Waihopai School - 30/09/2016

Findings

The school is very effectively addressing its priorities for improvement. Trustees, senior leaders and teachers have created a strong culture of collaboration and improvement. Children are benefiting from the more consistent and stronger focus teachers, leaders and trustees have on children’s learning needs. Māori children and all children engage in enjoyable learning about aspects of te reo and tikanga Māori.

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

1 Background and Context

What is the background and context for this school’s review?

This report covers the school’s progress in addressing the areas for review and development identified in ERO’s 2014 education review report. That report identified the necessity for trustees and school leaders to improve the governance, leadership and management of the school. It also identified the need to develop better understandings and responses for success as Māori, and to comply with principal-appraisal-legislation requirements.

The board and school leaders have sought effective support to provide targeted development especially for developing the school’s charter and associated plans and practices. They have a sound understanding of the need for strong alignment of school plans to provide a focused approach to identified school and student learning priorities.

This ERO review has found that the board and senior leaders, and teachers have made significant progress in the areas identified in ERO’s 2014 report.

2 Review and Development

How effectively is the school addressing its priorities for review and development?

Priorities identified for review and development

The last ERO report recommended that the trustees and leadership team:

  • improve strategic and annual planning, the use of achievement information to monitor and evaluate the plans, and evaluate the impact of teaching programmes on children’s outcomes
  • further develop curriculum guidelines including high-quality teaching; roles and responsibilities for school leaders and teachers; and strengthen the school’s performance management processes
  • promote success for Māori learners and success as Māori.

The board took immediate steps to comply with the requirements for the principal’s appraisal.

Progress

School trustees and leaders have developed a useful and meaningful charter that reflects current community aspirations, curriculum development and learning needs. They have established purposeful links from the charter to school planning, professional development and classroom programmes.

Reporting is strongly focused on the planned aims and goals outlined in the annual plan. Trustees and leaders have worked together to establish a reporting format that includes the information the board needs to receive to inform them of impact of programmes, the achievement of goals and future resourcing.

Trustees have developed a good understanding of self review. The reporting described above is part of the improved internal evaluation practices. When reviewing policies, trustees ensure expected practices are fit for purpose and policies are meeting expected legislation.

Teachers and senior leaders have developed a shared understanding of the key attributes, skills and knowledge the school expects learners to develop during their time at Waihopai School. This understanding is providing a more consistent delivery of teaching and learning programmes.

Teachers value the improved performance-management processes established for all teaching staff. Job descriptions now reflect the expectations as outlined in the school’s curriculum. Teachers are well supported to carry out inquiries that are relevant to school goals and to their personal professional growth.

School leaders should improve the action planning related to charter targets to accelerate the progress of children whose learning is at risk of poor outcomes. Currently the planning for targets focuses more on school-wide development than on detailing the planned specific actions for the identified learners at risk of not achieving well. Improved action planning should focus the teachers’ inquiries more on their teaching programmes for at-risk learners.

Teachers and leaders are well informed about their role in appraisals and in particular the collection of evidence for each of the practising teacher criteria. School leaders need to extend appraisals to ensure all teaching and support staff are being appropriately appraised.

Syndicate leaders report that they:

  • and teachers have a greater urgency to ensure those students needing to make increased progress are receiving effective classroom and learning-support programmes
  • have a greater understanding and involvement of school direction as expressed in the school’s charter.

The ways in which the language, culture and identity of Māori children are being supported has increased significantly across the school. The views of Māori students, parents and whānau are helping guide development of school culture and programmes. School trustees, leaders and teachers are providing a range of opportunities for Māori children and for all children to engage in enjoyable learning of aspects of te reo and tikanga Māori. For example:

  • a large number of children are involved in school and community kapa haka performances
  • teachers are being well supported to use te reo and tikanga Māori more in their daily programmes
  • initiatives for promoting success for Māori as Māori are well led and closely monitored.

School leaders and the board of trustees have benefited greatly from the external support provided by the New Zealand School Trustees Association, the College of Education and other external providers.

3 Sustainable performance and self review

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

The school is well placed to sustain and continue to improve and review its performance. This judgement is based on the:

  • trustees’ high level of commitment to providing excellent education for all students
  • strong collective vision and valued student outcomes developed with the parents and community
  • senior leaders' capacity to reflect on, plan, act on and report to the board using evidence that includes student achievement information
  • building of professional capability and collective capacity within the teaching staff to sustain and continue to improve student achievement
  • improved teacher appraisal processes being implemented.

Next step

To further improve planning, evaluating and reporting, trustees and leaders should develop clearer indicators and/or success criteria to show what a goal will look like when achieved. More clarity of planning at this stage should then enable more rigorous evaluation at mid and end-point reporting times.

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 has improved the evidence base to show how well its practices meet the requirements of the Code of Practice for the Pastoral Care of International Students. It is still to receive assurance about how well long-term international students are supported and how well they are learning and progressing.

Conclusion

The school is very effectively addressing its priorities for improvement. Trustees, senior leaders and teachers have created a strong culture of collaboration and improvement. Children are benefiting from the more consistent and stronger focus teachers, leaders and trustees have on children’s learning needs. Māori children and all children engage in enjoyable learning about aspects of te reo and tikanga Māori.

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

Lesley Patterson

Deputy Chief Review Officer Southern

30 September 2016

About the School

Location

Invercargill

Ministry of Education profile number

4035

School type

Contributing (Years 1 to 6)

School roll

365

Gender composition

Boys: 51% Girls: 49%

Ethnic composition

Māori

Pākehā

Asian

Pacific

Other

16%

68%

12%

3%

1%

Special Features

Park Syndicate for very high needs

Review team on site

August 2016

Date of this report

30 September 2016

Most recent ERO reports

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

November 2014

December 2011

June 2008