Waitoa School - 23/06/2015

Findings

The school continues to provide effective learning opportunities for students in a positive, inclusive learning environment. Board members are governing in the best interests of students and the principal is providing strong professional leadership. Teachers know students well and work hard to provide learning programmes to meet the individual needs of all students.

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?

Waitoa is a small rural school located between the Waikato townships of Te Aroha and Morrinsville. The principal operates one multi-level classroom that caters for 13 students in Years 1 to 8. The board has recently appointed an extra teacher to support the principal and release teacher to cater for the wide range of learning needs in the classroom. Students have access to large, well- maintained grounds and an extensive range of high quality resources.

Long standing and effective leadership by the principal is providing continuity of sound educational opportunities for students. The school continues to provide an inclusive, family-oriented environment and productive partnerships for learning between the board of trustees, staff and students. There has been significant development in the areas identified for developments in the last ERO report. These areas related to appraisal for staff, review of curriculum and the use of student achievement information to improve learning for students. Staff members have undertaken professional development to enhance teaching practice in literacy and mathematics.

2. Learning

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

The school uses student achievement information well to make positive changes to learners’ engagement, progress and achievement. Effective procedures are in place to ensure information is regularly gathered and used to monitor students’ progress and achievement over time.

The board receives well-analysed student achievement information, which it uses to make resourcing decisions and to set targets to improve student progress and achievement.

The principal and staff also use information to review the trends and patterns in student learning and make changes if necessary to teaching practices or learning programmes. Currently, targets have been set for groups of students in writing and reading. Teachers plan differentiated programmes to meet the varying needs of individuals and groups of students and make overall teacher judgements about learning progress and achievement.

Parents spoken to by ERO report that they are well informed about their children’s learning and the opportunities they have to discuss progress with teachers. Features of this reporting are parent interviews, written reports and individual pukapuka books with samples of student work.

Students achieve well. The school’s 2014 achievement data shows that most students achieved at or above the National Standards in reading, writing and mathematics.

ERO and the principal agree that learning could be further enhanced by teachers working on strategies that enable students to strengthen their understanding and ownership of the next steps in their learning.

3. Curriculum

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

The school curriculum strongly promotes and supports students’ learning. It is closely aligned to the principles, values and key competencies of The New Zealand Curriculum. Priority is given to literacy, mathematics and science. A feature of the curriculum is an explicit statement describing how teaching and learning will promote student success.

Teachers use a range of effective strategies to deliver the curriculum and engage students in learning. They plan thoughtfully to meet the needs of all students. Aspects of the teaching programmes that promote learning include:

  • a collaborative approach to teaching and learning
  • detailed planning for individuals and groups of students in reading, writing and mathematics
  • high expectations for student engagement and achievement
  • older students supporting and encouraging younger students
  • leadership opportunities for all students
  • an exciting and motivating classroom environment with displays of work that affirm and celebrate student successes
  • useful and meaningful integration of information and communication technologies (ICT) in the classroom
  • high levels of student interest and enjoyment in learning
  • opportunities to be involved in activities outside the classroom which broaden and enrich learning.

The school recognises and ERO agrees that the curriculum could be further enhanced by revisiting elements of the curriculum to include more emphasis on the local context and environment.

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

The school promotes educational success for Māori students. All students are involved in kapahaka and take part in the Piako festival. Teachers are increasingly including aspects of Māori culture and knowledge in planning and implementing classroom programmes. A teacher who has sound knowledge of te reo and tikanga Māori has recently been appointed to support classroom programmes.

The school’s 2014 achievement data shows that all Māori students achieved at or above National Standards in reading, writing and mathematics.

The school acknowledges that there is a need to continue to extend opportunities for students to learn te reo Māori.

4. Sustainable Performance

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

The school is well placed to sustain and improve its performance because:

  • the principal provides effective professional leadership
  • trustees are well led by the chairperson and committed to student wellbeing and achievement
  • the principal and board use student achievement well in self review and school improvement
  • school climate and culture is inclusive and positive
  • parents are supportive of the school and actively involved in school life.

The board agrees that a planned approach to building trustees’ knowledge and understanding of their roles and responsibilities would enhance school governance practice.

A significant challenge for the school is maintaining and growing roll numbers to strengthen future financial sustainability.

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 continues to provide effective learning opportunities for students in a positive, inclusive learning environment. Board members are governing in the best interests of students and the principal is providing strong professional leadership. Teachers know students well and work hard to provide learning programmes to meet the individual needs of all students.

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

Dale Bailey,

Deputy Chief Review Officer Northern,

23 June 2015

About the School

Location

Waitoa

Ministry of Education profile number

2072

School type

Full Primary (Years 1 to 8)

School roll

13

Gender composition

Girls 7

Boys 6

Ethnic composition

NZ European

Māori

7

6

Review team on site

April 2015

Date of this report

23 June 2015

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

July 2012

August 2009

August 2006