Tapora School - 27/06/2013

1 Context

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

Tapora School is a small, three teacher school located in a rural community close to the Kaipara Harbour. The school provides education for students from Years 1 to 8.

Since ERO’s 2010 review there have been significant changes in school leadership. The new principal was appointed in 2013, following the resignations of two previous principals. A beginning teacher, who works on a part-time basis, began in term two. The number of families moving in and out of Tapora on a regular basis is having an impact on the school roll. Because of the reduced roll, students are now organised into two classrooms rather than the previous three.

The board of trustees is led by an experienced chairperson and has a mix of experienced and newer trustees. The board and principal are working together to manage changes and to ensure that the board’s vision for the school is achieved.

2 Learning

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

Systems are in place to make good use of student achievement information. Teachers use a range of assessment tools to collect data about student achievement and progress. They use this information to identify students’ learning needs and to plan their teaching programmes.

Students are articulate and confident. Teachers encourage them to be self managing and to negotiate their own ways of working. They support students to set goals and to recognise and celebrate their own successes. ERO endorses the principal’s goal of continuing to extend students’ ownership of their learning, and empowering them to monitor their own progress and achievement over time.

Teachers make overall judgements against National Standards. The school’s student achievement data shows that most students achieve at or above National Standards in reading, writing and mathematics. ERO and the principal agree that further development is necessary to improve moderation procedures and to ensure that student achievement data is valid and reliable.

The principal reports student achievement information to the board of trustees and together they use this information to make decisions about school goals and targets for students who are not achieving National Standards. Student portfolios of assessments currently form the basis of reporting to parents. Meeting requirements for reporting to parents in relation to the National Standards is an area for development.

ERO, the principal and the board agree that teachers require further professional development to help them improve and consolidate their understanding of the National Standards and how to implement them in the school.

3 Curriculum

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

The Tapora School curriculum promotes and supports student learning effectively. An inquiry-based curriculum approach has been developed over a number of years. This student-centred approach continues to underpin learning programmes. The board and new principal are keen to develop the school curriculum further and to make clearer links to The New Zealand Curriculum.

Teachers provide students with a relevant and supportive learning environment. They teach literacy and numeracy effectively, often linking these key curriculum areas to current inquiry topics, as appropriate. Teachers use questioning skills well to encourage students to engage in critical thinking. A strong focus on the use of information and communication technologies (ICT) is evident.

Staff, parents and members of the wider community contribute and share their strengths and interests to support the teaching programme. Students participate in a range of environmental, cultural and sports activities. Years 7 and 8 students have extended opportunities in these areas.

The principal is considering ways of communicating better with the school community in order to gather more parent input that the board could use in planning the ongoing development of the school.

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

Some use of te reo Māori, including in waiata, karakia and occasional phrases, is evident in classrooms. Teachers monitor the progress and achievement of Māori students within classroom programmes.

Staff should now develop systems to formally analyse, and report to whānau on, the progress of Māori students. Teachers should now develop bicultural and local perspectives in the curriculum and increase the use of te reo and tikanga Māori in their classroom practice. The principal has identified the need to use current strengths to review and build on previous initiatives to promote educational success for Māori, as Māori. These areas for improvement were identified in ERO’s 2010 report.

Actions to promote educational success for Māori should include:

  • consultation with whānau to find out about their aspirations for and perspectives on their children’s education
  • further use of Ministry of Education resources, including Ka Hikitia: Managing for Success and Tātaiako: Cultural Competencies for teachers of Māori Learners, to improve teaching and learning for Māori students in the school.

4 Sustainable Performance

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

The school needs further development in a number of areas so that it is better placed to sustain and improve its performance.

Over the last three years, the school has been through a period of leadership change. The board’s focus has been on managing these changes, maintaining community confidence in the school, and on ensuring students’ ongoing learning.

The board chair is an experienced, longstanding member of the board. Most trustees are seeking re-election in the upcoming school elections. The board has induction processes for new trustees and appropriately considers succession planning. The board and principal have a shared understanding of the areas in which school development is required. They have the capacity to action improvements in teaching and learning, Māori student achievement, reporting to parents on students’ achievement in relation to the National Standards, and in planning and self-review processes.

ERO recommends the board of trustees seek training for all members so that the good governance practices evident in previous ERO reviews are sustained and further developed.

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.

ERO identified several areas of non-compliance. The board of trustees must:

  • consult with the school’s community on the delivery of the health curriculum
    [Education Act 1989, s60 B]
  • report to students and parents in plain language, and in writing, at least twice a year on student achievement in relation to the National Standards
    [National Administration Guideline 2A]
  • consult with the school’s Māori community, and develop and make known to the school’s community policies, plans and targets for improving the achievement of Māori students
    [National Administration Guideline 2B].

When is ERO likely to review the school again?

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

Dale Bailey

National Manager Review Services Northern Region

27 June 2013

About the School

Location

Tapora, Wellsford

Ministry of Education profile number

1106

School type

Full Primary (Years 1 to 8)

School roll

26

Gender composition

Girls 14 Boys 12

Ethnic composition

NZ European/Pākehā

Māori

Australian

Other European

18

4

2

2

Review team on site

May 2013

Date of this report

27 June 2013

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

May 2010

May 2007

May 2004