Ngatapa School - 04/08/2015

Findings

Ngatapa School is a welcoming, community-focused school that develops a strong sense of belonging. Students are active learners. The outdoor environment is well used to promote and support student learning. With changes in staff and the board there is a need to consolidate and review procedures and practices to sustain and improve performance.

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?

Ngatapa School is located in a small rural community, 40km west of Gisborne. It caters for students in Years 1 to 8. At the time of the review the roll was 21 students, ten of whom identify as Māori.

A new principal and teacher have been appointed to the school this year.

The school demonstrates a strong sense of community in all aspects of operation and actively promotes manaakitanga. The parents and whānau are regularly consulted for feedback on the school’s processes.

Children and their parents from the onsite playgroup are included in classroom activities. Students from the school read to them and involve them in class activities during these visits.

The school is an Enviro-School that focuses on sustainable environmental practice and building student knowledge through the curriculum. The outdoor environment, including neighbouring farmland, is well used to promote and support student learning.

Trustees bring a range of experience and ideas to the recently elected board.

2 Learning

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

Ngatapa School uses achievement information well to make positive changes to learners’ engagement and achievement.

In 2014, the school reported that the majority of students are achieving at or above National Standards in reading, writing and mathematics. A clear focus in 2015 on reading, writing and mathematics schoolwide and high expectations for all to succeed are evident throughout the school.

Appropriate data is gathered to identify individual needs and is used well to inform students’ programmes of learning. Achievement is monitored and tracked throughout the year. Using the analysed information to evaluate the impact of teaching, programmes or interventions should help to identify key strategies to accelerate the progress of targeted learners.

Discussions to form overall teacher judgements about achievement currently occur between the teachers. The school has identified a need to establish stronger links with other schools to further their understanding of achievement in relation to National Standards and ensure consistent judgements are being made.

Parents receive regular reports about their children’s progress in relation to National Standards. Changes have been made to the format for reporting in 2015 in response to the school community’s feedback.

Students are active learners, interested and happy in classroom programmes. They participate well in discussions and are generally engaged in learning. Building student ownership of learning and the independent work habits required in multi-level classrooms is a schoolwide focus. Learners are confident to discuss what they are learning. Teachers and students develop confidence and understanding of next steps to enhance progress and engagement.

3 Curriculum

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

New teachers have appropriately prioritised literacy and numeracy. However, students’ experience of other learning areas of The New Zealand Curriculum (NZC) is not clearly evident. Leadership needs to ensure school processes and practices effectively promote and support student learning across the curriculum.

The charter and curriculum provide strong guidance for teaching and learning. They emphasise the Ngatapa School values, the mission of ‘the ultimate learning experience’, and the vision of ‘the ultimate learner’. Teachers and trustees have yet to review these guiding documents to ensure that they reflect the current school direction and intentions for coverage of a broad curriculum. It is timely for the board and teachers to undertake this review in consultation with the school community.

There is sound teacher planning that is responsive to each student’s individual needs. Students are grouped according to ability and experience targeted teaching in open learning spaces. Collaborative discussions between teachers occur to ensure students can confidently move between the spaces and experience appropriate support to focus on specific learning needs.

The school recognises the need to ensure their students interact with a wider group of peers. They actively seek out and participate in sporting and cultural opportunities in both rural and urban contexts. Continuing to develop the celebration of cultural experiences throughout the curriculum and environment should help extend the bicultural contexts for learning.

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

Te reo is evident on wall displays and daily routine boards. Teachers and students are developing their understanding and use of place-based tikanga through haka, waiata, and pōwhiri protocols. Students are encouraged to take active roles.

There is a well developed, documented approach to promote educational success for Māori, as Māori, including specific student and teacher strategies. Current practice is yet to fully reflect the intent of this document.

4 Sustainable Performance

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

The board and principal require support to understand and enact their roles and responsibilities in promoting student achievement.

Trustees receive useful information about student achievement, school activities and student celebrations. They use this to guide some decision-making.

The strategic direction is clearly mapped and outcome-focussed. Trustees and the principal should use this document as a foundation to inform and establish an annual plan. This is likely to assist them to sustain and improve their performance.

Policies, procedures and supporting documents need to be reviewed and updated. Staff appraisal is not consistently or robustly undertaken. The school has documented a suitable process for review. This can be enhanced by making it more evaluative and using indicators of good practice.

Key next steps

Trustees and the principal should:

  • review the charter and curriculum
  • ensure teaching programmes align well with the NZC
  • update policies and procedures
  • implement appraisal of all staff
  • develop an annual plan to guide improvement.

Recommendation

ERO recommends that trustees seek support from the New Zealand School Trustees Association (NZSTA) to address the key next steps.

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.

In order to improve current practice the board should ensure:

  • that a comprehensive, recently reviewed set of policies and procedures guide practice
  • issues with the pool fence are addressed.

Conclusion

Ngatapa School is a welcoming, community-focused school that develops a strong sense of belonging. Students are active learners. The outdoor environment is well used to promote and support student learning. With changes in staff and the board there is a need to consolidate and review procedures and practices to sustain and improve performance.

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

Joyce Gebbie Deputy Chief Review Officer Central

4 August 2015

About the School

Location

Gisborne

Ministry of Education profile number

2621

School type

Full Primary (Years 1 to 8)

School roll

21

Gender composition

Male 14, Female 7

Ethnic composition

Māori

Pākehā

10

11

Review team on site

June 2015

Date of this report

4 August 2015

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

August 2011

May 2008

June 2005