Eketahuna School - 23/06/2020

School Context

Eketahuna School is located in southern Tararua. The school caters for 121 students in Years 1 to 8, 46% of whom are Māori learners, most identifying with Rangitane Iwi.

The school vision is to prepare today’s child for tomorrow’s world – Whakakaha ngā tamakiri mo apopo. Guiding principles of lifelong learners, future focus, community engagement, excellence and inclusiveness underpin school practice.

Strategic goals for 2020 aim to:

  • raise achievement in literacy and numeracy
  • provide a positive, collaborative, inclusive and culturally responsive school culture
  • create experts in digital literacy.

Leaders and teachers regularly report to the board, school-wide information about outcomes for students in the following areas:

  • progress and achievement in reading, writing and mathematics for targeted learners and students in Years 1 to 8
  • attendance.

Nearly all teachers are new to the school since the previous ERO review in 2017, including the new principal appointed in 2018.

Teachers have been involved school-wide professional learning and development (PLD) in teaching and learning, teaching as inquiry and Tātaiako – Cultural Competencies for Teachers of Māori Learners.

The school has responded well and continues to progress the areas for development identified in the previous ERO report.

The school is a member of the Tararua Kāhui Ako.

Evaluation Findings

1 Equity and excellence – achievement of valued outcomes for students

1.1 How well is the school achieving equitable and excellent outcomes for all its students?

Staff are purposefully embedding systems and building curriculum practice to achieve equity and excellence for all students.

Achievement at the end of 2019 shows a large majority of students achieved at or above curriculum expectations in reading, writing and mathematics. Overall, achievement in reading, writing and mathematics shows a similar pattern from 2018 with the exception of a noticeable increase for boys in mathematics. Māori students achieved similar outcomes in reading when compared to Pākehā/European learners, slightly higher in mathematics and lower in writing. Raising achievement overall and achieving equity for boys in reading and writing are identified priorities for the school.

The school reports high levels of attendance for most students.

1.2 How well is the school accelerating learning for those Māori and other students who need this?

The school responds well to Māori and other students whose progress and learning require acceleration.

2 School conditions for equity and excellence – processes and practices

2.1 What school processes and practices are effective in enabling achievement of equity and excellence, and acceleration of learning?

School personnel are highly committed to promoting the holistic development of all learners, and advocating for children, families and whānau. Well-considered strategies and actions are used to ensure students with complex learning needs receive equitable learning opportunities. Transition to school is well planned and flexible to suit learners’ individual needs. Additional personnel and external specialists are used extensively to assist in supporting student needs.

Students learn through contexts of high interest, both in school and in their local community. Curriculum experiences encourage the purposeful engagement of learners. Digital technologies are accessible to promote student learning and support their inquiry.

Students learn in a positive and inclusive environment. Daily interactions reflect shared school values and promote positive relationships between staff, students and their peers. Well-considered communication strategies engage parents and whānau in their child’s learning and celebrate achievements.

The principal is effectively leading ongoing improvements to further strengthen outcomes for students. Revised assessment processes have provided a coherent system to support the identification, tracking and monitoring of individual learners. Students benefit from collaborative teacher practice that involves them sharing strategies and reviewing the progress of individuals. Reporting to trustees is comprehensive, which ensures their resourcing decisions are based on improving outcomes for students.

Systems and practices for building individual teachers’ capability are robust. PLD is aligned to the school’s strategic direction and focused on practices requiring ongoing development to strengthen outcomes for students. Teacher appraisal, coaching and mentoring processes are well planned and impact positively on building quality practice. Staff are improving their use of evidence-based inquiry to plan shared strategies that accelerate student progress, learning and achievement.

2.2 What further developments are needed in school processes and practices for achievement of equity and excellence, and acceleration of learning?

The school has implemented a wide range of improvements to comprehensively respond to the diverse needs of learners. Further developments are required to:

  • continue to build the consistency of teacher practice aligned to school expectations of effective practice
  • inform and fully document the evolving curriculum.

Aligning success measures and key progress indicators, to successful outcomes for learners should support evaluation more focused on student achievement, engagement and wellbeing. The outcome of evaluation should provide more in-depth information for staff and trustees to understand how well ongoing developments achieve equity and excellence for students.

Strengthening the collective capability of teachers, including continuing to build their assessment practice, is an ongoing priority. Relevant PLD in 2020 has been suitably aligned to promote further development. Planned improvements should further strengthen teaching practice to match the specific learning needs of students.

3 Board Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the board 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
  • finance
  • 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 and certification
  • processes for appointing staff
  • stand down, suspension, expulsion and exclusion of students
  • attendance
  • school policies in relation to meeting the requirements of the Children’s Act 2014.

4 ERO’s Overall Judgement

On the basis of the findings of this review, ERO’s overall evaluation judgement of Eketahuna School’s performance in achieving valued outcomes for its students is: Developing.

ERO’s Framework: Overall Findings and Judgement Tool derived from School Evaluation Indicators: Effective Practice for Improvement and Learner Success is available on ERO’s website.

5 Going forward

Key strengths of the school

For sustained improvement and future learner success, the school can draw on existing strengths in:

  • a school culture that fosters the purposeful engagement of students, parents and whānau
  • curriculum experiences that support student participation and engagement
  • leadership that continues to develop and embed practices and processes that promote improvements for learners.

Next steps

For sustained improvement and future learner success, priorities for further development are in:

  • continuing to build the effective use of assessment practice for teachers to match the diverse learning needs of students
  • developing and documenting the evolving curriculum to support sustainability of practice and enhance evaluation.

Darcy Te Hau

Acting Director Review and Improvement Services (Central)

Central Region - Te Tai Pūtahi Nui

23 June 2020

About the school

The Education Counts website provides further information about the school’s student population, student engagement and student achievement.