Aorangi School (Rotorua) - 11/02/2015

Findings

Aorangi School offers students and whānau a wide range of opportunities to be involved in learning. Students enjoy a safe and inclusive environment in well-resourced and suitable facilities. The school curriculum promotes student progress and celebrates achievements. Relationships among students, parents, whānau and teachers are positive and mutually respectful.

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?

Ka tutuki e tatou katoa i roto i te wairua We will achieve our personal best in a happy and supportive environment

Aorangi School’s vision, and cornerstone values and the strong emphasis on a safe and inclusive school culture are features of the school (carving; hands, heart, head). Students articulate that the school is culturally safe and welcoming, and teachers are helpful, caring and supportive of their learning.

Parents and whānau speak positively about the school and appreciate the whakawhanaungatanga that underpins their relationships with teachers and trustees. They are well informed about their children’s educational progress and physical development. Parents and whānau have many opportunities to be involved in a wide range of school activities.

Teachers have a strong commitment to the wellbeing of students. They have a good understanding of students’ needs and build positive relationships with parents and whānau.

The principal is new to her role since the 2010 ERO review. She is focused on the needs of students and their achievement and has introduced a number of strategic initiatives to strengthen learning and teaching. A new deputy principal was appointed in 2013.

The board of trustees consists of both very experienced and new members. They have a range of skills that assist them to carry out their roles. The chairperson has twenty years of service to the school.

Aorangi School caters for students from Years 1 to 6, and nearly all students are Māori who mostly whakapapa to Ngāti Whakaue. The environment is attractively presented, and the use of buildings, grounds and resources is maximised to ensure students receive good quality education.

2 Learning

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

Students learn in well-resourced and stimulating classrooms and the school culture supports their sense of identity and belonging. Students at all levels of the school demonstrate an understanding and knowledge about their learning. Goals monitor their progress, and they are confidently and actively involved. Students lead parent and whānau conferences twice a year and share their learning and achievement. Parents are very appreciative of this system and many create awards for their children’s success.

Strategic self review of school operations and practices is well integrated and linked to the school’s vision and achievement goals. Self review and the use of assessment data informs and guides school decision making about learning programmes for students, teacher professional practice and overall school improvement.

There are good systems in place that aim to improve student progress and achievement. The peer coaching and mentoring programme for teachers is well developed and supports them to reflect on student learning and progress. All teachers have goals that are specific to students who are at risk of not achieving at expected levels of achievement.

In classrooms, teachers:

  • group students based on identified learning needs
  • encourage positive and affirming interactions among themselves and students
  • promote good levels of engagement and students’ positive attitude to learning
  • use strategies to support targeted groups of students
  • reinforce school values and expectations
  • use sound assessment systems to monitor student progress.

School-wide achievement information in reading and mathematics shows that between 2012 and 2013 there was a significant increase in the number of students achieving at or above expected levels. The school organised external support for teachers in 2013 and 2014 to improve student achievement in writing. Girls are achieving better than boys and are making accelerated progress in reading, writing and mathematics. These achievement patterns are similar for Māori and non-Māori students. There are high expectations for all students to succeed.

School-wide student achievement information is shared with teachers and reported to the board. In addition teachers and students provide end-of-term progress reports in achievement books. All students report twice a year to their parents in student-led conferences about their progress and achievement.

3 Curriculum

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

Ongoing review of the curriculum meets the needs and strengths of students. English language assessment reports and mathematics reviews are an ongoing and planned feature of school self-review practices. These reviews contribute to decisions about school initiatives and professional learning and development for teachers.

The school has a broad and comprehensive curriculum, which supports and promotes student wellbeing and learning. It is well aligned to The New Zealand Curriculum and has implementation plans for all curriculum subject areas.

A well-coordinated and comprehensive approach to the provision of learning and pastoral support for students is based on expert personnel, targeted interventions, careful tracking and monitoring of progress, external agencies and communication with whānau.

The transition-to-school programme involves regular visits to local early childhood centres, Wednesday afternoon sessions for preschoolers, and a reception class run by the deputy principal. In addition there is a ‘Roots of Empathy’ (social skills) programme, to support students. This is run by the board chairperson. An after-school study support programme, involves academic and creative activities for students in a safe environment for learning, play and exploration.

Māori values of manaaki, aroha and wairua are well embedded in the school. Students have a strong sense of being culturally safe and are confident of realising their potential as Māori learners in an environment that supports their interests and needs. Students understand the school’s values and expectations, and demonstrate cooperative relationships with their teachers and one another.

A kaiako leads te reo and tikanga o Ngāti Whakaue for all students. Morning hui groups are part of the protocols for the school. These involve karakia, kōrero and waiata. Students are sociable, responsible and fully engaged in Ngāti Whakauetanga.

Strong partnerships with whānau and hapu have been established. The Ngāti Whakaue Education Endowment Trust Board funded project is a feature of the school’s literacy programme. Students in this programme are frequently monitored and their progress information is used to inform their next learning steps.

School leaders have identified a need to continue a school-wide focus to increase teacher capability and confidence in te reo me ngā tikanga o Ngāti Whakaue and integrate a progressive and appropriate programme across all levels of the school.

Pacific student progress and achievement is monitored and they are valued for their contribution to the culture of the school.

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 because:

  • a very good approach to self review guides school improvement
  • the curriculum promotes student engagement and monitors progress and achievement
  • trustees plan for succession to ensure continuity of governance
  • an holistic and inclusive school culture includes high expectations, a focus on student wellbeing, positive relationships, and open communication
  • the strategic plan is clearly defined and provides direction for future development
  • the school has an open door policy for parents.

Areas for Review and Development

The school has a good process for teachers to reflect on teaching strategies. However, not all teachers have a clear understanding of this process. School leaders should carefully monitor and model self-reflective practices that aim to promote student learning, engagement, progress and achievement. This should assist teachers to:

  • more effectively reflect on their practice and evaluate the effectiveness of teaching in relation to student achievement
  • develop the consistency and accuracy in the way they make overall teacher judgements about how students progress and achieve
  • focus on different approaches to the way boys learn and plan appropriate learning experiences that are likely to improve their achievement.

In addition, school leaders should ensure that there is a stronger focus on improving and evaluating teaching and learning in meetings minutes. Documenting discussions, particularly those about learners who are at risk of not achieving could be used to inform future developments.

Attention to the above areas should assist the school to accelerate student progress and raise achievement levels.

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

Aorangi School offers students and whānau a wide range of opportunities to be involved in learning. Students enjoy a safe and inclusive environment in well-resourced and suitable facilities. The school curriculum promotes student progress and celebrates achievements. Relationships among students, parents, whānau and teachers are positive and mutually respectful.

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

Dale Bailey

Deputy Chief Review Officer Northern

11 February 2015

About the School

Location

Rotorua

Ministry of Education profile number

1683

School type

Contributing (Years 1 to 6)

School roll

153

Gender composition

Boys 56% Girls 44%

Ethnic composition

Māori

Pākehā

Cook Island Māori

Tokelau

Other

90%

5%

3%

1%

1%

Review team on site

November 2014

Date of this report

11 February 2015

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

June 2010

March 2007

September 2003