Makaraka School - 09/12/2014

Findings

How effectively is this school’s curriculum promoting student learning - engagement, progress and achievement?

Students benefit from a very well designed curriculum that is based in local, meaningful and relevant learning experiences. Levels of student engagement and achievement are high, particularly in writing. Māori achievement has improved steadily over the last few years. The school is very well placed to sustain and improve positive outcomes for students.

ERO is likely to carry out the next review in four-to-five years.

1. Context

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

Makaraka School is situated on the outskirts of Gisborne township. It has just over 100 students and is comprised of five classes. Many students travel from outside the school’s zone to attend. One third identify as Māori.

A new principal began in January 2014. Apart from this, there have been few staff changes in recent years.

The December 2010 ERO review identified a highly effective curriculum, well engaged students, good use of achievement information and school review practices that led to improvement. These positive features are well embedded and continue to contribute to the school’s purposeful and learning-focused environment.

The school’s Learning Edge curriculum strongly reflects the local environment and community. Manaakitanga and whanaungatanga are very evident in the inclusive culture of the school.

2. Learning

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

The school uses achievement information well to promote student learning.

Teachers make good use of assessment information to target their teaching strategies to students’ strengths and needs. Teacher inquiry has been identified as an important process to continue to develop, in line with the planned introduction of collaborative, evidence-based discussion about effective teaching strategies. ERO affirms this direction, as improved evaluative inquiry is likely to further enhance student achievement and progress.

The principal and teachers have been reviewing processes for tracking, monitoring and reporting student achievement. Parents spoken with said that they find the newly developed student reports clear, useful and informative. Systems for tracking and monitoring target students are being further developed. The principal has appropriately identified that more regular team monitoring and inquiry should contribute to more effective decision making about ways to accelerated progress for target students. Specific Ministry of Education programmes are in place to improve achievement in writing and mathematics for target groups of students.

3. Curriculum

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

The school’s curriculum strongly reflects the local area and Aotearoa New Zealand. It effectively promotes learners’ engagement, progress and achievement.

The Learning Edge curriculum is very well designed and reflects current best practice. It is closely aligned to The New Zealand Curriculum, reflecting its values, principles and key competencies and appropriately prioritising literacy and numeracy. The school’s values are explicitly promoted, spoken about by learners and their families and evident in everyday practice.

Key components of the school’s documented curriculum are “Kotahitanga: Learning in Unity” and “Our Big Learning Ideas”. These aspects demonstrate a clear vision for teaching and learning, which includes early identification of students’ learning needs. There is a strong focus on personalised learning within a collaborative learning community.

Many learning programmes reflect the Makaraka, and Turanganui-a-kiwa locations. The local environment and community, including pre-European history, provide powerful contexts for students’ learning in a range of curriculum areas. Values such as respect for the natural environment and for te ao Māori are strongly promoted.

Digital technology is used well by students to aid their learning. Students talk enthusiastically and confidently about a range of electronic learning opportunities, programmes and resources.

There are many opportunities for students to develop physical skills and enjoyment of sport.

Students are purposefully engaged in their learning. Their relationships with teachers are positive and respectful. Students interact well with one another and are enthusiastic and confident to share their ideas.

Staff ensure environments encourage learning and positive engagement. Student work is celebrated in colourful, attractive spaces. Students flexibly choose furniture and resources that suit their learning preferences.

Teachers use a range of strategies and resources to individualise learning. Lessons are carefully considered and varied. Well-established classroom routines are evident. Students are supported to be independent and reflect on their learning. A next step is for teachers to explore further strategies that support students to have increased clarity about their learning and specific next steps. Recent curriculum initiatives that have promoted student responsibility and use of digital technology provide a suitable foundation for giving students increased ownership of their learning.

Student achievement information shows that the curriculum is effective in promoting learning for the majority of students in reading, writing and mathematics. The school reports that most students achieve at and above the National Standards in these areas. Results show, and ERO observed, particularly good achievement in writing.

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

School data shows good levels of achievement for Māori students, with most achieving at and above the National Standards in literacy and mathematics.

The “Te Ao Māori Initiative” has been introduced since the previous ERO report, in response to areas identified for improvement. There has been a carefully planned approach to its development, with the goal of increasing appreciation of te ao Māori within the school’s learning community. This initiative has been informed by consultation with whānau, hapu and iwi. Indications of its success include:

  • increased achievement and progress for Māori learners
  • strong reflection of te ao Māori within the local curriculum
  • students’ enjoyment and skill with kapa haka performance
  • students’ enthusiasm to share their mihi
  • Māori students eagerness to talk and write about their culture
  • whānau feedback that indicates te ao Māori is reflected in everyday school practice.

Students benefit from the guidance of skilled kapa haka tutors. The principal is a positive role model who demonstrates knowledge and confidence in the areas of tikanga and local history.

ERO affirms the school’s vision for Māori success. A useful next step is to explore how the progressive nature of te reo Māori learning can be enhanced.

4. Sustainable Performance

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

The school is very well placed to sustain and improve its performance. Effective leadership and governance ensure that students continue to experience positive outcomes as a result of the local curriculum at Makaraka School.

The board is well informed about school activities and student achievement. Trustees implement efficient and appropriate governance processes and demonstrate good understanding of their roles. There is a sound framework for policies and procedures, which are regularly reviewed.

Parents and whānau are systematically consulted about school direction and development. Families are very involved in the life of the school, particularly in local curriculum-based learning experiences and sports. There are good examples of home-school partnerships focused on improving students’ learning. The school has identified, and ERO agrees, that strengthening reciprocal, collaborative partnerships with parents and whānau is a key next step to support students’ learning.

The principal is improvement focused and works with trustees and staff using a considered, evidence-based approach to review and development. He is redeveloping the appraisal system. The documented plans for implementation in 2015 indicate an appropriate process which supports teacher development and is aligned to annual planning and teacher inquiry.

Well-established processes for self review are in place. The principal and ERO agree that once initial priorities have been addressed, a logical next step is to formally evaluate how well curriculum and strategic aspirations are being achieved.

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.

Property provision for students who are unwell is inadequate. Trustees have agreed to make some short-term changes and explore property modification options for longer term improvements.

Conclusion

Students benefit from a very well designed curriculum that is based in local, meaningful and relevant learning experiences. Levels of student engagement and achievement are high, particularly in writing. Māori achievement has improved steadily over the last few years. The school is very well placed to sustain and improve positive outcomes for students.

ERO is likely to carry out the next review in four-to-five years.

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Joyce Gebbie National Manager Review Services Central Region

9 December 2014

About the School

Location

Gisborne

Ministry of Education profile number

2593

School type

Contributing (Years 1 to 6)

School roll

111

Gender composition

Boys 51% , Girls 49%

Ethnic composition

Maori

NZ European/Pākehā

Other ethnic groups

32%

66%

2%

Review team on site

October 2014

Date of this report

9 December 2014

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

December 2010

May 2008

June 2005