ERO Report 2015

Education Review Report Makara Model School
The purpose of ERO’s reviews is to give parents and the wider school community assurance about the quality of education that schools provide and their children receive. An ERO school report answers the question “How effectively is this school’s curriculum promoting student learning – engagement, progress and achievement?” Under that overarching question ERO reports on the quality of education and learning outcomes for children and for specific groups of children including Māori students, Pacific students and students with special needs. ERO also reports on the quality of the school’s systems for sustaining and continuing improvements. The report answers four key questions about the school.
1 Context
What are the important features of this school that have an impact on student learning?
Makara Model School is in Makara, a small township situated on the southwest Wellington coast beyond Karori. It provides education for students in Years 1 to 8. At the time of this ERO review it had a roll of 32 students who learned in two multi-level classes. Staff consists of a teaching-principal, two teachers, teacher aide and office manager. As a model school, staff provide teaching practice opportunities for trainee teachers.
The rural coastal setting and spacious grounds are well used for curriculum provision. Water safety and environmental learning are community-valued learning areas. Students tend gardens and the board has provided heating for the pool so that daily swimming lessons can occur in summer months.
The atmosphere of the small community school is welcoming and inclusive. Teachers, students and families know and value each other. Students benefit from the positive support of trustees and parents.
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 data to be informed about overall performance in relation to the National Standards, identify areas requiring development and know how well students are learning and progressing. Teachers use classroom information to plan for students’ individual learning needs and to monitor their progress. Further analysis and interpretation of data would:
 provide opportunities for inquiring into reasons for patterns across individuals, groups and years
 assist the school to evaluate the effectiveness of programmes or actions taken for improvement to accelerate progress.
Most students achieve well in literacy and numeracy. The school’s National Standards data gathered over the past five years indicates improved overall performance in reading, writing and mathematics. A focus maintained on the teaching of writing has made a positive difference, with a steady upward trend evident from year to year. While there have been fluctuations in numbers at and above the Standards in reading and mathematics, the 2014 results indicated positive movement.
Parents receive regular information about their child’s achievement and next steps through written reports and the child’s individual portfolio of learning. Planned discussions between the student, family and teacher provide opportunities to share more information about learning and aspirations and set goals.
3 Curriculum
How effectively does this school’s curriculum promote and support student learning?
The curriculum offers a wide range of opportunities for students to develop academically, personally and socially. It is responsive to community input and students’ needs and interests. Teachers use the local environment for planning authentic learning opportunities, many of which are hands-on outside the classroom. Next steps are to ensure that programme planning is:
 managed for appropriate coverage and progression in all essential learning areas over the eight primary years
 evaluated for its effectiveness in catering for differentiated learning in a multi-level setting.
Topic studies integrate cross-curriculum content and allow for individual inquiry using a blend of natural, live, print and technology resources. Teachers plan opportunities for students to work cooperatively, develop independence and self-monitoring skills. Some students need more support to understand what they need to do next to assist progress. Specific feedback in relation to the given success criteria is likely to strengthen students’ ability to understand their own progress and next steps.
A schoolwide behaviour management plan has been developed and promoted so that learning and wellbeing are positively fostered. Students are encouraged to keep trying, remember manners, how to be a good friend and show respect.
For students with identified learning needs, programmes are in place and teachers work with outside agencies that support and evaluate these programmes. A teacher aide provides assistance for the learning of individuals and small groups of students.
How effectively does the school promote educational success for Māori, as Māori?
The school should consider, in consultation with parents/whānau, the extent to which commitment to the Treaty of Waitangi is enacted in the curriculum and in the daily life of the school.
4 Sustainable Performance
How well placed is the school to sustain and improve its performance?
Makara Model School is suitably placed to sustain and improve its performance. A shared focus on students’ learning and wellbeing is evident. Board, staff and community members are engaged in the life of the school. Students are expected to grow as responsible, confident and happy learners.
There is an extensive set of regularly reviewed policies to guide school operations. This includes guidelines for trustees on their role and responsibilities and guidance for board operation. Strategic planning is undertaken and planned actions guide school development. Linking of planned actions to formally documented outcomes should strengthen this process.
Increasing the depth of analysis and evaluation of expected outcomes would assist the board and staff in determining future steps and direction. For teachers, this would include inquiring into practice to be clear about which strategies and initiatives are most effective for promoting progress and learning to make decisions about development or change. This needs to be part of evidence used to assess teachers’ performance in relation to the Practising Teacher Criteria and the appraisal process.
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
At the time of the review the board of trustees was not legally constituted. Trustees sought advice from NZSTA to ensure they met all legal requirements for representation and election of members. Further work with NZSTA would assist trustees in developing their governance roles.
Makara School has a small roll. Students from Years 1 to 8 learn in two classrooms. The atmosphere is welcoming and the community is actively engaged in curriculum matters. Students are supported to make progress and achieve well in literacy and numeracy. Further development of analysis and evaluation would provide deeper insights into students’ or curriculum needs.
ERO intends to carry out another review within three years.
Joyce Gebbie Deputy Chief Review Officer Central
19 October 2015