Nga Iwi School - 08/05/2015

Findings

The school has made significant progress since 2014. Together with the board, the new principal is providing strong school leadership. The high quality charter and strategic plan provide clear goals and frameworks for self review and sustainable practice. Trustees, school leaders and staff have shared enthusiasm and capacity for sustaining progress.

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

1 Background and Context

What is the background and context for this school’s review?

In November 2013, ERO’s education review of Nga Iwi School identified significant concerns with aspects of school and board leadership. In addition, the ERO report noted the need to strengthen bicultural practices in the school and ensure that Māori students achieve educational success as Māori.

In February 2014 ERO decided to review the school over the course of one-to-two years, to evaluate progress in relation to development areas identified in the 2013 report.

The school responded quickly to address the areas of concern. The board sought Ministry of Education (MoE) support and guidance. It also engaged an external consultant to assist trustees and school leaders to develop the capacity to implement changes. The MoE Student Achievement Practitioner (SAF) and an external educational consultant assisted the school with their priorities for development.

During the first two terms of 2014 the principal and board made good progress. They used external support well. Initial progress included developing:

  • a model and guidelines for self-review
  • an appropriate three year review schedule for the board
  • a board code of conduct
  • aspects of school-wide communication
  • clearer definitions for leadership roles and responsibilities.

In addition, the board engaged a liaison person for the school’s bilingual unit –Tu Pakiri.

In Term 3 2014, the long serving principal retired. The board, with the external consultant, carried out a rigorous process to appoint a new principal. In Term 4 the new principal transitioned successfully into her new role.

Since that time the new principal, board chair and trustees have worked cooperatively and successfully with staff, students and the community, to implement changes. Together they have developed systems to sustain progress and continue school improvement.

2 Review and Development

How effectively is the school addressing its priorities for review and development?

Priorities identified for review and development

  • develop shared leadership practices to enact the school’s vision and ensure school-wide coherence
  • bring biculturalism to life within the school to ensure that Māori students achieve educational success as Māori
  • build trustees’ understanding of their roles and responsibilities to help them to govern effectively and focus on positive educational outcomes for students.

Progress

Significant progress has been made to develop shared leadership practices to enact the school’s vision and ensure school-wide coherence. The new principal has had an immediate and positive impact on the school. As a result the school and peoples’ strengths have been affirmed, systems to ensure school-wide coherence established, and the direction for the school clarified.

The principal has focused on growing leadership capability within the school. She has ensured that the school’s leadership structure supports the strategic direction. The principal and senior leaders work collaboratively. They are inclusive in their leadership approach and are improvement focused. Leadership responsibilities are clearly defined and are aligned to school goals, leadership action plans and professional learning. New leadership opportunities, both formal and informal, are now maximising staff strengths and potential.

The 2015 - 2017 charter developed in consultation with staff, students and the community clearly communicates the school’s vision, values and strategic direction. Clear, manageable and meaningful action plans have been developed to support improvement in priority development areas.

Curriculum leadership and development are now more strategically focused. The whole-school approach to identifying curriculum goals and achievement targets is a feature of the school’s progress. Student, parent and staff perspectives are resulting in more creative approaches to curriculum design.

The school has a shared set of core values that appropriately reflect the values and principles of The New Zealand Curriculum (NZC). The new school values: Integrity, Curiosity and Excellence, are based around manaakitanga and positive relationships. These values are well understood by students and staff, increasingly guiding school practices, and are becoming more familiar to parents and whānau.

Teachers are supported to reflect on their own practice. Professional learning is purposeful and focused on agreed targets and goals. Teachers’ performance appraisal and coaching processes are successfully promoting the professional growth of staff. The school is the base school for a cluster of local schools participating in professional learning to develop teaching and learning in writing. A literacy action plan with a focus on writing has been developed with staff.

To promote further school progress, the principal and senior leaders identified priorities that include:

  • strengthening leadership throughout the school to sustain improvements
  • engaging with the Māori and Pacific communities and setting targets for Māori and Pacific student achievement
  • reviewing the school curriculum to reflect the local community and student perspectives
  • accessing current educational theories and research to inform teaching and learning.

ERO agrees with these next steps and commends the self review and consultation processes used to arrive at these and other meaningful goals.

Biculturalism

The board and school leaders have taken steps to promote biculturalism in the school. The charter states how the school values diversity and aims to reflect an inclusive school culture. Partnership is recognised in the charter through the original Nga Iwi School whakatauki: People of the land be one: Nga iwi o te motu kia kotahi.

Biculturalism has become more visible in school values. The charter, planning documents and actions acknowledge the unique place of Māori, as tangata whenua, in the school. Māori student success is identified in varied contexts including academic, leadership, sporting and cultural.

The appointment of the head of the bilingual unit to a formal leadership position has had a positive impact on the profile of the unit and te Ao Māori in the school. This role now has documented responsibilities and the Tu Pakari leader is working with the principal to develop a vision to progress Māori success.

Bicultural partnerships in the school are being strengthened through:

  • the ongoing relationship between the school and the local Wananga
  • collaborative planning
  • clear guidelines and frameworks for action planning, meetings, and professional learning
  • developing a school overview plan for te reo ōna tikanga Māori.

In 2015 the board is continuing the employment of a kaiarahi to support systems development, and evaluation of te reo and tikanga Māori in mainstream classes. The kaiarahi also provides extension programmes in te reo Māori me ōna tikanga. This year a Ministry of Education contract is providing teachers inTu Pakari with professional learning in te reo Māori me ōna tikanga.

Board governance

Trustees work cohesively as a team. They have established a positive, cooperative working relationship with the principal that is forward looking and improvement focused. Trustees bring good experience and backgrounds to their roles and they now have a clear sense of their governance responsibilities. The board has responded well to useful training facilitated by an external adviser.

There are new members to the board since 2013, including a new board chairperson. She has participated in board chair training and in New Zealand School Trustees Association (NZSTA) workshops.

A governance handbook now guides board practices. The board of trustees’ self-review schedule uses the six dimensions of a successful school as a framework. These clear frameworks provide useful structures for board critique and accountability.

The board receives regular reports of progress against the ERO review priorities and of annual planning goals. Learner achievement is now a regular focus of board reporting and review. A recent review of the school’s financial position has assisted the board’s stock-take of its resource investments. An outcome of this review has been the recent upgrade of the school environment that includes improvements to gardens, and new furniture in the school library and staffroom.

ERO affirms the board’s intentions to access ongoing training opportunities through NZSTA workshops. This good practice would help the board continue to grow its strength in governance.

3 Sustainable performance and self review

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

The school is well placed to sustain and continue to review and improve its performance. The new principal is providing strong school leadership. Together with the board and senior leaders she is providing clarity, structure, opportunities and vision for the school. There is evident shared enthusiasm and optimism for school improvement.

Self review has become more integral to school decision-making. It is a priority at class, team, leadership, board and community levels. Clear frameworks and guidelines for self-review have been developed. School leaders are clear about the role and purpose of self-review. The principal has clear expectations for school leaders to use action plans, and to review and report on progress in their areas of responsibility.

ERO agrees with next steps identified by the board and senior leaders to:

  • continue to evaluate key areas of school focus, including the school vision, values and bicultural practices
  • maintain and strengthen community engagement, including partnerships with parents and whānau to support their children with their learning.

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

The school has made significant progress since 2014. Together with the board, the new principal is providing strong school leadership. The high quality charter and strategic plan provide clear goals and frameworks for self review and sustainable practice. Trustees, school leaders and staff have shared enthusiasm and capacity for sustaining progress.

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

Dale Bailey

Deputy Chief Review Officer Northern

8 May 2015

About the School

Location

Mangere, Auckland

Ministry of Education profile number

1393

School type

Contributing (Years 1 to 6)

School roll

389

Gender composition

Boys 51% Girls 49%

Ethnic composition

Māori

Samoan

Cook Island Māori

Tongan

Niue

other Asian

other Pacific

other

24%

30%

20%

18%

4%

1%

1%

2%

Review team on site

March 2015

Date of this report

8 May 2015

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

February 2014

November 2010

November 2007