Te Kura o Te Whakarewarewa - 13/08/2014

Findings

The school has made positive progress since the previous ERO report. The overall quality of governance and leadership practices has been strengthened. While there are challenges for teachers in working in a modern open-plan environment, teachers are committed to strengthening classroom practice and raising levels of student achievement.

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?

Te Kura o Whakarewarewa is a full primary school. It provides English medium instruction from Years 1 to 8 and there is a Years 1 to 6 immersion class for students to be educated through the medium of te reo Māori. The school roll has increased and is currently 67 students.

This report follows issues identified in the 2011 ERO report. At that time ERO identified concerns relating to the quality of governance, leadership and teaching practice. Low levels of student achievement were also of concern. This review is an evaluation of the progress the school has made to date in addressing these issues.

There have been significant developments since 2011. There is a new teaching team and several new members to the board of trustees. The Ministry of Education removed unused classroom buildings, including the administration block, because of a drop in the school roll in 2012-13. A new administration area has been developed from the existing buildings and all classrooms have been extensively remodelled into modern teaching and learning environments.

2 Review and Development

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

Priorities identified for review and development

Areas identified by ERO related to the need for:

  • teachers to strengthen aspects of their classroom practice
  • trustees to strengthen whānau and community relationship, continue board training, develop a performance agreement with the principal, and address financial and property matters
  • the principal to provide effective professional leadership and guidance for teachers in curriculum delivery and management.

Progress

Trustees have developed robust systems and processes to help enhance their performance and effectively undertake board operations. They have a growing understanding of the purpose of self review and have initiated good self-review practices that will support them to monitor and evaluate the effectiveness of board operations.

The charter and strategic plan provide clear direction for ongoing improvement. A useful trustee manual should help the board to efficiently and effectively undertake its roles and responsibilities and support the transition of new trustees onto the board. Trustees are involved in ongoing board training as needed. The 2013 audited school accounts show that the school is in a very good financial position.

Trustees and the principal have worked hard to raise the profile of the school and strengthen the school's relationship with its community. Trustees are subsidising parent fees and free stationary for students. Open days for parents to meet, eat and interact with trustees and teachers have been well supported by whānau. Parents are well informed through the school newsletter about student successes and upcoming events.

The principal is providing sound leadership in curriculum management and supporting teachers to improve their classroom practice. She has been proactive in accessing professional learning and development for teachers in writing, and has worked constructively with the Student Achievement Function practitioner (SAF) to improve assessment practice and levels of student achievement. Trustees are kept well informed about student achievement through the principal’s reports and ongoing discussion.

The teaching team are strongly committed to improving their teaching practice. Classrooms are well resourced and a range of personnel provide targeted learning support for students. Students benefit from the range of skills, knowledge and experience teachers bring to their classroom teaching. Teachers have developed positive relationships with students. There continues to be a need for teachers to regularly gather and critically analyse assessment data, and to use this information to plan targeted programmes of learning in literacy and mathematics.

Students now learn in a new modern open-plan environment. This large open space caters for a junior and senior class. Each class comprises of a mix of year levels. The junior class is taught separately in the mornings and an additional teacher works with these children. This new environment has provided a sense of excitement and enthusiasm amongst trustees, teachers and students. Teaching in an open-plan setting has also created new challenges. It would be beneficial for teachers to undertake specific professional learning and development, and visit schools with similar learning environments so that teachers can fully maximise the potential for student learning that this opportunity offers.

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 improve its performance because:

  • the board has established effective governance practices
  • the principal is committed to school improvement and supporting teachers to strengthen their classroom practice
  • teachers are working collegially in the best interest of students and their learning
  • there is increasing whānau support for the school.

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.

The board and principal must ensure that they complete the principal’s performance agreement annually.[State Sector Act 1988 s77C, National Administration Guideline 3].

In order to improve current practice the board should minimise the potential earthquake risk to students by taking ensuring heavy equipment on classroom shelving is secured.

4 Recommendations

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

ERO recommends that the board of trustees seeks external support to provide professional learning and development for teachers in:

  • the analysis and use of assessment information
  • teaching in an open-plan learning environment.

Conclusion

The school has made positive progress since the previous ERO report. The overall quality of governance and leadership practices has been strengthened. While there are challenges for teachers in working in a modern open-plan environment, teachers are committed to strengthening classroom practice and raising levels of student achievement.

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

Dale Bailey

National Manager Review Services Northern Region

13 August 2014

About the School

Location

Rotorua

Ministry of Education profile number

2081

School type

Full Primary (Years 1 to 8)

School roll

67

Gender composition

Boys 36

Girls 31

Ethnic composition

Māori

67

Special Features

Rumaki Class (Years 1 to 6)

Review team on site

June 2014

Date of this report

13 August 2014

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Supplementary Review

May 2011

February 2010

March 2009