Taitoko School - 23/02/2016

Findings

Taitoko School is a welcoming, wellbeing-focused school that fosters a strong sense of belonging for students, whānau and staff. An appropriate focus on raising expectations and building positive behaviours for learning is evident. Raising achievement levels for students in relation to National Standards continues to be a priority.

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

1 Context

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

Taitoko School caters for students from Years 1 to 8. The school is located in Levin, Horowhenua. At the time of the review it had a roll of 173 students, and 47% of whom identify as Māori.

Classrooms have a positive learning tone. Artworks created by the children celebrate the diverse school whānau and are proudly displayed around the buildings.

Student voice is actively sought to improve engagement and enjoyment in school. Students participate in social projects throughout the community.

A range of initiatives have been introduced to promote wellbeing and learner engagement. These include: 

  • Horowhenua Pasifika coordinators; engaging Pacific Island families in early childhood education and supporting children's transition to the school
  • Pasifika Success Talanoa Project; developing understanding of students’ learning attributes
  • Positive Behaviour for Learning (PB4L); developing schoolwide consistency in improving behaviour and wellbeing, and raising expectations. 

The school has responded positively to the previous ERO review, although some aspects still require further development.

2 Learning

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

The school uses an appropriate range of data to inform overall teacher judgements about students’ achievement in relation to National Standards.

Data provided shows that many students have made accelerated progress in 2015 in reading, writing and mathematics. However, the level of achievement for some students in the school is still below National Standards. Raising achievement levels for students in relation to National Standards continues to be a priority. Leaders and teachers should continue to build a shared understanding of how to effectively use data to inform specific actions to raise achievement.

Data is used to set broad schoolwide targets concentrated on improving student achievement. New resources and initiatives have been introduced to raise engagement and achievement. Defining more specific targets and measures should help with evaluating the impact of changes to teaching and learning programmes on lifting results for learners.

Parents and whānau are well informed through written reports and associated learning conversations. Students are involved in setting goals and sharing these with their parents. This includes information about what they can be doing at home to further support learning.

3 Curriculum

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

The school’s curriculum is aligned with The New Zealand Curriculum (NZC). There is a broad coverage of the learning areas. The local context, parent and whānau expectations and students' interests and needs are part of the curriculum.

Students participate and learn in a caring, collaborative and inclusive environment. They are confident to share and discuss their learning. Teachers establish strong relationships with students to build individual and collective identity and wellbeing. Learner success is recognised, shared and regularly celebrated. Students have a strong sense of pride and belonging.

PB4L has been well embedded throughout the school. The values are highly evident in the playground and in the classroom. Student learning is supported through clear and consistent schoolwide guidelines. These include: 

  • high expectations for all students
  • positive behaviours throughout the school
  • classroom routines
  • respectful interactions. 

A culture of collaboration and sharing among teachers is focused on improving outcomes for learners. Leaders have developed expectations for achievement in reading, writing and mathematics. These tools are used to discuss and build teachers' practice to best meet the needs of students. A graduate profile recently developed by students, identifies the key attributes they feel learners need for success. It is timely to integrate these in practice, to build a shared understanding of what effective teaching at Taitoko School looks like.

The environment is inclusive. A wide range of interventions supports students with special needs. Teacher aides develop strong learning relationships to engage learners in individual and group enhancement programmes. A team approach is used to identify and reflect on successful pathways for students' achievement and wellbeing.

The school is working towards building student ownership of learning. Students can discuss what they are learning and how they are progressing. They are developing an understanding of what their next steps are. They are motivated to learn and try new things in a highly supportive environment. Learners use a range of strategies to challenge and develop their understanding. Teachers are increasing the use of feedback to personalise the next steps in learning.

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

A good range of learning experiences and leadership opportunities is provided for Māori students to celebrate and build their language, culture and identity.

The school has focused on building strong relationships with students, parents and whānau. Regular consultation occurs, both formally and informally. This includes gathering whānau aspirations for their tamariki, input into the charter and suggestions for improving the responsiveness of the curriculum.

Schoolwide professional development has targeted building teachers’ capabilities in relation to cultural competencies. A timely next step is to combine this learning with the collated information from parents and whānau, to develop an effective teaching profile.

4 Sustainable Performance

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

Trustees understand their roles and responsibilities for governance and promoting student progress. They receive useful information to inform their understanding of curriculum and student achievement. This enables more robust discussions to better inform decision making.

The principal provides leadership and guidance for the board and staff. The priorities for the direction of the school identified by the community, board and principal are highlighted in the strategic and annual plans. Unpacking the strategic goals to clearly identify indicators of success should assist these to be measured more effectively.

The school has a systematic, schoolwide approach to implementing appraisal. It is a key driver for change to raise achievement. The inclusion of teacher inquiry as part of this process has strengthened the link between changes in teaching practice and improved student outcomes.

A culture of reflection and review is highly evident. Leaders and ERO agree that the next step in this process is to develop an evaluative approach that identifies the impact of interventions and initiatives on accelerating student achievement. This should include: 

  • building a better understanding of internal evaluation processes and practice
  • setting clear targets with measureable outcomes
  • developing action plans that identify the deliberate acts designed to accelerate students' achievement
  • tracking and monitoring progress
  • aligning documents, processes and reporting with strategic and annual goals. 

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.

Conclusion

Taitoko School is a welcoming, wellbeing-focused school that fosters a strong sense of belonging for students, whānau and staff. An appropriate focus on raising expectations and building positive behaviours for learning is evident. Raising achievement levels for students in relation to National Standards continues to be a priority.

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

Joyce Gebbie

Deputy Chief Review Officer Central

23 February 2016

School Statistics

Location

Levin

Ministry of Education profile number

3032

School type

Full Primary (Years 1 to 8)

School roll

173

Gender composition

Boys 55%, Girls 45%

Ethnic composition

Māori

Pacific

Pākehā

Other ethnic groups

48%

32%

12%

8%

Review team on site

November 2015

Date of this report

23 February 2016

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

December 2012

November 2010

February 2007