One Tree Point School - 17/05/2013

1 Context

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

One Tree Point School is located close to Marsden Point in Bream Bay, south of Whangarei. The school caters for students in Years 1 to 6 and is experiencing growth in school numbers. Further significant roll growth is expected in the next three years.

The Ministry of Education is implementing a school zone to manage school growth. Leaders are concerned about the potential impact on the composition of the school roll and culture. Students currently attend from as far afield as Ruakaka village and Takahiwai, the local marae. The school has a close and valuable relationship with local iwi and the marae.

Changes in leadership and staffing are being managed by the board. At the time of this report:

  • trustee elections are beginning and there will be change of board chair
  • the long-standing principal is on a research sabbatical with extended leave for the rest of 2013
  • an experienced, external interim principal has been appointed
  • a new deputy principal has joined the school as part of the senior management team
  • additional teachers have been employed and other teachers have taken on new leadership roles.

The school has sustained the good progress noted in the 2010 ERO report. Leaders and teachers use well considered external professional development opportunities. They work closely with local cluster schools and early childhood services to share information, expertise and resources.

2 Learning

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

Achievement information is used effectively to make positive changes to student learning. Student achievement goals are now more specific, measurable and relevant. Some students achieve very well against the National Standards and many make good progress in reading and writing. Mathematics in the senior school is an area of ongoing focus. Professional development for teachers is targeted to improve student success.

School leaders are now tracking student progress over time. They have increased their range of useful assessment tools. More robust and reliable information is gathered and used by school leaders and teachers to evaluate the success of teaching and learning approaches. National Standards assessment processes have been well implemented.

Effective moderation processes are now focusing on looking across Years 1 to 6. Teachers are working towards an increased understanding of all National Standards achievement levels as they monitor students’ progress. Increasing students’ use of their own achievement information would help them plan for their next learning steps and assist them to evaluate their progress.

Māori students are well known to their teachers and supported to make good progress and achieve well. As a group, their achievement is below the level of their peers. School leaders are developing plans to further support these learners to accelerate their achievement. Pacific students achieve well in the school and they are individually monitored. They are also well known and supported.

Students with special learning needs and abilities are well supported through a range of appropriate programmes, especially in Years 1 to 3. Increasing resources and assistance for students with moderate needs could enable them to make more progress. This would better position them for a successful transition to high school. As the roll increases, it is important for school leaders to review special needs structures to ensure they are manageable and sustainable.

A review of the effectiveness of the withdrawal programme for gifted and talented (GATE) students is due. School leaders should consider how well the current structure increases teachers’ capacity to cater for these students in their regular classes. Examining Māori definitions of giftedness would also be highly relevant in this school’s context.

To enhance student learning school leaders could continue to:

  • increase learning partnerships with parents and whānau
  • document and report the reasons for achievement patterns and trends
  • report on the success of interventions to identify and sustain effective practices
  • use tuakana/teina approaches to promote student leadership and learning across Years 1 to 6.

Students are engaged in learning and are proud of their school. Respectful relationships between staff and students contribute to the settled school tone. A wide variety of school events promote students’ engagement as they make friends and develop lasting positive memories of their time at school.

3 Curriculum

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

The school’s curriculum is effective in promoting and supporting student learning. There is a strong focus on reading, writing and mathematics. Students also benefit from a holistic and broad curriculum approach that aligns well to the values and key competencies of The New Zealand Curriculum.

School leaders and junior school teachers have embedded effective transition to school programmes. Foundation classes help students develop key skills and knowledge. Play-based learning is a key feature of these classes and provides a valuable blend of early childhood education with traditional schooling. Teachers are promoting a culture of success and belonging.

School leaders work with teachers to develop learning area curriculum plans. They aim to develop a more seamless curriculum that supports students to make connections in their learning across Years 1 to 6. As teachers further develop and review plans, it would be timely to find ways to:

  • make te ao Māori perspectives more visible in plans and classroom programmes
  • connect to the richness of local resources and learning contexts using student input
  • offer students opportunities to make choices about how they learn and show their learning
  • extend inquiry learning approaches that promote more complex student thinking.

Classrooms are well resourced, including information and communication technology tools (ICT). School leaders could now review the traditional design of some classroom spaces to create more modern learning environments that enable students to work in flexible, self managing ways.

Performance management has changed to better support teachers to reflect on the impact of their teaching. This well considered, strategic move by school leaders is encouraging a more thoughtful and collaborative staff culture. Teachers and the school are well positioned to collate and document effective schoolwide teaching approaches.

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

The schools roll is 41% Māori. There is a clear commitment to biculturalism and promoting success for and as Māori. The language, culture and identity of Māori learners are well supported. The school demonstrates this through:

  • a strategic plan with school values that have a strong bicultural focus including goals for improving Māori student achievement
  • new curriculum contexts for students to explore their whakapapa and cultural identity
  • useful connections with local iwi and the Takahiwai marae
  • employing a specialist te reo Māori tutor who works with teachers in classrooms to develop their skills in teaching te reo Māori
  • ongoing professional development for teachers to build their understanding of tikanga Māori
  • discussions about how the board can consult more effectively with its Māori community.

ERO, the board and school leaders agree that relevant next steps for accelerating success as Māori include:

  • consulting more regularly with whānau to gather their aspirations and input to develop a shared, specific and measurable plan for promoting success as Māori
  • reflecting the cultural heritage of Māori students in all school environments
  • seeking new leadership for kapa haka to strengthen schoolwide tikanga and kawa
  • extending the use of culturally responsive teaching approaches and connecting Tātaiako: cultural competencies for teachers of Māori learners to performance management strategies.

4 Sustainable Performance

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

In many aspects, the school is well placed to sustain and improve its performance. Self review is used to make positive improvements. Effective management approaches guide school operations. School leaders are visible and approachable to students and staff. Careful planning by the board and school leaders has ensured appointments have been made to manage growth and school leadership changes.

School leaders work well with teachers to make positive changes to their practice. Leadership opportunities are provided for students and staff. The focus is now on considering ways to ensure the school can sustain good practices, as school numbers increase. Developing a well planned induction programme for staff and documenting evaluative reporting are key next steps.

Further review is also required to ensure:

  • leadership responsibilities are manageable
  • class sizes are equitable, especially in the senior school
  • coherent processes occur from Years 1 to 6, including reporting to parents.

The board has detailed strategic and annual plans that provide school direction. School vision and values are clearly articulated. Trustees use achievement information well to set useful targets. Policies are regularly updated and reviewed. Decisions are made through robust discussion. Effective school resourcing and planning for future growth is clearly evident.

To strengthen governance, it would be useful for the board to have training so all members understand their roles and responsibilities. This would allow trustees to take a greater role in self review and better manage their legal responsibilities. The board should seek external support to assist them to:

  • make strategic planning more collaborative and reviewable so that reports received can be used to monitor progress towards school goals
  • separate governance and management policies/procedures and align reviews to focus on key areas of governance, including health and safety and personnel management policies
  • include parents and whānau in more regular and documented self-review opportunities.

School leaders and trustees are open to learning. They are thinking about the future and managing significant changes in school context. With more robust review processes and strengthening governance, they are capable of sustaining and improving school performance.

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.

During the course of the review ERO identified two areas of non-compliance. In order to address these, the board of trustees must:

  1. ensure that the principal and teaching staff report, in writing, in plain language, twice each year to students enrolled in Years 1 to 6 and their parents on the students’ progress and achievement in relation to the National Standards [National Administrative Guideline 2A (a)]
  2. develop and implement personnel management policies and procedures that meet good employer obligations. [National Administrative Guideline 3; s77A State Sector Act]

To improve current practice, the board of trustees should:

  • strengthen consultation with whānau Māori to focus more on plans and targets for improving the achievement of Māori students
  • improve health and safety reporting to the board
  • ensure the health curriculum has a regular focus on anti-bullying programmes
  • ensure student safety in the school driveway and provide adequate school fencing.

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

17 May 2013

About the School

Location

One Tree Point, Northland

Ministry of Education profile number

1061

School type

Contributing (Years 1 to 6)

School roll

236

Gender composition

Boys 52%

Girls 48%

Ethnic composition

NZ European/Pākehā

Māori

Asian

British

Australian

Filipino

Samoan

Other

43%

41%

5%

4%

3%

2%

1%

1%

Review team on site

March 2013

Date of this report

17 May 2013

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

August 2010

May 2007

October 2003