Takaka Primary School - 21/08/2014

Findings

How effectively is this school’s curriculum promoting student learning - engagement, progress and achievement?

Takaka Primary School provides a welcoming and inclusive environment. The curriculum encourages students to be innovative problem solvers while respecting and caring for others. Students make good progress and achieve well in reading and mathematics.

Next steps for the school include making better use of self review to bring about improvements and reviewing the curriculum document to better reflect the rich curriculum that teachers are providing for students.

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

1. Context

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

Takaka Primary School provides education for students in Years 1 to 6. It is located beside the Takaka High School and the kindergarten. The staff from the high school, primary school and the kindergarten work together to support transition, learning and the wellbeing of the students.

The school provides an inclusive environment for all students. The board, staff and students maintain close links with the local community. Parents and the wider community are kept well informed about the school. They are encouraged to visit classes and share their interests, skills and knowledge in the programmes. School programmes reflect the community interests in the arts, the environment and sporting activities.

Since the July 2011 ERO report, the school has improved aspects of future planning and continued to strengthen the ways it consults and involves parents in the school.

At the time of the onsite stage of this ERO review the principal was on leave. However, he provided extensive information about the school and student achievement. The deputy and assistant principals are experienced and long-serving staff who represented the principal during the review.

2. Learning

How well does this school use achievement information to make positive changes to learners’ engagement, progress and achievement?

The board, principal and teachers effectively use achievement information and their knowledge about students to plan appropriate programmes to meet their needs. The board sets appropriate targets for students who are not achieving at expected levels. These could be made more specific by stating the expected amount of progress students will need to achieve.

Students make considerable progress during their time at school. Most are achieving well in reading and mathematics. They achieve less well in writing. Some of the strategies that have been successful in promoting these high levels of student achievement are shared among staff. Students are likely to benefit even more when teachers share the full range of ways they promote student engagement and learning.

The school has good systems and support for students with specific learning needs. Staff and the wider community provide many opportunities for students to achieve success in all areas of the curriculum. This includes extension opportunities for high achievers.

Teachers provide parents with good information about their children’s progress, achievements and next steps for learning. They regularly meet with parents to provide additional information about the ways children can be helped at home, to achieve success in their learning.

Areas for review and development

The school and ERO agree that the usefulness of reports to the board on student progress and achievement would be strengthened by including more information about what teachers do that effectively support students with their learning.

3. Curriculum

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

The school provides students with a stimulating curriculum that promotes their creativity, thinking and problem-solving skills.

Students participate in a wide range of interesting programmes that successfully incorporate their interests and topics that they would like to learn more about. Teachers also make effective use of the local environment and the skills of members of the wider community to engage students in meaningful learning experiences.

The school is inclusive of all students. Senior students provide good leadership and support to junior students in the playground and in class programmes.

Teachers have high expectations for student learning and behaviour. Many teachers model these expectations in their relationships with the students. They successfully use a range of teaching approaches to encourage students to think creatively while maintaining a strong focus on literacy and mathematics.

Classroom environments are well presented and show that students have a wide range of experiences, particularly through the arts and technology.

Area for review and development

The senior managers and ERO agree that the next steps for the school include:

  • reviewing the school curriculum document to ensure it clearly reflects the rich curriculum provided for the students and the use of the local environment to promote learning, achievement and school pride.

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

Māori students experience positive and caring relationships with their teachers. They are achieving at similar levels to their non-Māori peers. Positive steps have been taken to support Māori students to succeed as Māori. Many students have some opportunities to hear and use te reo and tikanga Māori. Students and teachers are able to visit the local marae and are familiar with Māori stories of Takaka and the Golden Bay area.

The senior leaders and staff have identified, and ERO agrees, that seeking ways to further increase teacher confidence in using te reo Māori in all classes, is the next step.

4. Sustainable Performance

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

The board has a number of good governance and management practices. However, self review needs to be strengthened to sustain and continue to improve school performance.

Trustees have a good understanding of their roles and responsibilities. Positive relationships are evident between the board, staff and community.

Strong community involvement is a positive feature of the school. The school has recently introduced further ways for parents to share their skills and talents with the students and staff to better support student learning and to strengthen community ties with the school.

The acting principal and deputy principal work well together to promote school improvement. Teachers and students have many opportunities to develop their leadership skills and share their strengths and interests.

Areas for review and development

The board and ERO agree that the next steps for the school include:

  • strengthening the teacher appraisal process to align more fully with the expectations of the Professional Standards
  • setting specific targets for students who are at risk of not achieving the National Standards
  • making better use of self-review that could result in improved outcomes for students.

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.

Recommendations

The child protection policy should be reviewed to more closely incorporate current legislative guidelines.

Conclusion

Takaka Primary School provides a welcoming and inclusive environment. The curriculum encourages students to be innovative problem solvers while respecting and caring for others. Students make good progress and achieve well in reading and mathematics.

Next steps for the school include making better use of self review to bring about improvements and reviewing the curriculum document to better reflect the rich curriculum that teachers are providing for students.

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

Graham Randell

National Manager Review Services

Southern Region

21 August 2014

About the School

Location

Takaka, Nelson

Ministry of Education profile number

3226

School type

Contributing (Years 1 to 6)

School roll

162

Gender composition

Girls 53%

Boys 47%

Ethnic composition

NZ European/ Pākehā

Māori

Asian

85%

13%

2%

Review team on site

July 2014

Date of this report

21 August 2014

Most recent ERO reports

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

July 2011

August 2008

August 2005