Te Rapa School - 01/03/2016

Findings

Te Rapa School continues to provide a rich curriculum for its students, both inside and beyond the classroom. Achievement and success is regularly celebrated. Stable school leadership and staff help to maintain a positive school culture that has a strong emphasis on values and citizenship.

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 Rapa School is a large full primary school providing education for students in Years 1 to 8. The school is located in the north eastern suburbs of Hamilton, and there is an enrolment scheme in place. The current student roll is 587, and 27% of the students are identified as Māori. Since its relocation and rebuild in 1997, the school has expanded to its current size with 21 modern classrooms and extensive facilities, including an aquatic centre and an extensive artificial play area.

The experienced, respected and long serving principal continues to provide strong educational leadership for the school community. He is effectively supported by the senior leadership team. School leaders have built a stable, committed and competent staff, and together they promote a sense of identity, pride and confidence for students and their families. The board is well led and trustees bring a range of skills and expertise to their governance roles.

The school’s mission statement states it will ‘engage, challenge and nurture learners to reach their potential through collective wisdom and best practice’. Values are strongly promoted within a commitment to educating ‘the whole child’. Each term, two of the school values are focused on covering respect, perseverance, kindness, self control, honesty, excellence, responsibility and cooperation. The school has well-developed processes for recognising student success and achievement through such systems as ‘Citizenship with Excellence’, and the ‘Leadership and Incentive Awards’.

The school has a very positive reporting history with ERO, and responded constructively to the recommendation in the previous ERO report to continue to review the Te Rapa School Curriculum. Teachers have many opportunities for professional development and priority has been given to strengthening inquiry learning practices and the effective use of student achievement data to support learning.

2 Learning

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

Senior leaders state that the primary purposes of assessment are to understand and improve students’ learning, to provide feedback to students and parents/whānau, and to monitor and improve standards within the school. To support this approach, the school has a very extensive schedule of assessments that provides teachers and leaders with a large amount of student achievement information, particularly in the areas of reading, writing and mathematics. Teachers work collaboratively, especially in their syndicates, to share data and work samples to strengthen the consistency and robustness of overall teacher judgements.

Data from the end of 2014 indicates that the proportion of students achieving at or above the expected National Standards in reading and mathematics is comparable to national averages and similar type schools. The same data indicates that student achievement levels in writing are above national averages and comparable to similar schools. The achievement levels of Māori students have shown improvement since 2013, and are now only marginally below non-Māori students in the school. Students of Pacific Island origin are achieving well, at comparable levels to all other students in the school.

Teachers use student achievement information to identify, and plan programmes to respond to student learning needs. Students have individual portfolios or learning journals that contain assessed work and some more formal assessment results. All this information is shared with parents/whānau as student learning goals are developed and monitored throughout the year. Students and their families are able to take a significant level of responsibility for their own learning. Self and peer assessment is encouraged, and confidence in this area is increasing.

Students who require additional support or extension in their learning are identified and appropriate interventions and programmes put in place. The Special Needs Coordinator (SENCO) works with classroom teachers and a team of experienced teacher aides to track the achievement of these students.

The important next step in the school’s use of achievement data more effectively, is for senior leaders to review how they use assessment information to better track and report student progress, and evaluate the impact of programmes and interventions.

Trustees receive detailed reports on student achievement during the year, and are guided to set appropriate annual progress targets where improvement is a priority. The board’s ability to oversee and evaluate student progress and achievement will be strengthened by a general review of assessment.

3 Curriculum

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

The school’s rich curriculum continues to effectively promote and support student learning. Students benefit from the strong support of staff and families/whānau who contribute to a wide range of academic, sporting, education outside the classroom and cultural and artistic experiences for them. The school values are consistently promoted throughout the learning environments, and this underpins a culture of mutual respect and positivity amongst students and adults.

Classrooms are settled and productive, and the ERO review team observed high levels of engagement and enjoyment in the learning programmes. Teachers know students and their families well, and maintain good communication through formal and informal means.

The school curriculum retains a strong focus on the foundation skills of literacy and mathematics. Students experience a well-developed inquiry learning topic each term, based on a broad theme collaboratively planned to stimulate curiosity, thinking and research skills. Students have increased access to computer technologies to enhance and extend their learning opportunities. School leaders and teachers recognise the benefit of continuing to develop this aspect of teaching and learning.

Senior and syndicate leaders have worked well together to foster a community of learners where reflection on practice and the sharing of successful strategies is promoted. Teachers are encouraged and supported to take on areas of responsibility and leadership as part of their development.

Senior leaders have high expectations of staff and students. They provide guidelines and support for school operations and practice, and effective recognition of achievement and success. Senior leaders will continue to review aspects of their quality assurance and performance management, so that they can be assured about the consistency and effectiveness of teaching programmes.

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

The school continues to strongly promote educational success for Māori students whose language, identity and culture are valued. Māori student achievement is monitored, reported to the board and shared with whānau at meetings each term.

Teachers have undertaken professional development meetings based on Ka Hikitia and Tā Taiako, the Ministry of Education reference documents on promoting Māori success and culturally responsive practice. There is a well-developed Māori Curriculum and Action Plan. Senior leaders and teachers worked together to include appropriate levels of Māori perspectives in the curriculum and learning contexts. Teachers deliver a sequential programme of instruction in te reo Māori for all students. Senior leaders will need to continue to evaluate the consistency and effectiveness of the te reo Māori programme.

A feature of the school is the high proportion of students able to experience positive involvement in Māori cultural groups. Pōwhiri, te wiki o te reo Māori and Matariki are all important aspects of school celebrations and rituals. Effective use is made of the knowledge and mana of whānau and iwi representatives to extend and inform school programmes.

Māori students have many opportunities to experience leadership opportunities, and cultural giftedness is included in the criteria for identifying students for extension programmes.

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. Factors that support this are summarized below.

The board consults with its community and prepares strategic and annual plans. Financial and property assets are well managed in support of school’s priorities, which include staff professional development. The board maintains a positive working relationship with the principal and senior leaders based on mutual trust and confidence.

The principal and senior leaders model and enact the school’s vision and values. They work as an effective team to set and maintain high expectations for staff and students, and to ensure an environment conducive to learning and success. Leaders have established high levels of relational trust within the school and the wider community.

Staff demonstrate a shared commitment to the school’s mission and values. They work collegially in the best interests of their students. Parents continue to show strong support for their children’s learning, and school activities and events.

Self-review processes are evident at classroom, syndicate and school-wide levels, and reflect a commitment to ongoing improvement.

Area for review and development

Senior leaders recognise that a rationalisation of the amount of student assessment during the year, and changes to the evaluation and reporting of student progress, are likely to further strengthen educational outcomes for students.

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.

In order to continue improving practice, the board should ensure that sufficient evidence of teacher performance in relation to the new practising teaching criteria is gathered and retained each year as required by the new Education Council legislation.

Conclusion

Te Rapa School continues to provide a rich curriculum for its students, both inside and beyond the classroom. Achievement and success is regularly celebrated. Stable school leadership and staff help to maintain a positive school culture that has a strong emphasis on values and citizenship.

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

Lynda Pura-Watson

Deputy Chief Review Officer

1 March 2016

School Statistics

Location

Hamilton

Ministry of Education profile number

2020

School type

Full Primary (Years 1 to 8)

School roll

587

Gender composition

Boys 50% Girls 50%

Ethnic composition

Pākehā

Māori

Chinese

Indian

Pacific

Other Asian

Other European

Other

62%

27%

2%

2%

2%

2%

1%

2%

Review team on site

November 2015

Date of this report

1 March 2016

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

May 2011

December 2007

August 2004