Kaikohe Intermediate - 13/07/2016

Findings

Kaikohe Intermediate School is undergoing a process of systematic change under the leadership of an experienced principal appointed through the MoE’s PRA initiative. These changes are beginning to move the school to a position where developments aimed at improving outcomes for students can be sustained.

ERO has terminated its current longitudinal review of the school to provide information to support the PRA improvement initiative. 

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

1 Background and Context

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

Kaikohe Intermediate caters for Year 7 and 8 students from the Northland township of Kaikohe. Almost all students and staff are Māori, and most are of Ngā Puhi descent. The school curriculum promotes student pride and belonging through Ngāpuhitanga, iwi history, language and culture.

ERO’s 2013 review of the school identified areas of concern in teaching and learning, curriculum and personnel management, and school governance. Student achievement, reported against National Standards, was significantly below expectations.

ERO’s 2013 report recommended that the Ministry of Education (MoE) provide support for the board of trustees and the newly appointed principal to assist with school improvements focused on lifting student achievement. A Limited Statutory Manager (LSM) was appointed in August 2013 to assist the board and principal.

ERO engaged with the school though a longitudinal review process that commenced in May 2013. The board and ERO agreed priorities for school review and development included improving the quality of teaching and learning, and strengthening school management and governance operations. The board and school leaders also gave priority to increasing whānau and iwi engagement.

During 2013 and early 2014 three visits by ERO to the school indicated some progress with teaching, learning and curriculum development, as well as with the ongoing review of school policies and procedures. However, relationships between the board and school leaders, as well as with the LSM, became increasingly strained. Shortly before an ERO visit in May 2014, a new LSM was appointed.

In late May 2014 the MoE replaced the board with a commissioner, formerly the LSM. The commissioner carried out a review of the school’s performance focusing on personnel, finance, and health and safety governance responsibilities. The review identified serious issues that impeded school progress and created financial risk for the school.

When ERO visited in November 2014 it was apparent that the commissioner was beginning to address concerns about the principal’s leadership. In early 2015 the principal resigned. An acting principal was appointed to lead the school until a new principal was appointed. This was a time of considerable leadership instability for the school. ERO decided not to continue to engage with the school through the longitudinal review over this period as time was required to put in place new leadership.

The present principal commenced her role at the school at the beginning of 2016. She was appointed under the MoE Principal Recruitment Allowance (PRA) initiative, designed to provide experienced principal leadership to schools experiencing ongoing performance issues. In these situations ERO terminates any existing longitudinal review process and provides information to inform the principal’s strategic planning for school improvement. This report summarises progress against the review and development priorities at the termination of ERO’s review.

2 Review and Development

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

Priorities identified for review and development

  • developing the school’s curriculum
  • implementing the National Standards, including reporting to parents in plain language
  • addressing the learning needs of students who are not achieving
  • strengthening school governance and management systems
  • providing a safe environment
  • increasing whānau and iwi engagement.

Progress

From early 2013 school leaders and teachers, with the support of external professional learning and development (PLD) providers, developed the use of National Standards for assessing and reporting student achievement in literacy and mathematics. This enabled the board to meet its obligations for reporting student achievement against the National Standards to students, parents and the MoE.

Achievement information reported since 2013 shows that the school has not been successful in raising student achievement. In 2013 and 2014 just over half the students achieved at or above the National Standard expectations in reading. This level of success in reading was not maintained in 2015. Only a small proportion of the students achieve at the National Standards in writing and mathematics.

In 2016 the school is commencing work to improve the quality and reliability of the National Standards assessments to provide a sound baseline for improvement initiatives. These initiatives include working with a MoE Student Achievement Function (SAF) facilitator and providing staff development through a Leadership and Assessment PLD contract. The PLD aims to improve the school-wide use of student achievement information and enable more targeted teaching of groups and individuals to accelerate progress.

The new principal is building on the existing school curriculum framework, Mā te Iwi, to develop a meaningful iwi-based curriculum that fulfils the school's mission of success for students that uplifts them and their whānau, hapū and iwi. Community, staff and students are involved in the principal’s collaborative approach to curriculum development.

The principal is also working with staff to clarify expectations for teaching and learning, and with both staff and students to develop school routines and expectations that are clear and consistently implemented. An indication of the improved tone in the school is the significant decrease in the number of student stand downs and suspensions in the first term of this year compared with the previous year’s levels.

3 Sustainable performance and self review

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

After an unsettling period for the school, the principal, with support from the commissioner, is leading a systematic change process that is moving the school to a more sustainable position. This includes embedding systems to provide a more settled, productive learning environment and a managed use of school and external resources to support improvements.

The principal and commissioner have reviewed the school charter and strategic plan. Draft student achievement charter targets have been set. These will be reviewed as a more reliable student achievement baseline is developed. They are also working to update school policies and procedures to meet new health and safety requirements, as well as incorporating changes resulting from review of school practices.

The good working relationship between the commissioner and the principal is providing a stable governance structure to move the school into a more viable position. The MoE continues to review the need for the intervention and, when improvements are embedded, should set out a process to return the school governance to a board of trustees.

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 Intermediate School is undergoing a process of systematic change under the leadership of an experienced principal appointed through the MoE’s PRA initiative. These changes are beginning to move the school to a position where developments aimed at improving outcomes for students can be sustained.

ERO has terminated its current longitudinal review of the school to provide information to support the PRA improvement initiative.

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

Graham Randell

Deputy Chief Review Officer Northern

13 July 2016

About the School

Location

Kaikohe, Northland

Ministry of Education profile number

1022

School type

Intermediate (Years 7 to 8)

School roll

113

Gender composition

Boys 51% Girls 49%

Ethnic composition

Māori

Pākehā

99%

1%

Review team on site

May 2016

Date of this report

13 July 2016

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

February 2013

September 2009

May 2007