Kea Street Specialist School - 10/07/2017

Findings

At Kea Street students learn in a caring and supportive environment with teaching teams and specialist teachers who share a commitment to providing positive outcomes for students. The school has benefitted from the involvement of a Commissioner and has made good progress with many areas linked to management. A recently elected board of trustees is being supported by NZSTA as they take up their governance roles.

ERO intends to carry out another review within two years.

1 Background and Context

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

Kea Street Specialist School’s mission statement is expressed in Māori, Samoan and English:

Ma te kotahitanga Ka Ako Ma te Kotahitanga Ka Manaaki

Tatou galulue fa'atasi Tatou fetausia'i fa'atasi

Together we learn Together we care

Kea Street Specialist School, located in Rotorua, provides education for children aged from five years to 21 years who are receiving Ministry of Education (MoE) Ongoing Resource Scheme (ORS) funding. Students learn at the Kea Street School in western Rotorua, and at satellite classes located at Kaitao Intermediate School, Malfroy School, Western Heights Primary School and Owhata School in Rotorua, and Mountview School in Taupō. A new satellite class at Sunset Primary School, also in Rotorua was developed in 2016. The school’s roll of 75 has grown since the 2015 ERO review. It includes 47 Māori children.

The 2015 ERO report identified the need for statutory intervention and support to bring about improvement in the areas of school governance, leadership and management, and personnel and financial management. Since 2015, the second deputy principal and one therapist resigned. The school’s leadership structure has been broadened to include the principal, deputy principal and two assistant principals.

The Limited Statutory Manager (LSM) was appointed as Commissioner in March 2015 with responsibility to act as the board of trustees. In December 2016 a new board of trustees was elected and the commissioner’s role became that of an LSM specifically to support incoming trustees, and with responsibility for employment.

At the time of this ERO, review, an ongoing investigation by the board of trustees and the Ministry of Education was in process. This related to student safety.

The school is a member of the local Te Maru o Ngongotaha (Rotorua) Community of Learning | Kāhui Ako which is in the early stages of development.

2 Review and Development

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

Priorities identified for review and development

The 2015 ERO report identified the need to:

  • develop and implement a strategic plan that reflects the aspirations of parents, whānau, and the wider school community
  • implement robust self-review practices that enable the board and school leaders to evaluate the effectiveness of school operations
  • review personnel management practices
  • effectively address the recommendations of the Specialist Services Standards (SSS) report
  • review systems and processes for managing school finances and property
  • build a positive school-wide culture that recognises and values the contributions of all members of the staff and trustees.

Progress

Under the guidance of the commissioner, progress has been made. Leaders and teachers have made good progress in responding to the areas for development identified in the 2015 ERO report.

A review of personnel management systems and practices included support from New Zealand School Trustees Association (NZSTA) and the appointment of an appropriately qualified and experienced external appraiser. The commissioner sought advice from the Education Council of Aotearoa New Zealand. This resulted in appropriate personnel management systems being implemented in the school that meet the requirements and expectations of The Education Council. The principal has effectively met the goals of the advice and guidance process, and has a current, signed performance agreement with the board of trustees. A next step to strengthen appraisal is to better align charter goals and targets with the goals of leaders and teachers.

Leaders and teachers are provided with regular feedback about their leadership and teaching against agreed and appropriate criteria. A more collaborative approach to leadership has improved decision making and makes greater use of internal expertise.

The school has made a positive response to, and effectively addressed, the recommendations of the Specialist Service Standards report. Systems are now in place to support the school to consistently meet the requirements of the Ministry of Education for special schools.

Good use has been made of Ministry of Education support, and external advice and expertise to strengthen systems and processes for the effective management of school finances and property. Trustees have established finance and property portfolios with responsibility for the oversight of these areas. School leaders have continued to build their understanding about effective budgeting and the appropriate use of funding. With careful budgeting the school is in a sustainable financial position.

A comprehensive review of systems across the school has resulted in more open and transparent communication, and additional playground equipment and sensory resources. The principal makes regular visits to classrooms with a focus on student achievement and success. There is regular reporting to the board by teachers. Staff issues and challenges are dealt with in a timely manner. Consultation with parents has been undertaken. The school is well supported by an interested group of parents and community members. This is leading to a settled environment where increased value is placed on staff and family contributions.

The recently elected board of trustees benefits from the support of the LSM and NZSTA. This support is building a shared understanding of governance roles and responsibilities among trustees. They bring a useful range of experience and skills to their roles. The board chairperson has a long standing and positive relationship with the school, and brings considerable experience of school leadership and management.

Internal evaluation has placed priority on ensuring policies and procedures are up-to-date and meet current legislative requirements. There is a focus on strengthening the use of student individual education plans to inform decision making. Recent allocation of funding has improved materials and resources for learning. These include digital devices for each student, equipment to enhance student learning, particularly in literacy, mathematics and communication. Improved transport has increased the opportunities students have to access the wider community for learning.

Key next steps

The board of trustees and principal must continue to review health and safety practices as a matter of priority. Particular attention must be given to the supervision of students to ensure their physical and emotional safety at all times.

The school’s charter, strategic and annual plans continue to require strengthening. Consideration is being given to further consultation with the community. The strategic framework would be enhanced by documenting key indicators, specific and measureable goals, timelines, resource allocation, persons' responsible and outcomes. This would enable the board to more effectively measure the progress they are making towards achieving their stated goals.

Key next steps to build school sustainability and improvement are to further:

  • develop and document the school’s charter in consultation with the community
  • strengthen strategic planning, and align the goals and targets with school operations
  • develop internal evaluation for ongoing school development, improvement and sustainability
  • embed the recently reviewed policies, systems and procedures to promote ongoing improvement and success for students, families and whānau, and staff. 

3 Sustainable performance and self review

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

Kea Street Specialist School is well placed to sustain the progress made during the previous two years because:

  • trustees bring a useful range of knowledge and expertise to their governance roles
  • leaders and trustees are proactive in seeking external support from appropriate agencies
  • leadership has been strengthened through a shared leadership model
  • a positive school culture has been established that is promoting collegiality and sharing of professional practice
  • improved systems and processes are in place to implement internal evaluation and promote school development and sustainability.

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.

At the time of the ERO review there was an ongoing investigation by the board of trustees and the Ministry of Education related to the safety of a student who left the school premises without adult supervision. Trustees had met to review, document and implement procedures to improve the safety of students and staff.

  1. The board of trustees must provide a safe physical and emotional environment for students and comply in full with any legislation currently in force or that may be developed to ensure the safety of students and employees.
    [National Administration Guideline 5] 

4 Recommendation

Recommendations, including any to other agencies for ongoing or additional support.

ERO recommends that trustees and leaders continue to seek support from the Ministry of Education to address the ongoing areas for development identified in this report.

Conclusion

At Kea Street students learn in a caring and supportive environment with teaching teams and specialist teachers who share a commitment to providing positive outcomes for students. The school has benefitted from the involvement of a Commissioner and has made good progress with many areas linked to management. A recently elected board of trustees is being supported by NZSTA as they take up their governance roles.

ERO intends to carry out another review within two years. 

Lynda Pura-Watson

Deputy Chief Review Officer Waikato/Bay of Plenty

10 July 2017

About the School 

Location

Rotorua

Ministry of Education profile number

1772

School type

Special School

School roll

75

Gender composition

Boys 52 Girls 23

Ethnic composition

Māori
Pākehā
Other Asian
Other
Fijian
Samoan
South East Asian
Tongan

47
19
3
2
1
1
1
1

Review team on site

May 2017

Date of this report

10 July 2017

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review
Education Review
Education Review

February 2015
October 2011
October 2008