Toko School - 14/11/2014

Findings

Toko School is welcoming and inclusive. Teaching and the curriculum promote learning and engagement effectively. Most students achieve at or above expectations in relation to the National Standards. The focus on sustainability encourages children to take responsibility for the environment. The school is at the heart of its community and successfully engages families in partnerships that support learning.

ERO is likely to carry out the next review in four-to-five years.

1 Context

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

Toko School is situated in a rural environment to the east of Stratford. At the time of this review there were 124 students on the roll.

The school is at the heart of its community. It engages families and the wider community through a range of activities. The vision of ‘Quality learning for all in a caring community’ underpins all aspects of school life. The school is well supported by local community groups, including the parent-teacher association and fundraising.

In 2014, the school participated in the Ministry of Education ‘Mutukaroa’ initiative. This aims to accelerate the learning, progress and achievement of students in Years 1, 2 and 3 by fostering partnerships for learning with parents and whānau. Since the August 2011 ERO report, the school has received an ‘Enviro Schools’ bronze award for the introduction and development of sustainable practices.

Toko School has a good reporting history with ERO. Involvement in the well-established local schools' cluster provides opportunities for collaboration and professional learning that have a positive impact on improving outcomes for students.

2 Learning

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

Toko School is highly effective in its use of achievement information to make positive changes to learners' engagement, progress and achievement.

Leaders and teachers collate a comprehensive range of reliable and useful student achievement information. Students’ achievement and progress is systematically tracked and monitored. Teachers are well supported to make accurate judgements about student achievement in relation to the National Standards.

Most students are achieving at or above in relation to the Standards in reading, writing and mathematics. Improvement of achievement in writing has been a focus for teachers’ professional learning since the previous ERO report.

Leaders use data to identify students at risk of underachieving and set goals and targets for raising their achievement. Progress is reported and shared with trustees.

Teachers use achievement information effectively to plan for programmes and strategies in response to individual and group needs. Interventions that support identified needs are tailored to students’ specific requirements. Those with high needs are well catered for and are making good progress.

Teachers are using data to inquire into the effectiveness of their teaching. This process is supported with regular classroom observations and feedback. Teachers meet to critique their strategies and share good practice.

The well-developed culture of collegiality helps to extend their professional learning and that of students. The next step is to embed the inquiry process consistently across the school.

Students are able to talk about their learning and achievement. Teachers are increasingly engaging them in conversations using assessment data. Students are taking responsibility and making decisions about their next steps for improvement.

Parents are well informed about assessment. They have a good understanding of how it is used to promote their child’s learning. Teachers have developed home resources for parents of priority learners.

Parents receive detailed reports twice-yearly about their child’s progress and achievement in relation to National Standards. Reports cover a range of curriculum areas and are suitably linked to the schools' ‘learning stars’, the desired outcomes for learners. Students’ next learning steps are clearly identified. Parents are informed about how they can offer further support at home.

3 Curriculum

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

The Toko School curriculum effectively promotes and supports student learning. It successfully expresses its vision and values through the ‘learning stars’, which underpin curriculum and strategic planning. These articulate the desired outcomes for successful learners and responsible citizens. There is strong alignment to the priorities and principles of The New Zealand Curriculum. The development of the key competencies is integrated and there is an appropriate focus on literacy and mathematics.

The school is welcoming and inclusive. Supporting children’s wellbeing is a priority. Respectful and reciprocal relationships are evident throughout. Students are well-mannered. The tone is positive and settled. The environment is vibrant and learning-focused.

Students work successfully in groups and independently. They cooperate well to support each other’s learning. They are confident and eager participants in classroom activities, where success is celebrated and rewarded. Full advantage is taken of the range of opportunities to show leadership.

The collaboratively developed curriculum documents provide comprehensive guidelines and expectations for teaching. There is a shared and consistent understanding of the expectations that guide practice.

The school’s environment and sustainability focus encourages students to take responsibility for horticulture, recycling and the care of animals. Information and communication technologies support the sharing of learning and connections with the wider world. These enhance children’s learning.

Teachers use effective teaching strategies to fully engage students, including planning for authentic, local contexts, students’ interests and teaching to individual needs. Teachers share the purpose of lessons and indicators of success. Students receive focused oral and written feedback. Students spoken to by ERO were able to articulate their understanding of learning, their achievement levels, progress and where to next. The effective practice in writing should now be transferred to teaching across the curriculum, particularly in mathematics.

A thoughtfully planned and considered approach to transitions into and out of the school, promotes parents' awareness of expectations, routines, systems and procedures and is responsive to individual need.

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

Māori students’ learning and achievement is effectively tracked and monitored. They make good progress. Students' and whānau iwi are acknowledged. The principal and teachers have developed positive and productive relationships with parents and whānau. This ensures parents' aspirations and their children’s learning needs are well supported.

Trustees and leaders have considered Ka Hikitia - Managing for Success: The Māori Education Strategy 2013 - 2017 in their strategic planning. They show strong commitment to the principles of The Treaty of Waitangi. Leaders are continuing to strengthen practices that support teachers to be culturally responsive.

The next step is to further develop the inclusion of te ao Māori in the curriculum and its presence in the school environment.

4 Sustainable Performance

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

Toko School is well placed to sustain and improve its performance. The principal provides effective professional leadership for the school, its community and wider educational community. She builds positive relationships with students, teachers and families. Leadership is promoted, using teachers' strengths and interests.

The performance management system is improvement-focused. Teachers’ development goals are clearly aligned to the strategic priorities. Capability is promoted through well-considered and focused professional learning.

Teachers benefit from their involvement with the local schools' cluster, sharing good practice, moderating judgements for consistency and focusing on outcomes for learners. Students enjoy the increased opportunities for shared events and activities.

Parents are actively engaged in all aspects of school life. Good communication and open processes encourage families and whānau to work with the school to support their children's learning. The increased sharing of information at the initial stage of the child’s schooling promotes early and productive involvement with parents.

Trustees are reflective and their decision-making is informed by good quality achievement information. The board is developing an understanding of roles and responsibilities and regularly consults with the community about priorities and planning. Trustees access training whenever possible. Documents, systems and processes that support school operation are aligned and regularly reviewed. Plans for the ongoing integration of e-Learning into the curriculum are well considered.

Self review is supporting change and improvement. Strengthening evaluation is likely to enhance capacity for determining the impact of initiatives and programmes on outcomes for students.

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

Toko School is welcoming and inclusive. Teaching and the curriculum promote learning and engagement effectively. Most students achieve at or above expectations in relation to the National Standards. The focus on sustainability encourages children to take responsibility for the environment. The school is at the heart of its community and successfully engages families in partnerships that support learning.

ERO is likely to carry out the next review in four-to-five years.

Joyce Gebbie

National Manager Review Services Central Region

27 November 2014

About the School

Location

Stratford

Ministry of Education profile number

2254

School type

Full Primary (Years 1 to 8)

School roll

124

Gender composition

Female 52%,

Male 48%

Ethnic composition

Māori

NZ European/Pākehā

4%

96%

Review team on site

October 2014

Date of this report

27 November 2014

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

August 2011

October 2008

June 2005