Taupaki School - 13/07/2016

1 Context

Taupaki School, established in 1899, has a long history of inter-generational connections and significant links with the community. The school's inclusive culture, rural setting and strong community focus are valued by whānau and families. The school has increasing numbers of Māori children. Since the 2012 ERO report classrooms have been refurbished to provide a modern learning environment for children and teachers. The school's technology centre provides further educational opportunities for Year 7 and 8 children including children from six contributing schools in the local area. The school has a history of positive ERO reports.

2 Equity and excellence

The vision and valued outcomes defined by the school for all children are to nurture and inspire children to reach their full potential. This vision and the four core values align well with tikanga Māori. They emphasise striving for personal best and respect for all, in a nurturing, learning environment. Valued outcomes for all children in this school community focus on learners:

  • taking risks and being independent, creative thinkers
  • caring for others, the community and the environment
  • being reflective, self-motivated learners.

The school’s achievement information shows that over 80 percent of children achieve at or above the National Standards in reading and mathematics. Many children also achieve well in writing, although overall success levels are below those for reading and mathematics. While achievement levels are consistently high, data for the last three years shows that overall achievement levels have remained static.

The school's 2015 data shows that over 70 percent of Māori children achieved at or above the National Standards in reading and mathematics. Achievement data for 2014 and 2015 indicates that outcomes for Maori children are below that of other children. However, school targets have consistently and successfully focused on accelerating the progress and achievement of some Māori children.

2015 achievement data shows that the small number of Pacific children achieve very well in literacy. School achievement data also shows gender-based differences, with girls' achieving very well in literacy and boys achieving very well in mathematics. Teachers are moderating writing with other local schools to enhance the reliability of their achievement data.

School data over the past three years indicates that most Year 8 children leave Taupaki School achieving at or above the national standards in reading, writing and mathematics. The school sets specific targets for some children to improve. Trustees and school leaders could now include all children who need to make accelerated progress in the school's annual targets.

Since the last ERO evaluation the school has implemented a range of new initiatives focused on accelerating the achievement of all children.

These initiatives include:

  • introducing the Universal Design for Learning (UDL) planning approach using digital technologies, to enable more inclusive and personalised learning pathways for children
  • restructuring teaching teams to promote a more seamless education for Taupaki learners as they transition through the eight year levels
  • further developing teaching and learning strategies to accelerate learning progress
  • delegating two team leaders to coordinate learning support programmes
  • implementing an inquiry approach to strengthen teachers' reflective practice.

These initiatives are at the early stages of implementation.

3 Accelerating achievement

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

The board, leaders and teachers respond effectively to children whose learning and achievement need acceleration. Information gathered shows that the school has had some success in accelerating the progress of these children. School leaders are committed to extending successful acceleration strategies to reach all students who are underachieving.

Leaders and teachers meet regularly to discuss children's learning. They promote the use of effective strategies to improve outcomes for children and monitor children's understanding of their learning. Teachers use achievement information well to plan classroom programmes that are based on children's strengths and talents, as well as their learning needs. These school-wide approaches reflect the collective responsibility that teachers, leaders and children have for nurturing valued outcomes for all.

Children have an increasingly good understanding of their own learning and achievement, and set learning goals with their parents and teachers. Children requiring additional support, participate in appropriate programmes and interventions to build their learning capability.

The school has continued to strengthen its links with whānau Māori. Importantly, the school's increasing recognition of te reo me ōna tikanga Māori creates an environment that supports Māori children to succeed as Māori. The school could develop with whānau, a strategic plan to provide a more coordinated approach to promoting success for Māori children. This planning could specify achievement targets for all Māori children needing to make accelerated progress and identify whānau and student aspirations for success as Māori.

There are positive, learning-centred relationships between home and school. Parents value the open communication they have with their children's teacher and with the school generally. The school provides a variety of opportunities for whānau and families to engage with the school. Parents receive good information about their children's progress and achievement and, through digital technologies, are able to access information about how they might support their child's learning at home.

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?

The school's vision, values and organisational processes support the curriculum and help to promote equity and excellence for all students. Children, staff, whānau and families enjoy a warm and inclusive school culture. School conditions to support children's learning and nurture their wellbeing are effective.

Trustees, school leaders and staff have high expectations for all children to experience and celebrate success. Children are settled in their learning spaces and have positive relationships with teachers and each other. They have many opportunities to engage and experience success in a range of sporting, cultural and artistic interests.

The values focused curriculum supports children as confident, articulate learners. Modern learning environments and approaches provide children with good opportunities to choose how and where they learn. Digital learning technologies are well-integrated in teaching programmes and continue to enrich children's learning opportunities. Specialist teachers deliver meaningful technology programmes that extend children's learning.

School leaders recognise that it is now timely to review and redesign the school curriculum using the principles of the New Zealand Curriculum. The school has an appropriate focus on developing a more connected, culturally responsive curriculum that reflects the school community and further promotes children's ownership of learning.

School leaders and teachers are beginning to promote deliberate strategies to bring about increased improvement for all children. Recent strategies include maximising the use of teacher aides within the classroom, providing learning goals and clear feedback for children, and increasing opportunities that promote critical thinking and problem solving.

The principal recognises the value of building a culture of professional inquiry to improve teachers' professional capability and create positive changes for children. Teachers' performance appraisals are well aligned to the Practising Teacher Criteria (PTCs). Increasing teacher's evaluative thinking could strengthen the new collaborative inquiry approach and further develop effective practice for accelerating learning.

The school has expressed an interest in forming a Community of Learning (COL) comprising of a number of local schools. Staff also participate in local education networks and clusters as part of wider community work to build their professional capability and collective capacity.

The board governs effectively and is well led. Trustees and senior leaders work well as a team to utilise their collective strengths. Trustees scrutinise achievement information and resources are allocated strategically to meet children's learning needs.

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
  • respond to the strengths, needs and interests of each child
  • regularly evaluate how teaching is working for these children
  • need to systematically act on what they know works for each child
  • need to have a plan in place to build teacher capability to accelerate the achievement of all children who need it.

The principal and associate principal provide effective leadership. They make strategic staff appointments, and provide good opportunities for teachers to lead programmes and initiatives. They promote future-focused learning and innovative teaching practices so children develop the capabilities to productively engage in an ever-changing world. They recognise the benefit of developing an improvement plan that aims to enable more children to achieve well.

School leaders agree that useful next steps in school development include:

  • reviewing and documenting the Taupaki curriculum and expectations for teaching and learning as part of building greater coherence across Years 1 to 8
  • increasing teachers' understanding of approaches that have strong evidence of accelerating progress for children and evaluating the impact of these on children's achievement
  • strengthening evaluation and reporting across the school.

The school is well positioned to develop the Raising Achievement Plan referred to below.

Action: The board, principal and teachers should use the findings of this evaluation, the Effective School Evaluation resource, the Internal Evaluation: Good Practice exemplars and the School Evaluation Indicators to develop a Raising Achievement Plan to further develop processes and practices that respond effectively to the strengths and needs of children whose learning and achievement need to be accelerated.

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.

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 the school continue to further develop internal evaluation to monitor and report on the effectiveness of school improvement initiatives, including those relating to accelerating children's progress and achievement. 

Graham Randell

Deputy Chief Review Officer Northern

13 July 2016 

About the school

Location

West Auckland

Ministry of Education profile number

1529

School type

Full Primary (Years 1 to 8)

School roll

272

Gender composition

Boys 50% Girls 50%

Ethnic composition

Māori

Pākehā

Asian

Pacific

other European

other

12%

78%

4%

3%

1%

2%

Special Features

Technology Centre catering for five other full primary schools

Review team on site

May 2016

Date of this report

13 July 2016

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

June 2012

May 2009

March 2006