Tokirima School - 02/09/2015

Findings

Students learn in a positive environment. Collaborative relationships amongst students, staff and community are evident. Students are enthusiastic learners. Until greater continuity in teaching, leadership and governance is established the school is not well placed to sustain and improve its performance.

ERO intends to carry out another review over the course of one-to-two years.

1 Context

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

Tokirima School is situated 30 kilometres southwest of Taumarunui. The small, full primary school has increased its roll to ten students from six families. One student identifies as Māori.

The River Cluster, a group of small country schools, provides opportunities for wider student engagement in sporting and educational activities. There is a calm and positive tone within the school.

Since the September 2012 ERO report, there have been five teaching principals. An emergency principal was appointed in Term 1, 2015 and remained in the position at the time of this review. The board continues to seek a permanent principal.

There is a positive school-community relationship. Parents are kept well informed of school events through regular newsletters, ongoing face-to-face communication and informal conversations about children’s wellbeing and progress. Parents continue to be committed and supportive of the school, describing it as the centre of their community.

2 Learning

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

National Standards achievement information, reported by the school, for reading, writing and mathematics in 2014 indicates that students are achieving at and above expected levels in writing, reading and mathematics. ERO cannot be assured of the reliability of this information. There is no documented process that supports a teacher to make overall judgements in relation to National Standards.

Planned actions were appropriately identified to lift the achievement of some students in writing in 2015. These have yet to be fully implemented.

In 2015, there has been limited collection and use of achievement information to inform teaching, or monitor student achievement and growth.

At the end of 2013 and in the middle of 2014, parents received reliable information about their children’s progress and achievement in relation to National Standards. Current learning strengths and next steps were clearly identified in these reports.

Currently there is a lack of valid achievement information to inform the intended written reporting to parents for 2015.

It is essential that student achievement is gathered and analysed to:

  • identify learning needs and next steps
  • guide planning, teaching and learning
  • monitor and evaluate the effectiveness of teaching
  • report ongoing student progress and achievement regularly to the board to assist their decision making about resourcing that will best promote learning
  • report valid progress and achievement to parents and students.

3 Curriculum

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

In the previous ERO report an identified next step was to review, develop and agree upon a shared school community Tokirima School Curriculum. A documented curriculum is still not in place.

The school's curriculum requires development to provide guidelines for teaching to promote the progress and achievement of all students. The documented curriculum should state expectations for teaching, learning and assessment based on The New Zealand Curriculum and National Standards.

Students are actively involved in learning. A classroom climate of respect and enthusiasm is evident. Students are responsible, supportive of each other, apply good self-management skills and contribute confidently.

Te reo Māori is woven through the daily programme. Students use greetings, simple sentences, share karakia and waiata naturally. Te ao Māori is evident in children’s work.

The local community and environment is included into the programme.

Information and communication technologies are beginning to be integrated into programmes. Most use relates to research and presentation of learning. Ways of extending digital literacy to using a range of tools to support learning should be further explored.

A vital next step is to review and develop the school’s curriculum through community consultation.

4 Sustainable Performance

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

The school is not well placed to sustain and improve its performance. The lack of continuity in teaching and leadership has made it difficult to effectively extend student learning.

ERO recommends that priority be given to:

  • staff and trustees reviewing, documenting and implementing a curriculum that is informed by the vision, principles, values and key competencies of The New Zealand Curriculum
  • planning, gathering and analysis of student achievement information to:identify needs and next learning steps
  • inform planning teaching and learning programmes
  • monitor and evaluate the effectiveness of teaching
  • report ongoing student progress and achievement regularly to the board and parents
  • support trustees to build their governance capability.

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.

During the course of the review ERO identified areas of non-compliance. In order to address these, the board of trustees must through the teaching principal:

  1. develop and implement a school curriculum, as expressed in The New Zealand Curriculum [National Administration Guideline 1]
  2. [National Administration Guideline 1] through a range of assessment practices, gather information that is sufficiently comprehensive and reliable to enable the progress and achievement of students, particularly in literacy and mathematics, to be evaluated
  3. [National Administration Guideline 2A(a)] use National Standards to report to parents in writing in plain language at least twice a year. 

Recommendations to other agencies

ERO recommends that the Ministry of Education consider providing support for the board in order to develop:

  • school governance roles and responsibilities
  • the curriculum, including the use of student achievement information and staff professional development
  • assessment practices to support teaching and student progress
  • appropriate appraisal systems
  • school systems that meet legal requirements are regularly monitored, updated and reviewed.

Conclusion

Students learn in a positive environment. Collaborative relationships amongst students, staff and community are evident. Students are enthusiastic learners. Until greater continuity in teaching, leadership and governance is established the school is not well placed to sustain and improve its performance.

ERO intends to carry out another review over the course of one-to-two years.

Joyce Gebbie

Deputy Chief Review Officer

Central

About the School

Location

Taumarunui

Ministry of Education profile number

2253

School type

Full Primary (Years 1 to 8)

School roll

10

Gender composition

Male 7, Female 3

Ethnic composition

Māori

NZ European/Pākehā

1

9

Review team on site

June 2015

Date of this report

2 September 2015

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

September 2012

August 2009

September 2006