Te Puru School - 24/02/2015

Findings

Students benefit from teachers use of the school’s unique coastal location in teaching and learning programmes. Good progress has been made towards enacting its vision of developing highly self-managing students. Strong commitment by the principal, board, staff and whānau has led to higher rates of achievement for Māori students.

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 Puru School is located in the small coastal settlement of Te Puru just north of Thames. It caters for students in Years 1 to 8. There are currently 198 students, 20% of whom identify as Māori. Most whakapapa to local Hauraki iwi. The school is located next to the beach and makes good use of this location to provide opportunities for students to undertake water and other coastal related activities unique to this special environment.

The school is led by an experienced principal. Staffing has been relatively stable since the last ERO review in 2012. The board of trustees contains a mixture of both experienced and new trustees who are representative of the local community.

The school’s well-embedded virtues programme and student centred vision, ‘Whakatupuria ngā ika iti i roto i ā mātou wai marino, to let all our young fish grow strong in our calm waters,’ continue to contribute to a warm and settled school tone.

The school has a positive reporting history with ERO and has responded strongly to the recommendations in the 2012 ERO report.

2 Learning

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

A significant majority of students are performing at or above National Standards in reading, writing and mathematics. Overall school achievement is above regional and national comparisons.

The school uses achievement information to set appropriate targets and to identify those at risk of not achieving. School-wide trends are identified and professional development for teachers is designed to respond to these. Students with special learning needs are identified and a range of innovative and effective interventions have been developed to support their learning within an inclusive school culture. The board receives regular reports on student achievement, which it uses to develop strategic plans and make resourcing decisions.

Teachers use achievement information to identify student learning needs and develop programmes that respond to these needs.

Parents receive two written reports per year that explain student achievement in relation to the National Standards. These are supported by parent interviews and an open-door policy whereby parents feel welcome to visit teachers to discuss their children’s progress at any time.

School leaders and ERO agree it would be beneficial to continue to strengthen the ways teachers use achievement data diagnostically, and to strengthen ways students are encouraged to use achievement information to be more responsible for their own learning.

3 Curriculum

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

Students benefit from a broad range of academic, sporting, musical, cultural and leadership opportunities. Environmental education promotes students’ awareness of the need to protect their special coastal location. There is an appropriate balance between mathematics, literacy and other school subjects.

Teaching is generally of a high quality. ERO observed a range of effective teaching practices including feedback and feed-forward, ability grouping across classes, the use of authentic local contexts for learning and co-operative group work.

The school has a strong vision to develop a curriculum that will allow students to experience greater ownership of their learning. The school has developed effective ways of enabling students to manage their own timetables, beginning with supported opportunities in the middle school and moving to greater autonomy in the senior school. Information and communication technologies are well used to support students to manage their own learning.

School leaders and ERO agree that progressing this vision would be enhanced by strengthening the inquiry learning model used by students, and clarifying systems that ensure that there is a balanced coverage of all curriculum areas.

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

While Māori students in the school continue to achieve slightly below their non-Māori peers, the school is able to demonstrate that since the last ERO report, Māori student achievement has improved at a faster rate than non-Māori, and that the school has managed to significantly close the achievement gap.

The principal, board and staff have responded strongly and are highly committed to the need to ensure that the school better supports and enhances the identity, language and culture of its Māori students. School leaders have developed a strong relationship with Māori parents and whānau through regular meetings with a whānau group. A local expert teaches te reo Māori in classrooms as well as local tribal legends and histories. Māori culture and tikanga are increasingly more visible in the school. There are attractive murals and whakairo throughout the school. Kapa haka and Māori sports such as Kī-ō-rahi are promoted. Māori knowledge is woven into school musical productions and tikanga such as pōwhiri are a normal part of school life.

School leaders and ERO agree that continuing this momentum should promote higher levels of Māori student achievement. Teachers will need to take greater responsibility for ensuring a systematic and sequential approach to the teaching of te reo Māori and local tribal and settler history, and using it in authentic, everyday contexts. Senior leaders and ERO also agree that exploring Māori preferred ways of teaching and learning described in the Ministry of Education document Tātaiako is likely to enhance learning for Māori students. School leadership is committed to empowering the Māori community to be more visible and involved in the daily life of the school.

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.

The school principal is experienced. He takes a measured approach to ongoing change and improvement, which contributes to its sustainability. Parents issues are dealt with in a balanced and transparent manner. Teachers and staff work in a collaborative and supportive way. The board is clearly focussed on students’ achievement, progress and wellbeing and are fully involved in developing the vision for the future. They have effective systems of self review, particularly in the area of curriculum review.

Parents and whānau are well consulted and engaged in the daily life of the school through trips, sports, camps and helping out in the classroom.

Senior leaders and ERO agree that an important next step is to explore more effective ways of collaborating with parents and whānau in responding to the specific learning needs of their children.

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

Students benefit from teachers use of the school’s unique coastal location in teaching and learning programmes. Good progress has been made towards enacting its vision of developing highly self-managing students. Strong commitment by the principal, board, staff and whānau has led to higher rates of achievement for Māori students.

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

Dale Bailey

Deputy Chief Review Officer Northern

24 February 2015

About the School

Location

North of Thames

Ministry of Education profile number

1912

School type

Full Primary (Years 1 to 8)

School roll

198

Gender composition

Boys 45%

Girls 55%

Ethnic composition

Pākehā

Māori

Other

67%

20%

13%

Review team on site

November 2014

Date of this report

24 February 2015

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

January 2012

December 2008

March 2003