Te Rapa School - 06/05/2011

1. Context

What are the important features of this school’s context that have an impact on student learning?

Te Rapa Primary School is a large urban school situated in the northern suburbs of Hamilton. The school provides high quality education in Years 1 to 8 students. The school has a history of positive ERO reports. Since the last review in 2007, there has been stable leadership and staffing, and significant ongoing property development. The areas identified for improvement in the 2007 Education Review have been effectively addressed. During this review the school was undergoing a considerable remedial property programme resulting in disruption to some classes.

An experienced leadership team is focused on the achievement and interests of students, effective communication and positive relationships. Staff work hard to create and maintain a high quality school environment where ‘teaching and learning is fun’. Students have access to a wide variety of learning opportunities. Parents and whānau are encouraged to become actively involved in school life. The board of trustees is providing sound governance for the school.

2. Learning

How well are students learning – engaging, progressing and achieving?

Areas of strength

Focus on student achievement: School leaders and teachers have high expectations for students’ learning and behaviour. School-wide achievement data in 2010 indicates that most students are achieving at or above national expectations in aspects of literacy and mathematics. The school uses a wide range of appropriate assessment tools. Information is collated, analysed and interpreted at school wide and classroom level. This information is well used by senior managers and school trustees to inform strategic planning, annual planning, and target setting.

Teaching and learning: The committed teaching staff work collaboratively to provide targeted learning opportunities for individuals and groups of students. Teachers demonstrate good knowledge and understanding about a variety of techniques and approaches to teaching and learning. Examples include:

  • high quality classroom learning environments
  • students effectively involved in their own learning
  • the use of assessment to inform planning and teaching
  • positive relationships and interactions
  • the increased use of restorative practices and positive guidance strategies
  • effective learning support and extension initiatives
  • an increasing emphasis on higher order thinking
  • the use of te reo me nga tikanga Māori
  • the increased use of information and communication technologies (ICT) as tools for teaching and learning.

These aspects of teaching and learning are contributing to positive and cooperative classroom cultures and high levels of student engagement and enjoyment of learning.

School culture: A positive, settled and supportive climate, focused on learning, is evident throughout the school. Students, staff and parents demonstrate a strong commitment to promoting respect for self, others and property. Relationships between staff, students and their peers are friendly and inclusive. Students are becoming increasingly confident in taking risks and contributing their ideas in a safe environment.

Support programmes: Special support and extension programmes comprise a mixture of in-class and withdrawal programmes. These programmes are well managed and delivered. They feature teaching that is focused on the identified next steps for students and do not unnecessarily disrupt overall learning programmes. Student progress on support programmes is carefully monitored and reported to the board using a wide variety of appropriate assessment tools. Records show clear evidence of students’ progress as a result of the time spent in support programmes.

How well are Māori students learning – engaging, progressing and achieving?

Areas of strength

Māori student initiatives: Since the last review the school has continued to develop te reo and tikanga practices throughout the school. These practices include:

  • analysing Māori student achievement in literacy and mathematics. This shows that Māori students are progressing and achieving at levels comparable with other students in the school
  • providing Māori students with an extensive range of curricula and extra curricula learning opportunities
  • reflecting Māori cultural values throughout the school
  • establishing an active kapahaka group
  • developing a Te Rapa Māori curriculum resource
  • providing leadership opportunities for Māori students.

These initiatives show the value the school places on increasing students’ awareness of the bicultural perspectives of Aotearoa New Zealand.

Engagement with the Māori community: The school has continued to maintain positive partnerships with the school’s Māori community. Members of the Māori community are confident to approach the principal and staff. Whānau spoken to by ERO value the opportunities they have to meet and discuss issues relating to their children's education.

3. Curriculum

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

Te Rapa Primary School has successfully undertaken an extensive review of all aspects of The New Zealand Curriculum and developed a unique Te Rapa School Curriculum. During this time staff, parents and students contributed to a shared understanding of how the school community can foster and nurture learning for the 21st Century. It is a well-designed curriculum with a strong focus on teaching students skills that will help them become life-long learners. The school has developed general goals that include:

  • providing a safe, stimulating, future-focused learning environment
  • challenging all children to meet their full potential
  • encouraging children to take responsibility for their own learning and behaviour
  • valuing and encouraging the diversity of culture and learning styles.

The Te Rapa School Curriculum supports the school vision for students to be lifelong learners who reach their individual potential and contribute positively to society.

4. Sustainable Performance

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

Areas of strength

Leadership: The principal and school leaders demonstrate a strong commitment to providing high quality leadership for school development and improvement. They provide effective curriculum leadership and have developed systems and practices that positively influence the quality of teaching and learning. Students and teachers are benefiting from the support, guidance and expertise of the professional leadership team. Cohesive and committed trustees work well with the leadership team in the best interest of students.

Self review: The management team has established effective systems for self review throughout the school. Syndicate reviews are based on student achievement data and inform management and the board about student progress and relevant trends. Teachers reflect on their practice and share ideas for improvement. The review of the performance management system has resulted in a more comprehensive and focused appraisal process for all teachers. A culture of ongoing self review is integral to school operations and is improving overall programme effectiveness.

School community: A notable feature of the school is the reciprocal partnership between the school and its community. The principal establishes positive relationships with parents. In-depth consultation, an open door policy, approachable personnel and regular newsletters enable parents to be well informed and involved in school life.

Agreed priority for further development

School leadership has identified and ERO agrees that the priority for continuing development is the full implementation, and ongoing review, of the unique Te Rapa curriculum.

Provision for international students

There are no international students enrolled at Te Rapa Primary School.

Provision for students in the school hostel

Te Rapa Primary School does not have a school hostel.

Board assurance on legal requirements

Before the review, the board of trustees and principal of the school completed an ERO Board Assurance Statement and Self-Audit Checklist. 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 students' achievement:

  • emotional safety of students (including prevention of bullying and sexual harassment)
  • physical safety of students
  • teacher registration
  • stand-downs, suspensions, expulsions and exclusions
  • attendance.

When is ERO likely to review the school again?

ERO is likely to carry out the next review in four-to-five years.

Richard Thornton

National Manager Review Services

Northern Region

6 May 2011

About the School

Location

Hamilton

Ministry of Education profile number

2020

School type

Full Primary (Years 1 to 8)

Decile1

8

School roll

513

Gender composition

Boys 50%

Girls 50%

Ethnic composition

New Zealand Pākehā/European

New Zealand Māori

Pacific

Indian

Chinese

Other

65%

23%

3.5%

2%

1%

5.5%

Review team on site

February 2011

Date of this report

6 May 2011

Most recent ERO report

Education Review

Education Review

Accountability Review

December 2007

August 2004

May 2001

1 School deciles range from 1 to 10. Decile 1 schools draw their students from low socio-economic communities and at the other end of the range, decile 10 schools draw their students from high socio-economic communities. Deciles are used to provide funding to state and state integrate schools. The lower the school’s decile the more funding it receives. A school’s decile is in no way linked to the quality of education it provides