Te Atatu Intermediate - 08/05/2015

Findings

Students at Te Atatu Intermediate receive good quality curriculum and learning programmes. Overall achievement levels are very positive. Students benefit from the school’s affirming tone, its wide range of extra-curricular opportunities, and its strong relationships with parents. Stability in leadership, teaching and governance help ensure such strengths remain positive features of the school.

ERO is likely to carry out the next review in four-to-five years.

1 Context

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

Te Atatu Intermediate is an urban intermediate school on Auckland’s Te Atatu peninsula. The school roll is 50 percent New Zealand European/Pākehā and 24 percent Māori, with 13 percent of students having a Pacific heritage. The roll includes three percent each of Indian, Chinese and other Asian students. The school embraces the cultural mix and the diversity of its student population. It is very inclusive of all students, including those with special education needs. Two classrooms from the Arohanui Special School are sited at the school.

The school is a welcoming place for students and adults. It has a very affirming tone and a strong learning culture. Students demonstrate high regard for the school’s positive character values. They play and learn well together, reaching the high expectations set for them. Students appreciate the many opportunities they have to increase their learning and to develop their individual talents in areas such as sports and music.

Previous ERO reviews of the school have identified many school strengths. Stability in leadership, teaching and school governance has helped maintain these strengths over time. The school continues to have strong systems for the pastoral care of students. Well developed self review and strategic planning, along with capable leadership continue to effectively promote ongoing school improvement.

2 Learning

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

Student learning and engagement are enhanced by the school’s positive and affirming atmosphere. Students are willing learners who settle well in class. Those with special learning needs receive high levels of support to reach their potential. Well implemented, reviewed and evaluated programmes help ensure students who require additional support make good progress while participating in specially designed withdrawal and/or in-class support programmes.

School leaders and the board of trustees are focused on student achievement. They use achievement information very well to initiate effective intervention programmes and make positive changes to outcomes for learners. They set school-wide achievement goals and regularly monitor progress towards them. Teachers too are increasingly focused on student achievement results. Embedding “teaching as inquiry” approaches should further support teachers to adapt their teaching to the identified needs of students.

Processes for making judgements about student achievement in relation to National Standards are increasingly robust. Although school-wide achievement levels fluctuate a little, they are usually above or on a par with local, regional and/or national achievement levels. Māori students rate well in such comparisons. They have made significant and noteworthy improvement in their mathematics achievement levels. The increase in achievement between Years 7 and Years 8 for all students strongly suggests that the school is adding value to student learning in line with the Ministry of Education’s goal of having 80 percent of students at or above National Standards by 2017.

School leaders and trustees acknowledge the need to accelerate the progress of some individuals and groups of students, particularly some groups of Pacific students. Teachers are increasingly involved in, and responsible for, raising the achievement levels of targeted students in their classrooms. They receive useful support to help them. Students are also becoming more knowledgeable about their achievement levels and their next learning steps. They are well placed to take a more active role in promoting their own learning.

The board’s school-wide achievement targets are aimed at boosting the overall levels of achievement. ERO and the board of trustees agree that there would be value in specifying achievement goals for targeted sub-groups of students in the school’s strategic planning and reviewing processes.

3 Curriculum

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

Important aspects of the school’s curriculum effectively promote and support student learning. The school’s professional leaders have worked with teachers to design well-balanced school programmes that support students to develop their interests and skills. The well-designed curriculum framework helps align, integrate and connect learning across the school. It provides meaningful school-wide and future learning paths for students. Students are focussed and productive participants in class lessons.

The curriculum is very responsive to the identified needs of students. The establishment of very successful booster programmes and of the previous Pacific class are very good examples of this responsiveness. The increased opportunities teachers give students to take leadership of their own learning is a further example of this responsiveness. Student reflection and goal setting are well established school practices that could now be extended.

Student learning is enhanced by the curriculum focus on home/school relationships and student learning. Teachers make individual contact with parents about their children. High numbers of parents attend student-led learning conferences. Home/school partnership evenings are very well attended and parents are provided with a good range of strategies for supporting the learning of their children.

School leaders actively seek opportunities for the school to be part of pertinent professional learning and development programmes. Teachers participate in well-implemented teacher development programmes that deepen their subject knowledge and extend their teaching skills. They are learning how to more tightly focus their teaching to help even more students reach national standards.

Teachers’ strengths are valued. They have leadership opportunities within the curriculum and are expected to share and promote good teaching practices throughout the school. The increasingly robust teacher appraisal system that is linked to student achievement outcomes is helping teachers to continue improving their ability to promote positive outcomes for students.

The curriculum provides opportunities for students to learn about and participate in the Māori dimension of New Zealand’s cultural heritage. As part of this, students participate in te reo Māori classes. School leaders agree that te reo Māori classes should be guided by the national curriculum for te reo Māori in mainstream school, rather than the current school-based programme. Good practice would include assessing students’ ability in this area, and then planning teaching programmes accordingly.

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

The school continues to promote educational success for Māori, as Māori. Leadership commitment and strategic staff appointments help maintain a bicultural focus within the school. Māori students benefit from the respectful relationships that underpin the school culture. They are well represented in school leadership roles. These good practices, along with tikanga Māori approaches, help to raise the status of Māori within the school. Clear strategic direction, based on recent research, has positioned the school well for ongoing improvement in this important area of its responsibility.

4 Sustainable Performance

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

Te Atatu Intermediate is very well placed to sustain and improve its performance. Key features related to personnel that support this judgement include the school’s:

  • dedicated and committed principal
  • capable, motivated and collaborative senior leadership team
  • transparent, open and consultative management systems
  • well-developed quality assurance processes
  • wide range of knowledgeable, talented teachers able and willing to accept leadership roles.

Significant positive features of governance that support ongoing school improvement include the:

  • strong board capacity and capability
  • strong commitment and longevity of board members
  • effective school planning and reporting processes
  • willingness of the board to engage in effective school review.

During the review, ERO, senior managers and the board discussed some next steps for the school. These included:

  • strengthening self-review processes by, wherever possible, evaluating the outcomes of actions taken and identifying the links between actions and positive outcomes, seeking different sources of opinion, and using a wider variety of self-review approaches
  • adding a board of trustees' development goal to the school’s strategic plan as a way to help sustain currency with best practice
  • raising the profile of the board and its work in the school.

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

At the time of the review there were five international students attending the school. These five students receive a very good standard of education. They are successfully transitioned into the school and well supported to succeed in their studies. International students receive effective care and support, and are well integrated into school life and its extra-curricular activities. Provisions for international students are reviewed and reported upon to the board of trustees. It would now be worth considering including information about the progress and achievement of international students as a whole as part of these reporting processes.

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.

Conclusion

Students at Te Atatu Intermediate receive good quality curriculum and learning programmes. Overall achievement levels are very positive. Students benefit from the school’s affirming tone, its wide range of extra-curricular opportunities, and its strong relationships with parents. Stability in leadership, teaching and governance help ensure such strengths remain positive features of the school.

ERO is likely to carry out the next review in four-to-five years.

Dale Bailey

Deputy Chief Review Officer Northern

8 May 2015

About the School

Location

Te Atatu Peninsula, Auckland

Ministry of Education profile number

1530

School type

Intermediate (Years 7 to 8)

School roll

335

Number of international students

5

Gender composition

Girls 52% Boys 48%

Ethnic composition

Māori

Pākehā

Cook Island Māori

Asian

Chinese

Indian

Samoan

others

24%

50%

5%

3%

3%

3%

4%

8%

Special Features

Aohanui Special School satellite classes

Review team on site

March 2015

Date of this report

8 May 2015

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Supplementary Review

September 2010

September 2007

October 2004