Takaka Primary School - 19/07/2011

1. Context

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

Takaka Primary provides for students in Years 1 to 6 from the widespread and diverse Golden Bay community. Its location between the college and kindergarten provides good opportunities for communication and consultation between the services, and support for the transition of students into and out of the school.

Steady provision of suitable learning experiences is indicated by the school's good reporting history with ERO. Tū Tonu Mai, stand tall, the vision for teaching and learning, is well recognised in the community and continues to strongly underpin school practice and protocols. The school promotes family involvement as an important part of students’ learning. Parents make a significant contribution to development and maintenance of facilities.

Since the 2008 ERO review, the school’s curriculum has been developed and implemented. Further review is planned for 2011. National Standards for reading, writing and mathematics have been introduced. School-wide priorities reflect the national focus on literacy, numeracy and raising student achievement. The community’s interest in the arts, cultural and sporting activities is reflected and fostered in the curriculum. Professional learning circles for staff provide good opportunities for discussion and the sharing of data, ideas and issues. Membership of a Golden Bay schools’ learning cluster broadens this approach. Classrooms and amenities continue to be remodelled to provide improved support for teaching and learning.

2. Learning

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

School-wide reading and numeracy data, as at May 2011, for students in Years 4 to 6 shows that most are achieving at or above National Standards. Writing results, collated in March of this year, are considerably lower with three quarters of Years 4 to 6 students working towards achieving the Standard for the end of the year. Students are making progress in their learning. Five out of the school's six charter action goals for achievement in 2010 were achieved. While the reading target was not reached, progress was made overall and this goal is being revisited in 2011.

The school is strongly focused on promoting student achievement. Teachers have undertaken regular, useful professional learning to support the development and review of school-wide priorities and implementation of new initiatives to improve outcomes for students. High levels of interest and engagement in learning are evident.

Assessment data is used well by senior managers and teachers to inform planning for, and monitoring of, the learning and progress of individuals and targeted groups. Effective processes support the learning of students with identified needs, including those with special abilities. Focused and well-prepared assistance is provided by teacher aides. Charter action goals are regularly discussed and reflected upon at professional learning circles, staff and board meetings.

The board has recently included targets for student achievement against the National Standards for reading, writing and mathematics in the school's charter and sought to improve the target setting process. Charter goals should be further improved by including defined teaching strategies to guide implementation.

The senior management team has agreed that:

  • procedures for collation of student achievement data need review to clarify the picture of school-wide achievement and improve decision making about programmes and resourcing
  • the Ministry of Education’s Pacific Education Plan needs to be considered as part of the school’s commitment to planning to support students and their families from diverse ethnic backgrounds.

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

The progress and achievement of Māori students is monitored and reported separately. Schoolwide data shows they are achieving at similar levels to their non-Māori peers in reading, writing and mathematics.

The school agrees it needs to review its approach to implementing a Māori perspective in the curriculum, including:

  • developing more effective ways to consult with the Māori community to enhance planning to meet curriculum goals and reflect policy guidelines
  • integrating te reo me ngā tikanga Māori into classroom programmes.

3. Curriculum

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

The curriculum is broad and appropriately supported by values, key competencies and principles aimed at meeting the learning needs of students. The principal’s research into developing children’s creativity is beginning to have an impact on teaching and learning and value is increasingly placed on the promotion of student inquiry.

Sound teaching practice is consistently evident across all year levels. Relationships between teachers and students are well established and warm. High levels of cooperation are evident among students both inside and outside the classrooms. Effective processes support and maintain the provision of a safe physical and emotional environment. Strategies for managing students’ behaviour are effective.

High quality learning environments support students’ sustained engagement in learning. Ample resources are freely available to support learning programmes. The layout of classrooms has been carefully considered. Students’ work is celebrated and a source of pride. Information and communication technologies are well used.

Reporting procedures have been reviewed and improved since the previous ERO review. Written reports now include next learning steps and suggestions to help parents support their child’s learning. Well-presented portfolios are a useful tool for sharing information about each student’s progress and achievement and to support three-way conferencing between students, parents and teachers. Regular feedback from teachers and student self assessment add to the quality of the information compiled.

Evaluation of unit plans is well facilitated. There are good models of evaluative practice evident in the school to guide those who need support.

Review is planned of practice against the school’s vision for teaching and learning. Among other things, this review needs to consider how the curriculum is promoting student choice to support the development of innovation, inquiry, curiosity and creativity. These traits are identified as important in guiding documents and curriculum development plans.

There is variability in the quality of student goal setting. Students are not always aware of their goals for learning. Reflection on success in meeting goals is in the early stages of development.

While there are some opportunities for students to put forward their ideas and concerns, a wider range of options is likely to strengthen their involvement in decision making and contribution to review processes.

4. Sustainable Performance

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

Well-established values, stable staffing, leadership and governance and good internal and community relationships, provide a sound foundation for sustaining school progress in relation to student achievement and engagement in learning.

A professional learning culture is evident. The board, teachers and senior management team value self review as a tool to promote improvement. Regular opportunities for discussion are well used for collaborative reflection on practice. The committed and experienced members of the senior management team work collaboratively to lead programme development, meet the needs of students and manage day-to-day operation. Regular reports to the board are about aspects of student achievement. These are based on collated and analysed achievement data and include recommendations for future action. Appropriate resourcing and teacher development are provided.

A framework for a more formalised and developmentfocused approach to review is needed to enhance decision making. As yet:

  • the strategic plan is not sufficiently improvement focused. It is also unclear how implementation will be undertaken and progress measured
  • some curriculum and practice reviews presented to the board are not evaluative. Nor do they include reference to next development steps
  • consultation with parents/whānau could be strengthened to enable increased input into the curriculum and other aspects of school life.

The school’s approach to appraisal continues to develop. The process for teachers has recently been reviewed to include links to student achievement targets and school priorities. It is important that teachers also receive documented evaluative feedback about their classroom practice to sharpen the focus on improvement and identification of their development needs. The principal’s appraisal needs to be more focused on the promotion of skills to support improvement in teaching and learning across the school. Once implemented these changes should enhance development planning for individuals.

Board assurance on legal requirements

Before the review, the board of trustees and principal of the school completed an ERO Board Assurance Statement and Self-Audit Checklist. 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 students' 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.

In order to improve current practice the principal intends to seek professional advice to review the safety of the adventure playground and ensure safety standards are met.

Reports to parents have not shown that the data about achievement is about students’ progress in relation to National Standards.

In 2010, schools were required to report to parents on students’ progress and achievement in relation to National Standards. Reporting to parents in plain language, in writing, must be done at least twice a year. [National Administrative Guidelines 2A (a)]

When is ERO likely to review the school again?

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

Kathleen Atkins

National Manager Review Services

Central Region

19 July 2011

About the School

Location

Takaka

Ministry of Education profile number

3226

School type

Contributing (Years 1 to 6)

Decile[1]

6

School roll

188

Gender composition

Male 54%,

Female 46%

Ethnic composition

New Zealand European/Pākehā

Māori

Pacific

Other Ethnic Groups

79%

14%

1%

6%

Review team on site

May 2011

Date of this report

19 July 2011

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

August 2008

August 2005

August 2002

[1] School deciles range from 1 to 10. Decile 1 schools draw their students from low socio-economic communities and at the other end of the range, decile 10 schools draw their students from high socio-economic communities. Deciles are used to provide funding to state and state integrate schools. The lower the school’s decile the more funding it receives. A school’s decile is in no way linked to the quality of education it provides