Taihape Area School - 07/11/2014

1 Background and Context

What is the background and context for this school’s review?

Taihape Area School is a composite co-educational school for students in Years 1 to 13. At the time of this review, in September 2014, it had a roll of 287 students. Sixty-five percent of students are Māori. Students come from a large geographical area and many travel each day by bus. Facilities are of high quality and there is extensive use of digital resources.

Ngā Iwi O Mōkai Patea hold mana whenua for the geographical area students come from. Mōkai Patea have an active role in governing the school and guiding the school’s curriculum. The values of manaakitanga, rangatiratanga, whanaungatanga and wairuatanga are increasingly linked to the local context.

A calm and supportive school atmosphere is evident. Many senior students are positive role models, enthusiastically involved in leadership opportunities.

Staff and the community provide considerable support for student participation in a variety of academic, sporting and cultural activities. Success is acknowledged through school celebration assemblies, the school newsletter and local media.

In the past two years the school has responded positively to the areas for improvement identified in the November 2012 ERO report. External involvement, professional development and refocusing on achievement priorities have increased the capability of the board, senior managers and teachers to improve outcomes for students.

An improved financial position is beginning to provide the board with greater flexibility in resourcing teaching and learning.

This report evaluates the progress that has been made since 2012 and the likelihood that the improvement will be sustained.

2 Review and Development

How effectively is the school addressing its priorities for review and development?

Priorities identified for review and development

Action plans have been developed to respond to the priorities identified from the previous review. The areas identified were:

  • improving student achievement
  • building teacher capability through professional learning opportunities and performance management processes
  • more fully engaging teachers in practices that support teaching and learning for all students and in particular Māori
  • developing a more cohesive and positive school culture
  • embedding schoolwide self-review processes.

Progress

Trustees, leaders and teachers have addressed the priorities for development and progress has been made in most areas. Improved engagement in learning is contributing to better outcomes for students.

Schoolwide, there is an increased focus on those learners requiring additional assistance to experience academic and social success. Tracking includes more consistent use of data to identify strengths and weaknesses and regular parent involvement. Responding to individual priority learners is making a genuine difference for students.

Professional learning for teachers of Years 1 to 8 is building understanding of effective teaching and assessment practice. A range of achievement information informs National Standards judgements. The school recognises the need to continue to build confidence in making these judgements. Next steps should include documenting specific expectations in curriculum delivery for reading, writing and mathematics and implementing more rigorous moderation processes.

Teachers share information about student achievement, progress and practice. There is a better awareness of students’ learning needs. Using assessment information more deliberately to show progress in literacy and mathematics as students move from Year 1 through to Year 10 is an appropriate next step. This will also assist teachers to know more about the impact of curriculum and teaching.

In 2013, there was a significant improvement in the proportion of school leavers who had gained at least National Certificate of Educational Achievement (NCEA) Level 2. Eighty-three percent of students reached this level.

Board improvement targets give priority to the national goal of leavers gaining NCEA Level 2. Teachers and managers effectively monitor student progress towards NCEA qualifications. Programmes are responsive to the individual situations of students. Ensuring as many as possible gain NCEA Level 1 in Year 11 should support students to have stronger pathways as they continue through the school and beyond.

The productive educational partnership between Ngā Iwi O Mōkai Patea and the school has resulted in improved teacher understanding of the importance of mana whēnua, and relationship and place‑based teaching. Ngā Mokai Patea personnel work with staff to develop their te reo Māori and perspective of te ao Māori. Lessons and classroom practice increasingly reflect the learning that has taken place. Greater inclusion in visual displays of significant features for iwi promotes Mōkai Pateatanga and a sense of belonging.

Māori students have established a rōpū, Mauri Oho, to contribute their ideas and aspirations for the curriculum. These rangatahi are positive role models and committed to improving outcomes for the younger students in the school. Their work has contributed to the re-establishment of kapa haka and enthusiasm for noho marae. Students learn about the whakapapa of the rohe in meaningful contexts.

Provision of progressive te reo Māori learning and offering te reo at NCEA levels continues to be a challenge for the school. Leaders and the board recognise this and are considering how to respond. ERO encourages the school to act with urgency to achieve the language aspirations the school, iwi and community have for their learners.

The school should continue to establish structures or processes that build on the current momentum for supporting Māori success. This includes continuing to involve Mauri Oho and whānau in influencing ongoing curriculum decision-making.

Trustees are strongly student-focused and demonstrate genuine commitment to school and community. They have benefited from intensive training to clarify the governance role and review meeting procedures. The principal’s reports to the board are based on annual goals. Trustees have a greater focus on strategic direction and student achievement.

An improvement-focused performance management process for teachers and the principal is now in place. Goals are developed in relation to school priorities. The impact of the process should be increased by:

  • ensuring consistent implementation

  • better use of evidence in considering the impact of teaching on student learning.

Professional discussions help teachers to share their practice. The current focus on building positive behaviour to support learning contributes to greater collegiality within staff and more consistency. Student wellbeing and learning is seen as a collective responsibility.

3 Sustainable performance and self review

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

Priorities identified for review and development

The 2012 ERO report identified the need to develop self review with a clear focus on improving student progress, achievement and engagement.

Progress

The school has developed its capacity to sustain and continue to improve its performance.

Self-review practices are developing and contribute to strengthening sustainable practice. Trustees, leaders and teachers have benefited from the external support provided. A cycle of planning and improvement is implemented.

Board structures should contribute positively to sustainability. Appropriate priorities and direction have been set in the strategic plan to move the school forward. Policies and procedures are in place to guide response to emergent issues.

School managers demonstrate a commitment to continuous improvement. Deliberate actions are taken to embed values, build leadership and foster relationships and shared responsibility for improving student learning.

The board, school managers and staff should continue to build capacity to reflect, plan and act, using evidence which includes student achievement information.

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 current practice, analysed attendance and stand-down and suspension information should be provided regularly to the board.

Conclusion

The school has made significant progress in most areas identified by ERO in 2012. Students are generally engaged in their learning and a calm, supportive atmosphere is evident. Improved monitoring has contributed to better achievement outcomes, particularly for senior students. Embedding current initiatives should contribute to further improving outcomes for students.

ERO is likely to carry out the next review in three years.

Joyce Gebbie

National Manager Review Services

Central Region

7 November 2014

About the School

Location

Taihape

Ministry of Education profile number

549

School type

Composite (Year 1-15)

School roll

287

Gender composition

Female 53%,

Male 47%

Ethnic composition

Māori 65%

NZ European/Pākehā 33%

Pacific 1%

Asian 1%

Review team on site

September 2014

Date of this report

7 November 2014

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review November 2012

Education Review September 2010

Education Review June 2007