Taita Central School - 02/05/2018

School Context

Taita Central School, located in Lower Hutt, caters for children in Years 1 to 6, drawing from a culturally diverse community. Of the 141 children enrolled, approximately 43% are Māori, 34% are of Pacific heritage and 10% are Pākehā. There are a significant number of English language learners.

In its charter, the school gives priority to raising student achievement. There is a focus on developing independent, life-long learners. The newly established values of ‘POWER’ (Perseverance, Outstanding Excellence, Whakawhanaungatanga, Empathy and Respect), developed in collaboration with the community, are being integrated into the school’s culture and curriculum.

Leaders and teachers regularly report to the board, schoolwide information about outcomes for students in the following areas:

  • achievement in reading, writing and mathematics
  • progress and achievement in relation to school targets
  • attendance and engagement.

There have been a number of leadership and staff changes since the July 2014 ERO report. A new principal was appointed in late 2016. Experienced and newly elected members make up the board of trustees.

The school continues to be involved in a Ministry of Education (MoE) programme, Accelerated Learning in Literacy (ALL). It is a member of the Taita/Stokes Valley Kāhui Ako. 

Evaluation Findings

1 Equity and excellence – achievement of valued outcomes for students

1.1 How well is the school achieving equitable and excellent outcomes for all its students?

Data for 2017 indicated that the large majority of children achieved well in reading, and just over half of all learners achieved in writing and mathematics.

Ongoing in-school disparity for Māori students in mathematics, reading and writing, and for boys in literacy, especially in writing, is an identified focus for improvement.  

Pacific learners’ achievement has trended upwards in reading, writing and mathematics since the previous ERO review.

There are substantial numbers of students with complex and additional needs. They are identified and responded to appropriately.

1.2 How well is the school accelerating learning for those Māori and other students who need this?

The school needs to strengthen its response to Māori, Pacific and other children whose learning and achievement need acceleration.

Targets to raise the achievement of those students who are not succeeding at expected levels are appropriately set by trustees and leadership. Reported information from 2017 indicates that approximately a third of children who were below expectation made accelerated progress.

2 School conditions for equity and excellence – processes and practices

2.1 What school processes and practices are effective in enabling achievement of equity and excellence, and acceleration of learning?

Positive, respectful relationships are evident between teachers and students. Learning environments are managed in ways that support participation and engagement. All learners are given opportunities to participate in meaningful learning experiences and community events that reflect Māori and Pacific cultures, languages and identities.

Trustees, leaders and teachers use a range of effective strategies to engage with the community and share information. This includes translation of important information and resources into the Samoan language. A considered focus to increase levels of involvement and relational trust across the school community, is highly visible. Further building on learning partnerships with families and whānau is a school-identified priority. 

A purposeful focus on better aligning systems and processes with school achievement priorities is evident. Establishing and strengthening key organisational and learning conditions to support improved learning has been given appropriate priority by the incoming principal.

Building professional capability and collective capacity is a priority for trustees, leadership and staff. Appropriate appraisal policies and procedures, teacher inquiry, and professional development support the improvement of teaching and learning.  A whole school approach to professional development for 2018, focused on accelerating literacy learning, provides opportunity to support and reiterate consistent expectations for high quality teaching, learning and assessment.

2.2 What further developments are needed in school processes and practices for achievement of equity and excellence, and acceleration of learning?

Co-ordinating and aligning school practices and processes to focus more deliberately on equity of outcomes for all students is a priority. Trustees, leaders and teachers should continue to develop and strengthen systems and processes to support increased acceleration of student achievement.  Improved practice, for groups of students whose learning is at risk, includes: deeper analysis of student data; and regular monitoring and reporting of student progress at all levels.

Clear guidance for effective teaching practice and expectations of student outcomes are required. A more responsive curriculum is needed to cater for the wide range of learner needs. The revised curriculum should identify effective culturally responsive practices and clearly articulate the rationale and educational thinking behind specific programmes and interventions.

Trustees, leaders and staff have yet to develop a shared understanding of internal evaluation to clearly determine the effectiveness of teaching practices, learning interventions and school operation on improving student outcomes. Understanding and using evaluation should add to trustees’, leaders’ and teachers’ knowledge of what has the most significant impact on raising achievement and support next steps for development.

The addition of new board members creates the opportunity for trustees’ continued access to learning about stewardship, to build their capacity to more effectively carry out their roles and responsibilities.

3 Board assurance on legal requirements

Before the review, the board 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
  • finance
  • 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 and certification
  • processes for appointing staff
  • stand down, suspension, expulsion and exclusion of students
  • attendance
  • school policies in relation to meeting the requirements of the Vulnerable Children Act 2014. 

4 Going forward

Key strengths of the school

For sustained improvement and future learner success, the school can draw on existing strengths in:

  • the strategic vision of the principal that focuses on raising levels of achievement and school performance
  • improved learning experiences that better respond to students’ identities, culture and language
  • relational trust that engages all stakeholders to contribute to schoolwide success.

Next steps

For sustained improvement and future learner success, priorities for further development are in:

  • strengthening inquiry and analysis of achievement information, by trustees, leaders and teachers, to systematically address in-school disparities
  • identifying and making plans at all levels to implement and sustain the dimensions of practice required for a culturally responsive school
  • targeted planning to accelerate learning
    [ERO will monitor and discuss progress with the school]
  • building internal evaluation processes and practices, to better understand the impact of programmes and initiatives on acceleration and achievement for learners at risk of not achieving
    [ERO will provide an internal evaluation workshop for trustees and leaders.] 

ERO’s next external evaluation process and timing

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

Patricia Davey
Deputy Chief Review Officer Central (Acting)

Te Tai Pokapū - Central Region

2 May 2018

About the school 

Location

Lower Hutt

Ministry of Education profile number

3030

School type

Contributing School (Years 1-6)

School roll

141

Gender composition

Male 56%, Female 44%

Ethnic composition

Māori                                         43%

Pacific                                        34%

Pākehā                                       10%

Other ethnic groups                13%

Provision of Māori medium education

No

Review team on site

February 2018

Date of this report

2 May 2018

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review                   July 2014

Education Review                   August 2011

Supplementary  Review         February 2008