Kokopu School - 01/05/2018

School Context

Kokopu School is a full primary school (Years 1 to 8) located in a rural area in the Whangarei district. It has a roll of 112 students who are mainly of Pākehā and Māori heritage. There has been significant roll growth since the 2015 ERO review.

The school’s whakatauki is Ki te Ako me te Mahi – to learn and serve. The school’s vision is for children to be ‘inspired’: inquiring, nurtured, self-motivated, positive, involved, respectful, enthusiastic and dynamic’. Kokopu School values include whakaute e whanonga (respect and manners), kātaki me te mahi tahi (tolerance and co-operation), pononga e mana whaiaro (honesty and self-control), kawenga e tino rangtatiratanga (responsibility and independence). These values support the school’s strategic goals, and are desired learning outcomes for all students.

Leaders and teachers regularly report to the board schoolwide information about outcomes for students in the following areas:

  • achievement in reading, writing and mathematics
  • outcomes related to student wellbeing
  • progress towards meeting the school’s strategic goals
  • health and safety.

Kokopu School is a member of the Ngā Kura mo te ako o Whangarei (Group 4) Community of Learning|Kāhui Ako.

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 is increasingly achieving equitable and excellent outcomes for its students. Staff and the board continue to work collaboratively to decrease the current disparity in reading, writing and mathematics achievement for Māori children and for boys.

Since the 2014 ERO report, the school’s achievement data show that overall, the majority of children achieve at expected levels, with most girls achieving at or above expected levels of the curriculum in reading, writing and mathematics.

The school’s data show that by the time most children reach the end of Year 8, they achieve expected levels in reading, writing and mathematics. Teachers target those children who are not yet achieving at expected levels. As a team, they regularly discuss children’s ongoing progress, and share strategies and approaches to strengthen teaching practice. The school works well with external agencies, and provides effective support for children with additional learning needs.

Professional learning for teachers in writing and mathematics is having a positive impact in promoting children’s motivation and confidence in learning. Teachers have success stories of children improving their writing and making good progress, despite continuing to achieve below expected levels.

Teachers would benefit from targeted professional support to clarify their understanding of accelerated progress and learning. Current teaching as inquiry approaches to address the needs of children who are at risk of not achieving should continue to be a priority for the school.

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

The school is not yet accelerating the learning of all those Māori and other children who are achieving below expected levels. School leaders continue to assess the provision for these students.

Improving children’s writing achievement is an ongoing and identified challenge for the school. This focus sits alongside the strategic goal to improve achievement for Māori children, and boys in reading, writing and mathematics.

In order to increase achievement parity between Māori and non-Māori children, the board and the principal recognise that more urgency is required to address the learning needs of Māori children. Strategies to support this work include:

  • explicit goals and achievement targets for Māori children in the board’s strategic planning
  • emphasising Māori children’s individual learning strengths and needs in teachers’ planning.

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?

Students engage well in their learning. Teachers actively use strategies that support children to take more ownership of their learning. Students are encouraged to share their learning with peers, teachers and whānau.

School leaders and teachers actively engage with the community to maintain partnerships for learning and in the life of the school. They recognise and value the integral role that whānau have in supporting their children’s learning. Leaders and teachers are developing strategies to support children’s learning at home, and in the sharing and celebration of learning.

The principal builds relational trust at all levels of the school community. Leadership is collaborative, and improvement focussed. Teacher appraisal processes are strongly focused on learners, and on building the teaching team’s collective capacity. Professional learning is strategically planned to improve learner outcomes.

Teachers foster respectful and caring relationships with students. Tuakana teina interactions between students are a stand-out feature of the school, and are strengthened through the school’s house system. These relationships are having a positive impact on children’s wellbeing and learning.

The school curriculum strongly focuses on literacy and mathematics. Inquiry learning integrates other areas of the curriculum, with an increasingly strong focus on science. Children have many opportunities for education outside the classroom and co-curricular activities. These activities engage children and their families in learning, and in the life of the school.

The principal, teachers and board are strongly committed to strengthening their knowledge and use of te reo and tikanga Māori. They work collaboratively with local kaumatua to weave te ao Māori through the curriculum and the life of the school.

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

The principal is planning to review and redesign the curriculum in consultation with the school’s Māori community, whānau, staff and students. This development would enable the school to enhance learning programmes and practices to be more culturally responsive. Additionally the curriculum redesign is intended to provide greater opportunities for children to understand and lead their own learning.

It is timely for the teaching team to evaluate the validity and accuracy of the school’s student achievement information. Currently achievement reported to the board is reliant on the results of standardised tests. Teachers could make greater use of other evidence about children’s learning. This more holistic approach would value the professional judgements and knowledge that teachers have about individual children.

In order to reduce disparity of achievement between Māori and non-Māori children, teachers could continue to strengthen the learning partnerships they have with parents/whānau, especially with parents/whānau of children who are at risk of not achieving.

Trustees have identified the need to continue accessing useful and collective board training, and to plan for board succession. They plan also to evaluate the impact of their stewardship role in improving outcomes for Māori and all other children. Trustees and the principal agree that strategic planning should focus more specifically on improving outcomes for Māori children.

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 Vulnerable Children Act 2014.

To improve current practice, the board of trustees should continue to develop policies and procedures to ensure these meet all current legislative requirements.

4 Going forward

Key strengths of the school

For sustained improvement and future learner success, the school can draw on existing strengths in:

  • strong, capable leadership
  • an inclusive school culture
  • relationships with parents, and whānau Māori
  • collaborative staff who are improvement focused
  • a student-focused curriculum.

Next steps

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

  • continuing to build a culturally responsive curriculum to promote success for Māori children as Māori
  • strengthening partnerships with whānau that are focused on children’s learning
  • enhancing opportunities for children to understand and lead their own learning
  • improving the validity of achievement information
  • extending teachers’ skills in making professional judgements about children’s achievement
  • sustaining and refining internal evaluation processes and practices to improve outcomes for all priority learners, including Māori children.

ERO’s next external evaluation process and timing

ERO is likely to carry out the next external evaluation in three years. ERO will provide an internal evaluation workshop for trustees and senior leaders.

Julie Foley
Deputy Chief Review Officer Northern (Acting)

Te Tai Raki - Northern Region

1 May 2018

About the school

Location

Whangarei

Ministry of Education profile number

1036

School type

Full Primary (Years 1 to 8)

School roll

112

Gender composition

Girls       52%
Boys      48%

Ethnic composition

Māori
Pākehā
other

  31%
  67%
    2%

Provision of Māori medium education

No

Review team on site

February 2018

Date of this report

1 May 2018

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review
Education Review Education Review

  May 2015
  June 2012
  December 2010