Te Kura o Waitahanui - 12/05/2015

Findings

Te Kura o Waitahanui has significantly improved the quality of education for students. The principal has been pivotal in enabling students to receive high-quality teaching and learning experiences. New systems and process should ensure the ongoing sustainability of these improvements. Trustees are committed to the ongoing development of the school.

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

1 Background and Context

What is the background and context for this school’s review?

Te Kura o Waitahanui caters for students in Years 1 to 6 and serves a small community approximately 12 kilometres south of Taupō. The school roll is 19 students all of whom identify as Māori. The senior and junior class has been combined to form one class with two teachers. Te reo Māori is the main medium of instruction and the curriculum is based on Te Marautanga o Aotearoa.

At the time of the previous ERO review in 2014, ERO identified issues relating to poor quality teaching in the senior class, professional leadership, and the need for the board of trustees to strengthen their knowledge and understanding of effective governance. In addition ERO identified several areas of non-compliance with legislative requirements. In August 2014 the principal resigned and a new principal was appointed towards the end of the year.

This report evaluates the extent to which these issues have been addressed.

2 Review and Development

How effectively is the school addressing its priorities for review and development?

Priorities identified for review and development

  • improving the quality of professional leadership, including teacher appraisal, assessment practices and reporting to parents
  • improving the quality of teaching in the senior class
  • strengthening trustees knowledge of effective governance
  • addressing areas of non compliance.
Progress

At the time of this ERO review a new principal has been in place for three terms. In a short time, she has significantly improved the quality of education for students. Students now learn in a purposeful and focused classroom setting. They are highly engaged in relevant learning that draws on their personal experiences, the local environment, and the unique values and aspirations of Ngāti Tutemohuta. Each student is able to learn at their own pace and level of ability. They work independently and cooperatively with other students and demonstrate high levels of motivation and enjoyment of learning.

Teaching practice is characterised by warm and respectful learning interactions within a supportive and caring learning environment. The principal and class teacher know each student well and effectively use this knowledge to design meaningful learning opportunities that support students’ specific learning needs and interests. Te reo Māori is used naturally by teachers and students. A significant feature of classroom teaching and learning is students’ use of higher order thinking skills, critical reflection, and inquiry learning to develop new ideas and understandings of their environment, the community, and the wider world.

The principal is providing strong and effective leadership for the school and its community. She has implemented a range of appropriate systems and processes to support ongoing improvements to teaching and learning. These systems include the development and implementation of a robust appraisal process, purposeful staff meetings focused on teachers’ collegial support and guidance and sharing of good practice. Regular learning monitoring meetings to ensure the progress of individual students is carefully tracked and monitored.

Teachers are accessing high quality professional learning and development related to assessment practice and Ngā Whanaketanga Rumaki Māori. They are engaged in external moderation with a local school which is strengthening the validity of their judgements about student achievement. Parents now receive two written reports on their child’s progress and achievement in relation to Ngā Whanaketanga Rumaki Māori.

The board of trustees continue to demonstrate a high level of commitment to the ongoing development and growth of the school. They have engaged in board training that has been useful in identifying the next steps for improving school governance. ERO affirms this direction as being of high priority for strengthening trustees’ ability and knowledge to more effectively govern the school.

Trustees have fully addressed the areas of non compliance identified in the previous ERO report.

3 Sustainable performance and self review

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

The school is now well placed to sustain and improve its performance because:

  • the principal is providing high quality leadership for teaching and learning
  • students are engaged in focused and purposeful learning programmes
  • a range of systems and processes support ongoing improvements to teaching and learning
  • trustees are committed to ongoing school improvement and to strengthening the knowledge and understanding of effective school governance.

Key next steps

It is necessary for trustees to continue to undertake ongoing board training in relation to:

  • the role and responsibilities of the chairman including the facilitation of effective board meetings
  • relationship management including clear guidelines and expectations for dealing with complaints to the principal and board
  • ensuring responsible spending of public monies and financial management.

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

Te Kura o Waitahanui has significantly improved the quality of education for students. The principal has been pivotal in enabling students to receive high-quality teaching and learning experiences. New systems and process should ensure the ongoing sustainability of these improvements. Trustees are committed to the ongoing development of the school.

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

Dale Bailey

Deputy Chief Review Officer Northern

12 May 2015

About the School

Location

South of Taupō

Ministry of Education profile number

2068

School type

Contributing (Years 1 to 6)

School roll

19

Gender composition

Boys 10

Girls 9

Ethnic composition

Māori

19

Special Features

Rumaki Education

Review team on site

March 2015

Date of this report

12 May 2015

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

August 2014

June 2012