Dargaville Intermediate - 07/09/2016

Findings

Dargaville Intermediate School has a welcoming and inclusive culture underpinned by the school values. Students benefit from a curriculum that focuses on integrating literacy through a range of learning areas, and prioritises science, te reo Māori and environmental education. The Te Kaha programme motivates students to further develop their various areas of interest and excellence.

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?

Dargaville Intermediate School serves a wide geographical area in and around the Northern Wairoa district. Many whānau are highly engaged in the school supporting cultural and sporting events.

Since the 2013 ERO report the school curriculum has been reviewed. It is now designed to have strong relevance to the history of the area and to engage students by better catering for their areas of strength.

A purposeful transition programme supports students’ entry into the school and builds tuakana/teina relationships. Students benefit from a settled and positive school tone. They are keen and willing learners who enjoy positive relationships with each other, as well as with the principal and staff.

Features of the students’ learning environment include the well-resourced technology teaching spaces, integrated use of digital devices, a learning hub located in the library and the school gardens.

2 Learning

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

School achievement information shows that a high percentage of students achieve at or above National Standards in reading, writing and mathematics. Some disparity is noticeable between the achievement of Māori students and others. School leaders have identified a need to raise overall achievement in reading.

Teachers use a variety of assessments to identify students’ learning needs, particularly on entry at Year 7. They use achievement information purposefully to help focus on the individual needs of students and to specifically plan teaching programmes to meet learners’ needs. Leaders could further improve this good practice by establishing formalised, shared understanding of effective teaching and learning practice to accelerate students’ progress.

Students are well engaged in their learning. Mutual trust and respect and positive relationships are evident throughout the school. Students have choices of where and how they learn in attractive and well organised learning environments. Students’ learning includes various degrees of collaboration with each other and with teachers. Teachers should continue to:

  • deepen their knowledge of effective strategies to accelerate individual student progress and so further enable positive outcomes for all learners
  • develop records of discussions and decision-making pertaining to accelerating student progress
  • build students’ understanding of the purpose and relevance of their learning and further promote their capacity as independent and self-managing learners
  • increase students’ knowledge of their achievement in relation to National Standards, and their ability to identify next learning steps.

School leaders and teachers work collaboratively to promote success for all learners. They use moderation processes within the school to review students’ levels of achievement. They could scrutinise data more deeply to demonstrate accelerated progress over time. More regular reporting to the board about the progress of groups of students would enable leaders and trustees to evaluate the impact of initiatives and interventions. The principal is keen to introduce individual achievement plans specifically for those students whose learning needs acceleration. This would be a positive initiative to activate change.

Whānau receive useful information about their children’s progress and achievement. Continued consultation is ensuring that reporting to parents is relevant and helpful to their children’s learning. It could now be useful to deliberately engage with, and contribute to, the wider education network with particular emphasis on establishing learning partnerships with contributing schools.

3 Curriculum

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

The school curriculum is effective in promoting and supporting student learning.

The school’s vision of ‘Excellence, Empowerment and Education’ and values of ‘Respect, Honesty, Security, Responsibility, Self-worth and Whanaungatanga’ are clearly defined, well-embedded and meaningful to students.

Leaders and teachers have taken considered steps to review and refresh the school’s curriculum. A deliberate focus is placed on the contextual curriculum which includes exploring the region’s historical significance and the local environment. Leaders are increasing opportunities for students to take a greater lead in their learning.

Literacy is a core component of the curriculum and teachers build students’ literacy skills across curriculum learning areas. The school’s annual goals include an emphasis on vocabulary acquisition and improving students’ ability to articulate their learning.

Science is being emphasised throughout the school. Students are encouraged to value innovation, inquiry and curiosity through purposeful learning contexts which encourage creative, critical and reflective thinking. The Ministry of Education is supporting teachers with professional learning and development in science.

The school continues to support and foster ecological sustainability. Students participate in school and local environmental programmes that foster an understanding of ecology and provide opportunities to be entrepreneurial within the district.

The introduction of “Kaha Club” to the school has allowed students to further develop their various areas of interest with support from teachers and community members. Students show enthusiasm and enjoyment in these learning opportunities and very skilled application in their areas of interest.

Teachers and leaders should continue to challenge and support students to develop the key competencies and transferable skills of The New Zealand Curriculum as foundations for successful learning.

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

Māori students comprise 40 per cent of the school roll. Identity, language and culture are expressed proudly by Māori students through a well-established kapa haka group. Local Māori history is taught and kaupapa Māori is included across the curriculum.

The principal and teachers use te reo Māori throughout the school. A Te Reo Māori professional learning contract was part of teachers' development programme in 2015. This programme is helping staff to build their confidence and skills in Te Ao Māori. Māori students are assisting teachers in classrooms to lead teaching and learning in te reo. This tuakana-teina aspect of learning is encouraging for learners and builds the esteem of the talented Māori students.

The school maintains supportive relationships with the Māori community through informal consultation. Establishing a whānau consultation group could be a useful strategy for providing a greater voice for the Māori community. The principal agrees that more regular inquiry with the parent community would help to gain Māori perspectives to guide school development.

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. The principal exhibits and models a collaborative leadership style that is responsive to staff and students. Leaders have high expectations for student learning and behaviour with a strong focus on student wellbeing.

The experienced senior team provides cohesive leadership to staff. The principal should continue to build and sustain educational leadership capability through greater sharing of leadership responsibilities and decision making.

The board values the work of teachers and support staff. Teachers are encouraged to reflect on their practice and share responsibilities throughout the school. Work has begun to introduce a new performance management system that builds teachers’ evaluative capability and complies with the Education Council requirements and current practice.

The newly-elected trustees have yet to formalise trustee responsibilities. They have background experience and a sound knowledge of employment practices. ERO and trustees agree that it would be useful to seek board training to develop shared understandings of stewardship responsibilities.

It is timely for the board to take a greater focus on accelerating students’ progress. The board should improve the school's collective capability to scrutinise data, set targets and evaluate 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.

To improve practice the board should develop, document and monitor:

  • procedures for using in-committee practices
  • processes for management of complaints
  • more formalised processes for consultation with the school’s Māori community
  • performance management processes that comply with the Education Council requirements.

Conclusion

Dargaville Intermediate School has a welcoming and inclusive culture underpinned by the school values. Students benefit from a curriculum that focuses on integrating literacy through a range of learning areas, and prioritises science, te reo Māori and environmental education. The Te Kaha programme motivates students to further develop their various areas of interest and excellence.

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

Graham Randell

Deputy Chief Review Officer Northern

7 September 2016

About the School

Location

Dargaville, Northland

Ministry of Education profile number

1008

School type

Intermediate (Years 7 to 8)

School roll

184

Gender composition

Boys 51% Girls 49%

Ethnic composition

Māori

Pākehā

Pacific

other

40%

53%

5%

2%

Special Features

Base school for Resource Teacher: Learning and Behaviour, Supplementary Support Teacher, Social Worker in Schools.

Review team on site

June 2016

Date of this report

7 September 2016

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

June 2013

June 2010

May 2007