Tauraroa Area School - 30/11/2016

Findings

The school’s curriculum enables student learning, and includes a wide range of co-curricular programmes and leadership opportunities. Good quality teaching practices support the engagement and achievement of students across the school. The school intends extending the curriculum to more effectively cater for the diverse strengths, needs and interests of 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?

Tauraroa Area School in Northland caters for students from Years 1 to 13. Many students travel from neighbouring areas including Whangarei City. The school continues to experience roll growth and the board has plans for future property development, including a new gymnasium.

The principal and school leadership team have focused on extending collaborative approaches for improving outcomes for students. Initiatives include increased opportunities for students to lead their learning and support for teachers’ evidence-based inquiries. The enhancement of digital learning for students and other strategies to improve student engagement in learning have been significant developments.

ERO’s 2013 report recommended that the school develop a shared understanding of effective teacher practice and establish specific leadership roles and curriculum responsibilities across the school to support a more seamless education for students. This review finds that trustees and senior leaders are making positive changes in most of these areas.

2 Learning

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

Senior leaders and teachers at Tauraroa Area School are using achievement information increasingly well to make positive changes to learners’ progress and achievement.

The school is now generating a range of data that is collated and analysed. In the senior school, this information is being used by leaders, departments and by teachers at a class level for a variety of actions designed to improve outcomes for students, particularly for those at risk of not achieving.

A Secondary Student Achievement (SSA) professional development programme is supporting teachers and senior leaders to improve the identification and tracking of achievement information at Years 11 to 13. This information guides teacher review of course content and teaching. Departmental reports could now focus more closely on the scrutiny and evaluation of achievement information.

Student achievement in the National Certificates of Educational Achievement (NCEA) is showing a substantial improvement at Level 1. Overall attainment at NCEA Level 1 increased from 66% in 2013 to 87% in 2015. NCEA Level 3 increased from 56% in 2014 to 74% in 2015. Māori and female students are increasing their levels of achievement at NCEA levels 1, 2 and 3. Academic mentoring is occurring at senior levels but these processes could be more systemically developed to assist all students to understand their learning strengths and gaps.

The achievement of boys in NCEA Levels 1 and 3 is lower than that of other students. Leaders and teachers are implementing initiatives that could reduce this disparity, particularly through vocationally-based pathways to qualifications. Leaders are continuing to access links and networks with external educational services, such as Ngati Hine Iwi Trust, to mentor and support learners with additional learning requirements.

In Years 1 to 8, overall achievement in reading, writing and mathematics in relation to National Standards has remained relatively stable over the last three years. Most students are at and above National Standards in reading, writing and mathematics.

There are some disparities in achievement at these year levels. The percentage of Māori students achieving National Standards is 15% to 17% below the figure for all students achieving in reading, writing and mathematics. Some gender based differences are also evident with girls’ achievement exceeding that of boys in writing.

Improvements to moderation practices have resulted in teachers’ National Standards assessment judgements becoming more reliable. School leaders are currently considering using the Progress and Consistency Tool (PaCT) to strengthen teachers’ assessment expertise.

Year 9 and 10 literacy achievement information is collated using assessments against curriculum levels. Increasing the rigour of assessments for students in Years 9 and 10, and analysing student achievement information across Years 7 to 10 would further support teachers to:

  • develop and adapt effective practices to accelerate student progress
  • further enhance the quality of decision-making and resourcing related to curriculum initiatives.

Teachers reflect on their programmes and the impact of their teaching on students' learning. Some teachers are inquiring more deeply and systematically into what is required to accelerate students' progress and achievement. This inquiry process is new and has not yet resulted in significant changes to teachers’ strategies for accelerating students’ learning.

A more cohesive approach to the use of student achievement information could help teachers plan for students’ learning needs and to guide adjustments to course content and curriculum delivery across the school. This information would also assist teachers to more consistently report student progress across the curriculum and to personalise planning for specific groups of students.

Students with special learning needs and abilities are well supported by teachers and support staff, and through the effective liaison between specialists and other resource personnel. The impacts of programmes and initiatives designed to bring about positive changes for students should be more regularly evaluated and reported.

Trustees, school leaders and ERO discussed the school’s next strategic steps for learning and development and prioritised:

  • formulating measurable and accountable charter targets for specific groups and cohorts who are at risk of not achieving
  • using effective evaluation processes regularly to report shifts throughout the year in students’ learning outcomes
  • planning to improve student learning, progress and achievement through quality teaching practice that uses data inquiry to address students’ learning needs and accelerate their progress.

3 Curriculum

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

The school’s curriculum supports and enables student learning and includes a wide range of co-curricular programmes, and opportunities for leadership. The curriculum is aligned toThe New Zealand Curriculum (NZC) and increasingly to vocational and other pathways options.

A key next step in curriculum development for the school is the development of an over-arching curriculum statement. This should be designed in consultation with the school community and describe the curriculum philosophy and framework. This should help ensure greater coherence between the curriculum and implementation across the school, and provide more clarity in its purpose and expectations.

For Years 7 to 10 the curriculum could be more responsive to students’ identified strengths, needs and prior knowledge. Building sound foundations for continuity across Years 7 to 10 continues to be a priority. Ongoing monitoring systems would support the evaluation of the quality and impact of the curriculum, and ensure it is contributing to improved student outcomes.

There are good quality teaching practices across the school that support the engagement and learning of students. Teachers use a variety of teaching approaches and strategies that encourage collaboration and assist students to manage their own learning. Learner focused relationships are acknowledged as the basis for effective learning. Students talk positively and meaningfully about their learning experiences.

The school has recognised the need to extend the curriculum to cater for the increasing needs and interests of students. Te Aho o Te Kura Pounamu - The Correspondence School subject enrolments and FarNet e-learning increase the range of available subjects for students in Years 11 to 13. Vocational option pathways, including the Gateway programme and Vocational Primary Industries (VPI) support students learning beyond the school. Senior leaders should continue to evaluate the outcomes of these programmes to ensure they reflect meaningful coherent credit course options that enhance opportunities for individual student’s future employment or training.

The school’s system of pastoral care aims to support students’ learning and wellbeing. Outside agencies are appropriately accessed to support school based provisions. Continuing to evaluate the pastoral data and report outcomes will continue to provide information about student wellbeing and inform future programmes and initiatives. This evaluation should also ensure pastoral initiatives and health programmes are increasingly responsive to students in the junior and middle school.

To further enhance the school’s curriculum school leaders, trustees and ERO discussed the following future developments:

  • continuing to promote student agency, using their voice and input into decision-making about curriculum provision and learning pathways
  • providing appropriate induction and support for students who transition into the school
  • extending career education for Years 7 and 8 students.

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

The school promotes educational success for Māori students. The conditions for Māori students to succeed in their identity as Māori are well developed and advocated by trustees, senior leaders and staff. The school, through its analysed Māori achievement data is aware of the ongoing need to raise Māori student achievement.

Thirty percent of students identify themselves as Māori. School kawa provides opportunities for Māori students to lead karanga, whaikorero, waiata and haka. They report that they feel well included in the life of the school and are well represented in school leadership roles. Regular meetings with Te Whānau o Tauraroa are attended by the principal and a Māori trustee.

Since the 2013 ERO review the school has developed a Success for Māori plan to determine how well school policies and practices help develop the potential of all Māori students. The board and school leaders could now develop a coordinated approach to raising Māori student achievement by:

  • extending collaborative partnerships with whānau Māori so their goals and aspirations contribute to the school’s Success for Māori plan
  • promoting culturally responsive practices for teaching and leadership
  • evaluating the effectiveness of the school’s Success for Māori plan to ensure identified actions are achieved.

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. The school charter and strategic plan provide a cohesive plan for the school’s direction.

The experienced principal and leadership team work effectively with the board of trustees to maintain strong connections with the school community. They demonstrate collaborative practice and promote relational trust.

The board has a good balance of experienced and newly appointed members. Trustees have a clear understanding of their role and focus on improving student learning. Stewardship is evident in the way the board works strategically and collaboratively towards achieving the school community’s vision, values, goals and priorities.

Consideration should be given by the board and school leaders to developing school-wide evaluative practices to gauge how effectively programmes and teaching practices are focused on raising student achievement.

ERO and school leaders agree that the key priority for ongoing school development is to:

  • further enhance the strategic leadership of curriculum development and achievement across the school
  • align teacher appraisal to Education Council requirements
  • continue to strengthen evaluation capability across all levels of the school.

Provision for international students

The Education (Pastoral Care of International Students) Code of Practice 2016 (the Code) was introduced on July 1st 2016. The school is aware of the need to update its policies and procedures to meet the new code requirements by December 1st 2016.

At the time of this review there were two international students attending the school.

The school has not yet started to align its policies and procedures to meet the requirements for the 2016 Code.

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

The school’s curriculum enables student learning, and includes a wide range of co-curricular programmes and leadership opportunities. Good quality teaching practices support the engagement and achievement of students across the school. The school intends extending the curriculum to more effectively cater for the diverse strengths, needs and interests of students.

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

Graham Randell

Deputy Chief Review Officer Northern

30 November 2016

About the School

Location

Maungakaramea

Ministry of Education profile number

12

School type

Composite (Years 1 to 13)

School roll

523

Number of international students

2

Gender composition

Girls 52% Boys 48%

Ethnic composition

Māori

Pākehā

other

30%

64%

6%

Review team on site

September 2016

Date of this report

30 November 2016

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

October 2013

December 2010

November 2007