Te Awamutu Intermediate - 10/03/2017

Findings

The conditions for learning evident in the school are enabling students to be successful, confident and connected to the school’s vision and values. There are very high levels of on-task behaviour and high expectations for student conduct and engagement. Recent developments are sharpening the school’s focus on raising achievement for all 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?

Te Awamutu Intermediate caters for students in Year 7 and 8 from the local township and surrounding rural areas. The current roll of 443 includes 135 who identify as Māori. Students learn in composite classes of Year 7 and 8 students. The school operates one accelerate class and provides an extensive range of specialist programmes to support students’ interests and talents. Facilities to support student learning are well developed including a large gym, fine arts and performing arts facilities, and extensive provision for music and technology education.

The school continues to be led by experienced and long-serving senior leaders. The board chairperson also continues in his role, alongside a team of experienced and new trustees. Since the last ERO review in 2013:

  • teachers have been involved with school-wide professional learning about mathematics teaching and learning
  • there has been a major review and development of the mathematics curriculum
  • the PB4L (Positive Behaviour for Learning) initiative has become embedded across the school and is well supported by key values that are continually revisited and reinforced among students
  • students can opt to bring their own computer technology devices to support their learning.

In 2016 the school began to adopt a more effective way to systematically and inclusively target accelerating achievement for specific groups of students whose learning was at risk.

The school’s vision and values are well defined as respect, honesty, inclusion, persistence and excellence. These themes are well known to students and permeate all aspects of school operations and student life.

2 Learning

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

The school continues to improve the way it uses achievement information to make positive changes to learners’ engagement, progress and achievement. Good use is made of a variety of assessments to identify students whose learning is at risk, set annual achievement targets, and report regularly to trustees about school-wide achievement levels and patterns over time.

A detailed assessment schedule enables teachers to gather information using a range of appropriate nationally referenced assessments. They use this information, along with data gathered from their observations of student learning, to make judgements about students’ achievement in relation to National Standards in reading, writing and mathematics. Data gathered for 2015 and 2016 shows an increasing percentage of students achieving National Standards in reading, writing and mathematics. It also shows that the achievement of Māori students has improved, as a group. During 2016, senior leaders worked with external providers to establish a more effective approach to raising achievement for Māori. This work is likely to enable trustees to set annual targets and develop plans in 2017 that focus more strategically on accelerating progress for groups of students whose learning is at risk.

Teachers use student achievement information to plan programmes that target each student’s learning needs. Progress for individual students is closely monitored and used by teachers to plan learning programmes. In classes, students are grouped for instruction in a variety of flexible and purposeful ways. Teachers have made a good start to establishing target groups in their classes. These groups provide a focus for teachers to improve their practice as they plan, reflect on and review their teaching to successfully accelerate progress for these students. The school acknowledges the benefit of continuing with this development to establish an increasingly evidence-based approach to building teacher effectiveness.

Students can generally speak confidently about how they are achieving in relation to National Standards and about their results from standardised tests. The school has identified that improving students’ knowledge of their achievement and learning progress is a useful next step in helping students to become self-motivated, independent learners. In addition, improving teachers’ knowledge of learning progressions is likely to strengthen formative assessment across the school as teachers are able to provide more specific feedback to students about their next learning steps. This development is also likely to strengthen the way overall teacher judgements about each student’s achievement in relation to National Standards are made.

Written reports, student-led interviews and an open door policy enable parents to be well informed about their child’s achievement in relation to National Standards.

3 Curriculum

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

The Te Awamutu Intermediate local curriculum is clearly documented, based on a clear and well-known vision and values, and comprehensively reflects the requirements of The New Zealand Curriculum. Aspects of the school’s curriculum that effectively promote and support student learning are:

  • a well-considered and planned approach to transition for Year 7 students
  • an appropriate focus on literacy and mathematical learning
  • high expectations for student engagement and achievement
  • documented expectations and coherent indicators of effective teaching practice
  • high quality and very well resourced learning environments
  • numerous opportunities for students to pursue their interests, and experience success across an extensive range of curricular and co-curricula sporting, cultural, artistic and performing activities.

The Special Education Needs Coordinator (SENCO) implements robust systems to identify students requiring additional support with their learning. Classroom teachers, support staff and external agencies, work closely to address these needs and promote positive outcomes for these students.

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

The school has made good progress in promoting success for Māori.

Data gathered by the school shows that from 2015 to 16 the proportion of Māori students achieving National Standards in reading, writing and mathematics increased. In 2016, approximately two thirds of Māori achieved the standard in reading and slightly fewer in writing and mathematics. The principal and board of trustees recognise the urgency of continuing to accelerate progress for Māori students achieving below expected levels.

Most teachers and senior leaders have undertaken specific external professional development to enhance their knowledge and understanding of te reo and aspects of tikanga Māori. A school-wide sequential te reo Māori programme is in place along with extension te reo classes to foster excellence for these students. Strong, knowledgeable local leadership for initiatives that support Māori student success is being provided by a school-based specialist. She works with students and whānau to build relationships and foster a sense of belonging and achievement for Māori students. School kapa haka also provides a focus for Māori students to experience success. Planned school-wide marae experiences, regular karakia and frequent observations of Māori protocol provide contexts for all students to experience te ao Māori activities and learn to value aspects of tikanga and inclusive practice.

4 Sustainable Performance

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

The principal and school leaders have established a strong and compelling vision for school climate and culture. They are promoting a culture of professional learning among staff and providing clarity of direction for all stakeholders in the school community. Leaders are experienced and knowledgeable about the school and have developed strong links within the wider community. An important next step for leaders is to establish and maintain an approach to annual target setting and reporting that focuses closely on groups of students whose progress requires acceleration. These targets need to be closely aligning other strategic initiatives, such as goals in teachers’ appraisals and professional inquiries that include consideration of achievement data.

The conditions for learning evident in the school are enabling students to be successful, confident and connected to the school’s vision and values. In classrooms, there are very high levels of on-task behaviour and a visible response to the school’s high expectations for conduct and engagement. Students’ commitment to the school vision and values are evidenced by a strong sense of belonging.

Trustees bring a range of skills to their roles and acknowledge the need to continue with a programme of training. The board has a sound understanding of the links between self review and continual improvement, and receive detailed information from school leaders that enables them to continually focus on maintaining standards and enhancing outcomes for students. 

Key Next Steps

  • Continuing to implement an approach to targeting achievement for students at risk that focuses on empowering learners and connecting with whānau.
  • Building teachers’ and students’ knowledge of learning progressions, including formative assessment practices that empower students to be well informed about their learning, and their next learning steps/goals/targets.
  • Building school-wide alignment between annual targets and other strategic initiatives, practices and processes that focus on raising achievement, especially for those students achieving below expected levels.
  • Continuing to build the evaluative capacity of teachers as they engage in evidence-based inquires to enhance the effectiveness of their professional practice.

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 conditions for learning evident in the school are enabling students to be successful, confident and connected to the school’s vision and values. There are very high levels of on-task behaviour and high expectations for student conduct and engagement. Recent developments are sharpening the school’s focus on raising achievement for all students.

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

Lynda Pura-Watson

Deputy Chief Review Officer

10 March 2017

About the School 

Location

Te Awamutu

Ministry of Education profile number

2001

School type

Intermediate (Years 7 to 8)

School roll

443

Gender composition

Boys 53% Girls 47%

Ethnic composition

Pākehā

Māori

66%

34%

Review team on site

November 2016

Date of this report

10 March 2017

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

April 2013

May 2010

May 2007