Tokomaru School - 26/01/2017

1 Context

Tokomaru School is a full primary school catering for students in Years 1 to 8. The school predominantly serves families around the local village, with a quarter of the roll being drawn from the wider rural community. At the time of this ERO review, of the 84 students on the roll, 23 identify as Māori. A fourth classroom was opened in June 2016 to accommodate roll growth. There are close links between the community and the school.

The principal and two full-time staff have been appointed in 2016.

2 Equity and excellence

The vision and valued outcomes defined by the school for all children are expressed through the school’s vision, ‘where children achieve excellence’ and their mission is to empower students to achieve personal excellence, in a learning culture that equips them for an evolving world. This is enacted through the shared values of honesty, responsibility, respect and perseverance.

The school’s achievement information shows that most students achieve at or above in relation to the National Standard in reading, writing and mathematics. Data from 2015, shows that when compared to other groups, Māori learners exceed in mathematics and writing, and achieve similarly in reading. Boys and girls achieve equally in reading, girls do better than boys in writing and boys' achievement is higher in mathematics.

An appropriate range of tools and evidence are used to form teacher judgements about students' achievement and progress in relation to the National Standards. Clear and useful guidelines are in place to support teachers to make reliable decisions. The Progress and Consistency Tool (PaCT) has been introduced to assist teacher judgements in mathematics.

Since the last ERO evaluation the school has focused on:

  • building a collaborative team
  • involving the community in the school and providing multiple means of effective communication with parents and whānau
  • reviewing the school curriculum and charter
  • implementing an appraisal system. 

3 Accelerating achievement

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

The school responds to students whose learning and achievement need acceleration with an individualised approach that focuses on addressing specific learning needs. Teachers identify Māori students whose learning and achievement requires acceleration and monitors their progress throughout the year.

Teachers work collaboratively to regularly reflect on the progress of target students. Leaders and teachers discuss ways to accelerate students' learning through teachers' appraisal goals and teaching as inquiry action plans. Students who are underachieving in reading and writing are well-supported through focused discussions about the specific needs of targeted learners.

Staff and trustees receive information about what is happening for these students.

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

The response to these learners is similar to their response to Māori students.

The school is developing a deliberate and more focused approach to recognising and effectively meeting the needs of individual learners. The school knows the names, numbers and needs of the students whose learning requires acceleration. Annual targets reflect the analysis of the patterns and trends of achievement, appropriately identify priority groups and focus on raising student achievement in specific areas.

Teachers are supported to reflect on the effectiveness of their practice, build teaching capacity and improve responsiveness to learners who are at risk of underachieving.

The school collates information about students who require additional support to ensure their needs are fully considered. A useful range of programmes and interventions are in place to support learners. Teacher aides work alongside teachers to provide additional in-class support. The school works closely with outside agencies to provide specialised assistance.

Using data to evaluate the impact of support programmes and interventions should strengthen the school's response.

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?

School conditions are positive for enacting the vision, values, goals and targets to promote equity and excellence.

A high level of trust, integrity and openness exists between the board of trustees and leaders. There is a strong focus on raising student achievement and promoting student wellbeing. Trustees understand their roles and use each other’s knowledge and expertise. They seek relevant advice and resources when required.

The board receives a range of data and achievement information to support their understanding of what is going well and for which students. Trustees ask relevant questions and are beginning to scrutinise the data to establish the impact of targeted actions on improving student outcomes.

A regular cycle of self review has been developed to ensure school policies and procedures are coherent, fit for purpose and well communicated to the community. The board proactively seek and respond to feedback from the community.

A culture of care, trust and respect is evident. Positive relationships are established with families and the community who are welcomed and actively participate in school activities. Their contributions and expertise are valued and enhance student learning. Parents receive useful information in relation to their child’s progress and achievement through opportunities to meet with teachers to discuss students' achievement, next steps and how they can help at home.

Leadership has established conditions which support effective teaching and learning. There is cohesive alignment of students' learning needs, teacher appraisal goals, professional learning and strategic priorities.

Leaders and teachers recognise and affirm the identities, language and culture of students and their whānau. Te reo me ngā tikanga Māori are evident and embraced through the school’s curriculum. Kapa haka is an integral part of the school’s identity and future direction.

The Learner Pathway is a framework that supports students to develop their self-management skills, knowledge and ownership of their learning. The use of this has had a positive impact on school culture, teaching and learning. Teachers know their learners well and co-construct challenging but realistic learning goals. They use culturally responsive teaching practices to promote student learning.

The school is currently reviewing their curriculum to include the 'Learner Pathway' as a significant part of its strategic direction and to reflect school priorities. In 2016, the school values were refreshed, more leadership opportunities were identified and the behaviour management system was revised with input from students. Continuing to refine curriculum documentation will clarify school expectations for effective practice.

Strong relationships with early childhood learning services supports students and their families to transition to school.

The appraisal system is robust and collaborative. It has a cohesive structure based on evidence and teacher reflection. Teachers are keen to innovate and are willing to challenge themselves to try new things to accelerate the progress of their learners.

Leaders and teachers work together to plan, assess and evaluate. The principal has strengthened systems to enable a more evaluative approach to review and decision-making. The school is actively developing its collective capacity to evaluate its effectiveness in improving student progress and achievement. 

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 effectively to the strengths, needs and interests of each child
  • regularly evaluate how well teaching is working for these children
  • act on what they know works well for each child
  • build teacher capability effectively to achieve equitable outcomes for all children
  • are well placed to achieve and sustain equitable and excellent outcomes for all children.

ERO is likely to carry out the next 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. 

7 Recommendation

ERO recommends that school leaders sustain their focus on raising student achievement by:

  • further development of the curriculum
  • continuing to build collective internal evaluation to know what is working, what is not working and what needs to change.

Joyce Gebbie

Deputy Chief Review Officer Central

26 January 2017 

About the school

Location

Tokomaru

Ministry of Education profile number

3046

School type

Full Primary (Years 1 to 8)

School roll

84

Gender composition

Female 47, Male 37

Ethnic composition

Māori

Pākehā

Pacific

Asian

23

54

5

2

Review team on site

November 2016

Date of this report

26 January 2017

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

April 2014

February 2011

October 2007