Kuratau School - 07/07/2016

Findings

Kuratau School has made significant progress in responding to the areas for review and development in the 2014 ERO report. Students learn in a positive and encouraging school culture. The board, principal and teachers have implemented robust processes to ensure that effective teaching and learning is benefitting all students.

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

1 Background and Context

What is the background and context for this school’s review?

Kuratau School is located north west of Turangi, near Lake Taupo and caters for students in Years 1 to 8. Many students travel from Turangi and local rural areas to attend the school. Since the 2014 ERO review, the roll has increased, and is now 90 students. Fifty four students are Māori, most of whom whakapapa to Tūwharetoa. Many families have long-standing connections with the school.

Since the 2014 ERO review, two new teachers have been appointed. The long serving principal and other staff have remained the same. Teachers, together with teacher aides, work effectively in a collaborative and collegial way. They are able to show improvements in student achievement and progress. The school continues to be supported by parents, whānau and the surrounding farming community.

In 2013, a new board of trustees was elected and a new chairperson appointed. The 2014 ERO review identified that relationships between the principal and the board of trustees had deteriorated. Since 2014, an experienced and knowledgeable trustee has helped trustees clarify their roles and responsibilities, and review and update a range of governance processes and procedures. In addition the principal’s appraisal has been completed, and a current process implemented. The parent community has been consulted and the school charter reviewed.

Māori parents are well represented on the board of trustees and this ensures that the re-focus on cultural identity, and the values of manaakitanga, whanaungatanga, and kaitiakitanga, continue to be promoted.

The work of the board and staff have placed the school in a strong position to be able to sustain and improve its performance.

2 Review and Development

How effectively is the school addressing its priorities for review and development?

Priorities identified for review and development

The 2014 ERO Report identified that the following priorities needed to be addressed:

  • accountability systems and employment responsibilities between the board and principal
  • documented health and safety procedures
  • communication between the school and community including a process for regular consultation with the Māori community
  • the role of the principal as the professional leader of the school
  • aspects of curriculum delivery.

In addition, there was a need to further promote and understand the cultural identity and wellbeing of Māori students. A next step for the board and principal was to consult with Māori parents, whānau and iwi to ascertain their aspirations and ideas for their children’s success. The ERO report also stated that the introduction of a progressive te reo Māori programme would be of benefit to all students.

Progress

The board, principal and staff have worked hard in responding to the areas for review and development. Trustees have undergone training, and benefitted from the expertise of an experienced and knowledgeable co-opted member who has advised and guided the board, and helped restore relationships between the board and principal.

The board has consulted with the school community and reviewed the school charter. This charter now includes a cycle of self review for policies and procedures, a strategic and annual plan with useful targets and goals, and a reviewed mission statement, values and beliefs.

The chairperson has overseen the re-writing of board policies to reflect current changes in legislation and practice. A comprehensive health and safety manual has been written, and procedures for monitoring health and safety matters have been strengthened.

The board has employed an external consultant to review and implement the principal’s performance appraisal and this has been aligned with the school strategic goals, and the requirements of the Education Council. The principal now monitors his and the school’s performance in relation to the strategic goals.

The principal has considered the areas for review and development in the 2014 ERO report and has worked in partnership with the board and staff to support a culture of improvement and sustainability. His collaborative approach to leadership has enabled staff to develop effective practices and processes, which are having a positive impact on student achievement, wellbeing and engagement.

The reliability and use of student achievement data has improved since the 2014 ERO review. Teachers have developed effective systems for gathering, collating and using student achievement information. They track and report on the progress of students, especially priority learners. This information is well used to:

  • identify and respond to priority learners
  • inform planning and next steps in learning
  • inform Overall Teacher Judgements (OTJs) for reading, writing and mathematics and report these to the board and parents in relation to National Standards
  • reflect on the effectiveness of programmes and initiatives.

Student achievement in relation to National Standards has improved over time with clear goals, targets and strategies to raise achievement. The gaps between Māori and non-Māori, and girls and boys, have narrowed but still remain a challenge in reading, writing and mathematics. Success is acknowledged and rewarded within a positive school culture. There has been good attendance at celebrations, school events and report evenings, including at the local marae. The school environment has been enhanced to promote a positive school culture that welcomes all families.

Students experience a holistic and rich range of learning experiences that are well grounded in the local rural environment. They are purposefully engaged in meaningful learning programmes that are carefully targeted to challenge their thinking. Experienced teacher aides work closely with teachers to provide additional support for students. There is sound coverage and documentation supporting literacy and mathematics. Increasing use of digital technology is enhancing student engagement in their learning. Other curriculum areas are adequately covered, and science has been a focus with the exploration of the local wetland area.

The school is taking deliberate actions to ensure that Māori students experience success as Māori, through such activities as noho marae, daily use of karakia and waiata, Māori learning contexts, and the visibility of te Ao Māori in the school.

3 Sustainable performance and self review

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

The school is well placed to continue to improve its performance. Factors that are contributing to this positive outlook are:

  • the board has ensured, through succession planning, that the good work of trustees will continue to bring about continued school improvement
  • there is a high level of relational trust and collaboration amongst all stake holders and a commitment to extending success for Māori students in relation to National Standards
  • knowledgeable, dedicated and committed teachers establish positive, learning relationships with students and student achievement is improving
  • parents/whānau are encouraged to participate fully in the life of the school and in their child’s education.

Key next steps

In order to further build on the progress that the board and the staff have made, ERO, the principal and trustees agree that the new policies, procedures and accountabilities now need to be embedded, and self-review processes further strengthened.

It is now timely to review the leadership of learning across the school. This should include a review of the school curriculum to align it more closely to The New Zealand Curriculum (NZC), modern learning practices, and local Māori contexts for learning. In addition, targets for raising student achievement need to be more specific in identifying those students whose learning needs accelerating.

The principal should ensure that teacher appraisal is aligned to the requirements of the Education Council, including teaching as inquiry to promote teacher reflection, evaluation and accountability.

Teachers are using effective practices to assess and plan for students’ learning. They now need to foster greater student ownership of their learning including goal setting, sharing the learning progressions, and encouraging students to talk about their achievement and what they need to do to be successful.

Teachers should continue to grow their own capability in fostering the language, culture and identity of Māori students. This should include a progressive te reo Māori programme, increased Māori contexts for learning, and the use of te reo as a living language. Further raising the achievement of Māori boys in reading, writing and mathematics is an area for urgent action.

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
  • attendance.

Conclusion

Kuratau School has made significant progress in responding to the areas for review and development in the 2014 ERO report. Students learn in a positive and encouraging school culture. The board, principal and teachers have implemented robust processes to ensure that effective teaching and learning is benefitting all students.

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

Lynda Pura-Watson

Deputy Chief Review Officer

7 July 2016

About the School

Location

Turangi, Waikato

Ministry of Education profile number

1785

School type

Full Primary (Years 1 to 8)

School roll

90

Gender composition

Boys 48 Girls 42

Ethnic composition

Māori

Pākehā

Other

54

35

1

Review team on site

May 2016

Date of this report

7 July 2016

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

April 2014

April 2011

May 2008