Mangamuka School - 30/06/2020

School Context

Mangamuka School is a small contributing primary catering for children in Years 1 to 6. It is situated in the rural Northland district of Mangamuka.

The school currently has a roll of 22 children, all of whom are Māori. All have whakapapa connections to Mangamuka marae. Since ERO’s 2016 review of the school the roll has increased.

The school’s overarching vision is Ko Au, Ko Maunga Taniwha; Ko Maunga Taniwha, Ko Au; Strength, Courage and Identity.

The school’s core values are whakapapa, powhiri, pono, tika and aroha.

The board states that the valued student outcomes are for children to know who they are and where they come from, be in the driving seat of their learning and achieve highly in literacy and numeracy.

The board’s planning for improvements in student outcomes include:

  • developing teaching and learning that enables children’s independent learning
  • increasing whānau involvement in their children’s learning
  • strengthening relationships with marae, kohanga and community.

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

  • progress and achievement in reading, writing and mathematics
  • participation and success in cultural, sporting and community events
  • attendance.

Since ERO’s 2016 review, the school has a new principal and board of trustees. The principal started at the school in mid-2018. The new board members were elected in mid-2019. The board subsequently co-opted an experienced trustee to assist with property development planning, including for a new library and technology learning area.

The school is a member of the Te Arahura Community of Learning | Kāhui Ako (CoL).

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 working towards achieving equitable and excellent outcomes for all its students.

School data reported for 2018 and 2019 show some improvements in reading achievement with a small majority of children achieving at expected national curriculum levels at the end of 2019. Achievement in mathematics is steady with a large majority of students achieving at expected levels.

Teachers report an improvement in children’s attitudes to writing as a result of providing more authentic learning experiences to encourage writing. However, writing achievement levels are yet to show improvement with less than half of the children achieving at expectations.

Some gender disparities are evident with boys achieving lower in reading and girls in writing.

Children identified with additional learning needs receive in-class support.

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

The school is beginning to accelerate learning for those students who need this.

Teachers are developing strategies to increase children’s engagement in literacy and mathematics. In reading, targeted teaching for groups and individuals, reading support programmes and the promotion of children’s independent learning, are accelerating the progress of some students who need this.

Student progress is monitored by teachers, and termly progress reports are provided to the board by the principal. These, and annual variance reports against school targets, are not yet providing a clear picture of student progress and achievement, particularly in relation to the effectiveness of strategies used to accelerate learning.

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?

The principal’s leadership is enabling developments that support children’s learning. As a new leader, she has appropriately focused on:

  • providing a positive, supportive learning environment
  • building relational trust within the school and with the community
  • collaboratively developing a shared direction for the school.

She has also supported the development of a new board, encouraging trustees to use their stewardship strengths.

Her leadership has fostered a positive, caring school tone. Manaakitanga and whanaungatanga are evident in the relationships and interactions within the school and with the community. Children are supportive of each other. Older children show responsibility as tuakana and assist the learning of their teina classmates.

Parents, whānau and the wider school community have responded positively to initiatives for involving them in their children’s education. Parents are regularly invited for a ‘coffee korero’ to discuss their children’s progress. Whānau hui provide opportunities for community consultation.

The school is involving the community in a curriculum review to develop a ‘localised curriculum’ with authentic learning contexts for children. Community members are keen to contribute to the development of the curriculum.

The school and its community share a commitment to enhancing children’s understandings about their language and culture. Children learn in an environment that responds to and encourages their identity as tamariki Māori. Classroom programmes and practices incorporate te reo Māori me ōna tikanga. Children’s cultural connectedness in learning about Mangamukatanga is supported through the involvement of kaumatua, kuia and marae.

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

Teachers are aware of, and responding to, the challenge of teaching to meet the wide range of learning needs in a multilevel classroom environment. They are also beginning to introduce ways for children to self-direct their own learning.

To effectively cater for the range of learner abilities and levels, further development of teaching strategies is needed to:

  • differentiate learning programmes
  • provide targeted teaching for individuals
  • enable self-directed learning.

ERO and the principal agreed that professional learning and development (PLD) in assessment practices would be beneficial to enable teachers to improve data analysis and reporting to the board.

Such development should also contribute to improving the setting and evaluation of school goals and student achievement targets.

The planned process to develop a more localised curriculum provides opportunities to:

  • review how well learning programmes cover the breadth and depth of the New Zealand Curriculum (NZC)
  • introduce the new digital technologies content of the technology learning area
  • include opportunities for students to learn through national and global contexts.

Trustees are developing confidence in their stewardship role and have participated in some governance training. They have a sound charter and planning foundation to work from and have recently adopted a new online policy framework. They are beginning a process of policy review.

Trustees are willing to continue building the board’s stewardship capacity and would benefit from targeted training regarding meeting procedures, governance policy review and assurance, and internal evaluation of the effectiveness of strategic plans and targets.

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 Children’s Act 2014.

4 ERO’s Overall Judgement

On the basis of the findings of this review, ERO’s overall evaluation judgement of Mangamuka School’s performance in achieving valued outcomes for its students is: Developing.

ERO’s Framework: Overall Findings and Judgement Tool derived from School Evaluation Indicators: Effective Practice for Improvement and Learner Success is available on ERO’s website.

5 Going forward

Key strengths of the school

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

  • a school culture that is positive and caring
  • leadership that is enabling developments that support children’s learning
  • a learning environment that is culturally responsive
  • supportive connections with parents, whānau and community.

Next steps

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

  • teachers continuing to develop teaching strategies to cater for students’ diverse learning needs
  • PLD on assessment practices to more effectively evaluate and support student progress
  • ensuring the localised curriculum development encompasses the breadth and depth of the New Zealand Curriculum
  • board training to build collective stewardship capacity
  • evaluating the impact of new initiatives for lifting and sustaining accelerated progress, and schoolwide improvements.

Areas for improved compliance practice

To improve current practice, the board of trustees should ensure conflict of interest and in-committee meeting protocols are appropriately used and recorded in board meetings.

Recommendations to other agencies

ERO recommends that the Ministry of Education and the New Zealand School Trustees Association consider providing support for the school in order to bring about improvement in:

  • the use of assessment information to promote student learning and evaluate the effectiveness of strategies implemented to accelerate progress and learning
  • governance capacity, particularly in relation to board meeting procedures, policy and assurance reviews, and internal evaluation.

Steve Tanner

Director Review and Improvement Services (Northern)

Northern Region - Te Tai Raki

30 June 2020

About the school

The Education Counts website provides further information about the school’s student population, student engagement and student achievement.