Tapora School - 19/08/2016

1 Context

Tapora School is a small rural school with a roll of Māori and Pākehā children. Since the last review the board has appointed two new principals. The new principal who began at the start of this year is experienced in leading small rural schools. The newly elected board has a good mix of new and experienced trustees.

2 Equity and excellence

The vision and valued outcomes defined by the school for all children are to work closely with the community and encourage students to show integrity, be generous in spirit, kind and respectful. The school has identified six core values that together with the vision, provide a direction for
decision-making by the board of trustees and staff. The vision is underpinned by a focus on positive relationships with children, teachers, families and whanau as the foundation for meaningful learning and achieving equity and excellence.

The school's achievement information shows that in 2015 over two thirds of the children were at or above the National Standard in reading and mathematics. Just over half were at or above in writing. The proportion of Māori children achieving success is lower in reading and writing than for other children. The proportion of Māori children achieving success is higher in mathematics than for other children.

In recent years, the Public Achievement Information (PAI) shows that children in Year 8 achieve at the National Standard in reading, writing and mathematics. However, across the school, the number of children achieving at or above the national standards in reading and writing has been trending down. The number of children achieving at or above the national standard in mathematics varies each year with no discernible improvement trend.

Teachers collaborate to moderate and analyse achievement data. They are beginning to use their networks with local schools to discuss and share good moderation and teaching practice. These discussions should, over time, contribute to strengthening internal moderation.

Since the last ERO evaluation the school has addressed some of the recommendations from the ERO report including:

  • increasing opportunities for children to monitor their own learning and progress
  • improving practices and procedures for reporting to parents in relation to
    National Standards

3 Accelerating achievement

How effectively does this school respond to children whose learning and achievement need acceleration?

The school is in the early stages of intentional planning to target children whose learning and achievement needs acceleration. Teachers know who these children are and report to the board against the strategic goal of raising student achievement.

The new teaching team have identified the need to plan to intentionally accelerate progress for those children at risk of not achieving at the relevant standards. Teachers are developing shared understandings about acceleration and what it should look like at Tapora School. They are also considering an action plan to help them to focus on acceleration. However, it is too soon to be able to tell if the approaches being considered are going to be successful in raising achievement for these priority learners.

4 School conditions

How effectively do the school’s curriculum and other organisational processes and practices develop and enact the school’s vision, values, goals and targets for equity and excellence?

Children are actively engaged in their learning. They benefit from a curriculum that provides choice and prioritises literacy and mathematics. Focussed group-learning opportunities are supported by relevant activities for children to complete independently. Lessons are varied and well-paced and this helps to maximise children's learning time.

Teachers use an increasing variety of strategies to identify children's strengths, needs and interests at school and beyond the classroom. Children know that perseverance is valued and that they can take risks in their learning. A priority for the new principal will be to review the curriculum to ensure that there are good links with The New Zealand Curriculum and local contexts.

Children talk confidently about their learning, but are not always clear about what the current focus of their learning is in reading, writing and mathematics. For older children teachers focus on helping them to take ownership of their learning by being clear about what and how they can learn.

Children have personal goals in reading, writing and mathematics and are becoming increasingly involved in decisions that affect their learning. Children's learning is visible and celebrated in classrooms. Teachers support children to assess their learning both independently and with peers.

Children have access to digital technologies. Teachers continue to explore how these technologies can be used to enhance learning across the curriculum, and to provide children with more choice and responsibility for how they learn.

The focus on biculturalism supports all children, and particularly Māori children. Teachers share responsibility for this. They are improving their own understandings about using te reo and tikanga Māori to support the work of a parent who teaches children waiata, haka and tikanga.

Teachers are reviewing their collection, collation and analysis of data. They acknowledge the need to focus on accelerating achievement. They provide reliable information about children's achievement to the board to inform trustees' decision making. Teachers could now look at extending reporting to the board and to parents to cover all areas of the curriculum.

Trustees have managed the changeover of multiple principals well. They have made good use of external agencies to support their decision making and have actively sought training to improve their stewardship role. They have begun to use Hautu: Maori Cultural Responsiveness Self Review tool for Board of Trustees.

The board has recently carried out an audit of their policies to ensure compliance with legislation. This audit identifies policies that need review. This includes the policy on teacher appraisal. The board is now very focussed on moving the school forward under the professional leadership of the new principal.

5 Going forward

How well placed is the school to accelerate the achievement of all children who need it?

Leaders and teachers:

  • know the children whose learning and achievement need to be accelerated
  • need approaches that effectively meet the needs of each child
  • ·         need to ensure the school is well placed to accelerate the achievement of all children who need it.

Action: The board, principal and teachers should participate in an internal evaluation workshop. They should use this workshop, ERO exemplars of good practice and the School Evaluation Indicators to address the findings of this evaluation and develop a Raising Achievement Plan that includes a significant focus on building teacher capability to accelerate learning and achievement.

As part of this review ERO will continue to monitor the school’s Raising Achievement plan and the progress the school makes. ERO is likely to carry out the next full review in three years.

The school is on an improvement journey after some challenging times. The impact of the new direction is evident in the engagement of children in their learning in the classroom and the revitalisation of partnerships with parents and whanau. The board and teachers welcome the opportunity for ongoing support from ERO to develop a plan to respond to children whose learning and achievement needs acceleration.

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

6 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 the following:

  • board administration
  • curriculum
  • management of health, safety and welfare
  • personnel management
  • 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
  • processes for appointing staff
  • stand down, suspensions, expulsions and exclusions
  • attendance
  • compliance with the provisions of the Vulnerable Children Act 2014. 

7 Recommendation

ERO recommends that in order to improve school performance, the board and school leaders continue to develop internal evaluation practices that focus on the school curriculum and targeted action plans that respond to children whose learning and achievement needs accelerating. 

Graham Randell
Deputy Chief Review Officer Northern

19 August 2016 

About the school 

Location

Tapora, Wellsford

Ministry of Education profile number

1106

School type

Full Primary (Years 1 to 8)

School roll

25

Gender composition

Boys 15
Girls 10

Ethnic composition

Maori
Pakeha

  6
19

Review team on site

May 2016

Date of this report

19 August 2016

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review
Education Review
Education Review

June 2013
May 2010
May 2007