Tamariki School - 09/06/2015

Findings

School trustees and staff have achieved a considerable amount since ERO’s previous review. The school’s curriculum now clearly outlines expectations for learning and aligns the school’s special character with the New Zealand Curriculum.

Students are articulate, confident, self-managing learners who are supported by dedicated staff. However, there is still work to be done before parents and trustees can be assured their aspiration that students leave the school as effective and contributing members of society is realised.

ERO intends to carry out another review over the course of one-to-two years.

1 Background and Context

What is the background and context for this school’s review?

Tamariki School opened as a private school in 1967. It became a state integrated school in 1990.

The school has a strong emphasis on developing a child's emotional strength, and on children learning through play. The school community aims to equip each child, according to the child’s nature and talents, to lead a personally satisfying life, and to be an effective and contributing member of a democratic society.

The 2013 ERO report identified several areas for review and development. These included:

  • students' engagement, progress and achievement
  • developing, documenting and implementing a school curriculum that promotes high-quality teaching and learning
  • aspects of governance and management, including self review, financial management and improving the focus on student progress and achievement.

Since ERO’s review, the Ministry of Education has worked with the school through the support of two Limited Statutory Managers (LSMs) and others, to improve its overall performance and build its self-review capability.

An LSM with responsibility for student achievement and curriculum, board systems and processes, finance and employment was appointed in September 2013.

After the conclusion of the work of this LSM, in August 2014 a second LSM was appointed with specific responsibility for curriculum and student achievement. This LSM is still in place.

2 Review and Development

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

Priorities identified for review and development

The 2013 report identified a need for leaders to:

  • develop curriculum guidelines that show the alignment of the school’s special character with the New Zealand Curriculum and detail the expectations for curriculum coverage and assessment
  • develop a process for reviewing and monitoring student’s use of time
  • identify effective ways of tracking student progress and achievement over time, and providing this information to students
  • further support student independence in their learning by assisting them to set goals and monitor their own performance.

Progress

Management, staff and the school community have worked together, with the support of the current LSM to develop comprehensive curriculum guidelines. These guidelines clearly show the links between the New Zealand Curriculum (NZC) and the school’s special character. They cover all aspects of the curriculum, including key competencies, values, and statements for each learning area.

The guidelines also detail Tamariki’s unique approach to planning and delivering the curriculum through student-led inquiry. They identify the role of the learner and the teacher in this process.

Teachers engage with students in a variety of ways. They use individual education programmes for older students, and individual learning plans where a specific need is identified for a particular student. Optional classes are offered in a wide range of curriculum areas. There are formal classes for numeracy and literacy. Students engage in a wide range of child-led and teacher-initiated activities.

The current review of the school day should contribute to a greater shared understanding of how students spend their day, and of how teachers can continue to support them in their learning.

Students are involved in setting goals, and in recording their achievements. Students who spoke with the ERO review team were very aware of their strengths and what they needed to work on.

Teachers continue to use a learning-management system to document stories about students’ learning. They have worked with the product developers to improve the breadth and depth of the information it contains. Students and parents have ready access to this information, which covers all aspects of the curriculum, and special character attributes. Some students document their own learning stories through videos, photos and the written word.

Teachers use a variety of assessments, especially in reading and numeracy. They have identified a concern with the standard of writing, and are putting plans in place to address this.

Achievement for most students in reading, writing and numeracy is below national expectations. Although the numbers at each year level are small and the focus is on the achievements of students in the final years, the overall picture is of concern.

There is now a greater focus on student engagement. Teachers have documented Tamariki School's indicators of student engagement, and identified strategies for working with students when they are disengaged. School attendance is monitored and reported to the board.

Key next steps

Trustees and teachers have identified, and ERO agrees, that the curriculum guidelines will need to be regularly revisited and updated to reflect current practice.

Teachers are planning to become more involved with teachers at local schools and other schools with a similar special character. This is likely to support teachers in reflecting on and developing their roles as learning facilitators. It should also assist them to develop their assessment practices so that they and parents can have increasing confidence in the judgements they make about student achievement.

Teachers have good information about each student gathered from a range of sources. It is now time to use that data better to provide good information to the board about how groups of students are progressing. The school’s targets are set for older students. Teachers know that in order to meet their targets at the senior end of the school, they need to track and monitor students better from an early age.

The board receives achievement reports at the start and end of the year. Trustees need to better have information to show how teachers are adding value to the learning of students as they move through the year levels. This will involve expanding existing reports to show where groups of students were achieving at the beginning of a year, how they were progressing by the middle of the year, and what they have achieved by the end of the year.

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 not yet well placed to sustain and continue to improve and review its performance.

The board has received considerable support to improve its governance. Good progress has been made with its financial and policy responsibilities. Trustees told ERO that they have a much clearer idea of the roles of school managers, governors and proprietors. They stated that workloads are now more evenly and appropriately distributed.

There is now better alignment from strategic planning to annual planning and principal appraisal.

The board and teachers are beginning to establish a culture of self review. They have developed a plan for the review of policies, and are involved in emergent review.

Recent reviews of the learning management system and the school day show good development in the understanding of self review. However, there is more work to be done to embed a process that is understood and followed. Self review needs to focus on important aspects of the school in a way that answers high-quality evaluative questions and provides recommendations to the board to make improvements to the learning and achievement of the 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.

Completion of the checklists raised a number of discussion points for the board. ERO discussed these issues with the board and clarified requirements.

The school is now meeting the requirement to report to the Secretary for Education on the number and proportion of students at, above, below or well below the National Standards.

However, the board does not receive any information about the achievement of students from Years 1 to 4. The information it receives about students from Years 5 to 8 is based on curriculum levels and does not indicate whether students are at, above, below or well below the National Standards.

Most parents do not receive a report on their child’s progress and achievement in relation to the National Standards. ERO was told that most parents, when asked, indicated that they did not wish to receive this information. Parents who request the information do receive it. All parents have access to achievement information in plain language through online access to their child’s learning stories.

The board is having ongoing discussions with the Ministry of Education about reporting requirements.

4 Recommendations

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

The current LSM has recently begun to support the school in improving student achievement. It will be some time before the results of her work and the work of the school community can be fully evaluated.

ERO recommends that the Secretary for Education consider continuing the intervention under Part 7A of the Education Act 1989 in order to bring about the following improvements:

  • student achievement
  • self review.

Conclusion

School trustees and staff have achieved a considerable amount since ERO’s previous review. The school’s curriculum now clearly outlines expectations for learning and aligns the school’s special character with the New Zealand Curriculum.

Students are articulate, confident, self-managing learners who are supported by dedicated staff. However, there is still work to be done before parents and trustees can be assured their aspiration that students leave the school as effective and contributing members of society is realised.

ERO intends to carry out another review over the course of one-to-two years.

Graham Randell,

Deputy Chief Review Officer Southern,

9 June 2015

About the School

Location

Woolston, Christchurch

Ministry of Education profile number

4143

School type

Full Primary (Years 1 to 8)

School roll

47

Gender composition

Boys 27; Girls 20

Ethnic composition

Māori

NZ European/Pākehā

Pacific

3

42

2

Review team on site

March 2015

Date of this report

9 June 2015

Most recent ERO reports

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

January 2013

November 2009

November 2008