Homai School - 01/10/2012

1 Context

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

Homai School in Manurewa provides high quality education for children up to Year 6. It is part of an extensive learning community that shares a commitment to supporting families and raising educational achievement in Manurewa. The board of trustees and school leaders promote the idea of a village taking responsibility for the education of its children. The school works effectively to build and maintain a positive, constructive learning environment for all, and adapts to meet the evolving needs of the community of learners that it serves.

In 2011 an early childhood centre was established in the school grounds, alongside a classroom allocated to an adult literacy class. The school also hosts an after-school programme for students. Community groups use school facilities and Manurewa High School grounds back onto the Homai playing fields. Homai students have sense of identity and responsibility as members of their immediate environment and the wider Manurewa community.

School practices recognise and celebrate te Ao Māori and the place of Māori as tangata whenua. The organisational structures of Ngā Waka (syndicates) and Ngā Whare (the house system) are based on the story of the naming of Manurewa. Children have contributed to this story being depicted in the school environment. Whanaungatanga, manaakitanga, aroha and turangawaewae are positive features of the school.

Thirty-eight percent of students are of Māori descent, forty-one percent are from Pacific nations and ten percent are Indian. The positive relationships between staff and families, the inclusive nature of the school and the way that the curriculum is implemented, ensure that children and families are able to bring aspects of their many different cultures to the learning process. The board, school leaders and teachers listen carefully to families’ and children’s views so the school can be responsive to its community.

The school is led by three directors of learning, team leaders in each waka, and four groups that review teaching practice, curriculum implementation and student achievement. ERO’s previous reviews show that school leaders have had an ongoing focus on learning and improvement.

2 Learning

How well are students learning – engaging, progressing and achieving?

There is a purposeful focus in the school on raising expectations of achievement and increasing engagement and success in learning for all students. Students are achieving well in reading in relation to National Standards. School data also show that increasing numbers of students are on track to achieve at National Standards in mathematics and writing. Good progress is being made with accelerating progress for those at risk of not achieving well. School leaders are now focusing on ways to sustain gains in achievement over time.

Students generally engage well in the learning process. They are confident contributors in classrooms, willingly share their ideas and consider different views in their learning. They know about their assessment information, progress and achievement levels, and what they need to do to improve.

Trustees are well informed through regular, detailed reports that allow them to monitor the impact of school initiatives and progress against achievement targets. School leaders use assessment information effectively to identify where they should focus their attention and adapt practices to reach school goals for improving student outcomes. They target programmes and initiatives to minimise barriers to learning and to respond to students’ specific abilities and needs. Flexible programmes and holistic approaches support those who have special learning needs and provide extended learning opportunities for students who are achieving particularly well.

Teachers and school leaders monitor progress and achievement closely, analyse information collected, and celebrate when improvements are made. They are beginning to gather data that will enable them to identify the progress and achievement of individuals and groups of students during their time at Homai School.

The school community shares a collective responsibility for improving levels of achievement. In addition to raising achievement, there is a strong commitment in the school community to fostering positive attitudes to learning. Trustees, school leaders, teachers and family members are involved in learning alongside children. They model enthusiasm for learning. Several successful initiatives have helped families to become more confident in supporting children’s learning at home.

3 Curriculum

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

The Homai School curriculum invites increased participation from children and their whānau, and clearly reflects the principles of The New Zealand Curriculum. Curriculum development has been collaborative and continues to evolve in response to teachers’ self review, and student, whānau and community input. It is highly effective in promoting learning through contexts that are relevant for students and their whānau and that reflect the connectedness of this community.

Literacy and mathematics are well integrated across the curriculum. The school’s curriculum design is underpinned by a sense of continuity through the school and emphasises the development of skills that will help students to successfully access the wider curriculum and to be successful members of their community. Teachers monitor the implementation of the curriculum, and help each other to implement strategies for deepening students’ learning.

Strategies for helping whānau to become more involved in the school and to understand curriculum practices have been worthwhile. Reports to whānau show that teachers know children well, celebrate their strengths, progress and achievement, and clearly identify next steps for learning.

Meaningful contexts for learning have enabled students to extend their investigations into the community and to recognise their ability to make positive contributions. Teaching and learning through differing cultural perspectives has increased students’ awareness and understanding of others’ cultures. The school has taken steps to ease children’s transition into the school and continues to reflect on ways that curriculum practices can enhance this process.

Teachers are enthusiastic, receptive to new ideas and provide good quality teaching programmes. They are continually challenged, and work in focused, collegial groups to deepen their thinking about their practice and how this relates to raising student achievement. They are very well supported to improve their practice through mentoring and targeted professional development. Support staff also benefit from professional development to strengthen their capacity to make a positive impact on learning.

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

The good practices identified throughout this report are having a positive impact on Māori students’ engagement and success in learning, and on their sense of pride in being Māori. Whānau report a sense of inclusion in the school. They appreciate the commitment of teachers and school leaders to helping children achieve success. Tikanga Māori is threaded, in natural and respectful ways, throughout school practices and expectations. Children are well supported to feel successful as learners in an environment that celebrates Māori.

4 Sustainable Performance

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

The school is very well placed to sustain and continue building on current good practices. Positive features that provide this assurance include:

  • community connections, collaboration and commitment that promote engagement in learning for students and their families
  • a variety of effective practices that are likely to continue helping to foster success for Māori students and those of Pacific nationalities, and for students who are at risk of not achieving
  • a well-established culture of improvement-focused reflection at all levels, so that self review is used effectively to sustain and continually build on school practices
  • well established organisational processes, specific targets for improvement, clearly identified strategic direction and regular monitoring of progress
  • very good systems to increase the capacity of trustees, leaders, teachers and support staff to meet students’ diverse needs and raise achievement levels in the school.

Strong professional leadership is demonstrated and nurtured across the school. ERO’s 2009 report commented on the positive impact of the principal’s emphasis on developing leadership capacity in the school. She has continued to strengthen this feature of the school, extending leadership across teaching and support staff, and including students, whānau and trustees. The board and school leaders are confident that the school will maintain its momentum for improvement and its focus on high quality teaching, management and governance.

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
  • stand-downs, suspensions, expulsions and exclusions
  • attendance.

When is ERO likely to review the school again?

ERO is likely to carry out the next review in four-to-five years.

Makere Smith National Manager Review Services Northern Region (Acting)

1 October 2012

About the School

Location

Manurewa, Auckland

Ministry of Education profile number

1317

School type

Contributing

School roll

275

Gender composition

Boys 143, Girls 132

Ethnic composition

Māori

NZ European/Pākehā

Samoan

Tongan

Indian

Asian

Cook Island Māori

other Pacific

38%

5%

22%

12%

10%

5%

4%

3%

Review team on site

August 2012

Date of this report

1 October 2012

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

October 2009

August 2007

February 2003