Winchester Rural School - 20/12/2016

1 Context

Many of the students who attend Winchester Rural School live on farms. The school welcomes students from a variety of cultural backgrounds. Caring relationships within the school and a very supportive community help to create a positive learning environment. The strong connection with the community includes a transition programme that introduces pre-school children to Winchester Rural School.

Since the 2013 ERO review, a new principal has been appointed. The board has a balance of experienced and new trustees who bring a useful range of skills to the role.

2 Equity and excellence

The vision and valued outcomes defined by the school and actively practised are for all children to aim high and demonstrate independence, respect, inquisitiveness, and resilience (The five seeds of growth).

The school’s achievement information shows that in December 2015, 85% of all students were at or above the National Standards (NS) in reading, 73% in writing and 75% in mathematics. Achievement data since 2013 show an upward trend in reading, a slight improvement in writing and a slight decrease in mathematics.

Achievement data for Māori children up to the end of 2015, shows a pattern of lower achievement in relation to the NS, particularly in mathematics. However, midyear 2016 results show that most Māori children are on track to reach the NS in all core areas.

In relation to equity and excellence, the school has placed a greater emphasis in 2016 on Māori students achieving well and succeeding as Māori.

Achievement data also shows a persistent pattern of lower achievement for boys in writing compared to girls.

The 2016 targets are designed to focus on all students whose progress in reading, writing and mathematics needs to be accelerated. The school-wide focus for 2017 is to raise achievement in writing.

Children for whom English is a second language are well supported to learn English and achievement information shows they quickly reach the National Standards.

The school has clear guidelines and documented processes to support teachers to make reliable judgements about student achievement in reading, writing and mathematics. These include using multiple sources of information about children's learning.

Since the last ERO evaluation, the school has:

  • explored and initiated an approach that gives children choice about what and how they learn
  • strengthened the appraisal process to meet the requirements of the Education Council
  • placed a greater responsibility on children setting learning goals
  • modified the reporting to parents of children's progress and achievement
  • consulted with the Māori community and increased the level of Māori perspectives, te reo and tikanga Māori within the curriculum and daily life of the school.

3 Accelerating achievement

How effectively does this school respond to Māori children whose learning and achievement need acceleration?

This school responds well to Māori children whose learning and achievement require acceleration.

There are useful processes in place for the early identification of Māori students who require additional support with learning. Children identified as well below or below the National Standards in reading, writing or mathematics receive support that is thoughtfully tailored to meet specific needs.

Teachers' planning shows evidence of responsiveness to Māori learners in the classroom. Teachers trial, discuss and consider different approaches to support learning. They actively investigate 'how best' to make a positive difference for Māori students and regularly reflect on the impact of their actions. Teaching-as-Inquiry practices are closely aligned with children's needs and focused on engaging students as well as accelerating learning progress. The targets planned for 2017 reflect the need to maintain a focus on Māori learners who require additional support. For these students it is important that the school evaluates how effectively and, in particular, how efficiently their interventions are working for these children.

How effectively does this school respond to other children whose learning and achievement need acceleration?

This school is responding well to other children at risk of not achieving equitable outcomes. School targets identify groups of students requiring additional support and these students become the subject of focused teacher and school leader attention. Their progress is closely monitored and their needs are carefully examined. External assistance is sought to ensure that children receive appropriate assistance as required.

A group of 21 boys, who are currently below NS expectations for writing, need to make accelerated progress. Again, it is important that the school further evaluates how effectively and, in particular, how efficiently the interventions are working for these students.

4 School conditions

How effectively do the school’s curriculum and other organisational processes and practices develop and enact the school’s vision, values, goals and targets for equity and excellence?

The school provides a broad and rich curriculum for children. The curriculum is designed to engage all children in learning and offer opportunities for them to engage meaningfully with the local community. With teacher guidance, children are encouraged to offer ideas about topics for learning. These ideas are listened to and become the basis for authentic child-led inquiry. There is meaningful integration of reading and writing for different curriculum purposes.

Leaders and teachers are highly committed to Māori children achieving success as Māori. The school has consulted with its Māori community and is taking action in response. The emphasis on te reo is part of the communication between the school and whānau, and maintains the focus on the needs of Māori children. Reporting progress and achievement to parents is very informative.

Reports are well structured, the language used is clear, progress and achievement are identified and ideas for helping children at home are incorporated.

The board is committed to providing high-quality learning experiences for all students and uses achievement information to allocate resources wisely to achieve this aim. They have reviewed policies and procedures to ensure they are current as well as practically applied. The board has considered succession and continuity of governance for the school. The board has identified, and ERO agrees, that a self-evaluation of 'how well' the board is functioning will enhance existing good practice and provide a sound base for future action.

School achievement targets are relevant and designed to maintain the focus on progress and achievement, especially for students who need additional support with learning. The school's leadership and teachers actively seek to match interventions appropriately to the needs of children. Although teachers are regularly reflecting on these interventions, it is important that the effectiveness of interventions is robustly and routinely evaluated. These evaluations should include how well and how quickly interventions help to accelerate progress.

The leadership team is strong and manages the school well. Leaders are fostering a supportive learning environment for children and for teachers. Teachers and leaders work collaboratively in the interests of students' progress and achievement. Teachers also participate in planned professional learning that is aligned with the school's identified priorities.

Children participate in a process of goal-setting with teachers and with parents. It is important that teachers evaluate the impact of this goal-setting process. In particular, they should evaluate:

  • how well students understand the connection between goals and their next steps in learning
  • how well students are using their goals to help improve their learning and achievement
  • the consistency of process around goal-setting across all year levels
  • how challenging goals are for students.

5 Going forward

How well placed is the school to accelerate the achievement of all children who need it?

This school is well placed to accelerate the achievement of all children who need it.

Leaders and teachers:

  • know the children whose learning and achievement need to be accelerated
  • respond effectively to the strengths, needs and interests of each child
  • regularly evaluate how well teaching is working for these children
  • act on what they know works well for each child
  • build teacher capability effectively to achieve equitable outcomes for all children
  • are well placed to achieve and sustain equitable and excellent outcomes for all children.

This school is implementing a range of interventions and practices designed to accelerate the learning of children who are at risk of not achieving. Strengthening evaluation of these interventions and practices, particularly related to the pace of improvement that students make, will assist the school to efficiently accelerate progress for students requiring additional support.

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

6 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 the following:

  • board administration

  • curriculum

  • management of health, safety and welfare

  • personnel management

  • asset management.

During the review, ERO checked the following items because they have a potentially high impact on student safety and wellbeing:

  • emotional safety of students (including prevention of bullying and sexual harassment)

  • physical safety of students

  • teacher registration

  • processes for appointing staff

  • stand down, suspensions, expulsions and exclusions

  • attendance

  • compliance with the provisions of the Vulnerable Children Act 2014.

7 Recommendations

ERO recommends that the school implements the next steps identified in this report which are to:

  • develop a framework to evaluate how effectively and, in particular, how efficiently teaching and learning practices and interventions are working for Māori students whose learning requires acceleration, and for boys whose writing progress requires acceleration
  • evaluate how well the goal setting process helps students with their learning, particularly for those students whose progress needs acceleration
  • evaluate how well the board is functioning in terms of governance.

Dr Lesley Patterson

Deputy Chief Review Officer Te Waipounamu Southern

20 December 2016

About the school 

Location

Winchester

Ministry of Education profile number

2108

School type

Contributing (Years 1 to 6)

School roll

153

Gender composition

Boys: 79

Girls: 74

Ethnic composition

Pākehā

Māori

Other ethnicities

78%

12%

10%

Review team on site

October 2016

Date of this report

20 December 2016

Most recent ERO reports

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

June 2013

September 2009

August 2006