Te Puna School - 10/02/2015

Findings

Te Puna School provides English and Māori medium education for its students. They are achieving well in both mediums against national expectations. Parents and whānau are actively engaged in school life. The school agrees it is now time to ensure that its rich curriculum more clearly reflects its dual medium delivery.

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 Puna School is located in the semi rural village of Te Puna just north of Tauranga City. It caters for students in Years 1 to 8. Currently there are 224 students, 97 of whom identify as Māori. Most of these students whakapapa to the local hapū – Pirirākau. The school offers education in both English and Māori mediums.

The principal, with the support of the senior leadership team, has established an open and inclusive school culture. Students are highly engaged in a supportive and safe environment which enables them to take risks in their learning. This is underpinned by a well-developed school charter that articulates a set of dispositions for students firmly grounded in a knowledge of their identity as part of the Te Puna and Pirirākau community. There is a strong sense of belonging amongst parents and whānau who are actively engaged in the life of the school.

Trustees are representative of the local community and bring a broad range of skills and knowledge to their role. The school has responded positively to recommendations identified in the last 2011 ERO report.

2. Learning

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

The school reports that in 2013 a significant majority of students were achieving at or above National Standards in reading and mathematics. School averages are above those regionally and nationally. A slightly smaller majority are achieving at or above expectations in writing. The school identified writing as a focus for teacher professional development in 2014 in order to further raise student achievement. The achievement of students in the Māori medium is reported to be similar to that in the English medium, with a significant majority performing at or above Ngā Whanaketanga Reo Māori in kōrero, pānui, tuhituhi and pāngarau.

An appropriate range of assessment tools are used to monitor student progress and achievement in both English and Māori classes.

At the classroom level teachers use achievement data to identify students’ learning needs and to plan programmes that respond to these. Students who are at risk of not achieving are identified and their next steps for learning are documented in individual action plans. Progress against these action plans is regularly monitored. The school is able to show good progress for many of these students against their action plan goals. Students who are identified as having special needs are well supported and monitored by a knowledgeable and proactive special education needs coordinator (SENCO).

School leaders use achievement data to set appropriate strategic targets, to identify trends and patterns, and to inform student placement.

The board receives regular reports on student achievement which it uses for strategic planning and making resourcing decisions.

Parents receive two written reports each year which detail student progress against the National Standards and Ngā Whanaketanga Reo Māori. These are supported by parent interviews twice a year. Some teachers use these interviews to set goals for students. Parents spoken to by ERO appreciate being able to approach teachers at any time to discuss student progress.

ERO and senior leaders agree that it would be beneficial for teachers to further develop strategies to enable students to talk about their learning achievements and next steps for learning.

3. Curriculum

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

The school is delivering a curriculum that effectively promotes and supports student learning. There is a rich and varied range of opportunities for children to experience success academically as well as in sport, culture and the arts. The skills and expertise of the local community are well used to enrich the curriculum. A feature of the school is the widespread use and production of digital visual media such as photography, video and film. Most teachers effectively integrate many subjects into programmes of work under broad themes, thus providing meaningful learning experiences within authentic and relevant contexts.

ERO observed teachers using a wide range of effective teaching strategies which include practical learning experiences, grouping students according to their ability, systems for providing feed-back and feed forward, use of students’ prior knowledge, and the constant revisiting of new learning to ensure it is well embedded.

The school curriculum document needs to unify both parts of the school under one vision while at the same time maintaining the integrity of both The New Zealand Curriculum and Te Marautanga o Aotearoa. It is also now timely to review the school curriculum to ensure it accurately reflects its dual medium delivery.

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

The school is built on land gifted by a tupuna of the local hapū, Pirirākau. The school has tried to ensure that their aspirations have always been an important consideration in school development. The school has established a Rūmaki Unit called Te Puna Mātauranga and Pirirākautanga features in the school charter and curriculum.

In the English medium section of the school a teacher is employed to assist teachers in the delivery of te reo Māori. Māori knowledge is valued and aspects are integrated throughout the curriculum and represented in the physical environment. Students have the opportunity to engage in kapa haka which promotes discipline, team work, the arts and deeper understanding of tikanga Māori.

Teachers are now at a stage where they can take ownership of delivering te reo Māori lessons in their classrooms and also using it in authentic everyday contexts. ERO and senior leaders agree that it would be beneficial to explore the Ministry of Education document Tātaiako and incorporate it as part of the teacher appraisal process.

Te Puna Mātauranga is underpinned by a strong and clearly articulated philosophy which was developed by the whānau and is well understood by teachers. The students have benefitted from stable staffing over the last two years. Ngā Whanaketanga are well embedded in the assessment practices of the unit. Teachers have developed useful long term and medium term planning tools. Students benefit from a rich curriculum that promotes and enhances their language and identity as Pirirākau.

ERO and senior leaders agree that it is now timely to encourage greater involvement of whānau in planning and development. Deepening the understanding of Pirirākautanga and the Te Puna Mātauranga philosophy as a coherent curriculum and self review tool is now needed in order to continue to improve the quality of teaching and learning in the unit.

4. Sustainable Performance

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

The school is well placed to sustain, maintain and improve its performance. School board and staff actively try to enact the school whakataukī: ‘Ma te kotahitanga ka ako, ma te kotahitanga ka manaaki. Together we learn, together we care.’

There is effective leadership of learning, focused on raising student achievement. Staff appreciate a collegial approach where they, like students, feel free to take risks. The board is involved in ongoing training which has lead to a clear understanding of their governance role and their support for the vision of the school. Robust systems of self review are leading to continuous improvement and development of teaching and learning. The school has developed strong working relationships with parents, whānau and the wider school community.

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

Te Puna School provides English and Māori medium education for its students. They are achieving well in both mediums against national expectations. Parents and whānau are actively engaged in school life. The school agrees it is now time to ensure that its rich curriculum more clearly reflects its dual medium delivery.

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

Dale Bailey

Deputy Chief Review Officer Northern

10 February 2015

About the School

Location

Te Puna, near Tauranga

Ministry of Education profile number

2017

School type

Full Primary (Years 1 to 8)

School roll

224

Gender composition

Boys 52%

Girls 48%

Ethnic composition

NZ European/Pākehā

Māori

Other

54%

43%

3%

Special Features

Te Reo immersion

Review team on site

December 2014

Date of this report

10 February 2015

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

October 2011

September 2008

October 2004