Taupo Intermediate - 14/10/2013

1 Context

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

Taupō Intermediate School is located in the Hilltop suburb of Taupō and caters for students from Taupō and the surrounding areas. The roll of 526 includes 187 students who are identified as Māori, many of whom whakapapa to Ngāti Tūwharetoa.

Since the previous ERO review in 2010, there have been no changes to the senior leadership team and few changes to staffing. Teachers have been involved in extensive professional development in literacy, mathematics and assessment practices, led by external facilitators. These initiatives have been funded by the board of trustees.

The school’s vision of ‘making a positive difference’ and ‘getting involved’, is strongly promoted by the principal and teachers, and guides the school’s curriculum. ERO observed high levels of student engagement and a positive atmosphere for participation and learning.

The school has responded positively to the areas for development in the previous ERO review and, under the leadership of the principal, has maintained a focus on school improvement.

2 Learning

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

School leaders and teachers make effective use of student achievement information to make positive changes for students.

The school reports that at the end of 2012, a significant majority of students were achieving at or above National Standards in reading. This information shows considerably lower levels of achievement in writing and mathematics.

School leaders have introduced targeted professional development for teachers to help them improve these levels of achievement. They are continuing to develop processes to assist teachers to make robust judgements in relation to National Standards. School leaders effectively collate and monitor student achievement information to identify school wide trends and patterns and set targets for improvement. It would be now be useful for school leaders to strengthen these targets by focussing more specifically on those students below and well below the National Standards.

Teachers use a wide range of assessment tools to identify student achievement and their learning needs, and plan appropriately for individual students and groups. This information is shared with students in ways that acknowledge progress and identify next learning steps. In addition, teachers identify priority learners and investigate the effectiveness of their teaching practice in accelerating the progress of these students. Teachers are able to show that this process is making a positive difference to student achievement.

Parents are kept well informed about their children’s progress including in relation to National Standards. School leaders are continuing to review and strengthen practices and processes for reporting National Standards.

3 Curriculum

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

Taupō Intermediate School’s curriculum is highly effective in promoting positive outcomes for students.

The school’s broad curriculum focuses on the needs of emerging adolescents and fosters opportunities for every student to experience success. Priority is placed on building students’ capability in literacy and mathematics. Students also have extensive opportunities to participate, experience success and show leadership in:

  • sporting and cultural activities
  • academic competitions and events
  • camps and trips into the local and wider environments.

The school effectively provides for the particular strengths and learning needs of students with academic ability in two separate classes, and also has a boys-only class that is responsive to their specific learning styles.

The principal sets high expectations for teaching and learning. There are clear guidelines for teachers to support them in their practice. Teachers receive regular and useful feedback about their teaching from school leaders and external advisors. ERO observed many examples of high-quality teaching that reflect these expectations and engage students in purposeful learning. Relationships among students and teachers are respectful and caring. Teachers implement a wide range of strategies that help students take ownership of their learning and encourage them to support each other.

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

The school’s National Standards information from the end of 2012 shows that Māori students generally were achieving below their non-Māori peers at the school in reading, writing and mathematics. The school has established valuable links with Ngāti Tūwharetoa, and teachers have participated in the Tūwharetoa Cultural Knowledge Project. A large kapa haka group participates in local competitions and events and plays a significant role in school pōwhiri. Māori students’ sense of identity is fostered by teachers’ use of bicultural contexts for learning in curriculum design and planning. Some classes also participate in noho mārae experiences. There is a need for teachers to have regular professional development to enable them to implement more meaningful te reo and tikanga Māori programmes in their classes.

4 Sustainable Performance

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

The school is very well placed to sustain and improve its performance because:

  • the principal, supported by school leaders, provides high-quality professional leadership
  • the board and principal have an ongoing commitment to providing high-quality professional development for teachers
  • trustees are experienced, knowledgeable and supportive of the school’s vision
  • trustees and school leaders place a strong emphasis on providing a safe physical and emotional environment for students and staff
  • there are strong links with parents/whānau and the local community.

School leaders and teachers have established useful self-review processes that promote ongoing school improvement. ERO and the board recognise the need to formalise board self-review processes including regularly:

  • consulting with parents, whānau, staff and students to seek their aspirations and ideas
  • monitoring the school’s performance against its own strategic goals including more effectively using student achievement information to assist them in their decision making.

Provision for international students

The school is a signatory to the Code of Practice for the Pastoral Care of International Students (the Code) established under section 238F of the Education Act 1989. At the time of this review there was one international student attending the school.

The school has attested that it complies with all aspects of the Code.

ERO’s investigations confirmed that the school’s self-review process for international students is thorough.

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.

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

14 October 2013

About the School

Location

Taupō

Ministry of Education profile number

1988

School type

Intermediate (Years 7 to 8)

School roll

526

Number of international students

1

Gender composition

Boys 50% Girls 50%

Ethnic composition

NZ European/Pākehā

Māori

Other European

Other

55%

36%

5%

4%

Review team on site

August 2013

Date of this report

14 October 2013

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

October 2010

October 2007

August 2004