Kawakawa Primary School

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1 Context

Kawakawa Primary School caters for children in Years 1 to 8. The school has a long history of inter-generational connections and significant links with the community. The majority of children are Māori, most of whom whakapapa to Ngāti Hine o Hine a Maru. The three bilingual classes continue to be a special feature of the school.

Since the 2013 ERO review the school has experienced some significant changes in leadership. An acting principal managed the school for a period of time and was then appointed as principal in 2015. A new deputy principal was appointed in 2016.

The board has initiated a number of property developments in the last two years. Most recently the school has been repainted, new signage displayed and the outside courts resurfaced.

2 Equity and excellence

The vision and valued outcomes defined by the school for all children are captured in the school's whakatauki, "Kia u, kia te pai, Uphold that which is good." This is underpinned by the values of respect, responsibility and resilience promoting equity and excellence for all. The school's mission statement is 'acknowledging the past, challenging the present, and creating the future'. These provide good foundations for building strong learning relationships with children and their whānau. Valued outcomes for all learners in this school community focus on children:

  • engaging well in learning and taking responsibility for their personal learning
  • being confident in their language, culture and identity through bilingual education
  • feeling confident and connected and being resilient problem solvers.

The school’s achievement information shows that close to half of all children are achieving at or above the National Standards in writing and mathematics. Just over half of all children are achieving at or above in reading. Analysis of the 2014 and 2015 achievement data for the small number of children who do not identify as Māori indicates that the majority of these children achieve at or above National Standards in reading, writing and mathematics.

The school charter includes annual targets aimed appropriately at accelerating learning for children who are not achieving national standards. Student progress towards these targets is closely monitored by the board, leaders and teachers. Analysis of the 2015 achievement information shows some children made accelerated progress particularly in writing, to achieve the appropriate National Standard.

School achievement data also shows some gender-based differences. The overall achievement of girls against National Standards exceeds that of boys, particularly in reading and writing. School leaders and trustees are committed to reducing this disparity as they develop their internal evaluation.

The school has a clear commitment to bilingual education. Teachers are working with external providers to increase their use and understanding of te reo Māori me ōna tikanga, in a bilingual and mainstream setting. Māori children proudly participate in school pōwhiri with older children leading karanga, whaikōrero and waiata.

Since the last ERO evaluation the school has worked with experienced professional learning and development providers to improve leaders' and teachers' capability to respond to underachievement. These initiatives are at the early stages of implementation.

The leadership team has implemented coherent plans and actions, focused on building professional capability and collective capacity that supports children's academic success. Innovations have included:

  • building teachers' understanding and use of curriculum progressions
  • supporting teachers to inquire into the impact and success of their practice on children's achievement
  • building leadership capacity and capability to support accelerating student progress and raising achievement
  • strengthening learning relationships with children and their whānau.

3 Accelerating achievement

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

The school is increasing its effectiveness in responding to children whose learning and achievement need acceleration. Professional development is clearly focused on increasing teachers' and leaders' knowledge of the curriculum and strategies for accelerating student learning.

The board of trustees and school leaders have a sense of urgency about accelerating the achievement of all children who are at risk of not achieving. Evidenced-based decision making and coherent improvement plans help trustees and staff to enable more children to achieve better results.

Leaders are building collective staff responsibility for improving outcomes for children. Assessment systems, processes and practices have been evaluated and strengthened. Teachers are increasingly confident in using achievement information to identify and respond to children's learning strengths and needs. They have attended moderation workshops to further develop their understanding of the National Standards and build the reliability of achievement information.

Staff promote an environment that values te reo Māori me ona tikanga to support success for Māori children. Tuakana teina relationships bring older and younger children together, building a strong sense of whanaungatanga and belonging.

There has been a deliberate planned approach to improving student and whānau engagement in the school. Children report that as a result of a school community event, their kuia and kaumātua are more involved with their learning. The increased use of digital technologies in senior classrooms has contributed to a more focused learning environment. Participating in external professional learning networks also support staff development of e-learning.

School leaders could further progress achievement by designing, implementing and monitoring a detailed plan for accelerating learning. This plan should include identifying;

  • the specific roles and responsibilities of trustees and staff
  • how achievement challenges are going to be met
  • indicators of successful acceleration and
  • regular evaluation of whether decisions are making a difference to student 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 school's curriculum and organisational processes are becoming more effective in promoting equity and excellence for all children. The strategic plan provides a clear direction to achieve the school's vision, values, goals and priorities.

Children benefit from a settled and positive school tone. They are confident, capable learners who engage and experience success in a broad range of sporting, cultural and outdoor activities. The local community's celebration of art is reflected in the high quality of children's artwork in the school. The school's active promotion and support for children's wellbeing impacts positively on their engagement and learning.

The new principal in consultation with children, staff, trustees and whānau has set a new educational direction for the school focused on improving outcomes for children. She is building trusting relationships with the community to support transparency and collaboration. ERO affirms the school’s new direction as both timely and necessary.

Trustees, leaders and teachers are strategically engaging in developing long term responses to underachievement by building quality learning relationships with whānau. They are increasing teaching and leadership capability in internal evaluation and in the use of data for inquiring into effectiveness.

Teachers’ performance appraisals are linked to the new Practising Teacher Criteria (PTCs). Senior leaders could now consider aligning the appraisal evidence more closely to the PTCs and access external support to help build a robust appraisal system.

Positive developments are underway, with external expert support, to review the school's curriculum. The aim is to develop a more connected, thinking curriculum which promotes children's ownership of learning and reflects the Kawakawa community. Digital learning technologies are increasingly integrated in teaching programmes to enrich children's learning opportunities.

Trustees, staff and whānau have high expectations for all children to experience and celebrate success. Whānau who spoke with ERO appreciate the school's open, inclusive culture and increased communication practices. They value opportunities to contribute suggestions for improvement and are keen to further develop positive learning-centred partnerships to support their children's learning at home.

The new board is comprised of new and experienced trustees. They bring complementary skills and experience to their roles. Trustees have accessed a set of board policies that cover all aspects of board operations and are systematically reviewing these to align them to the school's context. It could be useful for trustees to access external expertise to support them in this work.

The school has expressed an interest in forming a Community of Learning (COL) with a number of local schools. Staff also participate in local education networks and clusters as part of wider community work to build their professional capability and collective capacity.

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.

The school is becoming well placed to sustain and improve its performance. The leadership team foster a school culture of relational trust where staff collaborate and are open to making changes to improve outcomes for children.

To ensure that the new educational direction is consolidated, school leaders and trustees should focus on evaluating the effectiveness of new practices and the impact they have on accelerating student progress and teacher development.

School leaders and trustees agree that the next steps in school development include:

  • continuing to review and refresh the school curriculum and expectations for teaching and learning, as part of building greater coherence and challenge across Years 1 to 8
  • documenting the school-wide approach to embed and help sustain the new initiatives to enhance equity and excellence for all children
  • continuing to focus on building teachers' capability to accelerate progress and increase student ownership of their learning.

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 a Raising Achievement Plan to further develop processes and practices that 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 Raising Achievement plan 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

To improve current practice, the board of trustees should ensure that children in Years 7 and 8 receive appropriate career's education guidance.

7 Recommendations

ERO recommends that the school:

  • review current improvement plans, using the findings from this review, to provide a more coherent planned response to children whose learning and achievement need acceleration
  • continue to use internal evaluation to monitor and report on the impact of improvement initiatives on children's progress and achievement. 

Graham Randell

Deputy Chief Review Officer Northern

5 September 2016 

About the school

Location

Kawakawa

Ministry of Education profile number

1033

School type

Full Primary (Years 1 to 8)

School roll

194

Gender composition

Boys 57% Girls 43%

Ethnic composition

Māori

Pākehā

other

95%

3%

2%

Special Features

3 te reo Māori Bilingual Classes

Review team on site

July 2016

Date of this report

5 September 2016

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

June 2013

June 2010

March 2007



1 Context

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

Kawakawa School was established in 1873 and is located in the southern Bay of Islands. It is a full primary school with students, from Years 1 to 8, with 3 Bilingual units. Approximately 90% of students are Māori, most of whom whakapapa to Ngāti Hine o Hine a Maru. Many whānau involved with the school are third and fourth generation students.

The school emblem resembles a kawakawa leaf. Within the leaf are 4 kowhaiwhai that meet at a central kowhaiwhai. This signifies the 4 rivers that flow into the Kawakawa river. They are the Waiomio, Tirohanga, Taumarere and Ngapitopito awa. Kawakawa Primary school draws its students from these areas and they are the names of the school houses.

Whanaungatanga and manaakitanga are at the heart of the school culture. The motto ‘kia ū ki te pai, up hold that which is good’ is well embedded in the safe and inclusive school culture. There are strong home and school partnerships which engage parents and whānau in the life of the school.

Since the previous review the leadership has remained the same and there has been some staffing changes. The school has positively responded to the areas identified in the 2010 ERO report. There has been extensive school-wide professional learning and development in writing which has resulted in improved teacher knowledge and understanding about this curriculum area. In addition, all classrooms have been refurbished and new technology equipment installed to improve the learning environment for students.

2 Learning

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

As a result of the school’s professional development, particularly in writing, over the past two years, the school is now more effectively using achievement data to make positive changes to learners’ engagement, progress and achievement. The school uses this data to:

  • inform strategic targets in reading, writing and mathematics
  • inform teacher programme planning to meet the needs of groups and individual students
  • identify students requiring additional learning support
  • report to the board of trustees and parents
  • inform trustees in their decision making about strategic direction and resourcing.

Senior leaders recognise the need to strengthen school-wide data collation, as well as better analysis of trends, patterns and student needs, to make reports to the board clearer and more concise.

The school’s 2012 National Standard achievement information in reading states that most students are achieving at or above the standard and results are comparable to national expectations. Achievement information in writing and mathematics states that a large proportion of students are not yet achieving the National Standards. The school uses a sufficient range of assessment tools to assist teachers to moderate their professional judgements about student progress and achievement.

Target groups are clearly identified in classrooms and are linked to teacher appraisal goals. Teachers now need to more consistently identify and plan specific teaching strategies that will meet these learning needs. Students requiring additional support are receiving appropriate assistance. The school is able to demonstrate that individual students, who receive additional support, are making progress.

Reports to parents are comprehensive. Parents state that they are well informed about their child’s learning. These reports now need to more clearly align with National Standards in reading, writing and mathematics at least twice a year.

3 Curriculum

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

Currently the school’s curriculum is based is based on The New Zealand Curriculum and provides students with a wide range of learning opportunities and experiences. A recent review of the curriculum that included consultation with parents, students and teachers has provided information to assist the school to further develop their local curriculum framework.

The school has recognised and ERO agrees that in order to improve student achievement they should develop a local school curriculum where Ngāti Hinetanga is central. This curriculum should effectively reflect the local community history, values, and needs of whānau. This is likely to provide students with more meaningful and relevant experiences for learning across most curriculum areas.

Students observed by ERO were actively engaged in their learning. Teachers maintain positive caring and responsive relationships with students in settled and well-organised classrooms. They plan effectively and use a range of strategies to support students with their learning.

Effective teaching practices include cooperative group work, tuakana-teina, the promotion of thinking skills, sharing of learning intentions and success criteria, goal setting, and opportunities for students to share and reflect on their learning. Students are aware of their progress and next steps for learning. Teachers identified the need for more cross syndicate reflection and discussions about best teaching practice, which is focused on targeted students to raise their achievement.

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

The principal has a clear vision for Māori education and is nurturing a professional environment where Māori language and tikanga is valued. Whānau and wider community resources are used to enhance school programmes. Senior leadership, teachers and whānau now need to define the expectations of the level of competency of students in te reo Māori. Progressive programmes from Years 1 to 8 in both the bilingual and English medium classes need to be implemented. The programmes should be aligned to Ngāti Hine o Hine a Mārautanga and should lead to a more authentic and sequential delivery of essential knowledge skills and understandings in te reo and tikanga Māori.

4 Sustainable Performance

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

Positive aspects of school operations that promote and sustain improved practice include:

  • effective governance systems and practices implemented by trustees
  • a collaborative and cohesive approach to leadership to raise student achievement
  • self review practices that are focusing on improvement and raising of student achievement
  • an affirmative school culture that has the confidence of its community and positive parent involvement.

ERO and senior leaders agree that senior management need to undertake external and relevant professional development in:

  • curriculum development
  • teaching as inquiry
  • the collection and more effective use of student achievement information.

Addressing the areas for development identified during this evaluation would better place the school to continue to sustain and improve its performance.

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.

When is ERO likely to review the school again?

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

Dale Bailey

National Manager Review Services Northern Region

11 June 2013

About the School

Location

Kawakawa

Ministry of Education profile number

1033

School type

Full Primary (Years 1 to 8)

School roll

228

Gender composition

Boys 54% Girls 46%

Ethnic composition

Māori

NZ Pākehā

Indian

Tongan

Chinese

90%

3%

4%

2%

1%

Special Features

3 Bilingual classes

Review team on site

April 2013

Date of this report

11 June 2013

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

June 2010

March 2007

November 2003