Okiwi School - 02/03/2017

1 Context

Okiwi School is a small primary school located at the northern end of Great Barrier Island (Aotea) catering for children in years 1 to 8. Nearly 90 percent of the children identify as Māori. The school has a positive reporting history with ERO. The long serving principal and teachers work well with the Board of Trustees. Trustees are representative of the school community and bring a useful mix of skills and experience to their role. The school makes very good use of the local environment to enhance the curriculum and has established valuable connections with local marae, the other two schools on the island and the Department of Conservation.

2 Equity and excellence

The vision and valued outcomes defined by the school for all children are through consultation with parents, the local community and Ngāti Wai, to provide children with a high quality and broad education with a special emphasis on taha Māori and environmental studies. This will include developing their confidence and motivation to form satisfying relationships and to be able to make successful transitions to other education settings in the future. The school seeks to develop each child's capabilities so that they can realise their full potential academically, emotionally and physically. The school's values are awhinatanga, manaakitanga and whanaungatanga.

The school’s achievement information shows that in the years 2013 to 2015 around 90 percent of children achieved at or above the National Standards in reading, between 75 and 90 percent in writing and around 80 percent in mathematics. There is no disparity in achievement between Māori and non-Māori children. However, girls slightly outperform boys in all three curriculum areas.

Teachers moderate their National Standards judgements as a team. They have yet to do any moderation with other schools on or off the island.

Since the last ERO evaluation the school has continued to develop children's ability to lead their learning and become independent learners by making them aware of their next learning steps. There are increased opportunities for children to use digital technologies to support their learning. The board and staff have defined the skills, knowledge and attitudes they want children to develop before they leave the school.

3 Accelerating achievement

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

The school very effectively responds to children whose learning and achievement need acceleration.

Teachers know children very well as learners. They use an appropriate range of assessment tools and observations to identify those whose progress requires acceleration. The teachers and teacher aide work collaboratively to respond to learners' identified needs. The awhi mai, awhi atu philosophy evident within the tuakana teina kaupapa promotes a strong and shared sense of responsibility for the learning of all. Appropriate support programmes are used when needed.

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 and other organisational processes and practices are very effective in developing and enacting the school's vision, values, goals and targets for equity and excellence.

The welcoming, family, community-minded culture strongly reflects New Zealand's bicultural heritage. This gives its predominantly Māori learners a real sense of belonging to a school where their language, culture and identity is recognised and valued. Day-to-day practices incorporate tikanga Māori. Te reo Māori is used regularly by the adults and children as part of classroom and other activities. Practices that exemplify the concept of tuakana-teina are very evident in the daily life of the school.

Children experience a curriculum that is broad and well aligned to The New Zealand Curriculum. Appropriate emphasis is given to teaching literacy and numeracy. Children's curriculum experiences are enriched through links to the community, the local marae and the Department of Conservation, and the opportunities they have to learn in and about the natural environment. Teachers connect the school curriculum well to children's out-of-school experiences. They also take every opportunity to give purpose to learning. They do this by setting the teaching and learning programmes in authentic contexts that are relevant to children's lives.

Children in the senior (tuakana) and junior (teina) rooms often combine for learning activities. Potential barriers to learning caused by the school's remoteness are overcome through the use of digital technologies, off-island education outside the classroom activities and visiting experts to the school.

Children confidently and enthusiastically participate and learn in a caring, collaborative and inclusive learning community where their wellbeing underpins their achievement. Interactions between adults and children are relaxed yet respectful. Children are well engaged in their learning and take pride in presenting and displaying their work.

Teachers are developing children's ability to direct and manage their learning. Children are given choices about their learning. Teachers are also making learning transparent through sharing success criteria and developing learning progressions with children. Teachers scaffold learning well and differentiate learning programmes so that children are sufficiently challenged. ERO recommends that teachers assist learners to be more specific about the areas where they can improve. They could do this by continuing to establish learning progressions that are expressed in language that is readily accessible for children.

The principal provides experienced leadership and has built trust and positive working relationships with the board and community. He shares leadership opportunities with the other teachers, using their strengths to good effect. As a team they inquire into the effectiveness of their own practice. This focus is central to their day-to-day interactions and discussions.

Parents, whānau and community are included in school activities and recently participated, along with staff, in professional development in te reo Māori. Parents receive useful written reports about their children that show achievement in relation to National Standards and next learning steps.

A committed board has established appropriate delegations and processes. This includes ongoing review of policies and procedures that helps the board ensure governance accountabilities and responsibilities are met. Reviewing progress in relation to school priorities and the annual plan is part of board practice.

The principal keeps trustees well informed about curriculum activities and children's progress and achievement. This assists the board to set annual targets for improving achievement. ERO recommends that the board consider reframing its targets in terms of improving outcomes for those learners whose progress and achievement has been identified as needing acceleration. The board should then expect more regular reporting on the progress of this group.

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 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.

Children enjoy a unique and rich learning environment in which their strengths and needs are very well addressed. Teachers work very effectively together with the board, parents, the community and iwi to ensure each child has the best possible opportunities to realise their full potential.

ERO is likely to carry out the next review in four to five 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 Recommendations

ERO recommends that;

the board of trustees express the annual targets for improving achievement in terms of the identified groups of learners whose progress needs to be accelerated

the principal and teachers continue their focus on building student agency and developing the science curriculum.

Graham Randell

Deputy Chief Review Officer Northern

2 March 2017

About the school

Location

Okiwi, Great Barrier Island

Ministry of Education profile number

1398

School type

Full Primary (Years 1 to 8)

School roll

31

Gender composition

Boys 16 Girls 15

Ethnic composition

Māori

Pākehā

27

4

Review team on site

December 2016

Date of this report

2 March 2017

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

June 2014

May 2011

February 2008