Te Huruhi School - 26/06/2015

Findings

Te Huruhi School is empowering students through new modern approaches to teaching and learning. A broad curriculum that includes provision for bilingual education supports many students to achieve well. The school is managing complex property challenges well, while preparing for a new school rebuild. High quality change management practices and school leadership are evident.

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

1 Context

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

Te Huruhi School on Waiheke Island caters for students in Years 1 to 6. The school has a growing roll and has sustained the many good practices evident at the time of the 2011 ERO review. It continues to move forward, has reviewed its strategic direction, and has begun a significant change process.

In 2013, the long serving principal retired and a new experienced principal was appointed. Several long-serving staff have also retired and ten new staff have joined the school, including six more recently qualified and provisionally registered teachers. New trustees have also joined the board.

Nga Purapura Akoranga, the school’s te reo Māori bilingual unit, has also had several changes in staff. The Principal, staff and whānau are working in accordance with a renewed shared vision for the unit that increases opportunities for student learning about te reo and tikanga Māori.

The board is working closely with the Ministry of Education (MoE) to manage significant property development matters. A whole school rebuild is due to take place in the near future. The school site is in need of significant repairs and maintenance until the new school is built. Consequently, the board and principal are managing a number of ongoing property and health and safety matters.

Plans indicate that the new school building project will provide students with a modern, collaborative learning environment. To prepare for this new environment, senior leaders are working closely with teachers to develop modern and innovative teaching and learning practices. Staff have invested significant time to the study of successful practices in new schools and are using research about effective modern learning approaches to inform their decision making.

Well chosen and high quality external professional learning and development is supporting teachers to transform their teaching practice. A new teacher leadership structure has been implemented. Existing classrooms have been modified to support collaborative teaching and learning practice, and students are now grouped into vertical teams to better support their learning.

2 Learning

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

In the last two years there has been considerable work to increase the quality and reliability of student achievement information. School leaders and teachers have developed effective tools for assessing writing. This work has increased the robustness of overall teacher judgements about student achievement in relation to the National Standards. They are now developing similar resources for reading and mathematics.

Many students continue to progress and achieve well in relation to the National Standards in reading, writing and mathematics. School leaders also acknowledge that further work is required to accelerate the progress of Māori students and some groups of boys. The board is now well placed to set more specific achievement targets for accelerating the achievement of these students.

School leaders and teachers use achievement information well to support students’ engagement and progress in learning. This purposeful use of achievement data is helping to establish a stronger evidence-based culture for guiding improvement planning for teaching and learning.

Teachers are also using achievement information more effectively to provide students with specific feedback about their learning and to evaluate the effectiveness of their teaching practice. The principal has implemented a well designed performance management system to support teachers with this work and to promote a more evaluative school culture.

Students are motivated and positive about their learning. They are becoming increasingly aware of their own levels of achievement and next learning steps. They are beginning to evaluate their own progress and are taking more responsibility for their learning.

Students in Nga Purapura Akoranga show high levels of enthusiasm for their studies relating to tikanga Māori and te reo Māori. They use achievement information about their reading, writing and mathematics in English to set useful learning goals and monitor their progress.

Relevant assessment tools and further external teacher professional development could be used to strengthen the teaching of te reo Māori in Nga Purapura Akoranga. This should help teachers assess students’ progress and achievement in te reo Māori, and improve students’ use of the language.

Parent contributions are highly valued by school leaders and staff who acknowledge, ‘it takes an island to raise a child.’ School leaders have recently made mid-year reports clearer to better inform families about how well students are progressing towards achieving National Standards. Exploring additional ways to work with families as students transition in and through the school would now be useful, and could include further review of staffing arrangements in new entrant classes.

The board receives well analysed and comprehensive achievement information. Trustees use this information thoughtfully to provide a wide variety of curriculum resources. Students with additional learning requirements benefit from an inclusive and well planned approach. Reporting on progress towards achieving annual plan goals would now be helpful to the board.

3 Curriculum

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

The school’s curriculum effectively promotes and supports student learning. It continues to prioritise literacy and mathematics within a broad and holistic curriculum. There is also a strong emphasis on the arts and science which reflects the island’s heritage well.

Curriculum review is also a key feature of current school development as part of the change to a more modern, future focused and collaborative learning philosophy. Work in this area is strengthening the alignment of the Te Huruhi School curriculum with The New Zealand Curriculum (NZC) vision, values and key competencies.

High quality curriculum leadership and professional development is very evident. The collaborative and more open classroom environments being established are helping teachers to share teaching strategies and decisions effectively. Teachers reflect more regularly on ways they can modify their practice to improve student learning.

Student learning is well supported by the school’s values that are encapsulated in the 5 C’s – ‘caring, co-operation, courtesy, courage, commitment’. There are new school learning values, namely the 4 R’s –‘resilience, resourcefulness, reflectiveness and reciprocity’. Student are using these values well to help them manage their own learning and to develop positive work habits.

Students show a strong sense of belonging to their school. Students' contributions are valued by their teachers. Students are being offered more choice about, and control of, their learning. This approach is promoting students' sense of owning their learning and providing them with greater decision making opportunities.

Students in Nga Purapura Akoranga shared with ERO how their learning environment supports their wairua and enhances their desire to learn and succeed. Student wellbeing and positive behaviour for learning remains a key priority for school leaders and teachers. Leaders and teachers continue to support and strengthen these aspects of the learning environment school wide.

New school vertical structures offer useful and flexible ways to help students develop continuity and coherence in their learning as they progress through the school. They also offer innovative ways for students to explore their own learning interests and develop their talents.

After 18 months of curriculum redesign, ERO and school leaders agree it is time to consolidate curriculum changes. Key steps for the school to consider include:

  • developing a shared understanding of what effective teaching practice looks like in the school’s collaborative learning spaces
  • finding additional ways to explore biculturalism and further support bilingualism to affirm all students’ cultures, languages and identities
  • implementing a learning progression for te reo Māori school-wide.

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

School leaders are currently developing the school’s capacity to promote educational success for Māori, as Māori.

Very good student achievement monitoring processes are in place to assess how well Māori students progress and achieve. Regularly comparing the achievement and success of Māori students in English medium classes and in bilingual education could help further inform strategic plans and target setting. A focus on accelerating outcomes for all Māori students in both the bilingual and English medium settings should remain a key strategic priority.

The school’s long-term commitment to providing for bilingual education is clearly evident. Staff in Nga Purapura Akoranga are working well together and with whānau and the principal. There are positive relationships for future success of the unit.

To realise the vision for Nga Purapura Akoranga, school leaders acknowledge the need to ensure students benefit from a sustainable curriculum and assessment structures. Further professional development for staff could now be helpful to strengthen planning and language teaching practices in order to enrich students’ te reo Māori skills.

The school has useful links with the local marae and with Māori community representatives on the board of trustees. Developing the schools’ bicultural vision within the new school vision through consultation and communication with whānau would be a timely strategic decision, especially with the plans to rebuild the school on the horizon.

The use of MoE documents, such as Tataiako: Cultural Competencies for Teachers of Māori Students, as part of the teacher appraisal process could also be helpful. Teachers could consider how effectively they promote and support success as Māori and how well they use culturally inclusive teaching practices.

The school is yet to consult fully with the Māori community and this is an agreed next step. Building positive and collaborative relationships with all whānau could offer new opportunities for Māori students to experience a curriculum that strongly affirms their language, culture and identity.

4 Sustainable Performance

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

The school is well placed to sustain and improve its performance. Self review is ongoing, robust and informs continual improvement. The focus on using a wider range of evidence for decision making is building a school culture that is more reflective and improvement focused. Improved systems for accountability, together with the school’s clear vision for the future is helping to guide decision making to increase school effectiveness.

The school is well led. School leaders work strategically and in complementary ways. There are many new initiatives in place and leaders provide good opportunities for teachers to learn and use new practices. The school’s community has high expectations and aspirations for their tamariki. School leaders and teachers are working very hard to meet these expectations, manage significant transformative change and enhance learning outcomes for students. Teachers are being well prepared for this change, as are students.

The board is inclusive, skilled and well led. Effective governance practices, policies and reporting processes are evident. Trustees are managing complex decision making well and providing very good support to the principal. Health and safety risks associated with the decay of the buildings are well managed.

A number of teachers are in fixed term roles due to staff leave and roll growth. Over time, school leaders and trustees should continue to review the number of fixed term and part time positions to promote a settled working environment for staff and continuity of learning for students.

The board and school leaders also agree that more regular reviews of wellbeing, including student, staff and community perspectives, could be useful particularly in this time of considerable change and development.

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.

During the course of the review ERO identified three areas of non-compliance. In order to address these, the board of trustees must:

  • in consultation with the school's Māori community, develop and make known policies, plans and targets for improving the achievement of Māori students
    [National Education Guidelines, National Administration Guideline 1(v)]
  • consult with the school community about the health curriculum every two years
    [s60B Education Act 1989]
  • report, in writing, twice each year to students enrolled in Years 1 to 8 and their parents on the students’ progress and achievement in relation to the National Standards
    [Education Act 1989; section 60(1) 9ba), reference s 61(4) Education Act 1989].

Conclusion

Te Huruhi School is empowering students through new modern approaches to teaching and learning. A broad curriculum that includes provision for bilingual education supports many students to achieve well. The school is managing complex property challenges well, while preparing for a new school rebuild. High quality change management practices and school leadership are evident.

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

Dale Bailey

Deputy Chief Review Officer Northern

26 June 2015

About the School

Location

Surfdale, Waiheke Island

Ministry of Education profile number

1177

School type

Contributing (Years 1 to 6)

School roll

415

Gender composition

Boys 56% Girls 44%

Ethnic composition

Māori

Pakeha

Chinese

Indian

other European

other Asian

other Pacific

17%

71%

2%

1%

5%

2%

2%

Special Features

Māori bilingual class: Nga Purapura Akoranga

Review team on site

May 2015

Date of this report

26 June 2015

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

January 2011

October 2007

June 2004