Rotokawa School - 24/11/2016

1 Context

Rotokawa School, rests on land entrusted to Ngāti Uenukukopako, and which is located on the eastern boundary of Rotorua City. It provides education for students from Years 1 to 6. The school’s roll of 197, includes 116 Māori students, most of whom whakapapa to Te Arawa.

Since the previous ERO review in 2013, there have been significant changes in teaching staff and the senior leadership team. A new board of mostly new trustees was elected in 2016. The long standing kaumātua for the school is a member of the board. The school is a member of the Rotorua East Community of Learning.

2 Equity and excellence

The vision and valued outcomes defined by the school for all children are 'Whakaaro nui ki etahi, kia pārekareka ai te rapu mohiotanga, me anga hoki ki te whakakaha ia tatou'. Children to enjoy school, and learning, through stimulating, challenging, supportive, inclusive and relevant experiences. The vision is underpinned by the school values of Tū mana, Tū pono, Tū Koakoa ai me Tū tapu: Have fun, include others, be respectful, safe, responsible and truthful.

The school’s achievement information shows that over two thirds of Māori children are achieving at or above National Standards in reading, writing and mathematics. This is a consistent pattern over 2013 to 2015.

The school's achievement information 2013 to 2015 shows that over three quarters of other children achieved at or above National Standards in reading, writing and mathematics. This information also shows achievement levels in writing remained similar but declined in reading and mathematics. There are particular achievement challenges for a group of boys in the school.

Teachers use a range of tools and assessment information to inform overall teacher judgements in relation to National Standards in reading, writing and mathematics.

Since the last ERO evaluation the school has:

  • strengthened transition to school practices for five year olds in collaboration with parents and early childhood services
  • strengthened moderation practices to inform overall teacher judgements in relation to National Standards in reading, writing and mathematics
  • developed the school curriculum in consultation with the community and included learning progressions for literacy, mathematics, te reo Māori and other curriculum areas
  • focused on building learner-centred relationships with children and families
  • established and shared expectations for culturally responsive practice.

3 Accelerating achievement

How effectively does this school respond to Māori children whose learning and achievement need acceleration?

School leaders and teachers use achievement information well to identify individual Māori children whose learning and achievement needs acceleration. They use this information to design targeted responses that support teachers to more specifically plan, monitor and modify strategies to meet individual learning needs. Consideration should now be given to making planning for targeted achievement a more inclusive process. This is necessary to ensure that children and their parents understand their learning needs and how to respond.

The school's achievement information for 2016 shows that the rate of progress for Māori boys is needing greater acceleration. This data shows that eight out of twenty three in mathematics, eleven out of twenty in writing and nine out of twenty five in reading are making accelerated progress. All Māori girls who were below expectations in mathematics and writing are making accelerated progress.

Trustees and school leaders use school-wide achievement information to develop broad strategic goals. They now need to more specifically identify patterns, trends and develop targets for raising and accelerating achievement, particularly for Māori boys.

How effectively does this school respond to other children whose learning and achievement need acceleration?

The school's identification of and responses to other children whose learning and achievement needs acceleration is similar to that for Māori.

There is a range of interventions that complement classroom programmes. These are designed to accelerate literacy learning and achievement, and to promote social skills and confidence. A more strategic approach to internal evaluation should enable trustees, the principal and teachers to evaluate the effectiveness of responses designed to accelerate progress and achievement.

The SENCO supports teachers to implement programmes and monitor individual progress and achievement. She works collaboratively with parents, teachers and external agencies to develop responsive actions for children with high learning needs.

4 School conditions

How effectively do the school’s curriculum and other organisational processes and practices develop and enact the school’s vision, values, goals and targets for equity and excellence?

The school's vision and values are highly evident in the curriculum and reflected in the caring and inclusive school culture. The broad curriculum gives appropriate priority to literacy, mathematics, and science. Strengthening expectations about local contexts for learning and Māori knowledge is needed to make the curriculum more responsive to the interests, culture and identity of Māori children/learners. Connections to children's lives and experiences are acknowledged and affirmed.

Leadership for learning is well informed and is focused on promoting equitable outcomes for Māori and other children. Relational trust and collaborative partnerships with children, teachers, parents and the wider community is evident across the school. There is a well-considered approach to change management and a developing culture of professional sharing and learning focused on improving learner outcomes.

There are examples of effective teaching strategies being modelled. Teachers use assessment information well to plan, monitor and address the specific learning needs of those children at risk of not achieving. Well-considered action plans are used by teachers to implement deliberate acts of teaching that focus on the relevant learning needs of individual children. Further consideration should now be given to ensuring children are able to have conversations about their learning and know and understand what their next learning steps are.

'Teaching as inquiry' across the curriculum requires further development. This should assist teachers to focus their inquiry processes more specifically on children achieving below expected levels, particularly Māori boys. These processes should continue to accelerate progress and maintain achievement gains.

Sound learning partnerships are developing between teachers, parents and whānau. Teachers have positive and trusting relationships with parents. Whānau are actively involved and welcomed into the school. These partnerships could be strengthened to connect in-school and out-of-school learning activities and initiatives. Participation in learning-centred relationships promote positive and valued outcomes for students.

The board is strongly focused on children's learning and well being. Trustees use a range of student achievement information and feedback, including the perspectives of parents, whānau and community to support their understanding of what is going well and what needs to change. A more systematic and strategic approach to internal evaluation should assist them in identifying the successes and the crucial change required to improve outcomes for all learners.

5 Going forward

How well placed is the school to accelerate the achievement of all children who need it?

Leaders and teachers:

  • know the children whose learning and achievement need to be accelerated
  • respond to the strengths, needs and interests of each child
  • regularly evaluate how teaching is working for these children
  • need to systematically act on what they know works for each child
  • need to have a plan in place to build teacher capability to accelerate the achievement of all children who need it.

Current strengths are:

  • well-informed leadership of learning that is focused on promoting equitable outcomes for Māori and other children
  • stewardship is strongly focused on student learning, well-being, achievement and progress
  • well-considered action plans are used by teachers to implement deliberate acts of teaching that focus on the relevant learning needs of individual children.

Further development to improve learning outcomes for children are as follows:

  • The board and school leaders need to develop specific school-wide targets focused on at-risk learners. This would further sharpen the focus on achieving equitable outcomes for these children.
  • Teachers, parents and whānau could collaborate further to connect in-school and out-of-school learning in ways that support valued outcomes for students.

Action: The board, principal and teachers should use the findings of this evaluation, the Effective School Evaluation resource, the Internal Evaluation: Good Practice exemplars and the School Evaluation Indicators to develop more targeted planning to accelerate student achievement. Planning should show how processes and practices will respond effectively to the strengths and needs of children whose learning and achievement need to be accelerated.

As part of this review ERO will continue to monitor the school’s planning and the progress the school makes. ERO is likely to carry out the next full review in three years.

6 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 the following:

  • board administration

  • curriculum

  • management of health, safety and welfare

  • personnel management

  • asset management.

During the review, ERO checked the following items because they have a potentially high impact on student safety and wellbeing:

  • emotional safety of students (including prevention of bullying and sexual harassment)

  • physical safety of students

  • teacher registration

  • processes for appointing staff

  • stand down, suspensions, expulsions and exclusions

  • attendance

  • compliance with the provisions of the Vulnerable Children Act 2014

7 Recommendation

The board and leaders need to strengthen their approach to internal evaluation practice, and use this knowledge to evaluate the effectiveness of programmes/initiatives for at risk learners. 

Lynda Pura-Watson

Deputy Chief Review Officer

24 November 2016

About the school

Location

Rotorua

Ministry of Education profile number

1931

School type

Contributing (Years 1 to 6)

School roll

197

Gender composition

Boys 54% Girls 46%

Ethnic composition

Māori

Pākehā

Others

62%

26%

12%

Review team on site

September 20156

Date of this report

24 November 2016

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

August 2013

December 2010

May 2008