achievement levels, including those for Māori, have improved significantly since 2012 in reading and mathematics. The proportion of students, including Māori and Pacific, achieving at or above the National Standard in reading, writing and mathematics is now comparable to national and regional averages.

School leaders make effective use of student achievement information to evaluate classroom programmes and initiatives, and plan for continual improvement. They recognise that this process could be further enhanced by making greater use of year-on-year progress data.

3. Curriculum

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

The school’s curriculum effectively promotes and supports student learning. Active staff and parent involvement allows a broad range of student learning experiences to be provided in academic, sporting, outdoor education, cultural and social areas. Effective fund-raising enterprises allow the school to purchase additional equipment and resources, which are frequently made available for community use. In addition, students who may not be able to participate in some extra-curricular activities for financial reasons, are generously supported.

The culture of the school reinforces high expectations for student learning, respectful relationships and considerate behaviour. Staff demonstrate ongoing interest in and care for students, their parents and whānau. Pastoral care for the students, staff and families is enhanced by a local pastor who works at the school in the role of chaplain/counsellor one day a week.

ERO observed consistent levels of highly effective teaching strategies in well-resourced classrooms. Learning environments were settled and productive. Trustees fund an additional teacher to reduce overall class sizes. Good practices include teachers:

  • sharing the purpose of learning, and informing students what successful learning looks like
  • regularly checking for understanding and helping students to recognise their next learning steps
  • planning and implementing a curriculum that is responsive to students’ interests and strengths, and links their learning to real-life experiences
  • establishing effective partnerships with parents/whānau to support educational success for all students, and especially for priority learners
  • using classroom walls to celebrate student work and to provide visual prompts for ongoing learning.

School leaders promote ongoing professional learning and development for their staff. The performance management processes are robust and emphasise reflection on practice informed by regular observations of teaching practice, and the sharing of effective strategies.

Classroom teachers work effectively with their identified priority learners, while teacher aides support other student groups with independent activities. School leaders recognise that a next step is to extend the additional learning challenges and opportunities provided for their students with special abilities.

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

The school effectively promotes educational success for Māori, as Māori. The involvement of whānau in support of the education of their tamariki has been strengthened and extended since the 2012 ERO review. Examples of positive developments are:

  • Māori staff members who are positive role models for students and their whānau
  • a parent roopu group that actively supports all students, including Māori, and the kapahaka group
  • links with the Hauraki Māori Trust Board, and marae visits for the older students
  • a group of Māori boys who have been part of Te Kaihautu, a local initiative to raise self esteem and confidence.

A high proportion of teachers promote the learning of te reo Māori in their classrooms. However, school leaders recognise the need for a more formal approach to teaching te reo Māori that is monitored and evaluated through school.

Māori have strong representation on the board of trustees. While te reo and tikanga Māori is increasingly evident in school documentation, trustees need to consider how school policies align with the principles of the Treaty of Waitangi.

4. Sustainable Performance

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

The school is very well placed to sustain and improve its performance. Under the leadership of the principal and board, all sections of the school community are working together to successfully promote educational outcomes for students.

Trustees provide highly effective governance for the school and demonstrate sound management of financial and property assets. They maintain a positive and constructive working relationship with the principal. Self review at all levels of the school is thorough, based on evidence, and focused on continual improvement. The board gathers, and values, information from regular community, staff and student surveys. Trustees are well informed about student achievement and progress, and the effectiveness of school operations, through comprehensive reporting by the principal.

The school has experienced significant growth and change since the 2012 ERO report. Senior managers and staff recognise, and ERO agrees, that it is now appropriate for the school community to re-visit the vision and values statements, and how these key statements are presented in visual form.

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

Waihi East School is working very successfully with its parent and wider community to provide students with a wide range of worthwhile academic, sporting, cultural and social learning opportunities. School and board leadership provide a clear sense of direction, and oversee highly effective academic and pastoral support for students.

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

Dale Bailey

National Manager Review Services

Northern Region

22 October 2014

About the School

Location

Waihi

Ministry of Education profile number

2049

School type

Contributing (Years 1 to 6)

School roll

178

Gender composition

Girls 52%

Boys 48%

Ethnic composition

NZ European/Pākehā

Māori

Other Pacific

Fijian

Other Asian

Samoan

Tongan

59%

35%

2%

1%

1%

1%

1%

Review team on site

September 2014

Date of this report

22 October 2014

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

May 2012

May 2009

June 2006