Tokomaru School

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1 Context

Tokomaru School is a full primary school catering for students in Years 1 to 8. The school predominantly serves families around the local village, with a quarter of the roll being drawn from the wider rural community. At the time of this ERO review, of the 84 students on the roll, 23 identify as Māori. A fourth classroom was opened in June 2016 to accommodate roll growth. There are close links between the community and the school.

The principal and two full-time staff have been appointed in 2016.

2 Equity and excellence

The vision and valued outcomes defined by the school for all children are expressed through the school’s vision, ‘where children achieve excellence’ and their mission is to empower students to achieve personal excellence, in a learning culture that equips them for an evolving world. This is enacted through the shared values of honesty, responsibility, respect and perseverance.

The school’s achievement information shows that most students achieve at or above in relation to the National Standard in reading, writing and mathematics. Data from 2015, shows that when compared to other groups, Māori learners exceed in mathematics and writing, and achieve similarly in reading. Boys and girls achieve equally in reading, girls do better than boys in writing and boys' achievement is higher in mathematics.

An appropriate range of tools and evidence are used to form teacher judgements about students' achievement and progress in relation to the National Standards. Clear and useful guidelines are in place to support teachers to make reliable decisions. The Progress and Consistency Tool (PaCT) has been introduced to assist teacher judgements in mathematics.

Since the last ERO evaluation the school has focused on:

  • building a collaborative team
  • involving the community in the school and providing multiple means of effective communication with parents and whānau
  • reviewing the school curriculum and charter
  • implementing an appraisal system. 

3 Accelerating achievement

How effectively does this school respond to Māori children whose learning and achievement need acceleration?

The school responds to students whose learning and achievement need acceleration with an individualised approach that focuses on addressing specific learning needs. Teachers identify Māori students whose learning and achievement requires acceleration and monitors their progress throughout the year.

Teachers work collaboratively to regularly reflect on the progress of target students. Leaders and teachers discuss ways to accelerate students' learning through teachers' appraisal goals and teaching as inquiry action plans. Students who are underachieving in reading and writing are well-supported through focused discussions about the specific needs of targeted learners.

Staff and trustees receive information about what is happening for these students.

How effectively does this school respond to other children whose learning and achievement need acceleration?

The response to these learners is similar to their response to Māori students.

The school is developing a deliberate and more focused approach to recognising and effectively meeting the needs of individual learners. The school knows the names, numbers and needs of the students whose learning requires acceleration. Annual targets reflect the analysis of the patterns and trends of achievement, appropriately identify priority groups and focus on raising student achievement in specific areas.

Teachers are supported to reflect on the effectiveness of their practice, build teaching capacity and improve responsiveness to learners who are at risk of underachieving.

The school collates information about students who require additional support to ensure their needs are fully considered. A useful range of programmes and interventions are in place to support learners. Teacher aides work alongside teachers to provide additional in-class support. The school works closely with outside agencies to provide specialised assistance.

Using data to evaluate the impact of support programmes and interventions should strengthen the school's response.

4 School conditions

How effectively do the school’s curriculum and other organisational processes and practices develop and enact the school’s vision, values, goals and targets for equity and excellence?

School conditions are positive for enacting the vision, values, goals and targets to promote equity and excellence.

A high level of trust, integrity and openness exists between the board of trustees and leaders. There is a strong focus on raising student achievement and promoting student wellbeing. Trustees understand their roles and use each other’s knowledge and expertise. They seek relevant advice and resources when required.

The board receives a range of data and achievement information to support their understanding of what is going well and for which students. Trustees ask relevant questions and are beginning to scrutinise the data to establish the impact of targeted actions on improving student outcomes.

A regular cycle of self review has been developed to ensure school policies and procedures are coherent, fit for purpose and well communicated to the community. The board proactively seek and respond to feedback from the community.

A culture of care, trust and respect is evident. Positive relationships are established with families and the community who are welcomed and actively participate in school activities. Their contributions and expertise are valued and enhance student learning. Parents receive useful information in relation to their child’s progress and achievement through opportunities to meet with teachers to discuss students' achievement, next steps and how they can help at home.

Leadership has established conditions which support effective teaching and learning. There is cohesive alignment of students' learning needs, teacher appraisal goals, professional learning and strategic priorities.

Leaders and teachers recognise and affirm the identities, language and culture of students and their whānau. Te reo me ngā tikanga Māori are evident and embraced through the school’s curriculum. Kapa haka is an integral part of the school’s identity and future direction.

The Learner Pathway is a framework that supports students to develop their self-management skills, knowledge and ownership of their learning. The use of this has had a positive impact on school culture, teaching and learning. Teachers know their learners well and co-construct challenging but realistic learning goals. They use culturally responsive teaching practices to promote student learning.

The school is currently reviewing their curriculum to include the 'Learner Pathway' as a significant part of its strategic direction and to reflect school priorities. In 2016, the school values were refreshed, more leadership opportunities were identified and the behaviour management system was revised with input from students. Continuing to refine curriculum documentation will clarify school expectations for effective practice.

Strong relationships with early childhood learning services supports students and their families to transition to school.

The appraisal system is robust and collaborative. It has a cohesive structure based on evidence and teacher reflection. Teachers are keen to innovate and are willing to challenge themselves to try new things to accelerate the progress of their learners.

Leaders and teachers work together to plan, assess and evaluate. The principal has strengthened systems to enable a more evaluative approach to review and decision-making. The school is actively developing its collective capacity to evaluate its effectiveness in improving student progress and achievement. 

5 Going forward

How well placed is the school to accelerate the achievement of all children who need it?

Leaders and teachers:

  • know the children whose learning and achievement need to be accelerated
  • respond effectively to the strengths, needs and interests of each child
  • regularly evaluate how well teaching is working for these children
  • act on what they know works well for each child
  • build teacher capability effectively to achieve equitable outcomes for all children
  • are well placed to achieve and sustain equitable and excellent outcomes for all children.

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

6 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 the following:

  • board administration

  • curriculum

  • management of health, safety and welfare

  • personnel management

  • asset management.

During the review, ERO checked the following items because they have a potentially high impact on student safety and wellbeing:

  • emotional safety of students (including prevention of bullying and sexual harassment)

  • physical safety of students

  • teacher registration

  • processes for appointing staff

  • stand down, suspensions, expulsions and exclusions

  • attendance

  • compliance with the provisions of the Vulnerable Children Act 2014. 

7 Recommendation

ERO recommends that school leaders sustain their focus on raising student achievement by:

  • further development of the curriculum
  • continuing to build collective internal evaluation to know what is working, what is not working and what needs to change.

Joyce Gebbie

Deputy Chief Review Officer Central

26 January 2017 

About the school

Location

Tokomaru

Ministry of Education profile number

3046

School type

Full Primary (Years 1 to 8)

School roll

84

Gender composition

Female 47, Male 37

Ethnic composition

Māori

Pākehā

Pacific

Asian

23

54

5

2

Review team on site

November 2016

Date of this report

26 January 2017

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

April 2014

February 2011

October 2007

1 Context

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

Tokomaru School predominantly serves families around the local village, with a quarter of the roll of 57 children travelling by bus from the wider rural community. A third of the roll identify as Māori, Pacific or other ethnic groups.

The school charter places strong emphasis on honesty, responsibility, respect and perseverance. These values identify expectations for key competencies related to positive relationships, self managing of learning, personal development and student wellbeing. Positive and inclusive relationships and interactions among students reflect the school’s ideals. The wide range of facilities, spaces and equipment for physical activity, mirror the school's values.

Active cooperation and interaction between trustees, teachers and the community are evident. Parent and whānau consultation and involvement in learning partnerships, sport, cultural and activities focus on benefits for students. The board is committed to equity of opportunity for all children. A very active home and school group gain considerable support through the wider community for fund raising. As a result, parents are no longer asked for donations for school operations to support the curriculum.

Two new full time staff appointments have been made for 2014. A major teacher professional development focus in 2014 is on writing, teachers inquiring into their use of student assessment information and the impact of their practice on learning outcomes for children.

2 Learning

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

A high percentage of students achieve at or above in relation to National Standards in reading, writing and mathematics. Teachers know their students’ strengths and areas where improvement is required. In 2014, the school’s main goal is to increase overall achievement levels in writing, with emphasis on accelerated progress for a targeted group in Years 6 and 7. Further development of the school's processes for setting, monitoring and reporting on accelerated progress of these priority learners to trustees is a next step.

Māori and Pacific students achieve well against National Standards. Parents are well informed about individual and schoolwide achievement. They are provided with clear explanations that help them understand the content of the reports and overall rates of achievement.

Capable students are given extension work where appropriate. The school’s analysis identifies a need to provide opportunities to extend all students.

3 Curriculum

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

Curriculum documents provide clear guidelines and expectations for teaching, learning and assessment. They are tailored to needs and national requirements and well informed by community aspirations. Students’ learning is enriched by access to a wide range of experiences outside the classroom, in the local community and on excursions. A variety of award and recognition systems are evident at classroom and schoolwide levels. Students value and appreciate the recognition and awards they receive.

Active promotion of leadership opportunities and responsibilities among all students promotes engagement and ownership of their learning. A culture of care and nurturing is evident in interactions amongst students and with staff. Peer mentoring is active. Students know who to go to for help. Close links with nearby centres and schools supports learners’ successful transitions into and beyond the school.

Student achievement data has informed decisions about professional learning and development (PLD). A school goal in 2014 is to further strengthen teacher inquiry into the impact of their teaching practices on student outcomes. PLD for writing is focused on improving teaching to increase rates of progress in writing for groups of learners. A new position has been created to provide literacy leadership for planning, supporting staff and monitoring the impact of initiatives on student achievement.

ERO's findings affirm the principal’s plans to review the effectiveness of current formative assessment tools and practices for promoting learning.

Pacific students are well engaged in learning. Partnerships with their parents are fostered. Pacific cultures are celebrated within the curriculum.

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

Current programmes and practices actively support partnerships with Māori whānau and the community. Parent support is considerable including involvement and guidance in sports, cultural activities and excursions. Māori students have high levels of engagement, their cultural values affirmed and achieve academic success above their peers.

In 2013, the board and staff attended several workshops on Ka Hikitia: Accelerating Success 2013  2017 to increase their understanding of promoting success for Māori. Students and whānau attended a local marae to strengthen links and knowledge about aspects of tikanga Māori and raise awareness of marae protocols and history.

ERO affirms the school’s initiative to develop policy and achievement plans to define and further promote increased opportunities for success for Māori, as Māori.

4 Sustainable Performance

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

Trustees are responsive and knowledgeable about strengths and areas for improvement in schoolwide achievement. The principal and board communicate this information with the community in a transparent way and share priorities and strategies for ongoing improvement. They monitor progress through useful reports from the principal.

Trustees are well informed about the school community through good communication and high rates of participation in surveys and consultations. As a result of the health curriculum consultation and parent surveys, the school reviewed and developed the core values and behaviour expectations to promote student wellbeing. The school culture and philosophy are closely aligned with whānau and community expectation and aspirations.

There is an established schedule for self review with flexibility to respond to emerging matters. Trustees are improvement focused and have developed a range of self-review practices. In 2014 the board has engaged an external facilitator to strengthen the depth and quality of review and strategic plans.

Teachers have useful strategies for managing transitions and changes in staffing to maintain a focus on student achievement. The principal should ensure the predominantly new teaching team has consistent, shared understandings of school’s expectations and processes for high quality teaching, assessment and learning.

The appraisal process is undergoing appropriate review and development. The principal's and teachers’ appraisals should be more closely aligned to school strategic goals and those of individuals to improve teaching and learning outcomes. More specific action plans and success criteria are likely to promote better evaluation of outcomes to accelerate progress of priority learners.

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 improve practice the board should review all policies and practices and ensure any resulting changes in expectations are communicated to teachers and the school community.

When is ERO likely to review the school again?

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

Joyce Gebbie

National Manager Review Services

Central Region (Acting)

24 April 2014

About the School

Location

Tokomaru, Horowhenua

Ministry of Education profile number

3046

School type

Full Primary (Years 1 to 8)

School roll

57

Gender composition

Boys 31

Girls 26

Ethnic composition

Māori

NZ European Pākehā

Pacific

Other ethnic groups

10

38

6

3

Review team on site

February 2014

Date of this report

24 April 2014

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

February 2011

October 2007

August 2004