Bay of Islands International Academy - 16/01/2017

1 Context

Bay of Islands International Academy (Te Whare Mātauranga o Te Tii) is a rural school in Purerua, Northland, which provides education for children in Years 1 to 8. Since ERO's 2014 evaluation, the school roll has significantly increased from 45 children to 105. Of these children, 45 identify as Māori. Previously known as Te Tii School, the school has experienced significant turnaround in growth and improvement since 2012 when the school roll had dropped to 8 students in total. The board's future-focused strategy and commitment to excellence in governance and management has underpinned positive progress and school expansion.

The principal, who was appointed in 2013, has led and managed well the school's development resulting from the increased roll, staff and teaching spaces. The International Baccalaureate Primary Years Programme (IB PYP) was introduced in 2014. Professional development for teachers has prioritised the implementation of IB PYP, literacy and mathematics teaching, and ways to work in innovative learning environments.

Families from the local and wider Kerikeri area choose to send their children to this school, despite some travelling considerable distances to do so. Parents and whānau express confidence in the improvement trajectory the school has demonstrated over the last four years.

2 Equity and excellence

The vision and valued outcomes defined by the school for all children are focused on promoting an engaged community of learners, building their knowledge, motivation and confidence to progress, achieve and succeed in life. The school's charter recognises that genuine, productive relationships among teachers and their children, whānau and wider communities are an essential foundation for effective teaching and learning. The school's motto is "Learn and grow with us. Kia ako, kia tupu, tahi tatou".

It is important that the significant roll growth over the past three years is taken into account when interpreting the school’s achievement data. The school's priority during this time of expansion has been to develop a shared understanding about the principles and practice of IB PYP among the community, teachers and children.

The school’s achievement information shows that during 2013 to 2015 there has generally been accelerated progress in National Standards reading and writing for children in Years 1 to 3. Public achievement information shows that this has not been the trend for children in Years 4 to 8.

National Standards data show that during these three years achievement in mathematics has decreased across the school. A persistent disparity in Māori children's progress and achievement is also evident. Maori children are over-represented in the groups below National Standards. School achievement information also shows that boys are not achieving as well as girls.

Significant improvements are evident in student achievement outcomes in 2016. Achievement information for 2016 shows accelerated progress in reading, writing and mathematics across the school, particularly for children in Years 1 to 4. The principal's most recent report to the board shows that the majority of the 41 children who were identified at the beginning of the year at risk of underachieving have made accelerated progress. This positive trend means that many of these children are likely to achieve National Standards by the end of the year.

School data show that children generally achieve better at Bay of Islands Academy than their peers at the regional level, in the far north in particular. Furthermore, the schools is holding its own when children's overall achievement is compared with national averages.

One of the fundamental PYP principles is collaboration. Teachers demonstrate this aspect of professional practice when discussing and assessing children's work with colleagues, particularly in writing. At this stage they do not moderate children’s work with other schools. The principal is keen to investigate the possibility of cross-school moderation as part of the Community of Learning (CoL) initiative.

Since the last ERO evaluation the school has:

  • had an increased focus on accelerating progress to enable equitable outcomes for all learners
  • prioritised children's wellbeing as the foundation for successful learning
  • resourced additional time and implemented programmes to accelerate children's learning in reading and mathematics
  • developed more specific action plans in response to trends indicated in achievement data
  • provided the board with a clearer analysis of children's progress, and reports on the effectiveness of strategies to address achievement disparity
  • developed teachers' and children's shared understanding of the IB PYP programme.

3 Accelerating achievement

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

During 2014 and 2015, the school's focus was on embedding IB PYP, and managing the expanding school roll. During these two transformational years, while children showed progress in their learning, the teaching strategies for and ways to measure acceleration, were not well implemented across the school.

The school has since established clearer processes and expectations to achieve equitable outcomes for all children. Staff are now more effectively and consistently responding to children whose learning needs acceleration. A key feature of this improvement is the school's responsive curriculum that enables meaningful and personalised learning for each child.

Achievement data are well used to:

  • enable early identification of children at risk of not achieving equitable outcomes
  • guide planning, programmes and interventions to accelerate children's progress
  • set meaningful achievement targets as part of the annual plan
  • inform the board of the progress of all children, particularly those who have been identified as requiring additional support
  • build collaborative partnerships in learning between teachers and children, focused on shared responsibility for improvement.

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's organisational practices support children well to be confident in their identity, language and culture. The school encourages Māori children to be successful as Māori. They display an active sense of fairness, social justice and respect of human rights. Children advocate for themselves and others.

The school's learner-focused curriculum strongly reflects the vision, values and principles of The New Zealand Curriculum. Children can select contexts in the conceptual framework that encourage them to work collaboratively, explore their interests, develop critical thinking skills and use problem solving strategies.

Sound foundations for successful learning are developed through the school curriculum. Inquiry, collaboration and sharing are strongly evident in school practices. Children are curious and enjoy having their thinking extended. They learn with and from other children, and value opportunities for tuakana teina relationships. Children know their choices for preferred learning styles and contexts, and these are respected by their teachers. As a result, children are becoming more responsible for themselves, their learning and development.

Internal evaluation is used well to improve teaching and learning. Teachers are increasing their ability to identify relevant improvements in their practice that are likely to promote positive outcomes for children. A more clearly defined and planned careers programme for Years 7 and 8 would enable children to be better informed about potential learning pathways.

The board and staff share responsibility to minimise economic and social disparities in the school. They maintain strong relationships with children that are based on trust, respect and honesty. The school's philosophy for children's success is underpinned through a strong set of caring, child-centred values. Staff and children celebrate learning and diversity.

School leaders, teachers and the board are strongly committed to, and value, meaningful consultation with parents, families/whānau and the community. While this consultation is not always successful, the increased school roll shows the community's confidence in the school's vision for children.

The school is now well placed to:

  • identify further ways to engage all children in learning, including improving their attendance
  • improve data analysis and tracking of accelerated progress over time, particularly for those children who are not achieving at expected levels
  • extend teachers' skills and strategies to accelerate and sustain children's progress, particularly for Māori children and boys
  • develop stronger and meaningful relationships with whānau, hapū and iwi.

School leaders agree that the curriculum could more specifically include Māori perspectives. They are keen to enrich Māori children's learning by further integrating te reo and tikanga Māori in meaningful curriculum contexts.

5 Going forward

How well placed is the school 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 to the strengths, needs and interests of each child
  • regularly evaluate how teaching is working for these children
  • need to systematically act on what they know works for each child
  • need to have a plan in place to build teacher capability to accelerate the achievement of all children who need it.

The school is now well placed to sustain and extend equity and excellence opportunities for Māori children, and other children. School leaders are determined to further build on initiatives that are promoting equitable outcomes for all children. This determination includes a particularly strong emphasis on effective teaching and learning strategies to promote and sustain children's accelerated progress.

Strong school leadership, particularly by the principal and well supported by the board, is focused on reducing disparity and ensuring equitable outcomes for all children.

Action: The board, principal and teachers should use the findings of this evaluation, the Effective School Evaluation resource, the Internal Evaluation: Good Practice exemplars and the School Evaluation Indicators to develop more targeted planning to accelerate student achievement. Planning should show how processes and practices will respond effectively to the strengths and needs of children whose learning and achievement need to be accelerated.

As part of this review ERO will continue to monitor the school’s planning and the progress the school makes. ERO is likely to carry out the next full 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.

To improve current practice, the board of trustees should:

  • ensure that all teacher appraisals, including the principal's, meet the requirements of the Education Council
  • continue to develop and refine meaningful policies that meet legal requirements
  • ensure provision of a Years 7 and 8 careers programme to enable children to develop an understanding of potential learning pathways and future careers.

7 Recommendation

ERO recommends that leaders continue to build internal evaluation capability at all levels of the school, particularly focused on accelerating children's progress. The school should also continue to focus on extending its relationship with whānau, hapū and iwi. 

Graham Randell Deputy Chief Review Officer Northern

16 January 2017

About the school 

Location

Purerua, Northland

Ministry of Education profile number

1112

School type

Full Primary (Years 1 to 8)

School roll

105

Gender composition

Girls 47% Boys 53%

Ethnic composition

Māori

Pākehā

other

41%

56%

3%

Review team on site

November 2016

Date of this report

16 January 2017

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Special Review

Special Review

February 2014

January 2011

June 2009