Te Awamutu Intermediate - 31/05/2010

1. The Education Review Office (ERO) Evaluation

Te Awamutu Intermediate School is located in Te Awamutu township and caters for students in the town and surrounding rural areas. The roll is 463 students, a quarter of whom identify as Māori. A long serving principal and two deputy principals, effectively lead the school. The board chairperson is new to her position and has taken on the role with a key focus on raising student achievement.

All teachers believe that all students can experience success and strive to reach their potential. They develop positive and affirming relationships with students and have a strong focus on student wellbeing and sense of belonging.

The school offers students a wide range of academic, cultural and sporting activities. The curriculum includes a focus on inquiry learning and the use of information and communication technologies.

Māori participation is valued and there is a commitment to further improving the success of Māori students.

Achievement information from 2009 indicates that students are generally achieving over a range of levels that match national expectation for reading and mathematics. The school recognises that raising student achievement for groups of students, including boys and Māori requires a targeted approach. Strengthening the analysis and interpretation of student achievement information will further enhance the school’s self-review processes.

The experienced and committed principal knows the community well and holds the best interests of students at the centre of decision-making processes. He encourages a distributive style of leadership and is ably supported by the deputy principals and the leader of assessment in the design, implementation and delivery of the New Zealand Curriculum.

The board of trustees, led by an enthusiastic and committed chairperson, effectively governs the school.

Future Action

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

2. Te Awamutu Intermediate’s Curriculum

How effectively does the curriculum of Te Awamutu Intermediate promote student learning: engagement, progress and achievement?

School context and self review

Since the previous ERO report there has been considerable development in property, including a new purpose-built technology and science complex, a specialised arts facility and an upgrade and extension to the library. Resources in information communication technologies (ICT) have been increased in classrooms and a boys’ class has been established to cater for the needs of this group.

Self review is interwoven throughout school operations. It is ongoing and based on the outcomes of student achievement information. Review informs the organisation of the school, delivery of the curriculum, professional development for staff and enables the board to make informed resource decisions.

Extensive professional development over the last three years has assisted in increasing teachers’ knowledge and understanding about numeracy, literacy and the use of ICT to support teaching and learning. Teachers have been willing to trial and review new approaches and engage in professional dialogue with colleagues about improving their practice.

The deputy principal has taken an effective leadership role in introducing staff to The New Zealand Curriculum. Teachers are progressively embracing the principles of this document and are beginning to incorporate the school’s new vision, key competencies and values into their planning and teaching. They have also developed their own inquiry model approach to learning which assists students to develop higher-order thinking skills.

The school is preparing to implement the national standards and is focusing on moderation in writing as an initial focus which will be ongoing over 2010.

Student progress and achievement

The school uses a wide range of standardised and school-based assessment tools. Baseline data is collected on entry and progress is demonstrated through other significant check points during the two years.

On entry in 2009, many students were underachieving in numeracy strategies. However, significant progress had been made over a year and a number of students are now achieving at and above the appropriate level in relation to national expectations. In mathematics in 2009, and in the first term of 2010, students were generally progressing at the expected level. The school has continued to set specific targets to raise achievement in numeracy. Similar results are evident for boys, girls Māori and European students.

In 2010, achievement information in reading comprehension indicates that Year 8 European girls are achieving in line with national expectations. However Year 8 Māori students and European boys are not achieving to the same level. The school is aware of this trend and has set targets to raise boys’ achievement levels in reading.

Assessment of writing indicates that some students are not reaching national expectations and the school has made this a focus for teacher professional development throughout 2010.

The school gathers baseline data on aspects of physical education, student fitness, and plans to demonstrate progress over time.

Sound systems are used to identify and support students requiring further assistance in learning. Evidence from literacy intervention programmes shows that these students make good progress over time.

A significant number of students engage in the many music programme options available at the school. All students participate in a test of musical potential and many reach a high standard. A special feature of the school is the large number of students who participate in the symphonic and jazz band programme.

Students experience high levels of success at local, regional and national levels in a range of sporting codes and the arts.

Areas of strength

Student engagement: There are high levels of student engagement in learning. ERO observed students:

  • being aware of, and consistently practising, school expectations for learning and behaviour;
  • having direct involvement in decision-making about their learning, including the use of the school’s inquiry approach;
  • showing a clear understanding of the purpose of their learning and how well they are progressing towards set goals;
  • actively reflecting on their learning, using a range of tools including ICT; and
  • having ready access to a wide range of up-to-date resources to extend their learning.

Students are confident, highly motivated and are developing the skills to become self-managing learners.

Curriculum design: Senior managers and teachers have taken a methodical approach to designing and implementing the school’s curriculum. Sound documentation guides teachers to implement the curriculum using appropriate contexts for learning. There is a flexible approach to curriculum design through the development of appropriate learning pathways for individual students. A wide variety of opportunities and experiences can be provided for students and there is a focus on a holistic approach. Initiatives such as the inquiry approach and the use of ICT as a tool for learning are used effectively. The diverse needs of individual students are being met. Students experience high degrees of success and enjoyment in their learning.

Teaching and learning: Teachers use a range of effective methods to empower the learner. Key strategies include teachers:

  • having a strong belief that all students will learn and achieve;
  • analysing classroom assessment information to group and plan programmes to meet the needs of students;
  • sharing assessment information with students so they can self-monitor, reflect, and consider the next steps in their learning;
  • using modelling books to record new learning, learning conversations and enable reflection on prior learning in their role as learning coaches;
  • developing positive relationships with students to foster their self-responsibility;
  • enabling students to monitor their own pace of learning and make decisions about prioritising their work; and
  • developing attractive and functional learning environments which display exemplars and recent student work.

Teachers are implementing the strategies that will enable students to develop life- long learning skills.

Leadership: The principal and deputy principals provide sound direction for the school. They work effectively together and have the achievement, progress and wellbeing of students at the centre of their decision-making. Recent curriculum development has been successfully implemented by this team. Leadership responsibility throughout the school is distributed according to the skills and expertise of staff. This inclusive approach to leadership is helping to ensure that everyone involved in the school has a sense of ownership of the school’s purpose and direction.

Community partnerships: A wide variety of effective methods is used to seek parent opinion and engage with the wider community. This includes surveys, interviews and meetings. Newsletters are informative and keep parents abreast of school events and operations. Student-led conferencing and the introduction of e-portfolios and blogs enable parents to become active partners in the learning process with their children. Parents actively contribute to sporting and Education Outside the Classroom (EOTC) activities. A strong partnership is evident between the school and its community.

Māori perspective: Significant progress has been made in engaging with the Māori community. Parents spoken with during the review expressed the opinion that the school values them as Māori and is committed to further improving the success of Māori students. The school’s environment reflects a bicultural perspective and teachers integrate the rich history of the area into their programmes. The school has Māori staff, and a kaumātua and kai awhina who support teachers, students and parents in te reo me ona tikanga. There is a strong engagement between the school and its Māori community.

School culture: A wide range of helpful systems and processes support students’ holistic wellbeing. Processes for transition into the school help students and their families to become familiar with the school’s expectations and environment. Students have access to well-organised pastoral care support and health care professionals. School values have an important role in providing an inclusive culture for learning and in developing positive and affirming relationships with all school personnel. A settled and harmonious environment supports student learning.

Area for development and review

Interpretation and analysis of data: Aspects of the interpretation and analysis of achievement data need strengthening. These aspects include:

  • continuing to extend the documentation of the analysis and interpretation of school-wide data to show student achievement and progress against national expectations; and
  • using the models of good practice within the school to establish school-wide consistency and strengthen the interpretation of classroom assessment information. This should assist teachers in continuing to plan specific outcomes to meet the needs of all students.

Further development in this area should enhance self review and decision making at classroom, senior management and board level.

3. Agreed Priority

ERO and the board of trustees agree that the next stages of school development should focus on:

  • extending self-review practices in the interpretation of student achievement information at classroom and school-wide levels.

4. Board Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the board of trustees and principal of Te Awamutu Intermediate completed an ERO Board Assurance Statement and Self-Audit Checklist. In these documents they attested that they had taken all reasonable steps to meet their legal obligations related to:

  • board administration;
  • curriculum;
  • management of health, safety and welfare;
  • personnel management;
  • financial management; and
  • asset management.

During the review, ERO checked the following items because they have a potentially high impact on students’ achievement:

  • emotional safety of students (including prevention of bullying and sexual harassment);
  • physical safety of students;
  • teacher registration;
  • stand-downs, suspensions, expulsions and exclusions; and
  • attendance.

ERO’s investigations did not identify any areas of concern.

5. Future Action

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

 

Richard Thornton

National Manager Review Services

Northern Region

About the School

31 May 2010

School type

Intermediate (Years 7 and 8)

School roll

463

Gender composition

Boys 52% Girls 48%

Ethnic composition

New Zealand European/Pākehā 70% New Zealand Maōri 26% Pacific 2% Asian 1% Other 1%

Special features

Resource Teacher: Learning and Behaviour

Review team on site

March 2010

Date of this report

31 May 2010

Previous three ERO reports

Education Review May 2007 Education Review April 2004 Accountability Review April 2000

 

To the Parents and Community of Te Awamutu Intermediate

These are the findings of the Education Review Office’s latest report on Te Awamutu Intermediate.

Te Awamutu Intermediate School is located in Te Awamutu township and caters for students in the town and surrounding rural areas. The roll is 463 students, a quarter of whom identify as Māori. A long serving principal and two deputy principals, effectively lead the school. The board chairperson is new to her position and has taken on the role with a key focus on raising student achievement.

All teachers believe that all students can experience success and strive to reach their potential. They develop positive and affirming relationships with students and have a strong focus on student wellbeing and sense of belonging.

The school offers students a wide range of academic, cultural and sporting activities. The curriculum includes a focus on inquiry learning and the use of information and communication technologies.

Māori participation is valued and there is a commitment to further improving the success of Māori students.

Achievement information from 2009 indicates that students are generally achieving over a range of levels that match national expectation for reading and mathematics. The school recognises that raising student achievement for groups of students, including boys and Māori requires a targeted approach. Strengthening the analysis and interpretation of student achievement information will further enhance the school’s self-review processes.

The experienced and committed principal knows the community well and holds the best interests of students at the centre of decision-making processes. He encourages a distributive style of leadership and is ably supported by the deputy principals and the leader of assessment in the design, implementation and delivery of the New Zealand Curriculum.

The board of trustees, led by an enthusiastic and committed chairperson, effectively governs the school.

Future Action

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

Review Coverage

This report provides an evaluation of how effectively the school’s curriculum promotes student learning: engagement, progress and achievement. ERO’s evaluation takes account of the school’s previous reporting history and is based on;

  • what is known about student achievement information, including the achievement of Māori and Pacific students;
  • decisions made to improve student achievement using the information; and
  • teaching strategies and programmes implemented to give effect to the school’s curriculum.

ERO’s review is responsive to the school’s context. For example, when ERO reviews a school, it takes into account the characteristics of the community, from which it draws its students, its location, and the aspirations the community has for its young people, and relevant local factors.

ERO also builds on the school’s own self-review information. That is, ERO is interested in how a school monitors the progress of its students and aspects of school life and culture, and how it uses this information.

ERO also gathers information during the review to contribute to its reports on national education evaluation topics. Comments relevant to this school are included in the report. The national reports are published on ERO’s website.

 

Richard Thornton

National Manager Review Services

Northern Region

GENERAL INFORMATION ABOUT REVIEWS

About ERO

ERO is an independent, external evaluation agency that undertakes reviews of schools and early childhood services throughout New Zealand.

About ERO Reviews

ERO follows a set of standard procedures to conduct reviews. The purpose of each review is to:

  • improve educational achievement in schools; and
  • provide information to parents, communities and the government.

Reviews are intended to focus on student achievement and build on each school’s self review.

Review Focus

ERO’s framework for reviewing and reporting integrates the following.

school curriculum;

national evaluation topics –contribute to the development of education policies and their effective implementation; and

Board Assurance Statement, including student and staff health and safety.

It also integrates external review with school self review by taking the most useful aspects from external and self review to build a picture of the school and its context.

This helps ERO to answer the major evaluation question for reviews:

How effectively does this school’s curriculum promote student learning: engagement, progress and achievement?

Areas for Development and Review

ERO reports include areas for development and review to support on-going improvement by identifying priorities. Often the school will have identified these matters through its own self review and already plans further development in those areas.