Otakiri School - 10/01/2014

1 Context

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

Otakiri School is located near Edgecumbe and provides education for students in Years 1 to 8. At the time of this Education Review the school roll of 165 included 64 students who identified as Māori. The school is located within the tribal territory of Ngāti Awa and most of the children whakapapa to Ngāti Awa, Ngāti Rangitihi and Tūwharetoa ki Kawerau.

Since the 2011 ERO review leadership of the school has remained constant but there have been some changes to teaching staff. There has also been a slight decline in the school’s roll. The board have undertaken significant development of the school‘s buildings and grounds. Teachers have undertaken extensive professional learning in mathematics, writing and inquiry learning.

The board, principal and teachers have responded well to the areas for development identified in the previous ERO report about strengthening teaching practices and improving the physical learning environment for students.

The school makes a commitment to promoting rich and relevant learning opportunities for students. A well-embedded virtues programme contributes to the calm and settled environment for learning.

2 Learning

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

The school makes good use of student achievement information to make positive changes to learners’ engagement, progress and achievement.

The school reports that at the end of 2012 the significant majority of students achieve at or above the National Standard in reading. The 2012 data shows slightly lower levels of achievement in mathematics and writing.

Teachers make good use of achievement information to guide meaningful learning programmes, particularly in reading, writing and mathematics. They identify students who are below the National Standard and along with school leaders evaluate the effectiveness of their teaching in accelerating the progress of these students. Teachers in many classes deliberately share achievement information with students. This enables them to be more effectively engaged in their own learning.

School leaders have a good understanding of the importance of achievement data and have established useful guidelines, expectations and systems to gather, analyse and interpret school-wide achievement information. With the support of a knowledgeable special needs coordinator, school leaders use achievement information to identify and monitor students who require additional support or extension. ERO and the principal agree that there is a need to continue to strengthen processes that support teachers to make robust judgements around National Standards.

The board receive regular reports on student achievement and progress. They use this information to guide their decision making, particularly in relation to the provision of additional teacher aides, specialist teachers and ongoing professional learning and development for teachers.

Parents are well informed about their children’s learning and progress. They receive comprehensive written reports, including information about the National Standards twice a year, and attend regular parent conferences. Parents spoken to by ERO indicated that teachers are approachable and proactive about sharing achievement information and build positive relationships to support student learning and engagement.

3 Curriculum

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

The Otakiri School curriculum effectively promotes and supports student learning. Appropriate priority is placed on literacy and mathematics learning. Features of the school’s broad-based curriculum include:

  • regular trips and school camps
  • many opportunities for children to develop their leadership skills
  • opportunities for parents to share their expertise in meaningful learning activities
  • a wide range of sporting, cultural and academic activities and events
  • effective use of the local environment as a context for learning.

Teachers use a wide range of effective strategies to promote and support student learning. They have high expectations for students learning and behaviour. Students enjoy working in attractively presented and well-resourced learning environments. A feature of the school is the positive relationships among teachers and students.

Students who are at risk of not achieving benefit from participation in an appropriate range of support programmes, particularly in literacy. Knowledgeable teacher aides are well guided by teachers to work alongside targeted students to promote their learning.

School leaders and teachers have developed very useful guidelines to support the teaching of literacy and mathematics. Senior leaders and ERO agree that a useful next step would be to develop learning expectations in other subject areas.

The principal and new entrant teacher say that relationship building is fundamental for a successful transition to school. To facilitate this they:

  • have a flexible policy about how many transition visits are held
  • maintain an open-door policy where parents report feeling welcome into the school
  • have buddy systems in place so that young students get to know older ones
  • invite parents to be engaged in classroom activities.

The school has regular meetings with local early childhood centres.

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

The principal has placed priority on building positive relationships with Māori parents and whānau. In collaboration with the board she has increased the level of consultation with Māori parents to seek their aspirations for their children.

Māori student's sense of identity and belonging is promoted through daily karakia, waiata, visits to local marae and places of historical interest, and opportunities to participate in kapa haka.

While National Standards results in reading, writing and mathematics show an increase in the percentage of Māori students achieving at or above expectations between 2012 and 2013, Māori students continue to achieve slightly below that of their non-Māori peers.

The principal and ERO agree that priority needs to be given to:

  • strengthening links with Ngāti Awa
  • implementing a systematic and sequential programme for te reo Māori and local tribal history and tikanga across the school
  • considering and responding to the implications of the Ministry of Education documents Ka Hikitia and Tātaiako in the school curriculum and teacher appraisal processes.

Attention to these is likely to further strengthen Māori students’ sense of identity and lead to increased levels of achievement.

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:

  • the board of trustees is providing effective and supportive governance
  • the school takes all reasonable steps to provide a safe and inclusive environment
  • knowledgeable and experienced school leaders place a high priority on promoting student learning and achievement
  • Māori students are engaged in their learning and Māori families are increasingly participating in the life of the school
  • there is a high level of community involvement in the school including a recently developed support group.

Since the previous ERO review the school has continued to develop and implement a range of self-review practices at all levels of the school. To strengthen the effectiveness of these practices the board and school leaders could consider aligning the outcome of self review with strategic goals and annual plans. It would also be beneficial for the board and staff to increase their understanding of self review as a means to ongoing self improvement.

The principal and ERO agree that it is now timely to rationalise and prioritise the many useful initiatives introduced over the last three years in order to maximise their impact on student achievement.

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.

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

10 January 2014

About the School

Location

near Edgecumbe

Ministry of Education profile number

1871

School type

Full Primary (Years 1 to 8)

School roll

165

Gender composition

Girls 51% Boys 49%

Ethnic composition

NZ European/Pākehā

Māori

Indian

Other Asian

Chinese

Other

55%

39%

2%

2%

1%

1%

Review team on site

November 2013

Date of this report

10 January 2014

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Supplementary Review

Education Review

February 2011

January 2010

December 2008