Makarika School - 09/08/2016

1 Context

Makarika School is a rural school catering for 38 Māori children in Years 1 to 8. It is located close to Ruatorea within the iwi of Ngāti Porou.

A new principal was appointed in 2015, and is supported by a teacher and teacher aides. Most trustees are new to the board and are receiving external support from educational agencies about school governance, professional leadership, curriculum and assessment. The main professional learning focus for teachers in 2016 is about accelerating learning in mathematics.

2 Equity and excellence

The vision and valued outcomes defined by the school for all children are to value people, places, learning and their future. It is intended that children will aim to do their best, be the best that they can possibly be, to know who they are, and to value their Ngāti Porou heritage and tikanga. The school's aspiration is for children to be empowered to attain excellence, love learning, and achieve at expected levels.

The school’s achievement information in 2015 shows that seven out of the 38 children are below the expected National Standard in mathematics. In reading and writing, five children are achieving below expectations. Boys are over represented in the below categories. The 2015 school data shows some improvement from the previous year in relation to those children achieving at or above National Standards.

Since the last ERO evaluation the school has begun implementing a number of initiatives that link to improving teacher understanding and knowledge about strategies and practices to raise student achievement and improve student outcomes.

3 Accelerating achievement

How effectively does this school respond to children whose learning and achievement need acceleration?

The school is not yet effectively responding to children whose learning and achievement needs acceleration. The validity and reliability of assessment information used to make over all teacher judgements (OTJs) are a matter of concern. Increased analysis and monitoring of agreed responses for individual students is needed to accelerate progress for students not achieving National Standards.

A review of the reliability and use of current assessment tools is being undertaken by the principal and an external provider to start improving the effectiveness of the systems and processes in place. A range of strategies and appropriate assessment tools to monitor children's progress and achievement in reading, writing and mathematics has started. The Ministry of Education's 'Progress and Consistency Tool (PaCT)' on-line workshops has been completed by the principal. The future use of the PaCT tool is essential to strengthening teacher capability, knowledge, understanding and use of assessment information.

Currently, targets for student achievement are broad. School leaders must develop specific and measurable ones for identified children below the National Standards. The principal closely monitors assessment practices and data analysis across the school to ensure the validity and reliability of the achievement data. Assessment capabilities of teachers need to be further developed in Mathematics.

The school plans suitable learning programmes for groups of children, but not for individuals requiring specific support or intervention. Other current practices being undertaken include:

  • strengthening moderation processes through participating with a network of schools
  • establishing a collaborative approach to school planning, assessment and evaluation
  • progressing a collaborative approach to parent/whānau engagement in their child's learning.

Sound systems are being developed for reporting to parents/whānau. These systems include detailed progress reports related to achievement against National Standards, next steps and parent contribution at home. Interviews with parents have now started and parents appreciate the opportunity to meet regularly and discuss their child's progress and achievement.

4 School conditions

How effectively do the school’s curriculum and other organisational processes and practices develop and enact the school’s vision, values, goals and targets for equity and excellence?

Makarika School's curriculum needs further attention to enact the school's identified vision, values, goals and targets for equity and excellence. The New Zealand Curriculum includes a meaningful context for learning that maximises the unique and rich environment of the school's location. The principal has started providing valuable leadership for the school. She is working effectively with whānau, trustees, teachers and children to develop and implement a curriculum that is beginning to be focused on equity and excellence for all children. This curriculum needs to clearly document expectations for teachers about strategies and practices most likely to accelerate the achievement of children.

Initiatives to support the curriculum review, and are in the early stages of development and include:

  • a focus on professional learning for teachers in mathematics in 2016
  • support from a Schools Achievement Facilitator (SAF) to establish a change team consisting of the principal, teacher, board and parent representatives
  • re-organised classroom learning environments to better support the ages and ability levels of children
  • an external mentor coach to support the board to develop and manage the principal's performance against the school's priorities.

Children are developing confidence as learners. They have strong relationships with peers, teachers and their whānau. The school has established an inclusive learning environment that embraces whanaungatanga and manaakitanga. The community has responded positively to the school's collaborative approach to communication and consultation. Parent/whānau aspirations of high quality learning are included in the vision and newly reviewed charter. This is resulting in respectful and trusting relationships among students, teachers, trustees and community. Parents are developing confidence to be more involved in their child's learning, life of the school, where children's language, culture and identity is affirmed.

Trustees are committed to training and seeking advice so that they can promote positive learning outcomes for children, represent the views of the community, and build an understanding of their governance roles and responsibilities. This training includes knowledge about the process to appraise the principal and to improve financial practices as identified in the 2015 financial management report.

Development for teachers include:

  • evaluating and building their capability by leaders to promote and support the improvement of teaching and learning in assessment, planning for acceleration, and teaching as inquiry
  • developing strategies that support students to identify their own learning needs, develop self-assessment skills and evaluate their own and others work against clear criteria.

5 Going forward

How well placed is the school to achieve and sustain equitable and excellent outcomes for all children?

Leaders and teachers:

  • know the children whose learning and achievement need to be accelerated
  • have not yet developed approaches that effectively meet the needs of each child
  • have not yet ensured the school is well placed to achieve and sustain equitable and excellent outcomes for all children.

With external support Makarika School could become well placed to achieve and sustain equitable outcomes for children. Trustees, principal and teachers are focused on strengthening practices to improve the learning and achievement of all children. The school provides a broad curriculum that reflects relevant local contexts for learning and motivates high levels of interest.

Challenges are to:

  • improve the planning, analysis and monitoring of school responses for individual students in accelerating their progress in reading, writing and mathematics
  • evaluate practices and processes that build the capability of teachers to inquire into their practice and hence improve teaching, assessment, planning for accelerating learning of target students
  • develop agreed school guidelines and expectations for teachers about teaching strategies and practices to accelerate the achievement of children not meeting expectations
  • develop strategies that support children to identify their own learning needs, develop self- assessment skills, evaluate their own and support others, against clear criteria.

Action: The board, principal and teachers should participate in an internal evaluation workshop. They should use this workshop, ERO exemplars of good practice and the School Evaluation Indicators to address the findings of this evaluation and develop a Raising Achievement Plan that includes a significant focus on building teacher capability to accelerate learning and achievement.

As part of this review ERO will continue to monitor the school’s Raising Achievement Plan and the progress the school makes. ERO is likely to carry out the next full review in three years.

6 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 the following:

  • board administration

  • curriculum

  • management of health, safety and welfare

  • personnel management

  • 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

  • processes for appointing staff

  • stand down, suspensions, expulsions and exclusions

  • attendance

  • compliance with the provisions of the Vulnerable Children Act 2014

The board of trustees have identified the need improve financial practices identified in the 2015 Auditors financial management report.

7 Recommendation

ERO recommends that the Ministry of Education considers continuing the provision of support for the board in order to bring about the following improvements. These are to:

  • improve the planning, analysis and monitoring of school responses for individual students in accelerating their progress in reading, writing and mathematics
  • evaluate practices and processes that build the capability of teachers to inquire into their practice and hence improve teaching, assessment, planning for accelerating learning of target students
  • develop agreed school guidelines and expectations for teachers about teaching strategies and practices to accelerate the achievement of children not meeting expectations
  • develop strategies that support children to identify their own learning needs, develop self- assessment skills, evaluate their own and support others, against clear criteria.

Lynda Pura-Watson

Deputy Chief Review Officer Waikato/Bay of Plenty

9 August 2016

About the school

Location

Ruatorea, East Coast

Ministry of Education profile number

2594

School type

Full Primary (Years 1 to 8)

School roll

38

Gender composition

Boys 25 Girls 13

Ethnic composition

Māori

38

Review team on site

May 2016

Date of this report

9 August 2016

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

July 2013

May 2010

June 2006