Warrington School - 28/02/2014

1 Context

What are the important features of this school that have an impact on student learning?

Warrington School focuses on developing learners who are connected to the land, water and people of the local area. The Warrington Wellbeing Way encourages students and other members of the school community to care for themselves, others and the environment. These values are evident in the way students interact with staff and other students.

A new principal started in the middle of 2013. Since then he needed to restructure the school from three classrooms to two. This change has been well managed. Students’ ideas have contributed to the reorganisation of learning spaces. The positive focus on student learning has continued during this time of change. The students enjoy interacting with different age groups. They told ERO that they feel safe and well supported.

Students have many opportunities to participate and experience success in a range of sporting activities, including swimming and other water sports. They make good use of the school’s new all-weather turf, swimming pool, along with the sandpit and climbing-wall area, to support their learning. Links with other local schools increase students’ access to new and challenging learning experiences.

Many families are actively involved in the life of the school. Parents and whānau are made welcome. Trustees and the principal would like to increase families’ involvement with the school.

The school has addressed many of the recommendations from the last ERO report. The board acknowledges the need for further developments in some areas.

2 Learning

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

The school makes good use of a range of learning information to make positive changes to students’ engagement, progress and achievement.

Information at the end of 2012 shows that students had achieved well. They had achieved in relation to the National Standards particularly well in reading, slightly lower in mathematics, with lower levels of achievement and less progress in writing. Appropriate targets were set to improve achievement in writing during 2013.

The principal and teachers make good use of learning information to plan a targeted learning-support programme. They work together to ensure any student identified as needing to make extra progress is supported to make extra progress. Students get help from:

  • the classroom teacher with a targeted learning programme
  • additional teacher time in small groups for particular literacy/numeracy needs
  • teacher-aide time.

Areas for review and development

Students’ involvement in their learning. The principal and teachers should provide students with better information about how well they are achieving in relation to the National Standards and other expectations. This is likely to help them know more about what they need to do to improve and how others can help them achieve their goals.

Achievement targets. School leaders should consider setting targets to accelerate the progress of all groups of students not yet achieving the National Standards.

Reporting to the board on progress of priority learners. The principal and teachers maintain a clear focus on individual students who need to make extra progress. Teachers have identified that they need to find more ways to accelerate the progress of some students. Another next step is to make it clearer in mid-point monitoring reports to the board how much progress has been made by these students towards the end-of-year goal. This would allow for a better understanding of what strategies are working and what, if any, changes need to be made.

3 Curriculum

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

The school’s curriculum effectively promotes and supports student learning.

Students benefit from a wide range of interesting and engaging learning experiences. ERO observed students learning in settled, purposeful, stimulating learning environments. Positive relationships between students and their teachers and among students were helping students to be well focused on their learning.

The teaching team provides a curriculum that:

  • is specific to this school
  • responds to the needs of students
  • shows a commitment to fostering te reo Māori and tikanga Māori
  • integrates new information and communication technologies within learning programmes.

Other curriculum innovations and strengths include:

  • taking a tuakana-teina approach so that students can share their skills and knowledge with each other
  • improving students’ exposure to science learning
  • using te reo Māori within the learning programme
  • taking a school-wide approach to topic study
  • providing opportunities for students to pay to learn ukulele, guitar, recorder or clarinet.

Students’ successes are valued and celebrated.

Teachers provide strong support for families enrolling new students at the school. Teachers and trustees find a range of ways to involve families/whānau in the life of the school.

Areas for review and development

Curriculum review. Aspects of curriculum review need to be strengthened. This should include:

  • establishing expectations and a process by which review can be carried out
  • ensuring a wide range of sources of information contribute to any review
  • focusing more clearly on an evaluation of the impact of a programme or intervention to improve student achievement.

Guidelines. The principal and teachers should develop agreed, documented guidelines for all aspects of teaching. This would provide benchmarks against which teacher performance could be evaluated. Teachers should be provided with and follow clear guidelines about how to strengthen the ways they inquire into the impact of their teaching. Some students benefit from enrichment activities.

Provision for gifted and talented. The procedures for identifying and providing for the needs of students who are gifted or talented need to be improved then implemented.

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

Six students out of 41 identify as Māori.

Māori students are closely monitored and provided with individual support. The principal and teachers ensure the whānau of the tamariki who attend are welcome in the school and informed about how well each is engaging and achieving.

There are some links with the local marae and a local person has volunteered to liaise between iwi and the school.

4 Sustainable Performance

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

The school will be suitably placed to sustain and improve its performance when it has:

  • completed the strategic and annual planning process that was underway at the time of this review
  • addressed the areas identified in this report that require review and development.

The board is a mix of trustees with previous experience and some new to the role. Trustees have had training for their governance role. The board and the new principal:

  • were taking into account the opinions of parents and students as they began the process of planning for 2014 and beyond
  • are well placed to develop a shared, agreed understanding with the school’s community about the future for the school.

At the time of the review, the board was dealing with a significant personnel issue. The board assured ERO that it is following the school’s complaints process, taking appropriate advice about how to proceed with this issue, and ensuring that the interests of students remain paramount.

The newly appointed principal has:

  • focused on getting to know the school well
  • strengthened collaborative planning
  • identified areas that need to be improved.

Areas for review and development

ERO identified, and the board agreed, that the following need to be strengthened.

Strategic and annual planning. Trustees and the principal would benefit from clearer links between the strategic goals and other aspects of school operations. This would improve the board’s framework for monitoring and evaluating progress in the implementation of their plans.

Reporting to the school’s community. The board and principal need to ensure that they provide the school’s community with appropriate reports about student achievement overall and about the progress of learners most at risk of not achieving well.

Appraisal. The principal needs to continue to strengthen the appraisal process for teachers and non-teaching staff.

Review. Trustees would benefit from having a documented, agreed process for review that establishes the quality of the links between policies, procedures, practices and outcomes for students. Review processes would benefit from including a clear focus on the evaluation of impact.

Governance practices. Trustees need to review and strengthen current practices for aspects of their governance role, including how:

  • minutes of board meetings are an appropriate record of all processes and decisions
  • reports to the board assure trustees that police vets for all non-teaching staff are updated as required.

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.

When is ERO likely to review the school again?

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

Graham Randell

National Manager Review Services

Southern Region

28 February 2014

About the School

Location

Warrington, East Otago

Ministry of Education profile number

3862

School type

Full Primary (Years 1 to 8)

School roll

41

Gender composition

Male 27

Female 14

Ethnic composition

NZ European/Pākehā

Māori

Cook Island

34

6

1

Review team on site

November 2013

Date of this report

28 February 2014

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

February 2011

November 2007

March 2005