Takanini School - 13/02/2018

Findings

Takanini School has significantly improved its performance over the past two years. The learning environment is settled, and students are proud of their school. The quality of teaching has improved. Effective leadership and governance has improved outcomes for students, and established a strong bicultural foundation.

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?

Takanini School in South Auckland caters for students in Years 1 to 8. The school continues to serve a diverse community. Many students are of Māori and Pacific Island heritage. The school provides a supportive and caring environment for students, and values whānau contributions.

The March 2015 ERO evaluation identified significant improvements were needed to improve student achievement outcomes, the quality of teaching, curriculum design, assessment, school management, leadership and governance. ERO recommended the Ministry of Education (MoE) provide intervention to the school to address the findings.

In May 2015, the board appointed a new and experienced principal. In October 2015, ERO, the MoE, school leaders and trustees met, and a school recovery and improvement plan was designed and in place for the start of 2016. A number of property and health and safety matters also had to be addressed.

In December 2015, the MoE appointed a Limited Statutory Manager (LSM) to support the board and principal address personnel, property, and health and safety issues. In July 2017, the MoE withdrew the LSM support returning the school to self-management.

The MoE has provided professional learning and development support that was closely aligned to the objectives of the recovery plan. The school continues to access this support as it builds the capability and capacity of leaders and teachers.

The school experienced ongoing staffing recruitment and retention challenges. Most of the teachers have joined the school over the past two years, including a number of beginning teachers. A mentor-coach was appointed in 2016 to support newly graduated teachers and promote effective teaching practices.

A kaitakawenga was appointed in 2017 to build stronger community and whānau engagement with the school. This position is critical to building the school’s new bicultural foundation and an innovative approach to connecting with the local community.

During the last two years, ERO has regularly met with staff, trustees and students. ERO has monitored and evaluated school progress and provided ongoing feedback.

2 Review and Development

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

The school has effectively addressed most of the areas for review and development. The sense of urgency and commitment of leaders, staff and trustees has contributed to the rapid pace of change and significant progress made in 2016 and 2017.

In March 2015, ERO found that students were not progressing or achieving well, and the processes to improve the quality of teaching were not effective. Student behaviour management procedures and systems were not supporting students to engage in education. Students’ learning requirements were not being met through targeted teaching. Therefore, students were not accessing the curriculum, and did not have sufficient, equitable opportunities to learn.

The recovery plan was a critical step to lay a strong framework for school improvement and decision making. A change in management strategy was developed. Decision making was better aligned to what was in the best interests of students and their learning.

School leaders set strategic goals and targets underpinned by specific plans that continue to address the remaining priorities. These priorities now include accelerating the progress of Māori boys, and increasing children’s oral and written language skills.

Priorities identified for review and development

The key school priorities in 2015 were to:

  • raise student achievement
  • improve the quality of teaching
  • develop an effective curriculum
  • improve school leadership
  • Improve governance.

Progress

Students at Takanini School now experience a richer curriculum. The curriculum is more focused on promoting accelerated learning, responding to whānau aspirations, and increasing opportunities for student success.

Students experience a caring and inclusive school culture. Children and their families are well known, and leaders strive to build positive relationships with families. Children’s wellbeing is carefully supported through well established, respectful pastoral care systems and approaches.

The school has robust and reliable student achievement information and effective moderation processes. In Years 1 to 4, the school’s achievement information shows that students are accelerating their learning in reading, writing and mathematics.

A key contributor to the rise in junior school achievement is the school’s improved enrolment, and well developed whānau-school partnership approach. The new play-based curriculum is also helping to engage younger students in sustained learning.

The learning environment offers younger children more choices to learn through purposeful play, and their preferences are respected. Oral language is better promoted through children’s collaborative play, and there are more opportunities for children to develop positive social skills.

The school’s achievement information shows that children in Years 5 to 8 are progressing, although acceleration is limited to small groups of children. Increasing accelerated learning outcomes for senior students is essential. As junior children progress through the school, they are much better prepared to reach curriculum expectations.

Students in Years 7 and 8 continue to require a more diverse curriculum. The introduction of digital learning devices is helping to promote student engagement. A stronger focus on science and technology, and a career education programme, are key areas to further engage children in meaningful, challenging, and purposeful learning.

To accelerate student achievement and improve the quality of teaching, school leaders have skilfully developed effective systems to:

  • promote positive learning behaviours and better engage students in learning
  • assess student achievement and use data to inform planning, teaching and learning
  • identify effective teaching strategies in reading, writing and mathematics
  • better help students who require more targeted support and effective interventions
  • evaluate the success of professional development and the impact for students.

To improve the quality of their teaching, teachers have developed their capacity and capability to:

  • manage student behaviour and use appropriate referral and support systems
  • assess student learning and use assessment information to plan programmes
  • better address student learning needs through more individual approaches
  • question the effectiveness of their teaching practice, be open to trying new approaches, and use professional learning to improve their teaching.

The school curriculum is more engaging for students. It offers a wider range of learning opportunities. School leaders appropriately prioritise improving students’ foundational learning skills so children can access the curriculum. They have focused on reading, writing and mathematics.

The decision to increase the curriculum focus and staffing to support biculturalism and physical education has also helped engage children and the community. This has supported students to develop a sense of belonging and pride as Takanini learners.

The continual community consultation with Māori has informed the new school vision, values, tikanga and kawa. The new values are matauranga, manaakiatanga and whanaungatanga. Children from Years 1 to 8 that ERO spoke with, clearly articulated these values and are beginning to use them to guide their thinking and behaviours. The school also has a new pepeha and karakia.

Māori students have increasing opportunities to succeed and celebrate their identity and culture. Te reo Māori is being modelled to teachers, and teachers are learning te reo in classes alongside children. This model of change is helping increase school capacity to respond to whānau aspirations and promote success as Māori.

The curriculum is becoming more culturally inclusive and responsive. The rapid and thoughtful approach to meaningfully and respectfully connecting with iwi, hapu, kaumatua, carvers, kapa haka tutors, and whānau demonstrates a wider community response to supporting tamariki.

Senior leaders are resilient, model high expectations, and are motivated by a strong sense of social justice. They demonstrate innovative solutions to complex problems. Leaders’ effective planning and resourcing is aligned with robust evaluation of the curriculum.

Leaders promote a coherent approach to professional learning and practice. They are building internal capacity for sustained improvement. Senior leaders need to consolidate developments, and manage the pace of change to ensure staffing sustainability.

Succession planning is thoughtful, and focused on distributing and promoting leadership to teachers. Through agile and adaptive leadership, the principal has also leveraged external support from several outside groups to help provide resources and additional learning opportunities for students.

School leaders have improved the quality of teaching through key appointments, responding to the most urgent student learning needs, and ongoing targeted professional development. Leaders have:

  • developed a shared schoolwide understanding of effective student management
  • strengthened performance management expectations, systems and processes
  • provided high levels of ongoing support to teachers
  • used flexible, innovative staffing in classrooms based on student need
  • focused school evaluation on teaching effectiveness and on the outcomes for students.

The school has achieved significant philosophical shifts including a more student-centred decision making kaupapa and positive school culture. Decisions are made based on data, other evidence and in consultation with key stakeholders. Leaders gather and use student input regularly.

The board has improved its governance of the school. Trustees have strengthened their knowledge, skills and understanding of the governance role. They are beginning to act as stewards of the school. ERO has requested the board submit a training work plan to show how they will continue to build its individual and collective capability.

Trustees now question student achievement information to better inform resourcing decisions. They are more focused on the outcomes for children. The board should continue to set targets to accelerate the learning of students who require more targeted support. ERO requests that the board submits its 2018 strategic and annual plan, with student achievement targets, to ERO.

Property issues from the past have been addressed, and health and safety matters are better reported and managed in the school. There is now an appropriate policy and procedure framework with regular reporting to provide assurance to the board. The board has a work plan and cycle of self-review embedded into its operation.

The board has benefitted from the LSM intervention and MoE support. The school has made good use of the ongoing external evaluation, and developed a culture that is focused on improvement.

Key next steps

Curriculum Development

ERO, the board, and school leaders agree that key next steps for the school curriculum include:

  • further supporting children to learn, achieve and progress in the breadth and depth of the New Zealand Curriculum (NZC), especially in Years 5 to 8
  • increasing opportunities for Pacific students to become confident, connected and actively involved lifelong learners, and use their home and other languages
  • ensuring teaching promotes students’ thinking skills, curiosity, creativity and problem solving
  • finding ways for all children to develop their belief in themselves as successful learners.

Leadership and Stewardship

ERO, the board and school leaders agree that key next steps for the school’s leadership and stewardship include:

  • providing targeted interventions and support for students to achieve accelerated outcomes
  • providing a better outdoor learning environment with adequate shade for students
  • continuing to develop whānau and community learning partnerships and networks
  • managing the pace of change to sustain leaders and teachers, and consolidate school improvement, systems and processes
  • ensuring the sustainability of effective governance.

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 sustain and continue to improve its performance. The school must operate personnel and employment policies that promote quality teaching, and also begin to minimise staff turnover.

The school has developed effective internal evaluation systems and processes. A variety of sources of evidence inform internal evaluation, and cycles of internal evaluation are robust and rigorous. The school has requested an internal evaluation workshop by ERO in 2018 to continue to strengthen its evaluation capacity.

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.

4 Recommendations

Recommendations, including any to other agencies for ongoing or additional support.

ERO recommends that the Ministry of Education continues to provide the professional learning resourcing needed to consolidate and embed improvements in teaching and learning.

Conclusion

Takanini School has significantly improved its performance over the past two years. The learning environment is settled, and students are proud of their school. The quality of teaching has improved. Effective leadership and governance has improved outcomes for students, and established a strong bicultural foundation.

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

Julie Foley

Deputy Chief Review Officer Northern (Acting)

Te Tai Raki - Northern Region

13 February 2018

About the School

Location

Takanini, Auckland

Ministry of Education profile number

1523

School type

Full Primary (Years 1 to 8)

School roll

384

Gender composition

Boys 53% Girls 47%

Ethnic composition

Māori
Pākehā
Samoan
Indian
Cook Island Māori
Tongan
Fijian
Asian
other Pacific Peoples
other

47%
6%
16%
9%
8%
7%
2%
2%
2%
1%

Special Features

Full-time Social Worker in school

Review team on site

November 2017

Date of this report

13 February 2018

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review
Education Review
Supplementary Review

March 2015
August 2011
May 2008