Ruapotaka School - 25/07/2019

School Context

Ruapotaka School is a small, urban school in Glen Innes, Auckland. The school caters for children in Years 1 to 8 with a current roll of 130. The roll reflects the cultural diversity of the community. It includes 30 percent who identify as Māori, and 58 percent who have Pacific heritage.

The school’s mission statement is “Kia Kaha – Be Strong”. The vision is “Better than Before”. Core values of pride, respect, and responsibility are promoted. Key goals are:

  • supporting learners to have greater clarity and ownership of their learning

  • supporting teachers to inquire into their practice in order to design effective and challenging learning experiences.

Following the retirement of the school’s long-serving principal in 2018, the board appointed a new principal in January 2019. A significant development this year has been the restructure of school leadership.

Recently there has been good progress towards addressing the key next steps outlined in the 2016 ERO report. These include succession planning for trustees, and redevelopment of the teacher appraisal process.

Leaders and teachers regularly report to the board, schoolwide information about outcomes for students in the following areas:

  • achievement in reading, writing and mathematics
  • learning outcomes for students with additional needs
  • attendance.

The school is part of the Manaiakalani Tamaki Cluster Community of Learning | Kāhui Ako.

Evaluation Findings

1 Equity and excellence – achievement of valued outcomes for students

1.1 How well is the school achieving equitable and excellent outcomes for all its students?

The school is in the early stages of achieving excellent and equitable outcomes for its students in relation to core curriculum learning outcomes. Fewer than half of students are achieving at or above expected curriculum levels in reading, writing and mathematics.

Definitions of progress and acceleration are yet to be established. Leaders and teachers are beginning to develop systems to accurately gather and respond to achievement data, to get a clearer picture of student progress and to strengthen students’ engagement in learning.

Other valued student outcomes are promoted well. Children demonstrate a sense of pride, respect and responsibility.

1.2 How well is the school accelerating learning for those Māori and other students who need this?

The school is working towards accelerating learning for those Māori and other students who need this.

Māori learners currently achieve at levels higher than their peers in reading, writing and mathematics. Students with additional learning needs are identified and monitored. New systems and processes are beginning to better support these children. There are also improved levels of support for the small number of students with English as a Second Language (ESOL).

2 School conditions for equity and excellence – processes and practices

2.1 What school processes and practices are effective in enabling achievement of equity and excellence, and acceleration of learning?

Leaders and teachers actively promote a positive and inclusive learning environment. They know children well, and have a strong focus on student engagement and wellbeing. Students are keen to learn and encounter new learning experiences.

The principal is committed to effecting positive change to improve learning outcomes for all students. She has a focus on empowering teachers and students to take on responsibility and leadership. A more collaborative culture is beginning to impact positively on the development of schoolwide processes that are open and transparent. Networking and professional learning opportunities are now being developed and available for all staff. A robust appraisal process has recently been introduced.

Relationships with external agencies and community groups are being re-established, including liaison with the local marae.

The school provides a good range of opportunities for students to access sport, drama and health education, through external agencies that contribute to the curriculum.

2.2 What further developments are needed in school processes and practices for achievement of equity and excellence, and acceleration of learning?

Schoolwide data should be regularly gathered and analysed by teachers and leaders to clearly identify learners who need accelerated learning. Action plans can then be developed to ensure meaningful, individual programmes are provided for those learners.

Leaders and teachers are reviewing the curriculum to ensure that it reflects the aspirations of students, parents and whānau, and supports students to make sufficient progress towards achieving at expected curriculum levels. They are continuing to embed their focus on the key competencies of the New Zealand Curriculum (NZC). Leaders agree that curriculum development should include increased focus on oral language and writing, and science. They plan to develop inquiry-based learning approaches, and a sequential te reo Māori programme. They should also develop careers education for students in Years 7 and 8.

Leaders should extend strategies to build teacher capability, including access to relevant professional learning and development. Explicit and effective teaching strategies need to be established, and systems developed to monitor and embed these into the culture of the school.

3 Board Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the board 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
  • finance
  • 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 and certification
  • processes for appointing staff
  • stand down, suspension, expulsion and exclusion of students
  • attendance
  • school policies in relation to meeting the requirements of the Children’s Act 2014.

4 ERO’s Overall Judgement

On the basis of the findings of this review, ERO’s overall evaluation judgement of Ruapotaka School’s performance in achieving valued outcomes for its students is: Needs development.

ERO will maintain an ongoing relationship with the school to build capacity and evaluate progress.

ERO’s Framework: Overall School Performance is available on ERO’s website.

5 Going forward

Key strengths of the school

For sustained improvement and future learner success, the school can draw on existing strengths in:

  • the principal’s leadership, which is promoting a culture of positive change, and building relational trust and effective collaboration at all levels of the school community
  • an orderly and supportive environment conducive to student wellbeing and learning.

Next steps

For sustained improvement and future learner success, priorities for further development are in:

  • building collective capacity to use evaluation, inquiry and knowledge building to support innovation and improvement
  • strengthening governance practices
  • extending strategies to build teacher capability and consistency in effective teaching and learning practices
  • establishing learning-focused relationships with whānau.

Areas for improved compliance practice

To improve current practice, the board of trustees should:

  • continue to promote the newly established policy review cycle, prioritising policies and procedures linked to staff appointments and education outside the classroom
  • develop systems to identify and address hazards and risks
  • continue to develop and evaluate the school’s strategic plan.

ERO recommends that the school seek support from the Ministry of Education in order to bring about improvements in:

  • designing a responsive curriculum that reflects the NZC and the aspirations of students, whānau and the school community
  • internal evaluation, to support innovation, ongoing improvement and sustainability in teaching and learning and all school operations

  • building teacher capability and consistency in effective teaching and learning practices, including access to relevant external professional learning and development.

Steve Tanner

Director Review and Improvement Services Northern

Northern Region

25 July 2019

About the school

Location

Auckland

Ministry of Education profile number

1477

School type

Full Primary

School roll

130

Gender composition

Boys 55% Girls 45%

Ethnic composition

Māori 30%
Pacific groups 58%
Southeast Asian 4%
other ethnic groups 8%

Students with Ongoing Resourcing Funding (ORS)

No

Provision of Māori medium education

No

Review team on site

May 2019

Date of this report

25 July 2019

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review February 2016
Education Review September 2013
Education Review September 2011