Mangamuka School

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Education institution number:
1037
School type:
Contributing
School gender:
Co-Educational
Definition:
Not Applicable
Total roll:
16
Telephone:
Address:

School Road, Mangamuka, Okaihau

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School Context

Mangamuka School is a small contributing primary catering for children in Years 1 to 6. It is situated in the rural Northland district of Mangamuka.

The school currently has a roll of 22 children, all of whom are Māori. All have whakapapa connections to Mangamuka marae. Since ERO’s 2016 review of the school the roll has increased.

The school’s overarching vision is Ko Au, Ko Maunga Taniwha; Ko Maunga Taniwha, Ko Au; Strength, Courage and Identity.

The school’s core values are whakapapa, powhiri, pono, tika and aroha.

The board states that the valued student outcomes are for children to know who they are and where they come from, be in the driving seat of their learning and achieve highly in literacy and numeracy.

The board’s planning for improvements in student outcomes include:

  • developing teaching and learning that enables children’s independent learning
  • increasing whānau involvement in their children’s learning
  • strengthening relationships with marae, kohanga and community.

Leaders and teachers regularly report to the board, schoolwide information about outcomes for students in the following areas:

  • progress and achievement in reading, writing and mathematics
  • participation and success in cultural, sporting and community events
  • attendance.

Since ERO’s 2016 review, the school has a new principal and board of trustees. The principal started at the school in mid-2018. The new board members were elected in mid-2019. The board subsequently co-opted an experienced trustee to assist with property development planning, including for a new library and technology learning area.

The school is a member of the Te Arahura Community of Learning | Kāhui Ako (CoL).

Evaluation Findings

1 Equity and excellence – achievement of valued outcomes for students

1.1 How well is the school achieving equitable and excellent outcomes for all its students?

The school is working towards achieving equitable and excellent outcomes for all its students.

School data reported for 2018 and 2019 show some improvements in reading achievement with a small majority of children achieving at expected national curriculum levels at the end of 2019. Achievement in mathematics is steady with a large majority of students achieving at expected levels.

Teachers report an improvement in children’s attitudes to writing as a result of providing more authentic learning experiences to encourage writing. However, writing achievement levels are yet to show improvement with less than half of the children achieving at expectations.

Some gender disparities are evident with boys achieving lower in reading and girls in writing.

Children identified with additional learning needs receive in-class support.

1.2 How well is the school accelerating learning for those students who need this?

The school is beginning to accelerate learning for those students who need this.

Teachers are developing strategies to increase children’s engagement in literacy and mathematics. In reading, targeted teaching for groups and individuals, reading support programmes and the promotion of children’s independent learning, are accelerating the progress of some students who need this.

Student progress is monitored by teachers, and termly progress reports are provided to the board by the principal. These, and annual variance reports against school targets, are not yet providing a clear picture of student progress and achievement, particularly in relation to the effectiveness of strategies used to accelerate learning.

2 School conditions for equity and excellence – processes and practices

2.1 What school processes and practices are effective in enabling achievement of equity and excellence, and acceleration of learning?

The principal’s leadership is enabling developments that support children’s learning. As a new leader, she has appropriately focused on:

  • providing a positive, supportive learning environment
  • building relational trust within the school and with the community
  • collaboratively developing a shared direction for the school.

She has also supported the development of a new board, encouraging trustees to use their stewardship strengths.

Her leadership has fostered a positive, caring school tone. Manaakitanga and whanaungatanga are evident in the relationships and interactions within the school and with the community. Children are supportive of each other. Older children show responsibility as tuakana and assist the learning of their teina classmates.

Parents, whānau and the wider school community have responded positively to initiatives for involving them in their children’s education. Parents are regularly invited for a ‘coffee korero’ to discuss their children’s progress. Whānau hui provide opportunities for community consultation.

The school is involving the community in a curriculum review to develop a ‘localised curriculum’ with authentic learning contexts for children. Community members are keen to contribute to the development of the curriculum.

The school and its community share a commitment to enhancing children’s understandings about their language and culture. Children learn in an environment that responds to and encourages their identity as tamariki Māori. Classroom programmes and practices incorporate te reo Māori me ōna tikanga. Children’s cultural connectedness in learning about Mangamukatanga is supported through the involvement of kaumatua, kuia and marae.

2.2 What further developments are needed in school processes and practices for achievement of equity and excellence, and acceleration of learning?

Teachers are aware of, and responding to, the challenge of teaching to meet the wide range of learning needs in a multilevel classroom environment. They are also beginning to introduce ways for children to self-direct their own learning.

To effectively cater for the range of learner abilities and levels, further development of teaching strategies is needed to:

  • differentiate learning programmes
  • provide targeted teaching for individuals
  • enable self-directed learning.

ERO and the principal agreed that professional learning and development (PLD) in assessment practices would be beneficial to enable teachers to improve data analysis and reporting to the board.

Such development should also contribute to improving the setting and evaluation of school goals and student achievement targets.

The planned process to develop a more localised curriculum provides opportunities to:

  • review how well learning programmes cover the breadth and depth of the New Zealand Curriculum (NZC)
  • introduce the new digital technologies content of the technology learning area
  • include opportunities for students to learn through national and global contexts.

Trustees are developing confidence in their stewardship role and have participated in some governance training. They have a sound charter and planning foundation to work from and have recently adopted a new online policy framework. They are beginning a process of policy review.

Trustees are willing to continue building the board’s stewardship capacity and would benefit from targeted training regarding meeting procedures, governance policy review and assurance, and internal evaluation of the effectiveness of strategic plans and targets.

3 Board Assurance on Legal Requirements

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:

  • board administration
  • curriculum
  • management of health, safety and welfare
  • personnel management
  • finance
  • 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 and certification
  • processes for appointing staff
  • stand down, suspension, expulsion and exclusion of students
  • attendance
  • school policies in relation to meeting the requirements of the Children’s Act 2014.

4 ERO’s Overall Judgement

On the basis of the findings of this review, ERO’s overall evaluation judgement of Mangamuka School’s performance in achieving valued outcomes for its students is: Developing.

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.

5 Going forward

Key strengths of the school

For sustained improvement and future learner success, the school can draw on existing strengths in:

  • a school culture that is positive and caring
  • leadership that is enabling developments that support children’s learning
  • a learning environment that is culturally responsive
  • supportive connections with parents, whānau and community.

Next steps

For sustained improvement and future learner success, priorities for further development are in:

  • teachers continuing to develop teaching strategies to cater for students’ diverse learning needs
  • PLD on assessment practices to more effectively evaluate and support student progress
  • ensuring the localised curriculum development encompasses the breadth and depth of the New Zealand Curriculum
  • board training to build collective stewardship capacity
  • evaluating the impact of new initiatives for lifting and sustaining accelerated progress, and schoolwide improvements.

Areas for improved compliance practice

To improve current practice, the board of trustees should ensure conflict of interest and in-committee meeting protocols are appropriately used and recorded in board meetings.

Recommendations to other agencies

ERO recommends that the Ministry of Education and the New Zealand School Trustees Association consider providing support for the school in order to bring about improvement in:

  • the use of assessment information to promote student learning and evaluate the effectiveness of strategies implemented to accelerate progress and learning
  • governance capacity, particularly in relation to board meeting procedures, policy and assurance reviews, and internal evaluation.

Steve Tanner

Director Review and Improvement Services (Northern)

Northern Region - Te Tai Raki

30 June 2020

About the school

The Education Counts website provides further information about the school’s student population, student engagement and student achievement.

Findings

The board, staff and community have worked together effectively to improve outcomes for children. Learning-focused relationships between the school, family and child are valued as an important part of children’s education. Children learn within an inclusive, culturally rich environment. The school curriculum is increasingly offering integrated programmes that are responsive to children’s learning needs and strengths.

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

1 Background and Context

What is the background and context for this school’s review?

Mangamuka School is a small school with a proud 130 years of history serving children and their whānau who live in the Mangamuka Gorge and surrounding area. However, over the past six years successive ERO reviews have identified concerns regarding the quality of governance, leadership, curriculum and teaching and learning. High turnover of trustees and staff has contributed to the school’s difficulties.

In 2014 the school was placed under the direction of a Ministry of Education (MoE) appointed commissioner. Following the appointment of a permanent principal in mid-2015 the MoE intervention was revoked and a new board was elected at the end of that year.

The new principal and board have worked together and have made significant progress towards improving the governance and leadership of the school. The school has a positive and settled tone. The principal and teacher’s strong focus on improving the quality of teaching and learning is evident in classrooms and is beginning to be reflected in improved learning outcomes for children.

2 Review and Development

How effectively is the school addressing its priorities for review and development?

Priorities identified for review and development

The priorities identified for review and development were to:

  • improve the quality of teaching and learning
  • improve curriculum design and implementation
  • strengthen the analysis and reporting of student achievement information
  • build leadership and governance capability and capacity to sustain and embed development.
Progress

The new principal has worked systematically to improve the quality of curriculum, assessment and teaching and learning. Considerable progress has been made in all of these areas. This progress has been well supported by external professional development.

All students attending the school identify as Māori. They benefit from the school values of awhi, mana, manaaki and aroha which underpin the curriculum and teaching and learning. These values are reflected in the school’s graduate profile.

The curriculum draws on and reflects the local area and whānau and children’s Māori heritage. The principal has consulted parents and whānau to ensure that the school’s curriculum continues to align with the aspirations they have for their children and the underpinning conceptual framework of ako, matauranga, wānanga and kaitiakitanga.

There is a strong emphasis on building children’s competencies and skills including their learning vocabulary. Making learning visible is a further strategy being used to help children understand their learning, progress and achievement. These approaches are successfully motivating and engaging children because they are able to see the connections between their own experiences, their growing skills and school learning.

The principal has improved the school’s assessment systems and processes. There are now clear procedures for gathering and using assessment information. School achievement data in relation to the National Standards is now more reliable and accurate. As a result, children’s specific learning needs are being identified and responded to, and their progress is being well monitored. Moderating children’s writing with other local schools has contributed to this positive development.

Multilevel teaching is guided by individual education plans with appropriate goals and strategies to improve outcomes for children. Teaching plans show that there is a strong focus on teachers’ regularly sharing and discussing children’s progress, Teachers access external expertise, such as the Resource Teachers: Learning and Behaviour and the Resource Teacher for Literacy as necessary. These approaches are helping to ensure that children receive increasingly well targeted support and instruction.

The school’s most recent achievement data shows that most children are making good progress in relation to the National Standards. Some children are making accelerated progress. However, most children are still working below the National Standards in reading, writing and mathematics. The school’s annual plan includes goals, targets and strategies for accelerating these students’ progress.

The principal is setting high expectations for teachers and children. These expectations are being systematically clarified and documented. As a result teachers, children and whānau have a shared understanding of expectations and what they will look like, sound like and feel like in action. The principal is linking expectations for teachers to their professional inquiries into their own practice. This should help teachers to focus their efforts to build their professional knowledge and capability.

Classrooms are attractive and well organised and resourced to support learning. Examples of work, including children’s artwork are well displayed and affirm children’s talent, effort, persistence and learning progress. Classroom displays are designed to help children to learn independently.

Children and parents contribute to developing learning goals. They are kept well informed about the part they can play to support learning. Increased attendance has been one notable outcome of the strengthening learning partnership with parents.

Key next steps

The principal and board and ERO agree that the key next steps are to:

  • continue developing strategies to accelerate children’s progress and lift their achievement
  • complete the documentation of the school’s curriculum
  • undertake further planned development of Information Communication Technologies (ICT) that is likely to promote and support children’s independent and inquiry learning.

3 Sustainable performance and self review

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

The school is generally well placed to sustain and continue to improve its performance.

The principal and board have built leadership and governance capability and capacity and are likely to be able to sustain and embed these development. They have also made good progress towards strengthening the analysis and reporting of student achievement information at all levels of the school.

The principal is providing effective professional leadership and has established good relationships with the board and the local community. They respect her professional knowledge and commitment to improving the quality of teaching and learning and lifting student achievement.

The board receive useful reports about student achievement. Trustees appropriately use this information to set targets and priorities and make strategic decisions about resourcing. This has helped the principal and board to develop a clear strategic plan. The plan outlines goals, targets for achievement, the actions to be taken and the indicators that will be used to evaluate progress towards achieving the goals.

Board training has included using the New Zealand School Trustees Association’s (NZSTA) resource Hautū: Māori Cultural Responsiveness Self Review tool for Board of Trustees, to develop baseline data about the school’s responsiveness to Māori. A recent review of the school’s finance-related policies has also helped to increase trustees’ understanding about their legal obligations and responsibilities in this area.

There has been an extensive and ongoing review of the school grounds and property which has included input from children and whānau. An outcome of this has been a school environment that is well resourced and increasingly well suited to children’s different ages and stages of learning and development.

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 context and conceptual framework. Trustees acknowledge that this work is challenging particularly given a recent change in trustees and the pending board elections. However, they are confident that a stable governance framework is emerging to guide an upward spiral of improvement for the school. Further professional learning about self-evaluation would help the board and the principal connect elements of self-review and link them to the evaluation of strategic goals.

Key next steps

The principal, board and ERO agree that the key next steps are to:

  • complete the review and development of school policies and procedures
  • access professional learning and development about internal evaluation.

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

The board, staff and community have worked together effectively to improve outcomes for children. Learning-focused relationships between the school, family and child are valued as an important part of children’s education. Children learn within an inclusive, culturally rich environment. The school curriculum is increasingly offering integrated programmes that are responsive to children’s learning needs and strengths.

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

Graham Randell

Deputy Chief Review Officer Northern

29 June 2016

About the School

Location

Okaihau, Northland

Ministry of Education profile number

1037

School type

Contributing (Years 1 to 6)

School roll

13

Gender composition

Girls 8 Boys 5

Ethnic composition

Māori

13

Review team on site

May 2016

Date of this report

29 June 2016

Most recent ERO report(s)

Supplementary Review

Supplementary Review

Education Review

March 2014

August 2011

March 2010