Matua School - 29/05/2015

Findings

Matua School, located in a coastal suburb of Tauranga has a positive ERO reporting history. School personnel work collaboratively to maintain a positive school culture and high expectations for behaviour and learning. There are focuses on twenty-first century teaching and learning practices, and catering for students requiring extension challenges.

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

1 Context

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

Matua School is situated in Matua, which is a coastal suburb of Tauranga. Of the 396 students on the roll, eight percent identify as Māori. A further 15% of students are from families who come from other countries. The school hosts 12 international fee-paying students who come from South Korea and New Caledonia.

Matua School has a positive reporting history with ERO. As noted in the 2011 ERO report, and confirmed by this review, students and teachers work in attractive and well-resourced learning environments. Visual art work and an attractive library are positive features. Many effective teaching practices are identified and there are respectful relationships between teachers and students. The board is well-led, with teachers committed to ongoing professional learning and development and successful outcomes for students. The principal successfully promotes a collegial, high trust approach to the development of a reflective culture for learning.

Since the 2011 ERO review, senior leaders have responded positively to areas identified for improvement. There have been focuses on strengthening assessment practices, Māori perspectives, information and communication technologies (ICT) infrastructure and use, and performance management. New initiatives have included developing collaborative and team teaching, reflective use of modern learning environments, enhancing staff understandings about gifted and talented education, and providing further strategies for teachers to reflect on their practices. Self-review processes have been refined to focus more specifically on positive outcomes for students.

A safe and inclusive culture for learning is underpinned by the agreed characteristics of the Matua Learner. Students feel that they have a high level of ownership of their school and benefit from a range of leadership opportunities. Older students support and assist younger students in a variety of contexts. Parents appreciate the welcoming school environment and the ready availability of the principal and staff. An active parent-teacher association raises significant funds to support specific projects and purchase designated resources. A calm and settled tone is evident throughout the school.

2 Learning

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

School leaders and teachers use achievement information effectively to group students for instruction, monitor progress, and identify students requiring additional learning support or extension challenges. School leaders analyse school-wide achievement trends and patterns for discussion at team meetings, and track the progress of year-level cohorts as they move through the school. The school’s overall analysis of achievement information indicates that many students achieve at or above National Standards in reading, writing and mathematics.

Team leaders assist teachers to identify strategies for accelerating the progress of targeted students who are at risk of poor educational outcomes. Teachers use a wide range of assessment information to guide teaching and learning. They regularly give students constructive and specific feedback about their work. Targeted students in each class are identified by school leaders and are often the focus of teacher’s inquiry into the effectiveness of their teaching strategies.

Parents use achievement information to participate in goal-setting with students and teachers. They contribute to 'Learning Journey Journals', which are likely to become learning blogs in the near future. Students are beginning to use assessment information to set specific personal goals. The board continues to use reports on school-wide achievement trends and patterns to guide the provision of resources for raising student achievement.

Recent professional learning and development has strengthened the school’s identification of gifted and talented students and increased teachers’ capacity to cater for these students within class programmes. The special needs education coordinator ensures that relevant interventions and external expertise are accessed to address the needs of students requiring extra learning support.

The school’s next steps are to continue to develop expectations for assessment practices with attention to further enhancing:

  • strategies for students’ peer and self assessment of their learning and progress in relation to learning progressions that are aligned with National Standards
  • the use of current guidelines for comparing nationally referenced assessment tools with overall teacher judgements about student achievement in relation to National Standards
  • the consistent monitoring of targeted students with an emphasis on accelerating progress throughout the year.

3 Curriculum

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

Matua School’s curriculum effectively promotes and supports student learning and engagement. School leaders and teachers maintain appropriate expectations for developing literacy and mathematic skills within meaningful real-life contexts. The curriculum is underpinned by the values of the Matua Learner and are linked to the key competencies of The New Zealand Curriculum (NZC). The curriculum also reflects the school’s vision and values, which are based on consultation with staff and parents. A wide range of learning experiences is provided in response to students’ personal learning interests, teachers’ strengths and expertise, and the requirements of NZC. Recent focuses have included the increasing use of computers as tools for learning, and researching best practice for collaborative team teaching within upgraded modern learning environments.

High expectations for learning and behaviour are evident throughout the school. Effective teaching practices include establishing positive, inclusive and respectful relationships, maintaining high quality learning environments that reflect and celebrate students’ work, using an appropriate range of teaching strategies, and providing relevant and interesting learning activities. Teacher aides support students to improve their progress within targeted teaching programmes. Classrooms are well resourced and students are purposefully engaged in learning.

The school is continuing to review and revise its curriculum in order to integrate recent initiatives, further cater for the needs and interests of students, and continue to meet the requirements of NZC. A planned approach to this work would bring clarity about direction, process and timing for all involved.

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

Matua School effectively promotes educational success for Māori as Māori. Students with Māori heritage achieve well in reading, writing and mathematics and benefit from engagement in leadership roles. Māori parents support their students’ learning through formal and informal discussions about progress and achievement.

In recent years there has been a focus on explicitly recognising Māori culture, language and identity. The school has appointed a new kaumatua who is enthusiastic about local traditions and history. A well-known legend from local iwi is incorporated into the concept of the Matua Learner. Many students participate in strong kapa haka performances. Students, staff and parents engage in marae visits, hangi, and tikanga Māori days. Some staff have strengths in te reo and tikanga Māori.

School leaders recognise that while considerable progress has been made in increasing the integration of Māori language and perspectives throughout the school, there is now a need for a planned approach to continuing this development.

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 because of the following positive factors:

  • governance continues to be effective. Trustees bring useful complementary skills to their governance roles and responsibilities. They are committed to continuing school development and providing support to raise achievement.
  • the school’s strategic plan provides clear direction and is reviewed and revised in the light of community consultation.
  • the principal and senior leaders encourage the development of leadership strengths and responsibilities across the teaching team. They readily introduce initiatives designed to increase students’ engagement, progress and achievement.
  • teachers are reflective and professional in their approach to improving student achievement.
  • the school enjoys strong parent support for camps, class programmes, sports activities, extension programmes and cultural performances.
  • there is a well-established process for school review. Regular reviews of the curriculum and the school’s strategic direction include the evaluation of analysed achievement information and continually influence developments to enhance positive outcomes for learners. The board responds appropriately to the results of consultation with the community.

Areas for further development

The school’s enhanced technology capacity provides opportunities for senior leaders to continue to ensure that there is frequent and specific communication and consultation with parents and students about school initiatives, developments and reviews.

Continuing to strengthen the school’s appraisal process is an annual goal for the principal. Specific documentation of constructive appraisal feedback and teachers’ agreed next steps, with associated resourcing, will assist in developing staff capacity to integrate new curriculum developments.

Provision for international students

The school is a signatory to the Code of Practice for the Pastoral Care of International Students (the Code) established under section 238F of the Education Act 1989. At the time of this ERO review there were twelve international students attending the school.

The school has attested that it complies with all aspects of the Code.

ERO’s investigations confirmed that the school’s self-review process for international students is thorough. All students live with members of their families. The school provides pastoral care for students and families as needed and facilitates opportunities for international students to participate in the life of the school. English language tuition is provided within class programmes and through regular individual English lessons. The school is beginning to use the English Language Learning Progressions provided by the Ministry of Education, as a basis for assessment and teaching.

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.

Conclusion

Matua School, located in a coastal suburb of Tauranga has a positive ERO reporting history. School personnel work collaboratively to maintain a positive school culture and high expectations for behaviour and learning. There are focuses on twenty-first century teaching and learning practices, and catering for students requiring extension challenges.

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

Dale Bailey

Deputy Chief Review Officer Northern

29 May 2015

About the School

Location

Tauranga

Ministry of Education profile number

1820

School type

Contributing (Years 1 to 6)

School roll

396

Number of international students

12

Gender composition

Girls 48%

Boys 52%

Ethnic composition

Pākehā

Māori

Asian

Other European

Indian

Pacific

Other groups

77%

8%

6%

5%

2%

1%

1%

Review team on site

March 2015

Date of this report

29 May 2015

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

November 2011

October 2008

November 2005