Te Kauwhata Primary School - 20/01/2015

Findings

Positive and affirming relationships underpin a broad and rich curriculum that supports student learning. Appropriate emphasis is placed on literacy and mathematics learning. A significant majority of students in 2014 achieved at or above National Standards. There are a wide variety of support programmes for students who require additional assistance.

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 Kauwhata Primary School, located in the rural village of Te Kauwhata north of Huntly, provides education for children in Years 1 to 6. The school’s roll of 271 includes 80 children who identify as Māori, many of whom whakapapa to Tainui and Ngāti Ngapuhi.

Since the 2011 ERO review, the school’s roll has remained at a similar level. A new deputy principal was appointed at the beginning of 2014, and there have been some changes in the teaching team. Current trustees, all new to their roles, were elected mid 2013. Teachers have undertaken professional learning in mathematics and gifted and talented education. The school has reviewed its processes for teacher appraisal. The board has invested significantly in developing the school’s computer resources including the purchase of a significant number of portable devices for student learning.

Students benefit from learning in spacious, well-maintained and presented classes and the wider school environment. An active parent-teacher association supports the school’s engagement with parents, whānau and the wider community as well as overseeing fundraising activities.

The school has a positive ERO reporting history, and has made significant progress in addressing the areas for development identified in the 2011 ERO report about documenting the school’s curriculum. As part of this process the school consulted with parents, whānau and the wider community to develop the key school values 'We CARE' (Communicate, Aspire, Respect and Engage).

The school’s inclusive tone promotes a family-like atmosphere, supports tuakana-teina (older helping younger) relationships, and provides a positive climate for learning.

2 Learning

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

School leaders have established useful systems that guide teachers to collect appropriate achievement data, especially in the areas of reading, writing and mathematics. They analyse school-wide achievement information and regularly report findings to the board and community. Leaders also use this information to identify students needing additional support or extension, and to monitor the effectiveness of programmes and initiatives. While good progress has been made in developing processes that support teachers to make reliable judgements in relation to the National Standards, there is a need to continue to refine these processes.

The board receives regular reports about school-wide achievement and makes good use of this data to inform their decision-making.

Teachers use data to group students for learning, especially in reading, writing and mathematics. Some teachers make effective use particularly of achievement information to plan and implement specific learning programmes. In these classes, students are more able to understand their learning, progress, achievement and next steps. Teachers carefully monitor the achievement and progress of those students who are below the National Standards. They use this information to reflect on the effectiveness of their teaching programmes.

Parents are well-informed about their children’s learning through comprehensive written reports, student-led conferences, and many opportunities for informal contact with teachers.

At the end of 2014, approximately 75% of students achieved at or above the National Standards in reading and mathematics. The school has identified lower levels of achievement in writing and in 2015 will be implementing a comprehensive teacher professional development programme with the intention of improving these results. These 2014 results show that Māori students generally achieve slightly below their non-Māori peers at the school. The school is well-placed to achieve the Government’s target of having 85% of students achieving at or above the National Standards by the end of 2017.

3 Curriculum

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

Te Kauwhata Primary School provides a broad and rich curriculum that supports student learning. The principal has led the development and documentation of the school’s curriculum to reflect the principles of The New Zealand Curriculum (NZC). Appropriate priority is placed on mathematics and literacy learning. School-designed learning progressions in reading, writing and mathematics support teachers to identify where students are at in their learning, and to identify next learning steps. Teachers make good use of real life contexts that engage students in meaningful learning. Developing partnerships with the local secondary school and early childhood centres supports transitions between places of learning for students and their families.

Other features of the curriculum are:

  • the long-standing involvement with the EnviroSchool sustainability programme
  • frequent trips and camps in the local and wider environment
  • many opportunities for students to develop their leadership skills
  • the effective use of computer technology to engage students in learning
  • a wide variety of sporting, cultural and academic competitions and events.

Teachers maintain positive and affirming relationships with students and have high expectations for learning. They welcome parents’ contribution and involvement in class and school programmes. ERO observed some teachers using effective teaching and learning strategies that reflect the school’s agreed expectations and recent teacher professional learning and development. To develop the consistent use of these strategies school leaders need to further strengthen the teacher appraisal process to provide teachers with regular and detailed feedback about their teaching practice. As part of this development, school leaders and teachers should consider the implications of the Ministry of Education’s (MoE) document, Tātaiako – Cultural Competencies for Māori Learners.

Experienced teacher aides, and specialist teachers, provide an extensive variety of support programmes for students with identified learning needs in literacy and mathematics. Consideration should be given to strengthening the partnership with parents and whānau of students in these programmes to enable them to better support their children’s learning at home.

Fortnightly whānau group days are held where students work in mixed-age settings that promote tuakana-teina relationships, and provide opportunities for teachers and students to share their knowledge and expertise. Each term, students participate in a ‘WOW’ week which encourages exploration and creativity, and integrates interests across learning areas.

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

Māori students’ culture and identity is enhanced by:

  • school visits to the local marae
  • opportunities to participate in kapa haka
  • the regular use of waiata and pōwhiri
  • the ongoing support of respected and knowledgeable local whānau members.

A kaiawhina supports teachers to implement te reo and tikanga Māori programmes in each class. The principal, with the support of a group of teachers, leads the strengthened place of te ao Māori in the school’s curriculum. Priority should be placed on developing a strategic plan to further develop the school’s approach to promoting success for Māori as Māori and to raising the achievement of Māori students. This plan should reflect the aspirations of whānau, the principles of the MoE document Ka Hikitia-Accelerating Success 2013-2017, and current research about promoting Māori success.

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.

Trustees bring a wide variety of skills and knowledge to their positions. They have undertaken appropriate training in governance and have a clear focus on school improvement. Trustees are supportive of the principal and teachers, and are committed to building partnerships with parents, whānau and the local community.

The knowledgeable and reflective principal has a clear direction for ongoing school development. She has a focus on raising student achievement by further strengthening teachers’ professional practice. The principal is well-supported by the recently appointed deputy principal. An important next step for the principal is to support leadership development within the teaching team, to utilise their strengths and potential as leaders of learning within the school.

The school has established useful self-review practices, however these require further development to enable the board and school leaders to effectively evaluate key aspects of school operations and initiatives.

There are long-standing positive and meaningful relationships with community groups.

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

Positive and affirming relationships underpin a broad and rich curriculum that supports student learning. Appropriate emphasis is placed on literacy and mathematics learning. A significant majority of students in 2014 achieved at or above National Standards. There are a wide variety of support programmes for students who require additional assistance.

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

Dale Bailey

Deputy Chief Review Officer - Northern Northern Region

20 January 2015

About the School

Location

Te Kauwhata, Waikato

Ministry of Education profile number

2005

School type

Contributing (Years 1 to 6)

School roll

271

Gender composition

Boys 52% Girls 48%

Ethnic composition

Pākehā

Māori

Other

61%

30%

9%

Review team on site

November 2014

Date of this report

20 January 2015

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

November 2011

December 2008

October 2005