Hora Hora School (Te Mai) - 28/09/2016

1 Context

Hora Hora School continues to provide good quality education. Te Ahurutanga is a recently established bilingual and immersion Māori setting within the school catering for whānau who want this learning opportunity for their tamariki.

Since the 2013 ERO review the school has experienced significant roll growth. Half the student population travel from outside the local area to the school. The board is currently managing the construction of ten new classrooms. At the time of this evaluation a new board, with governance experience, had just been elected.

2 Equity and excellence

The vision and valued outcomes defined by the school for all children are documented in the school's charter. These are linked to developing a healthy community, where everyone is happy and confident enough to ask questions, to think deeply and to make informed choices. School values include respect, honesty and developing a positive attitude to learning.

The school’s achievement information shows that overall about two thirds of children perform at or above the National Standards in reading. Similar levels of achievement have been evident in mathematics between 2012 and 2014. Improved performance in 2015 is also evident, with over 70 percent of children now achieving at or above the expected standard in mathematics. Student achievement in writing has consistently exceeded success rates in reading and mathematics over the past few years, with around 80 percent of children at or above the standard in this learning area.

Māori student achievement is consistent with school-wide achievement levels, with particularly good increases in writing performance noted for these learners in 2015. There is, however, some evidence of gender differences in school data, with girls overall achieving at higher levels than boys, particularly in writing and to a lesser extent in reading. School leaders are now planning to undertake longitudinal tracking of the achievement of groups of children over time in a range of curriculum areas.

Since the last ERO evaluation the school has continued to promote improved learner outcomes through:

  • resourcing a broad curriculum that provides for children's emotional, social, academic and physical wellbeing
  • professional development that helps teachers improve their cultural competence to enable them to teach Māori learners and engage with whānau more effectively
  • external professional development and internal sharing of expertise in a range of areas including reading, writing and mathematics aimed at improving teaching practice
  • introducing a school-wide reading programme that focuses on teaching specific reading strategies for those children who need extra support with their learning
  • engaging whānau in learning partnerships, particularly with a view to improving children's reading skills.

3 Accelerating achievement

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

School leaders and teachers are becoming increasingly effective in implementing practices that respond well to children whose learning needs accelerating. These include early identification of children at risk of not achieving; ongoing monitoring of progress made; and thoughtful consideration by teachers that helps them identify children's next learning steps. These next steps are discussed with parents to enable them to support their child at home.

School achievement information is well analysed and useful recommendations for improving educational outcomes are made to the board. It would be useful to now consider how some of this data analysis could be further used to highlight and focus more explicitly on the needs of groups whose progress most needs accelerating. Continuing to strengthen the collective responsibility of adults for children at risk of not achieving could also have a beneficial impact on their achievement.

The board is committed to resourcing programmes that promote equity and excellence for learners, and provides well for children at risk of not achieving and those with high learning needs. Support programmes for learners with special educational needs are flexible and responsive. Well considered teaching strategies complemented by relevant learning support programmes are contributing to children's accelerated progress. Capable teacher aides work with teachers to provide in-class and withdrawal support, as appropriate, for individuals and small groups.

Teachers are well supported through ongoing professional development and guidance provided by school leaders to make valid and reliable judgements about children's progress and achievement.

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 curriculum, practices and processes link well to the vision, values, goals and priorities outlined in the school charter.

The school charter emphasises students achieving success within a broad and inclusive curriculum. The board works collaboratively with the principal to ensure resourcing is strategically allocated to support ongoing improvement in teaching and learning. The newly elected board provides continuity with the previous board and brings a range of professional skills to support the work of the school.

The school's vision and values inform decision making by school leaders and the board. Valued outcomes for children are strongly evident in the positive and respectful interactions and relationships between staff and children. Parents spoken to by ERO feel welcome at school and value the approachability of staff.

The school is led by an experienced principal and he is well supported by his senior leadership team. Collaborative leadership ensures that there is a strong culture of professional learning. School leaders and teachers deliberately focus on improving teaching practice for better learning opportunities for children. Teacher appraisal processes and teachers' inquiry into the effectiveness of their practice have been strengthened. Leadership of the curriculum is distributed across teaching teams to build individual and collective leadership capacity throughout the school.

Children are keen to learn and benefit from school conditions that foster positive attitudes to lifelong learning. The long-standing school motto of 'we look after each other' is well known by children and their families. Māori concepts such as manaakitanga and whanaungatanga are well understood.

The school's bicultural curriculum is strong and local contexts, such as marae visits, feature strongly in children's learning experiences. Te reo me ōna tikanga Māori practices are becoming increasingly embedded within school life. Leaders engage with local kaumatua and value their knowledge and expertise. Many teachers participate in professional learning to improve their te reo Māori. Leaders agree it would now be timely to develop a progression of learning to guide and grow the school's te reo Māori programme.

The recently established Te Ahurutanga bilingual and immersion Māori facility for those whānau who want this for their tamaiti/mokopuna further reflects the school's commitment to biculturalism. The board resources personnel for this unit, including a kaiawhina, who are speakers of te reo. Teachers are using Te Marautanga o Aotearoa, the national curriculum for Māori-medium settings, to develop curriculum and assessment processes. Hui with whānau enable teachers to share information and gather whānau aspirations for their children as part of work to establish and sustain a responsive child-centred learning environment.

Children participate in a broad-based curriculum that prioritises literacy and mathematics. The board funds a specialist staff member for physical education. This initiative is having a positive impact on children's attitudes towards physical activity. Children have good access to information communication technologies (ICT) that help support them with their learning.

School leaders have recently restructured the junior school in response to a comprehensive internal evaluation. They have introduced a developmental teaching approach that:

  • fosters oral language and interactions
  • enables children to access the curriculum through play
  • is setting children up for success and further learning.

The programme is underpinned by research and Te Whāriki, the early childhood curriculum, with teachers working with local early childhood providers to develop their knowledge of effective teaching in the preschool sector. These relationships with local providers are also strengthening transition processes as children move from early childhood services to begin their compulsory schooling.

Educationally powerful connections with parents continue to be prioritised especially in reading. Parents participate in a programme that helps them use effective reading strategies with their child at home. They are also involved in discussions with the child and teachers about relevant goal setting and purposeful next steps for learning. Parents report finding these discussions very helpful.

5 Going forward

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

Hora Hora School is well placed to sustain and improve the current good practices that promote equitable and excellent outcomes for all children.

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.

Leaders and ERO have identified relevant priorities for development that include:

  • continuing to develop student-centred approaches, including practices for helping children to have a greater understanding of their own achievement and next learning steps
  • strengthening critique and evaluation of achievement information to further enable leaders and teachers to identify the impact of programmes and initiatives designed to accelerate children's progress with learning.

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 Recommendation

ERO recommends that the school continue to develop educationally powerful connections with children, staff, whānau and early childhood providers to further build on Hora Hora School's vision and approaches for promoting equity and excellence in outcomes for learners. 

Graham Randell

Deputy Chief Review Officer Northern

28 September 2016

About the school

Location

Whangarei

Ministry of Education profile number

1015

School type

Contributing (Years 1 to 6)

School roll

414

Gender composition

Boys 54% Girls 46%

Ethnic composition

Māori

Pākehā

Pacific

Asian

74%

21%

3%

2%

Review team on site

June 2016

Date of this report

28 September 2016

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

January 2013

November 2009

November 2006