Waituna West School - 21/02/2020

Findings

Significant progress has been made in addressing the identified areas for improvement from the 2018 ERO review. The principal and staff work collaboratively to support students to learn successfully in  positive environments. Most students achieve at or above expectation in literacy and mathematics. The majority of priority learners have made accelerated progress over the year. Trustees understand their governance obligations and show commitment to ongoing improvement.

On the basis of the findings of this review, ERO ‘s overall evaluation judgement of Waituna West School’s performance in achieving valued outcomes for its students is:  Developing.

1 Background and Context

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

Waituna West School, in the rural Feilding-Manawatu district, caters for students from Years 1 to 8. At the time of this review the roll was 62, with 7 students identifying as Māori. Students learn in multi-level classes.

The June 2018 ERO report identified significant areas for improvement. Over the past 18 months the school has participated in an ongoing ERO evaluation process to support improvement. During this time trustees and staff accessed appropriate external professional learning and development to support them in their roles and practice. They have worked positively and shown a determined focus on improvement.

Following the 2018 ERO report, a plan was developed for review and development to guide improvements in priority areas. This report evaluates the progress made and how well placed the school now is to sustain continuous improvement.

The school is part of the Feilding Kahui Āko.

2 Review and Development

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

Priorities identified for review and development

The overall goal was to improve teacher practice and school operations to promote positive learning outcomes of all students. Areas of focus to support this have included:

  • developing and implementing effective assessment processes to better identify and respond to student needs

  • documenting and implementing a localised curriculum that promotes student engagement and achievement

  • strengthening teacher appraisal expectations that focus on improved outcomes for students

  • developing trustees’ knowledge and capacity to ensure effective stewardship across all aspects of school operation

  • strengthening internal evaluation to show the impact of planned actions on improving equity and excellence for all learners.

Progress

Staff have collaboratively reviewed and have identified an appropriate range of tools used to make judgements about student achievement and progress. Systems and processes to identify, respond to, track and monitor student achievement and progress have been strengthened. Having clarity of the purpose of assessment is effectively contributing to teachers’ and leaders’ responses to student needs. Priority students are well known, and their progress tracked and monitored closely through teacher inquiry.

School reported data for mid 2019 indicates that most students are achieving at or above expectation in reading, writing and mathematics. In addition, a large majority of the students identified as achieving below expectation have made accelerated progress in literacy and about half in mathematics over the year.

Leaders and teachers have developed a documented coherent localised curriculum. The school’s values ACRES: adaptable, creative, respectful, engaged and sense of self underpin all aspects of what happens at the school. Teachers use a range of integrated approaches to support students to access learning concepts across a wide range of authentic contexts.

Staff know students well and are collectively responsible for all learners. Respectful, reciprocal relationships across the school promote a sense of belonging and wellbeing. Students and teachers are relaxed, have fun and enjoy learning. This promotes positive, inclusive learning environments which supports students to be actively engaged in their learning. Students confidently share and articulate their learning.

Professional learning continues to build teacher capability and successfully promote consistent school-wide practices. An improvement focused appraisal process has been developed. This is consistently implemented. Teachers’ inquiry is a key component of the appraisal process and is aligned to the school’s goals and targets. Inquiries are shared across the school which supports building teacher capability and collective capacity.

Trustees know and understand their roles and legal obligations. They are committed to ongoing improvement. The board is well informed about student achievement, curriculum developments, school processes and operation. This enables trustees to prioritise and make appropriate resourcing decisions.

Leaders and teachers are reflective practitioners, supported by a wide range of useful information about learning, progress and achievement. Useful frameworks support internal evaluation to determine the impact and effectiveness of initiatives and changes as they are implemented.

Key next steps

The principal has identified that the more deliberate reflection of cultural practice and te ao Māori should strengthen the coherent localised curriculum.

There has been a well-considered focus on the development of coherent school-wide systems, processes and practices with succession planning in mind. For ongoing improvement and sustainability, it is important that these continue to be embedded.

A next step is to continue to evaluate the effectiveness and impact of initiatives to better identify areas for improvement to continue to support positive learning and wellbeing outcomes for students.

3 Sustainable performance and self review

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

The school has improved its capacity to sustain, improve and review its performance. The principal and the board have worked in a purposeful way to address areas identified in the previous ERO report. They are working well together to lead the school forward. They are focused on promoting positive learning and wellbeing outcomes for all students.

Continuing involvement in professional learning and development effectively supports leaders and teachers to enhance positive learning outcomes for students. An appropriate performance appraisal process, focused on reflection and improvement, is in place for the principal and staff.

Effective school systems, processes and practices are well established and with clear alignment from strategic goals to enactment in teaching and learning. The principal and teachers work collaboratively to provide high quality programmes for learning.

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

Conclusion

Significant progress has been made in addressing the identified areas for improvement from the 2018 ERO review. The principal and staff work collaboratively to support students to learn successfully in positive environments. Most students achieve at or above expectation in literacy and mathematics. The majority of priority learners have made accelerated progress over the year. Trustees understand their governance obligations and show commitment to ongoing improvement.

On the basis of the findings of this review, ERO ‘s overall evaluation judgement of Waituna West School’s performance in achieving valued outcomes for its students is: Developing.

ERO’s Framework: Overall Findings and Judgement Tool derived from School Evaluation Indicators: Effective Practice for Improvement and Learner Success is available on ERO’s website.

Phil Cowie

Director Review and Improvement Services (Central)

Central Region - Te Tai Pūtahi Nui

21 February 2020

About the School

Location

Fielding-Manawatu District

Ministry of Education profile number

2475

School type

Full Primary (Years 1 to 8)

School roll

62

Gender composition

Female 33 Male 29

Ethnic composition

Māori
NZ European/Pākehā

7
55

Review team on site

November 2019

Date of this report

21 February 2020

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review
Education Review
Education Review

June 2018
September 2014
July 2010