Matakohe School - 20/11/2013

1 Context

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

Matakohe School in the Kaipara District continues to enjoy enduring and positive relationships with its community. It provides a welcoming and inclusive environment for all its students. Of the 76 students, 24 identify as Māori. There are currently no Pacific students at the school. Students are confident and demonstrate a strong sense of belonging. They enjoy their learning and participation in activities in whānau groups, with combinations of different year levels.

ERO’s 2010 report recommended improvements to assessment practices and to the school curriculum, including the development of te reo and tikanga Māori. The principal and board of trustees have responded positively to these areas.

Over the past 15 months, the school has accessed external support to develop a new school curriculum based on the school’s vision, values and agreed competencies. The school’s vision is to develop resourceful, self-managing learners who contribute to sustainable communities. The Ministry of Education Student Achievement Function (SAF) team is providing professional development to build teachers’ understanding and use of student achievement data.

Since ERO’s 2010 review, changing demographics have contributed to a decrease in the school roll. The principal and board are working through future implications for staffing.

2 Learning

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

The school is developing capacity to use achievement information to make positive changes to learners’ progress and achievement.

Students engage well in the learning process. They are enthusiastic participants in classroom programmes. They settle easily into independent and group tasks, and help each other with their learning. To support the school’s vision of creating independent and self-managing learners, teachers could consider ways to analyse and discuss achievement information with students. This approach would actively involve students in making decisions about how to improve their work.

School achievement information indicates that approximately two thirds of the students are achieving at or above National Standards in writing and mathematics. Slightly more students are achieving at the National Standards in reading. In general, boys are over represented in underachievement data. Māori students are not achieving as well as the school population in writing and maths, but their achievement is similar to rest of school in reading. Students with special learning needs are well supported through individualised learning plans.

The school provides parents with effective opportunities to be informed about their child’s progress and achievement, through conferencing and written reports. Parents of students in Years 4 to 8 could be given more useful information about their child’s achievement in relation to National Standards at the end of the school year. This would complement the progress reports they receive in March and July. The board would also be able to use the end of year information to make decisions about resourcing and the effectiveness of teaching and learning.

There is evidence that teachers are beginning to develop confidence in the use of achievement information to guide their teaching practice and programmes. They are becoming familiar with useful and appropriate tools to support their programme decisions. School leaders use achievement information to identify students who are achieving below expectations in relation to National Standards. A variety of withdrawal intervention programmes are used to support these students. These students are making accelerated progress during the year, and their success is celebrated.

To continue to make positive changes to learners’ progress and achievement, school leaders and teachers could now further develop their use of student achievement information by:

  • identifying more useful, improvement focused achievement targets in the annual charter that focus on specific cohorts who are underachieving
  • tracking students’ progress over their time at the school to show how their progress is being sustained over time
  • identifying and transferring successful teaching strategies used in withdrawal programmes to become part of teaching and learning in the classroom.

The school’s involvement with the SAF should help leaders and teachers to effectively implement these identified next steps.

3 Curriculum

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

The school curriculum effectively promotes and supports student learning, and is well aligned with The New Zealand Curriculum.

Over the past 15 months, high levels of consultation with students, teachers and the community have resulted in a shared ownership of the newly developed school curriculum. Significant elements of curriculum design that enrich learning in all classes include:

  • eight identified school competencies to develop independent and resourceful, self-managing learners
  • real-life contexts for learning that are relevant to learners and their community
  • the value placed on students’ experiences and ideas
  • a shared language for learning.

A clearly documented and shared vision of the ‘Matakohe School graduate’ focuses on these elements.

The school has recently introduced a te reo Māori programme across Years 1 to 8. Teachers are being supported to grow their confidence and capacity in te reo Māori by a teacher with expertise in this area. To support the sustainability of this positive initiative, school-wide planning documents should show a progressive te reo Māori strategy that identifies expectations at each year level. Teachers could further explore ways to include bicultural perspectives across all learning areas.

Teachers plan and implement the curriculum well. They welcome student contributions to guide the direction of learning. Teaching as inquiry is a strong element of the school curriculum. Teachers are beginning to reflect on their teaching practice to measure how they are meeting their students’ diverse learning needs.

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

The school shows commitment to educational success for Māori, as Māori. Māori students engage well in the learning process. They value the opportunities the school curriculum offers them to hear, use and lead te reo Māori, and enhance their learning about their culture. Māori students take leadership roles in pōwhiri and kapa haka. Their learning is supported by the tuakana-teina relationships that are embedded in the school. Māori culture is valued and students display a pride in their identity as Māori.

Whānau are made welcome in the school. School leaders engage with Māori families on an individual basis. This contributes to high levels of involvement in their children’s learning. Māori students’ transition to secondary school is supported by a liaison person from a local high school.

The board could raise student achievement by developing specific improvement targets and action plans, especially in writing and mathematics, to further support Māori student achievement. Monitoring progress against these targets would be helpful to evaluate the effectiveness of school programmes for Māori students.

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 school has effective, professional leadership. The principal has accessed external support for the school’s successful review of its curriculum. This review has led to a school-wide learning culture that focuses on effective learning behaviours. Leadership is collaborative and inclusive so that staff have an ownership of school decision making and direction. People’s skills are valued, and both teachers and students confidently take leadership roles across the school.

The board and management of the school have a unity of purpose and good working relationships. The board effectively engages the community in the life of the school.

In order to sustain and improve school performance, the principal and board need to:

  • continue to prioritise curriculum development and the effective use of student achievement data to improve outcomes for all students
  • develop and document an effective process for robust self review to sustain school initiatives and support ongoing improvement
  • review policies to align with current school practices and legislative requirements
  • continue to use external support to guide strategic planning.

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.

To support student safety, the board must:

  • put effective systems in place to ensure that all non-teaching staff have current police vets [Education Act 1989, s120].

When is ERO likely to review the school again?

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

Dale Bailey

National Manager Review Services

Northern Region

20 November 2013

About the School

Location

Matakohe, Kaipara District

Ministry of Education profile number

1042

School type

Full Primary (Years 1 to 8)

School roll

76

Gender composition

Boys 46

Girls 30

Ethnic composition

Māori

NZ European/Pākehā

other

24

49

3

Review team on site

September 2013

Date of this report

20 November 2013

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

November 2010

September 2007

October 2004