Te Akau School - 16/11/2017

Summary

Te Akau School is a small rural school located west of Ngāruawāhia, near the northern end of Raglan Harbour. It caters for children in Years 1 to 8 in two classrooms. The current roll of 39 includes 19 Māori students. The community is proud of the school’s values and beliefs that include life-long learning, respect, resilience, responsibility and risk taking.

Since the previous ERO evaluation in 2014, the roll has remained stable. The principal and teaching staff continue in their roles and there have been some minor changes to the make up of the board. The current focus for teacher professional learning is to improve teacher knowledge and understanding of te reo Māori. The school is a member of the Ngāruawāhia Community of Learning|Kāhui Ako.

Achievement data reported by the school shows that in 2016 approximately 70 percent of children achieved National Standards in reading, writing and mathematics. Data for the last three years shows that, while the proportion of students achieving National Standards has fluctuated, achievement of Māori has generally improved.

How well is the school achieving equitable outcomes for all children?

The school is responding well to Māori and other children whose learning and achievement need acceleration.

Many school processes are effective in enabling the achievement of excellence and equity, including:

  • Trustees’ responsive approach to consultation and communication with the school and wider community
  • positive and trusting relationships with parents and whānau, especially those of priority learners
  • a broad, responsive and authentic curriculum
  • teachers’ use of effective strategies to engage and challenge children.

Further development is needed in the use of achievement information by trustees, leaders and teachers.

Learners are achieving well. The school demonstrates strong progress toward achieving equity in educational outcomes, supported by effective, sustainable processes and practices.

Agreed next steps are for trustees, leaders and teachers are to:

  • set and monitor more specific targets to accelerate progress for all priority learners
  • further develop the way teachers evaluate the effectiveness of their practice focused on accelerating progress for priority learners
  • enhance the way teachers use learning progression frameworks to plan, monitor and share children’s learning and progress
  • continue to develop teaching strategies to improve students’ knowledge of their learning, progress and next steps.

Attention to these next steps is necessary to provide a sound foundation for more effective internal evaluation and continual improvement in outcomes for children.

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

Equity and excellence

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

The school is responding well to Māori and other students whose learning and achievement need acceleration.

Achievement data reported by the school over the last three years shows that while the proportion of children achieving National Standards has fluctuated, achievement for Māori has generally improved. In 2016 approximately 70 percent of all students achieved the expected standard in reading, writing and mathematics. Although disparity for Māori has reduced since 2014, in 2016 a small amount remains. In addition, girls outperformed boys in reading and writing. Achievement levels were very similar in mathematics.

The school has responded to this data by ensuring that students who require additional support with their learning (priority learners), including those who are new to the school, are identified using appropriate assessments. These students are provided with closely monitored interventions to accelerate their progress. The school makes good use of external experts to provide support and advice where necessary.

Increasing teachers’ and students’ confidence and competence in te reo Māori is an important valued outcome for the school in order to improve outcomes for Māori children. Appropriate support is in place to realise this outcome.

The school’s assessment schedule includes clear expectations for teachers’ use of a range of suitable tests to gather information about individual children’s learning. They use this data, along with information gathered during teaching programmes, to make judgements (OTJs) about each child’s achievement in relation to National Standards. The collaborative approach to making OTJs is characterised by professional discussions and a willingness to continue to explore ways to ensure these judgements are as reliable as possible.

School conditions supporting equity and excellence

What school processes are effective in enabling achievement of equity and excellence?

The school curriculum is responsive to students’ strengths, interests and learning needs. Students learn in authentic contexts that are relevant to their lives and the local environment. They enjoy valuable opportunities to explore the wider world away through extensive trips, camps and community-based experiences. Students experience success in their learning.

Teacher practice includes the use of a range of effective strategies to promote children’s progress and acceleration. Focused teaching, alongside high expectations for achievement, are well supported by generously resourced learning environments and caring, respectful interactions between teachers and children. Outcomes for learners are being enhanced through the use of computer technology. Children in the senior room are using this technology to improve their knowledge of their own learning, and to share their progress with peers and whānau.

Strong partnerships with parents and whānau are supporting outcomes for all learners, especially those learners who need additional support to reach expected levels. This is evidenced by the way they respond to achievement information received from the principal, which they use to make evidence-based decisions about resource and programme support.

Sustainable development for equity and excellence

What further developments are needed in school processes to achieve equity and excellence?

Further development is needed in the use of achievement information:

  • Trustees need to set annual achievement targets that more specifically focus on those students whose progress requires acceleration. This should enable them to more closely monitor and track rates of progress throughout the year and respond accordingly.
  • Teachers are at an early stage of inquiring into their practice using the school’s ‘teaching as inquiry’ model. Full implementation of this model will enable teachers to more effectively evaluate the success of their practice in accelerating progress for priority learners. Such implementation also needs to include alignment with children in the school-wide target group.
  • Useful learning progression frameworks have been identified by teachers to plan, monitor, share and evaluate children’s learning and progress. These now need to be used more effectively and consistently across the school.

Attention to these developments is necessary to provide a sound foundation for more effective internal evaluation and continual improvement in outcomes for children.

Board assurance on legal requirements

Before the review, the board 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 and certification

  • processes for appointing staff

  • stand down, suspension, expulsion and exclusion of students

  • attendance

  • school policies in relation to meeting the requirements of the Vulnerable Children Act 2014.

Going forward

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

Learners are achieving well. The school demonstrates strong progress toward achieving equity in educational outcomes, supported by effective, sustainable processes and practices.

Agreed next steps are for trustees, leaders and teachers to make more effective use of achievement information to:

  • set and monitor more specific targets to accelerate progress for all priority learners
  • further develop the way teachers evaluate the effectiveness of their practice focused on accelerating progress for priority learners
  • improve the way teachers use the learning progression frameworks to plan, monitor and share children’s learning and progress
  • continue to develop teaching strategies to improve students’ knowledge of their learning, progress and next steps.

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

Lynda Pura-Watson

Deputy Chief Review Officer

Te Tai Miringa - Waikato / Bay of Plenty Region

16 November 2017

About the school

Location

North Waikato

Ministry of Education profile number

1998

School type

Primary (Years 1 to 8)

School roll

39

Gender composition

Girls 23 Boys 16

Ethnic composition

Pākehā 20
Māori 19

Provision of Māori medium education

No

Review team on site

September 2017

Date of this report

16 November 2017

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review October 2014
Education Review November 2011
Education Review September 2008