Tauhara School - 27/06/2014

Findings

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

Students benefit from learning in a positive, welcoming and inclusive school culture. Many achieve at and above National Standards. School leaders have a constructive relationship with local Māori, who are involved in shaping the school-wide curriculum. Classroom environments are educationally stimulating and offer many opportunities for digital learning.

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?

Tauhara School is located in Taupō and caters for students from Years 1 to 6. Of the 193 students on the roll 82% are identified as Māori and 5% are from Pacific families. A significant proportion of Māori students are affiliated with Ngāti Tūwharetoa. There has been significant roll growth in the last few years.

The 2011 ERO report noted that the school was involved in the Tūwharetoa Cultural Knowledge Initiative which aimed to strengthen teachers’ and students’ knowledge of local Māori history and traditions. The engagement and achievement of Māori students was comparable to non-Māori. The report also found that teachers and students were making very good use of the school’s well-resourced digital environments to enrich their learning experiences. The principal and senior management team provided well-informed educational leadership, governance was effective, and parents were provided with many opportunities to understand and engage in their students’ learning and progress.

This ERO review finds that the positive features of the previous ERO report have been sustained and enhanced. Senior leaders have also responded positively to areas that required further development. In early 2014, a sudden reduction in board membership led to the appointment of three new trustees. An external consultant was engaged to train the new board in its roles and responsibilities. An interim chairperson, who has previous experience in this role, is now providing guidance and advice for the board.

During the past two years, teachers have engaged in professional learning and development to enhance the school’s positive culture for learning. As a result of undertaking the Positive Behaviour for Learning Initiative in 2012 the Tauhara AROHA model has been developed and continually promoted throughout the school. AROHA stands for the values of achievement, respect, ownership, high expectations, and a positive attitude. These shared values and beliefs strongly influence the settled, purposeful tone in all classes. Inclusion within a family-like atmosphere is strongly promoted. Students with special needs are encouraged to participate in all school activities, including education outside the classroom.

2. Learning

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

The board and senior leaders use school-wide achievement information effectively to set targets for raising achievement, allocate resources, and monitor how well targets are being met through the year. The community receives annual reports about how well student achievement is improving in relation to national expectations. Patterns of achievement are similar for students from Māori, Pacific and European backgrounds. Many students achieve at or above National Standards in reading, writing and mathematics.

Senior leaders also use data to identify students with special needs and abilities, and to determine staff professional development needs. Experienced and committed teacher aides assist teachers to provide targeted learning support for students with special needs. As a result of the analysis of school-wide achievement information, senior leaders have found that there is a need to focus on improving the teaching of writing at all year levels. ERO affirms this direction.

Teachers use achievement information effectively to group students for instruction in reading and mathematics. They also use ongoing assessments to inquire into the effectiveness of their teaching practices, and adapt programmes to accelerate learning for students who need to make more than expected progress to reach National Standards for their year levels.

Processes for making overall teacher judgements about student achievement in relation to National Standards are well established. Assessment judgements have been moderated by an external consultant.

Parents receive sound information about students’ progress and achievement in relation to National Standards through three-way conferences, e-portfolios and written reports.

Senior leaders and ERO agree that next steps to enhance assessment practices are to:

  • provide students with further strategies for self and peer assessment
  • consider how progress and achievement in all learning areas can be assessed and reported to parents
  • increase opportunities for parents to become more involved in their students’ learning through computer access to recent work and achievement records.

3. Curriculum

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

The curriculum effectively promotes and supports student learning through authentic local contexts. Leaders and teachers have an appropriate emphasis on continually improving literacy and numeracy achievement. Expectations for inquiry learning and the use of computers as tools for learning are consistently implemented across the school. The curriculum includes significant input from Ngāti Tūwharetoa. There is also an emphasis on providing teaching programmes about appropriate social skills, and the influence of school values on student behaviour.

A range of effective teaching practices includes providing practical and purposeful learning activities, and maintaining educationally stimulating class displays. Respectful relationships are continually modelled and promoted, and positive behaviours are frequently affirmed. There are high expectations for students to take positive ownership of their behaviour and learning.

ERO and senior leaders agree that next steps are to ensure that curriculum documentation includes agreed understandings and expectations for best practice in

  • all learning areas
  • assessment and the use of achievement information.

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

Success for Māori as Māori is effectively promoted through teachers’ deepening understanding of Māori culture and school-wide participation in local cultural events. Many Māori students achieve well and benefit from leadership opportunities within cultural and school contexts. Te reo Māori is used in class conversations and bicultural displays. Leaders and teachers recognise that this is an area for continuing development.

There is a strong focus on Tūwharetoatanga and Iwi cultural knowledge. The Tūwharetoa Educational Office have gathered information about parents’ aspirations for their children’s education. They discuss these aspirations with the school to support the implementation of the Tūwharetoa curriculum, which will be incorporated within the Tauhara School curriculum. Tūwharetoa is developing processes and resources for ensuring that cultural knowledge and capability in te reo develops as students progress through the school.

Whakawhanaungatanga is evident. Families and students feel welcome at the school. Leaders and teachers enjoy effective relationships within the school community. Whānau are regularly involved in decision making.

4. Sustainable Performance

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

The school is well placed to sustain and improve its performance because of the following positive factors:

  • Following targeted support and with ongoing mentoring, the new board is in a very good position to continue effective governance of the school. The experienced board chair models effective governance and commitment to supporting staff and students.
  • The experienced principal and leadership team have a strong vision for the school’s continuing progress. In response to the 2011 ERO report, they have encouraged and supported staff in assuming leadership responsibilities in curriculum and school-wide operations. They play a key role in developing and maintaining the school’s positive culture for learning.
  • There is strong community support for the school. Parents have many and varied opportunities to engage in school activities and conversations about students’ learning.
  • Self-review processes are well established. There have been recent comprehensive reviews of reading and mathematics teaching practices. Teachers and leaders continually reflect on their practices to improve outcomes for students.

ERO and senior leaders agree that next steps are to ensure that school reviews identify areas for continuing improvement, are reported to the board, and inform annual and strategic planning.

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.

Conclusion

Students benefit from learning in a positive, welcoming and inclusive school culture. Many achieve at and above National Standards. School leaders have a constructive relationship with local Māori, who are involved in shaping the school-wide curriculum. Classroom environments are educationally stimulating and offer many opportunities for digital learning.

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

Dale Bailey

National Manager Review Services

Northern Region

27 June 2014

About the School

Location

Taupō

Ministry of Education profile number

1984

School type

Contributing (Years 1 to 6)

School roll

193

Gender composition

Boys 57%

Girls 43%

Ethnic composition

Māori

NZ European/Pākehā

Pacific

82%

13%

5%

Review team on site

May 2014

Date of this report

27 June 2014

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

May 2011

June 2008

April 2005