Korokoro School - 26/06/2012

1. Context

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

Korokoro School, situated in the western hills of the Hutt Valley, caters for students in Years 1 to 8. At the time of the review there were 138 students enrolled. Most identify as New Zealand European/Pākehā, 4% as Māori and 1% represent other ethnic groups.

Although physically close to urban centres, staff and parents report that this small school is at the hub of the local community and has a rural feel. The principal and teachers know students and their whānau well. Many parents are involved in the life of the school. Trustees and parents value the variety of ways in which staff use their interests, skills and time to offer students a wide range of curriculum activities.

Recent building developments include decking and toilet block upgrades.

2. Learning

How well are students learning – engaging, progressing and achieving?

Students are well-engaged in class and focused on their learning. They follow class and school expectations for learning and behaviour and work well in cooperative groups and on independent tasks. Students interact with staff and visitors in a polite and respectful manner. Attendance is good and there are appropriate systems for monitoring, following up and analysing attendance patterns.

The school’s achievement information shows that a high percentage of students achieve at and above the National Standards in reading, writing and mathematics. The principal annually reports this data to the board. Leaders have chosen to focus on writing as a priority learning area for further development.

Māori students are well-engaged in learning programmes. School leaders report that most achieve at and above the National Standards in reading and mathematics.

Student progress is well-monitored. Achievement data shows good improvement over time, with many students making very good progress.

Leaders and teachers analyse school wide achievement data thoroughly and identify trends and patterns. This analysis informs school and classroom planning and assists teachers to identify students with special needs and abilities. Annual plan targets for student achievement are based on this information. Leaders communicate to parents about assessment to increase their understanding about the processes used.

Students requiring extra learning support are identified and monitored by the special educational needs coordinator. Teachers generally put appropriate strategies in place and many students make accelerated progress.

Parents receive written reports twice a year which include information about their children’s achievement in relation to National Standards. Reports also contain:

  • appropriate detail about students’ learning
  • student reflections
  • detailed comments by the principal which demonstrate his good knowledge of the students
  • assessments against The New Zealand Curriculum (NZC) key competencies.

Leaders have sought feedback from parents as they have developed the new reporting formats.

3. Curriculum

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

Teachers deliver a broad and holistic curriculum with a central focus on literacy and numeracy. Programmes which build on staff strengths have been developed to provide opportunities for students in a variety of curriculum areas, particularly in sports, cooking and the arts.

A very positive tone is evident throughout the school, both in classrooms and in the wider environment. Teachers use effective management strategies and interact with students in a warm and affirming manner. Classroom environments are colourful, well-organised and display and promote student learning. Information and communication technologies are used in a variety of ways to support, share and celebrate learning.

Teachers are improvement focused. They trial and implement a range of interventions to accelerate and extend students’ learning. Recently progress has been made with the development of in-school provision for gifted and talented students. A part-time specialist has been appointed and she supports teachers to identify students who may benefit from extra support and extension. Teachers and leaders continue to reflect on and refine the programme as it develops. Leaders plan to formally review the impact and effectiveness of this new intervention initiative.

Staff work collaboratively to support each other and respond to student learning needs. Regular professional discussions focus on effective teaching strategies. Teachers have engaged in professional development and discussion about assessment processes in regard to National Standards. They are confident that they have refined their practice and improved accuracy and consistency. Teachers continue to develop their overall teacher judgement and moderation processes, particularly in writing. ERO’s evaluation supports this development focus.

Teachers use a range of appropriate assessment tools to group students according to ability levels. Some teachers demonstrate high quality planning and assessment practices which ensure that the specific learning needs of individual students are well-known, documented and responded to effectively. Leaders should further develop processes to ensure increased consistency with:

  • documentation of specific learning needs
  • stronger alignment between identified next learning steps, planning and teaching.

In conjunction with the board’s strategic review this year, it is timely for leaders and teachers to develop the design and documentation of the Korokoro School Curriculum further. Curriculum development should include:

  • completion of curriculum statements for all learning areas
  • the introduction of a process to monitor curriculum coverage
  • further statements which outline expectations, rationale and aspirations for how the values, key competencies and principles of NZC will be enacted in the school.

Leaders and teachers should particularly focus on the NZC principle of “Learning to learn” and further develop and clarify how this will be realised in the school. ERO’s evaluation found that students did not always have a clear understanding about their learning and next steps. Increased student ownership, assessment capability and responsibility for learning should further enhance good levels of engagement, achievement, and progress.

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

Sound teaching strategies ensure good engagement, achievement and progress for Māori students. The principal consults with whānau in both formal and informal ways. He is focused on building strong relationships with Māori students and their families. While there is some evidence of the integration of te reo and tikanga Māori into the school curriculum, teachers have identified that this is an area for further development. ERO affirms this direction and agrees that leaders should continue to investigate ways to promote cultural competency for staff and ensure that the environment and curriculum better reflect te ao Māori.

4. Sustainable Performance

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

Board members demonstrate a sound understanding of their governance roles and responsibilities. Trustees and staff enjoy positive working relationships and reciprocal respect and trust.

Trustees have good knowledge of student achievement. They receive well-analysed information and question leaders to further their own understanding. Trustees demonstrate a clear focus on improving outcomes for students. They are reflective and examine their processes regularly. The board has recently carried out an extensive review of policies and procedures.

A full strategic and charter review involving community consultation is planned for later this year. Trustees have engaged an external facilitator to provide some quality assurance support for this process.

The senior leadership team works together effectively. The combined complementary skills and expertise of school leaders have a positive impact on students and staff. They foster a shared understanding about the school’s direction and priorities through consultation and in-depth data analysis. The principal builds leadership capability and encourages delegation of curriculum leadership. Senior leaders are accessible to staff, students, parents and whānau.

Parents and whānau are very involved in the life of the school. They feel welcome and enjoy positive relationships with staff.

Leaders and trustees engage in several effective aspects of self review, such as achievement analysis and policy review. Staff have received some training to develop their self review processes. ERO’s evaluation supports continued development in this area, particularly with regard to in-depth curriculum review. Leaders should strengthen and refine processes to evaluate teaching and learning programmes. This is likely to lead to further and sustained improvements for students.

In addition ERO recommends that the current appraisal process for teachers and the leadership team be further developed and strengthened. This should include:

  • feedback from appraisers to include clear and useful next steps
  • consistent use of specific and ongoing action plans for teachers and leaders
  • stronger alignment from year-to-year to ensure a longitudinal process.

This should lead to a consistent and ongoing cycle of reflection, review and development for staff.

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
  • 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

 

Joyce Gebbie

National Manager Review Services Central Region (Acting)

26 June 2012

 

About the School

Location

Petone, Lower Hutt

Ministry of Education profile number

2883

School type

Full Primary (Year 1 to 8)

School roll

138

Gender composition

Female 46%,

Male 54%

Ethnic composition

NZ European/Pākehā

Māori

Other ethnic groups

95%

4%

1%

Review team on site

April 2012

Date of this report

26 June 2012

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

June 2009

June 2006

October 2003