Kaikohe Christian School - 09/02/2015

Findings

Kaikohe Christian School has made significant progress since 2012. Change management processes and new leadership are supporting staff to improve outcomes for students. The principal, staff and board are providing a positive, productive learning environment, and the improved quality of planning and reporting is resulting in more effective self review.

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

1 Background and Context

What is the background and context for this school’s review?

Kaikohe Christian School is a state-integrated coeducational school in the mid-north township of Kaikohe. The school provides learning programmes for students in Years 1 to 13 based on The New Zealand Curriculum within the framework of its Christian-based special character.

ERO’s August 2012 review of Kaikohe Christian School identified concerns in several areas of school governance and management. ERO and trustees agreed that areas for review and development included:

  • leadership in curriculum and assessment
  • student safety and wellbeing
  • planning and reporting
  • board training in personnel and financial management

ERO has worked closely with the school over the past two years. School leaders and trustees and proprietors on the board have been very willing to address the areas for improvement and have provided ERO with regular information about the school’s progress.

Following the principal’s resignation in late 2012, the school’s deputy principal became the acting principal. A period of relative stability during 2013 allowed the board and acting principal to begin prioritising areas for development and review.

At the end of 2013 the board appointed a permanent principal. Continued improvements over the past year reflect the responsive leadership of the new principal and effective change management processes.

2 Review and Development

How effectively is the school addressing its priorities for review and development?

Over the past two years the board of trustees has systematically worked to review and improve the school’s performance. The board obtained the support of the Ministry of Education and other external agencies to improve school operations. As a result, trustees have gained greater understanding of financial management, student wellbeing and employment responsibilities.

During 2013 the board investigated complaints about student safety and wellbeing. Trustees reviewed school policies and procedures for managing student behaviour. They gained knowledge about child protection, and improved staff appointment and police vetting procedures. Trustees also reviewed their own meeting procedures, and used financial expertise to improve the school’s budgeting and accounting systems.

At the beginning of 2014, the new principal began a broad consultation about the school’s vision and values. Parents, staff and students were invited to comment about the school’s special character and long-term direction. Ideas gathered from these groups are shaping the development of a learner profile that is helping all teachers to lift their expectations about student learning and behaviour.

The principal and senior leaders are also reviewing the quality of teaching throughout the school and strengthening guidelines for classroom practice. They plan a fuller review of the school’s curriculum in 2015. Teachers are receiving feedback about their classroom teaching practice as part of their appraisal. Particular importance is being placed on ensuring that high expectations and positive relationships support students in their learning.

The school-wide development and use of information and communication technologies has continued to progress. Recent initiatives in digital learning are supporting students to share their learning and are enhancing communication with parents and community. Building greater cohesion between the primary and secondary areas of the school, and with the school’s off-site campus in Waimate North, are continuing priorities.

The bicultural focus of the school has been strengthened. The principal emphasises tikanga Māori in student assemblies and is receptive to the Māori expertise of staff and trustees. All students have opportunities to learn te reo Māori and participate in kapa haka as part of the curriculum. The enhancement of Māori culture, language and identity complements the school’s vision and special character.

Staff morale has improved and students are benefitting from the more settled learning environment. Student discipline has been reviewed and stand-downs and suspensions have reduced. Staff attribute the positive changes that have occurred during the past year to the leadership of the school’s new principal and the more confident board of trustees.

Key next steps

ERO and the board agree about the next key steps for school improvement. These are as follows.

Strengthening teaching and learning practices. Increased use of student assessment information would help teachers to better meet students’ different learning needs. It is also likely to increase student engagement in learning and enable teachers to evaluate the effectiveness of their practice.

Extending leadership and management. School leaders are exploring ways of growing schoolwide leadership capability in curriculum and learning. They are seeking professional development for 2015 to increase the quality and consistency of teaching and the management of student learning outcomes.

Increasing parent and whānau involvement. School leaders are aware that effective learning partnerships with parents and whānau can contribute to raising student achievement. They plan to further consult with families and extend opportunities for parent involvement in learning.

Exploring pathways to broaden the senior curriculum. In order to meet school leaver targets and increase retention levels, leaders are continuing to explore National Certificates of Education Achievement (NCEA) qualification options.

3 Sustainable performance and self review

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

The school is well placed to sustain ongoing progress and improvement. The board’s strategic direction is supported by the principal’s operational planning and reporting. School goals relate to key areas of school operation and self review. The principal keeps trustees well informed about school progress and statutory responsibilities.

The board should now consider how it might further support the work of the principal and senior leaders. Trustees should review how the appraisals of school leaders are aligned to their development objectives, and formalise their annual performance agreements.

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

Kaikohe Christian School has made significant progress since 2012. Change management processes and new leadership are supporting staff to improve outcomes for students. The principal, staff and board are providing a positive, productive learning environment, and the improved quality of planning and reporting is resulting in more effective self review.

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

Dale Bailey

Deputy Chief Review Officer Northern Select Region

9 February 2015

About the School

Location

Kaikohe, Northland

Ministry of Education profile number

1175

School type

Composite (Years 1 to 15)

School roll

189

Gender composition

Boys 50% Girls 50%

Ethnic composition

Māori

NZ European/Pākehā

Filipino

Pacific

other

40%

47%

5%

2%

6%

Special Features

2 satellite classes at Waimate North

Review team on site

November 2014

Date of this report

9 February 2015

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

November 2012

December 2009

December 2006