Timatanga Community School - 08/02/2017

1 Context

Timatanga Community School is a small state integrated, open-plan school catering for children in Years 1 to 8. Its special character is drawn from the educational philosophies of Playcentre, A.S. Neil and John Holt. The school is located in a rural setting surrounded by the Timatanga community, with gardens and orchards. The school's board, staff and community have a focus on increasing the maximum school roll.

Since ERO's last review the board has addressed health and safety issues related to the school driveway and gate.

2 Equity and excellence

The vision and valued outcomes defined by the school for all children are integral to all school systems and practices. The school vision states that children will learn in a highly social, inclusive learning environment where decisions are made democratically. School values of connectedness, discovery, play, self-management, mutual respect and resilience are promoted through leadership and teaching.

The school’s achievement information shows that children achieve well. In 2015 the school met the government achievement target of having 85 percent of students achieving at or above the National Standards in reading and mathematics. Writing data indicates children are tracking favourably towards the 85 percent target. The school's data shows very good achievement outcomes for Māori and Pacific children however, there is some disparity between girls' and boys' achievement in literacy.

The school has internal processes for moderating assessment information that are used as a basis for teachers to make overall judgements about achievement. The principal meets twice yearly with other schools to moderate literacy achievement. Developing moderation guidelines for mathematics and exploring moderation practices with other schools could enhance the dependability of student achievement data.

Since the last ERO evaluation the school has focused on developing sustainable systems and practices to improve learning outcomes for children. These include:

  • improving the effectiveness of the board of trustees
  • addressing health and safety issues by undertaking a playground and electrical audit
  • employing a part-time mathematics teacher to help raise achievement
  • implementing a more future-focused approach to leadership
  • applying deliberate acts of teaching to raise achievement in reading, writing and mathematics
  • introducing a rigorous 'holistic understanding' to learning, to strengthen teacher capability.

3 Accelerating achievement

How effectively does this school respond to children whose learning and achievement need acceleration?

The school is effective in responding to children whose learning and achievement need acceleration.

Teachers know their learners well. The learning environment is holistic, child-centred and inclusive. Teachers actively seek out the perspectives and aspirations of students, parents, whānau and staff and incorporate them into the life of the school. Personalised teacher responses support children's learning. As a result, there is a strong sense of identity and belonging for students, whānau and staff.

The social and collaborative nature of learning is recognised and well organised by teachers and parents to nurture and support student wellbeing and improve student outcomes. There is a focus on teaching skills and capabilities, rather than content. As a result, children observed by ERO displayed a sense of pride, a love of learning and authentic participation in learning.

Teachers regularly gather high quality data in the form of individual and group learning stories. Good systems that record this information online and in hard copy enable parents, students and teachers to revisit learning. Teachers now need to document children's learning progress more regularly in order to improve target setting and the analysis and evaluation of student achievement data.

The principal acknowledges that implementing anniversary reporting for all students in their first three years at school is a requirement.

Specific targets to accelerate progress for individual children who are at risk of not achieving are not yet recorded. There is a need to strengthen Charter targets for raising student achievement and the analysis of variance reporting by:

  • setting more specific targets to accelerate student progress
  • monitoring progress against targets
  • reporting achievement outcomes.

4 School conditions

How effectively do the school’s curriculum and other organisational processes and practices develop and enact the school’s vision, values, goals and targets for equity and excellence?

The curriculum is the heart of the school and along with other organisational processes and practices is very effective in developing and enacting the school's vision, values, goals and targets for equity and excellence.

A responsive, integrated and holistic curriculum is very evident throughout the school. Adults are deeply respectful of learners and adapt in response to learners' needs. Opportunities prevail for children to be collaborative co-constructors of their learning in an innovative learning environment.

The school culture supports powerful connections between parents, whānau, teachers, students and the community. All are active participants in school decision-making and in promoting equity and excellence for all students. An important feature of the school is the focus on 'learning to learn' for both adults and children. A recent emphasis on establishing tuakana/teina relationships, in an adult peer learning situation, further enhances the school's vision and values for all learners.

A high level of respect for te ao Māori and genuine inclusion of te reo and tikanga Māori are evident in the daily programme. Pacific concepts of talanoa and va are embraced by the school.

Children learn through play in experimental discovery and personal inquiry approaches. They are respected for their individual learning journeys. Children are happy, articulate, confident and highly engaged for sustained periods of time. They can talk about their learning and next steps. A noteworthy aspect of children's learning is the very high quality writing that they produce.

School leaders promote a productive and supportive environment that is beneficial to student learning and wellbeing. It is now timely for teachers to undertake professional development to bring teacher appraisal and registration processes in line with the requirements of the Education Council. Aligning these processes with Tātaiako, Cultural Competencies for Teachers of Māori Learners, should help to enrich these processes.

New and experienced trustees make up the recently elected board. Staff have attended a Democratic Education Convention, which led to them organising an Auckland hui based on collaborative inquiry for future possibilities in education.

5 Going forward

How well placed is the school to accelerate the achievement of all children who need it?

Leaders and teachers:

  • know the children whose learning and achievement need to be accelerated
  • respond to the strengths, needs and interests of each child
  • regularly evaluate how teaching is working for these children
  • need to systematically act on what they know works for each child
  • need to have a plan in place to build teacher capability to accelerate the achievement of all children who need it.

Timatanga Community School values, nurtures and encourages a sense of community. High levels of parent, whānau and community assurance contribute to positive outcomes for all students. The board is future-focused and committed to supporting the principal as the school moves forward.

The board agrees that priorities for ongoing school improvement include:

  • building teacher capability through internal evaluation to enable them to analyse, evaluate and document student achievement information over time and identify trends, patterns and next steps
  • the board evaluating their effectiveness and implementing systems and processes to strengthen their governance of the school
  • seeking Ministry of Education (MoE) assistance to help build internal capability around documenting student achievement information
  • seeking MoE assistance in supporting the principal to continue strengthening her sector knowledge.

Action: The board, principal and teachers should use the findings of this evaluation, the Effective School Evaluation resource, the Internal Evaluation: Good Practice exemplars and the School Evaluation Indicators to develop more targeted planning to accelerate student achievement. Planning should show how processes and practices will respond effectively to the strengths and needs of children whose learning and achievement need to be accelerated.

As part of this review ERO will continue to monitor the school’s planning and the progress the school makes. ERO is likely to carry out the next full review in three years.

6 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 the following:

  • board administration

  • curriculum

  • management of health, safety and welfare

  • personnel management

  • asset management.

During the review, ERO checked the following items because they have a potentially high impact on student safety and wellbeing:

  • emotional safety of students (including prevention of bullying and sexual harassment)

  • physical safety of students

  • teacher registration

  • processes for appointing staff

  • stand down, suspensions, expulsions and exclusions

  • attendance

  • compliance with the provisions of the Vulnerable Children Act 2014.

ERO identified two areas of non-compliance. To address these, the board and principal must:

  • develop a child protection policy that reflects legal requirements Vulnerable Children Act 2014
  • adopt a statement on the delivery of the health curriculum after consultation with the school community Education Act 1989, s60B.

To improve current practice, the board of trustees should:

  • establish robust procedures for education outside the classroom (EOTC), including implementing an EOTC policy and strengthening risk management practices and documentation.

7 Recommendation

There are risks and challenges for the board, proprietors, school and school community in relation to the integration agreement with the Crown. ERO recommends that the board and proprietors seek to strengthen their knowledge of and response to legal requirements to operate the school.

Graham Randell

Deputy Chief Review Officer Northern

8 February 2017

About the school

Location

Whenuapai, Auckland

Ministry of Education profile number

4146

School type

Full Primary (Years 1 to 8)

School roll

18

Gender composition

Boys 50% Girls 50%

Ethnic composition

Māori

Pākehā

Indian

Samoan

British

French Canadian

German

Rarotongan

11%

37%

17%

11%

6%

6%

6%

6%

Review team on site

November 2016

Date of this report

8 February 2017

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

October 2013

November 2010

August 2004