Tahunanui School - 15/03/2013

1 Context

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

Tahunanui School is a Years 1 to 6 contributing primary located in a seaside area of Nelson. The school’s motto of ‘I can, I will’ and vision of being a ‘caring, dynamic school committed to lifelong learning’ are strongly evident. The school enjoys much support from the local community and parents are highly involved in school activities. Twenty per cent of students identify as Māori.

Since the October 2009 ERO report, the property has a new pool area, developed with the help of the local community. The board and staff are committed to using the unique settings in the surrounding region to provide students with regular education experiences outside the classroom. These include camps and other activities. Students are purposefully engaged in learning and enjoy positive relationships with each other and staff. They are respectful, confident and responsible.

During 2012, the principal undertook a national secondment and the deputy principal acted in the role. A new deputy principal for the senior student teaching team has been appointed for 2013. The school has been working with a Ministry of Education Student Achievement Function (SAF) practitioner as part of a change-management process. Initial foundation work includes strengthening cultural responsiveness and the effectiveness of teaching and learning. The focus on these initiatives is providing an exciting direction for school development.

2 Learning

How well are students learning – engaging, progressing and achieving?

Recent reviews of assessment processes contributed to teachers making more reliable judgements about student achievement in relation to the National Standards. School guidelines assist teachers to make more accurate decisions. Teachers have made good progress in assessing writing and through regular moderation of students’ work, are clearer about what constitutes success. Students set learning goals and regularly track their progress in basic facts. The senior leadership team supports teachers to continue to make more effective use of student achievement information to inform teaching.

The school reports that over three quarters of students achieve in relation to the National Standards in reading, writing and mathematics. The board is focused on improving how the school meets Māori learners' needs and setting specific targets for improvement. Trustees now receive reports on Māori students’ achievement. Pacific learners are identified and their progress is monitored. The junior and senior syndicates provide a wide range of student achievement information showing general progress, as determined by formal assessment tools. There are high expectations for learning.

Students, yet to reach the Standards, are identified and their progress discussed at team meetings. Many students attend a wide range of support programmes, receive teacher-aide assistance and are referred to external agencies. Teachers meet in teams, and as a group, to consider how they can better cater for learners' needs. There are plans to rationalise the range of special programmes. This process includes considering how teachers can meet learners' needs in classrooms.

Students, especially seniors, are provided with a wide range of leadership opportunities. These include sporting, cultural and other services to the school community. Opportunities are valued and sought after by learners.

Teachers share students' work and progress, across the curriculum, in portfolio books at parent conferences. Parents have opportunities to celebrate their child’s progress. Mid-year written reports make reference to the National Standards, to achievement and next steps. Making clearer links between individual needs and their learning goals should enhance this process.

Annual improvement targets, and actions to support successful implementation, require strengthening. Areas for review and development include:

  • teachers’ use of achievement information, formative assessment practice and more formal inquiry into evidence
  • improving the reliability of teacher judgements, moderation and frequency of National Standards progress reports to the board
  • developing processes for accelerating the progress of priority learners and the effectiveness of teaching programmes
  • improving the reporting and evaluation of progress and achievement for all learners in special programmes to the board.

3 Curriculum

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

Tahunanui School's curriculum is highly connected to the vision statement, values and key competencies. Persistence, effort, confidence and resilience are consistently modelled by teachers and students. Literacy, mathematics and an inquiry-based approach to learning across other curriculum areas are key priorities. Students are increasing their ownership of learning.

Teaching of numeracy is guided by clear expectations for effective practice. Students work purposefully in groups for instruction. Teachers make explicit links to prior knowledge, encourage risk taking and use a wide range of resources to support learning. Students enjoy working cooperatively and challenge each other to do their best.

Recent participation of teachers in a local professional development cluster is increasing their awareness of Māori learners and their whānau. This work has provided a platform for strengthening Māori student learning. Teachers work alongside tutors to improve their te reo Māori pronunciation and use of karakia and waiata. There is strong understanding of the need to continue to improve the cultural responsiveness of teaching through learning opportunities that incorporate whānau aspirations.

The teacher appraisal system contains useful references to school improvement goals and the Registered Teacher Criteria. To support further ongoing improvement in teaching, this process requires clearer links to school targets, observational feedback and formal inquiry into teaching practice.

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

Students have meaningful opportunities to participate in kapa haka, pōwhiri and specific leadership roles. Teachers have received assistance with te reo Māori, karakia and waiata. Whānau support for events celebrating students’ participation and success is recognised and valued. The change team’s initial work on developing culturally-inclusive teaching and practices provides a significant opportunity to increase educational success for Māori, as Māori.

Trustees, senior leaders and teachers should continue to strengthen their expectations for the progress and achievement of Māori learners and responding to whānau aspirations.

4 Sustainable Performance

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

The recent work of the acting principal and change team with the SAF practitioner, contributes to the school being positioned to improve its future performance. The development of performance indicators and benchmark information are providing momentum and a focus for strengthening the strategic direction.

The board is committed to engaging with the school community to inform planning. Trustees undertake regular planned policy reviews and place high priority on providing students with a high quality learning environment. They positively respond to the views of students and parents obtained through regular surveys. Evaluating the effectiveness of governance and succession planning are identified next steps.

Self-review practices are developing. The need to use evidence-based practice to reflect on curriculum and the effectiveness of decision making is recognised. Further development of self review is required to ensure more focused implementation of strategic goals, targets and resourcing decisions.

ERO identifies that the senior leadership team and trustees should review and develop:

  • the focus on accelerating the progress of priority learners, including success for Māori, through the strategic planning goals and annual improvement targets
  • the use of self review through the robust implementation of the appraisal process linked to school strategic priorities and improvement targets.

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
  • 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.

Joyce Gebbie (Acting) National Manager Review Services Central Region

15 March 2013

index-html-m2a7690f7.gifAbout the School

Location

Nelson

Ministry of Education profile number

3224

School type

Contributing (Years 1 to 6)

School roll

321

Gender composition

Male 52%, Female 48%

Ethnic composition

NZ European/Pākehā

Māori

Other ethnic groups

69%

20%

11%

Review team on site

November 2012

Date of this report

15 March 2013

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

October 2009

September 2006

August 2003