Rotorua Intermediate - 10/06/2013

1 Context

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

Rotorua Intermediate School is situated near the centre of Rotorua and caters for students in Years 7 and 8. Māori students comprise 59% of the roll. There is also an increasing number of students from Pacific and other heritages. Flags for each country are prominently displayed and cultural ambassadors have been appointed for each of the 31 countries represented at the school. Students demonstrate pride in their school and assist in maintaining attractive gardens and grounds. The school values of ‘respect for others, respect for self, and responsibility for managing oneself’ are explicitly promoted and continually reflected in the attitudes and behaviour of many students throughout the school. School leaders and teachers regularly celebrate student success in a wide range of academic, sports and cultural experiences.

The school offers classes that focus on bilingual education, e-learning, academic extension, single gender education or learning support. About half the students at the school achieve at or above National Standards in reading, writing and mathematics. All students participate in specialist classes, such as culinary arts, hard and soft materials technology, music, graphic arts, single gender sexuality and science. There are many opportunities for students to develop leadership skills including the organisation of school-wide sports activities during three 'student engagement' times each week. The board employs two school counsellors who support students and families and assist teachers in providing a safe emotional environment for learning. Teachers are engaging in professional development about strengthening a school-wide approach to positive behaviour for learning.

The 2009 ERO review found that some teachers needed to improve practices for guiding students’ individual learning and progress. There was a need to strengthen expertise in integrating te reo Māori in all class programmes and to establish closer liaison with Pacific parents and families. Since that review, senior leaders have made progress in training teachers in the use of assessment information to address learning needs. A Pacific liaison officer has been recently appointed to increase communication and consultation with Pacific families.

2 Learning

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

Teachers consistently use nationally standardised assessment information to group students for instruction in reading, writing and mathematics. In all classes, teachers and senior leaders have identified groups of students needing to make accelerated progress in order to reach National Standards by the end of the year. Curriculum leaders regularly observe teaching practice for these groups and provide teachers with helpful approaches to improve progress. Student achievement is regularly monitored to ensure that progress for these students is sustained through the year. Progress and achievement is effectively reported to parents through structured student-led conferences and informative written reports.

School-wide achievement against National Standards is reported to the board and used to inform annual targets and resourcing for improvement. The board provides funding for additional teachers and teacher aides to support students who require targeted learning assistance. Reports about overall progress for students in intervention programmes show that a number of students have made significant gains. The school’s achievement records demonstrate that many students make considerable progress as they move through the school.

ERO and school leaders agree that next steps are to:

  • prioritise and accelerate the progress of boys and of Māori and Pacific students who are over represented in groups that are at risk of underachieving
  • ensure teachers consistently involve students in self-assessment and planning their next learning steps
  • ensure teachers consistently make effective use of regular feedback from curriculum leaders about strategies for accelerating learning and achievement
  • continue to develop indicators for determining overall teacher judgements about achievement in relation to the National Standards
  • review and further develop school-wide guidelines for identifying and extending students who are gifted and talented.

3 Curriculum

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

The curriculum promotes an appropriate emphasis on literacy, mathematics, inquiry learning, thinking skills and education outside the classroom. Recent staff consultation has led to adopting the principles of collaboration, personalised learning, innovation, and global connection. These are already reflected in aspects of learning programmes and school organisation. Teachers are also expected to provide programmes that are ‘rich, real and relevant’ to engage students’ interest and challenge their thinking.

Examples of high-quality teaching observed by ERO include maintaining positive relationships with students, using e-learning tools to promote independent learning, and providing students with strategies to monitor their own progress and achievement. In some classes, teachers use assessment information to specifically guide teaching and learning, and to provide students with specific and meaningful next steps for learning.

There is now a need for senior leaders and teachers to continue developing the school’s local response to The New Zealand Curriculum in order to provide expectations for consistent curriculum content in all teaching teams. This process should also incorporate expectations for the inclusion of local Māori heritage and multicultural perspectives.

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

The school promotes success for Māori as Māori through a school-wide approach to pōwhiri, waiata, pepeha and karakia. Senior leaders have high expectations for Māori students to succeed and many achieve at and above National Standards for their year levels. Those who require learning assistance benefit from accelerated learning groups and intervention programmes targeted to their needs. Some parents attend regular whānau meetings that provide opportunities to partner with the school in assisting Māori students to achieve success. Next steps are to:

  • provide a school-wide programme of te reo and tikanga Māori
  • ensure the principles of Tātaiako, Cultural Competencies for Teachers of Māori Learners, are included in the revised appraisal process
  • fully document policies, expectations and a rationale for bilingual teaching and learning
  • find ways to engage all parents and whānau as partners in their students’ learning.

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 of the following positive features:

  • Governance is effective. Trustees and senior leaders have developed a high-quality strategic plan. There is strong financial management and succession planning is evident. The board receives a comprehensive appraisal of the principal’s performance from an external consultant.
  • Professional leadership is reflective and collegial. The experienced senior leadership team makes good use of complementary strengths and expertise to develop curriculum leaders’ skills in modelling and monitoring expected teaching practices, especially in literacy and mathematics. Self review of these learning areas includes meaningful feedback from staff and students.
  • A collaborative staff culture is fostered through professional development provided by external advisers and by sharing models of best teaching practice within the school.
  • Parent partnerships are strengthened by regular opportunities to respond to surveys about the curriculum and students’ well being. The Friends of the School fund raising group actively supports a range of school initiatives.

ERO, trustees and school leaders agree that next steps are to:

  • develop a streamlined approach to self-review that gives direction for both planned and spontaneous reviews
  • continue to strengthen staff appraisal processes
  • document a planned approach to equitable resource provision across the school, including information and communication technologies as tools for learning.

Provision for international students

The school is a signatory to the Code of Practice for the Pastoral Care of International Students established under section 238F of the Education Act 1989. No international students were enrolled at the time of the ERO review.

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 practice, school leaders should maintain records of educational support provided by the school for students who have been stood down or suspended from school.

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 June 2013

About the School

Location

Rotorua

Ministry of Education profile number

1933

School type

Intermediate (Years 7 to 8)

School roll

642

Gender composition

Boys 51%

Girls 49%

Ethnic composition

Māori

NZ European/Pākehā

Other European

Other Pacific

Asian

Cook Island Māori

Indian

59%

29%

3%

3%

2%

2%

2%

Special Features

Bilingual class

Review team on site

March 2013

Date of this report

10 June 2013

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

December 2009

October 2006

August 2002