Kaitaia Intermediate - 30/06/2020

School Context

Kaitaia Intermediate is in the township of Kaitaia and caters for students in Years 7 and 8. Māori students currently make up 84 percent of the 261 students on the school roll. The school has experienced roll growth in the last few years. Many staff, members of the board of trustees and whānau have longstanding associations with the school.

The school provides three bilingual classes to cater for students who wish to learn te reo Māori me ōna tikanga. Aspects of tikanga and te reo Māori are offered throughout the school.

The school’s vision promotes students to be ‘confident, connected, actively involved, lifelong learners who demonstrate respect, responsibility and form positive relationships’. School values include students who will ‘stay safe, show respect, be responsible and strive for excellence’.

Current school targets focus on increasing the number of students achieving at or above the national curriculum expectations in reading, writing and mathematics.

Since the 2016 ERO review, the school has had three principals and changes in the teaching staff. A new principal was appointed in Term 1, 2019. Ongoing change has impacted on the sustainability of curriculum, assessment and assurance processes and systems. The next steps noted in ERO’s 2016 report have not been addressed and remain priorities for the school. These priorities relate to:

  • strengthening schoolwide achievement systems
  • teachers using effective teaching strategies to accelerate student progress and achievement
  • students using achievement data to enable them to identify their own next learning steps.

The school is a member of the Te Kāhui Tai Kura o Te Hiku | Community of Learning (CoL).

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?

The school has not yet developed the capacity to promote equitable and excellent outcomes for all students. Over the last three years there has been a steady decline in literacy and mathematics achievement. The 2019 achievement data show that less than half of all students achieved at expectation in literacy and very few achieved in mathematics. New initiatives have been introduced to support leaders and teachers to better track and monitor student progress.

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

At the time of this review the school could not provide broad evidence of accelerated learning for those students who need this. Leaders have introduced a framework for identifying students at risk of not achieving. Some teachers have evidence to show accelerated progress for some students.

School achievement information needs to include further data for targeted children who need to make accelerated progress. Leaders and teachers need to systematically target this cohort of students and regularly monitor the expected rates of progress to lift achievement.

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?

The school has a strong focus on the pastoral care of students. Classrooms are settled, learning environments. Some teachers use effective teaching practices to support deep learning for students in their classes. Students, in these classrooms, talk about what helps them to learn, have a strong sense of belonging, and demonstrate the school values.

Students with additional learning needs are supported with an individual education plan. Learning assistants work alongside these students to further support their learning. External agencies are accessed when appropriate.

The development of learning-centred relationships that involve parents/whānau in their child’s learning has been successfully extended through the use of online platforms.

The principal is building positive relationships with staff, students and whānau. He is leading the development of a new school curriculum that interweaves the local context and is increasingly responsive to students’ Muriwhenua cultural identity.

School leaders are working more closely with local schools to ensure that students transition positively into and out of the school.

Trustees have a strong commitment to supporting the school and the principal through their governance role. Well-managed finances enable board resourcing to support programmes, teacher aides and additional teaching staff. It is timely for the board to receive more evaluative reports from school leaders about how well the resourcing of these initiatives is lifting student achievement.

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

School leaders and trustees acknowledge that curriculum initiatives are at a beginning stage, and further developments are needed to strengthen schoolwide processes and practices. They now need to develop an action plan focused on raising student achievement to achieve equity and accelerated learning for students.

To promote more equitable outcomes for students and to accelerate students’ learning, school leaders and teachers need to:

  • further develop coherent and coordinated leadership of teaching and learning

  • make better use of internal expertise to model teaching practices that accelerate students’ learning at all levels of the school

  • develop processes to ensure consistency of effective teaching practice across the school

  • systematically gather and use relevant student achievement information to identify trends and patterns related to ethnicity, gender and the accelerated progress of groups of students

  • provide regular evaluative reporting to the board, on target groups of students, to help trustees to scrutinise achievement data and determine what is making the biggest difference to the learning of these students.

Trustees need to:

  • strengthen the board’s evaluation capability

  • access training to increase understanding of their stewardship role and responsibilities in the areas of personnel and curriculum.

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 Kaitaia Intermediate’s performance in achieving valued outcomes for its students is: Needs development.

ERO will maintain an ongoing relationship with the school to build capacity and evaluate progress.

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:

  • students participating and learning in caring and supportive environments
  • positive staff and student relationships based on manaakitanga and whanaungatanga
  • the principal building relational trust at all levels of the school and community.

Next steps

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

  • ensuring coherent and co-ordinated leadership of effective teaching and learning practices to enable students’ accelerated progress
  • building internal evaluation capability at all levels of the school that is focused on improving outcomes for students
  • trustees strengthening their understanding of the board’s roles and responsibilities.

Areas for improved compliance practice

To improve current practice, the board of trustees requires assurance that systems to ensure student safety and wellbeing comply with school policies. This includes:

  • implementing robust processes and procedures for student suspensions and stand downs

  • following appropriate processes for appointing staff.

Recommendations to other agencies

ERO recommends that the Ministry of Education support the school in order to bring about improvements in:

  • raising student achievement
  • developing leadership of effective teaching and learning practice across the school
  • developing a school improvement plan that identifies specific actions needed to ensure greater equity and excellence, and acceleration of learning.

ERO recommends that the New Zealand School Trustees Association supports trustees with training regarding the board’s stewardship role.

Steve Tanner

Director Review and Improvement Services (Northern)

Northern Region - Te Tai Raki

30 June 2020

About the school

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