Kokatahi-Kowhitirangi School - 21/04/2015

Findings

Positive and inclusive relationships exist. Students achieve well and are highly engaged in their learning. They have many meaningful opportunities to learn within and beyond the school. There are good systems for promoting a safe and inclusive environment for students and staff. The school benefits from strong community support.

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

1 Context

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

Kokatahi-Kowhitirangi School is a small, rural school for Years 1-6, located near Hokitika. The school environment is well maintained and attractive. The strong focus on horticulture and the natural world reflects the lifestyle of most families. Students and staff benefit from the high levels of parent and community support.

Visitors are warmly welcomed and a positive and inclusive culture is evident. Students learn in multi-level rooms and are highly supportive of each other. Parents and local community members are well involved in the learning programmes and special events.

The small staff is mostly experienced and long-serving. A third permanent teacher is about to be appointed.

Significant progress has been made in the areas identified for review and development in the 2011 ERO report. The curriculum now includes programmes and expectations for learning and teaching across all learning areas. A schedule for regularly reviewing the quality of the curriculum programmes is in place.

2 Learning

How well does this school use achievement information to make positive changes to learners’ engagement, progress and achievement?

Teachers effectively use student achievement information to specifically plan programmes that support students’ engagement, progress and achievement. They regularly monitor students’ progress and adapt programmes and ways of teaching to meet students’ needs.

Most students successfully achieve at or above the National Standards in reading, writing and mathematics. They greatly benefit from the additional learning support funded by the board. Highly involved teacher aides enable teachers to work with those students who are at risk of not achieving or who are not making the expected levels of progress.

Students learn and play well together. They have a wide range of learning experiences that specifically relate to their interests and prior experiences. They confidently manage their learning and identify their next learning steps. Older students are encouraged to support and care for younger ones. Teachers encourage and welcome parents’ involvement in the learning programmes.

Area for review and development

The principal has identified, and ERO agrees, that teachers need to extend students’ learning beyond numeracy by including all areas of mathematics.

3 Curriculum

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

The school’s curriculum strongly promotes student learning across all areas of the curriculum. Programmes successfully include learning experiences both within and beyond the school environment. Good access to a range of technology devices enables students to independently seek information to add to their learning experiences.

Guidelines and expectations for student learning are clear. Teachers are focused on improving their teaching practices. They regularly consider different approaches to ensure they effectively support student learning, engagement and wellbeing.

Areas for review and development

The principal has identified, and ERO agrees, that the process for the appraisal of teachers needs to be further strengthened to include specific feedback that recognises good practice and identifies where improvements can be made.

The principal and teachers need to ensure the process used to review the school’s curriculum is easily followed by all staff. Review findings should include actual learning achievement and be formally recorded and reported to the board.

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

Teachers provide good opportunities for all students to learn about New Zealand’s bicultural heritage. The principal and teachers are developing their knowledge and use of te reo Māori with the students. They use the Māori concept of tuakana-teina to describe the way older students support younger students with their learning and wellbeing.

Area for review and development.

The principal and teachers should extend their consultation with parents of Māori students to ensure parents’ aspirations for their children as Māori, are being met.

4 Sustainable Performance

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

The school is well placed to sustain and improve its performance. The principal recognises and uses the strengths and experience of the staff to benefit student learning and wellbeing.

Positive relationships exist between the staff and board. Newly elected trustees are well supported by those with recent experience in the role.

Parents and members of the wider community are encouraged to be involved in the life of the school. The board regularly provides the community with detailed information about the school’s future direction, focus and achievements.

The principal provides good information to enable the board to make appropriate decisions about how to further support students’ learning and wellbeing. The board’s strategic plan outlines a clear direction for the school and clearly reflects local priorities and identified needs.

There is a close alignment between the annual goals and the actions carried out to achieve them.

There are good systems for promoting a safe and inclusive environment for students and staff.

Areas for review and development

The principal and board agree that the principal’s appraisal should be strengthened to include a wider range of feedback and more clearly identify areas for improvement. A new system is currently being introduced.

The board should seek external training particularly in self review. This training is likely to help trustees make better use of the existing review process.

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.

The board should carry out anonymous surveys of students, staff and families to assure themselves that the school’s culture and operations continue to be positive and successful.

Conclusion

Positive and inclusive relationships exist. Students achieve well and are highly engaged in their learning. They have many meaningful opportunities to learn within and beyond the school. There are good systems for promoting a safe and inclusive environment for students and staff. The school benefits from strong community support.

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

Graham Randell

Deputy Chief Review Officer Southern

21 April 2015

About the School

Location

Hokitika, Westland

Ministry of Education profile number

3398

School type

Contributing (Years 1 to 6)

School roll

51

Gender composition

Girls 29;

Boys 22

Ethnic composition

Pākehā

Māori

Other ethnicities

47

3

1

Review team on site

February 2015

Date of this report

21 April 2015

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

May 2011

May 2008