Te Karaka Area School - 14/12/2016

Findings

Students experience initiatives that support them to participate successfully as Māori. The board, community and whānau have high expectations for improvement so that all students achieve well to become lifelong learners. Leaders and teachers should now focus particularly on effective curriculum implementation and teaching of reading, writing and mathematics.

ERO intends to carry out another review over the course of one-to-two years.

1 Context

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

Te Karaka Area School is a rural school north of Gisborne that caters for students from Year 1 to 13. It moved to its current premises in 2014. The school is located in the taiwhenua of Te Aitanga-a-Mahaki-iwi. Members of the community and local marae engage with the school as part of a roopu known as ICE, Iwi Community Engagement.

School staff see whanaungatanga, manaakitanga and respect as important, and a positive school tone is encouraged. Students and staff are accommodated in a purpose-built complex that provides space for a range of innovative learning environments and specialist classrooms. The newly appointed principal began in Term 3, 2016.

Fluctuation in roll numbers has resulted in the loss of some staff. Currently, there are 143 students, 98% identifying as Māori. There is one te reo Māori immersion rumaki class. As the basis of school organisation, students are grouped in multi-level learning communities. Students take part in EnviroSchool activities.

The September 2013 ERO report recommended improving the use of assessment information and developing a shared understanding of the purpose of self review. These recommendations are yet to be fully addressed.

2 Learning

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

The school is yet to make sufficiently effective use of analysed achievement information to make positive changes for students' learning.

Some students achieve good success in relation to National Standards and in the National Certificates of Educational Achievement (NCEAs) and there are some examples of improved achievement. However, there is no consistent pattern over time of sustained improvement across all areas of achievement. Overall achievement now needs to be raised significantly. 

Teachers use some achievement information to determine students' progress. However, information is not sufficiently well used to decide which programmes and strategies make positive changes to learners’ engagement, progress and achievement. Staff are aware of issues related to students' attendance that can negatively affect their achievement.

The focus on those students who require additional support is ably managed by a lead teacher and deputy principal. The school accesses the support of external agencies for some students. Staff participate in professional learning opportunities about better engaging students in learning.

A small group of students learn in a well-functioning te reo Māori immersion rumaki, where they experience appropriate individual, group and whole-class teaching.

Families are invited to build relationships about students' learning with teachers. Where this is most effective, partnerships for learning are developing and student progress is becoming a shared responsibility.

3 Curriculum

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

The school's curriculum does not yet effectively support student learning overall. Urgent attention is needed to ensure deliberate teaching of reading, writing and numeracy across the whole school, so that students can better participate in the curriculum with necessary age-appropriate essential skills.

The inquiry-learning approach introduced in 2011 has not suited all students' needs to support their learning, engagement, progress and achievement. Leaders and teachers have not developed and implemented The New Zealand Curriculum (NZC) learning areas of science, the arts, social sciences and technology.

During 2015, the schools' local curriculum, which has a Te Karaka focus, has been reconsidered. Currently, a school curriculum document is being developed by staff with the support of an external advisor. This development should strengthen contexts for learning across NZC and Te Marautanga o Aotearoa (TMoA). Iwi, the board and community express their desire to participate in implementation of the curriculum.

Across the school, teachers have recognised that those students at risk of not making progress require adapted strategies. In the senior school, students have opportunities to achieve across the NCEA Levels. Specific programmes seek to strengthen transition to work or further studies. Positive outcomes are evident when teachers have high expectations for success.

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

Students demonstrate a strong sense of belonging in the school and pride in being Māori. Schoolwide initiatives support students well to embrace their language and identity. This includes knowledge of the school values. Kupu, waiata, haka and moteatea reinforce what it is to be Māori in Te Karaka Area School. Some students participate in te reo Māori instruction tailored to their needs and level of competence. 

4 Sustainable Performance

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

A clear plan is needed to establish strategic direction for the school and to guide implementation for ongoing improvement.

Members of the community embrace the school as a focal point for Te Karaka. The board is well organised and united in purpose, and trustees are well informed about their roles and responsibilities. Community, iwi, the board and whānau are committed to improvement.

Sustaining and improving the performance of the school requires well-focused action to:

  • accelerate student progress and achievement
  • appraise all staff annually
  • survey students confidentially to gather information about their wellbeing
  • develop shared understandings of the National Standards and NCEA across the community
  • undertake internal evaluation that systematically enquires into the quality and effectiveness of what the school does and provides evidence-based information for decision making
  • implement a localised school curriculum that fully addresses all areas and requirements of the NZC and TMoA.

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 review, two areas of non-compliance were identified. To meet its legislative obligations, the board of trustees must:

  • through the principal and staff, ensure that staff develop and implement teaching and learning programmes providing all students with opportunities to achieve success in all learning areas of The New Zealand Curriculum. This includes: the arts, science, social sciences and technology.
    [National Administration Guideline 1]
  • attest that all teaching staff are appraised by the professional leader of the school
    [Practising Teacher Criteria 9, Part 31 Education Act 1989]

Conclusion

Students experience initiatives that support them to participate successfully as Māori. The board, community and whānau have high expectations for improvement so that all students achieve well to become lifelong learners. Leaders and teachers should now focus particularly on effective curriculum implementation and teaching of reading, writing and mathematics.

ERO intends to carry out another review over the course of one-to-two years.

Joyce Gebbie

Deputy Chief Review Officer Central

14 December 2016

About the School

Location

Gisborne

Ministry of Education profile number

624

School type

Composite (Years 1 to 13)

School roll

143

Gender composition

Female 55%, Male 45%

Ethnic composition

Māori Pākehā

96% 4%

Review team on site

October 2016

Date of this report

14 December 2016

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

September 2013