Tomarata School is a small rural full primary school near Wellsford. The school roll of 122 students includes 20 Māori students.
The school’s overarching vision and aims are focused on igniting students’ learning, developing success for all, promoting student wellbeing and building strong relationships with the school community. Tomarata School’s whakatauki is ‘Poipoia te kakano kia puawai. Nurture the seed and it will blossom’.
The school’s current achievement targets are for students to achieve expected curriculum levels in reading, writing and mathematics.
Leaders and teachers regularly report to the board, schoolwide information about outcomes for students in the following areas:
Since 2019, several personnel changes have occurred. Most trustees, the senior leadership team and many teachers are new. Teachers are participating in professional learning in mathematics.
During 2016 to 2019, the Ministry of Education appointed consecutive Limited Statutory Managers (LSMs) to improve stewardship, staff relationships and engagement with the school community.
Tomarata School has recently joined the Twin Coast Community of Learning | Kāhui Ako (CoL).
Tomarata School is not able to provide reliable information to show how well the school is achieving equitable and excellent outcomes for students. At the time of the review, there was a lack of valid and reliable achievement data to show how well all students and groups of students achieve over time.
School leaders are beginning to develop systems to identify, monitor and respond to those students whose learning and achievement need acceleration. Leaders are identifying groups of students and their specific learning strengths, needs and abilities. This approach is helping to determine relevant learning programmes to support those students, including Māori, who need to make accelerated progress.
School leaders and teachers are beginning to develop processes that promote community engagement, and consultation to contribute to the school’s vision and strategic direction. Consultation with the school community shows they have expectations that students will develop values of respect with empathy and understanding, growth through learning from mistakes, ownership of actions and working together harmoniously.
New school leaders are focused on strategically managing change to improve positive outcomes for children. The principal is proactively improving relationships with the local community and whānau Māori. Some community members generously resource opportunities for students to learn in a localised curriculum. Students make use of local whenua, native bush and awa that local families have allowed access to the school.
School leaders are improving the school’s learning culture. They have established educationally powerful connections with wider networks, including local schools, external professional providers and the community. These professional relationships are supporting the school to become a focal point within the local area. Parents and whānau comment that the school has a renewed focus on promoting an inclusive culture. Students comment positively about the improved school culture. They appreciate the leadership opportunities where they can share the ideas and actively engage in decision making to enhance the school environment. These opportunities enable students to feel empowered and connected to the school.
School leaders should develop a schoolwide approach to improving assessment processes and teaching practice. Key priorities include:
The principal acknowledges that continuing to develop a responsive curriculum is needed. Further work includes:
Teachers and teacher aides work with students who require additional learning support. School leaders should provide evaluative reports to the board of trustees on the effectiveness of teaching strategies and teacher aide support to lift achievement. This would inform trustees to better understand and respond to students’ progress and achievement in learning.
School leaders and teachers should continue to build their collective capacity to do and use evaluation, inquiry and knowledge building for ongoing improvement and innovation.
A priority for trustees is to continue governance training to increase capability to evaluate how well the school is progressing towards the strategic goals and improving outcomes for all students.
Before the review, the board 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:
During the review, ERO checked the following items because they have a potentially high impact on student safety and wellbeing:
On the basis of the findings of this review, ERO’s overall evaluation judgement of Tomarata School’s performance in achieving valued outcomes for its students is: Needs development.
ERO will maintain an ongoing relationship with the school to build capacity and evaluate progress.
ERO’s Framework: Overall Findings and Judgement Tool derived from School Evaluation Indicators: Effective Practice for Improvement and Learner Success is available on ERO’s website.
For sustained improvement and future learner success, the school can draw on existing strengths in:
For sustained improvement and future learner success, priorities for further development are in:
ERO identified non-compliance in relation to curriculum, personnel and governance.
In order to address this, the board of trustees must ensure:
ERO recommends that the school seeks support from the Ministry of Education in order to bring about improvements in:
Recommendations to other agencies:
ERO recommends that the New Zealand School Trustees Association consider providing support for the board to help it effectively meet its statutory legislative requirements.
Director Review and Improvement Services (Northern)
Northern Region - Te Tai Raki
5 August 2020