Tangowahine School

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School Context

Tangowahine School is a small rural school in the Kaipara district of Dargaville. The school has 30 students, five of whom have Māori heritage. Students are taught in two multi-level classes that regularly join together for interactive teaching and learning sessions.

The school vision is to provide students with the knowledge, skills and attitudes they need to successfully continue their education. The school’s learning philosophy includes promoting thinking and building students’ key learning, social and physical competencies. The school integrates learning across all curriculum areas and prioritises student achievement in literacy and numeracy. This year the school has set targets to lift achievement in writing and mathematics.

Leaders and teachers regularly report to the board schoolwide information about outcomes for students in reading, writing and mathematics.

The 2015 ERO report summarised the progress the school had made over the previous two years. The school has maintained strengths identified in that report and is continuing to address ERO’s recommendations. It has experienced reasonable stability of staffing and of roll numbers since 2015. However, there has been a turnover of trustees serving on the school board since the last board elections.

Last year, the teaching staff began intensive professional learning and development (PLD) related to curriculum planning and programme implementation. This PLD is continuing. In addition, the principal has been working with an external organisation to develop the school’s strategic and annual planning and review.

The school is part of the Northern Wairoa Kāhui Ako / Community of Learning. 

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 show that outcomes for students are varied in literacy and mathematics. At the end of the 2017 year almost all the students were at or above national expectations in reading. At that time, around half of the students met or exceeded expectations in mathematics, and a third did so in writing. In the 2017 data, there was little difference between results for Māori and Pākehā students, however boys were not achieving as well as girls in writing.

Achievement in reading has improved over the past four years. Lower achievement levels in writing and mathematics, noted in the 2015 ERO report, have continued.

The school collects some data to monitor how well students are gaining desired social outcomes. Overall, the results confirm that students have well developed social skills and interact positively with each other and with adults. The school also has some data showing that students are demonstrating more persistence in their learning and are feeling more resilient.

The school has anecdotal information about student achievement in relation to other valued outcomes. Visual and written information contained in the school’s newsletters and social media sites show students regularly cooperating constructively in mixed age groups as they collaborate to solve problems and challenges set by teachers. This information also shows students achieve well in physical pursuits and in activities related to the arts.

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

The school recognises the need for many of its students, including those with additional needs, to accelerate their learning in writing and mathematics.

Teachers have begun working with an external advisor to support them to provide interesting and challenging ways of incorporating writing and mathematics in other curriculum areas. The school’s STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) programme is becoming well established and is providing stronger motivation for students’ writing and mathematics learning.

Teachers were concerned that the mathematics programme being provided was not accelerating student learning. They are now working using a new text resource to see if this better meets student needs. In addition, the principal is pursuing the formal establishment of a play-based programme for the very young students. The aim is to develop the oral language children need to support their progress on to written language.

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 school provides a positive environment for learning that motivates students to participate, contribute and progress. Students with additional needs experience a high level of support that is inclusive and affirming. The school values of whanaungatanga and manākitanga are evident and well embedded in everyday practices. Students have access to a broad range of learning opportunities and a stimulating outdoor environment. Students have multiple opportunities to be physically active and to work collaboratively.

Children enjoy a responsive and flexible curriculum that maximises the many opportunities presented by the school’s rural setting. This helps students to make connections in their learning to local and familiar contexts. The school value of kaitiakitanga (sustainability) is integrated into teaching and learning. Teachers encourage students’ lateral thinking, perseverance and resilience through the delivery of a curriculum aligned with the New Zealand Curriculum principles, values and key competencies. The work of the STEM adviser has made a positive impact on programme planning and implementation.

The school has well-established connections and relationships with the local and wider education community. Parents and whānau are highly engaged and involved in school activities. They work with teachers to support children’s learning progress and education outside of the classroom. The principal is seeking ways to build further connections that enhance learning opportunities for children and support school improvement.

Purposeful and meaningful progress is being made to integrate and embed bicultural practice within the school. Programmes are providing all children with opportunities to learn about and experience te reo and tikanga Māori. Children engage and participate with enthusiasm in these opportunities. Programmes are successful in promoting learning through tuakana/teina relationships and increasingly support Māori students to succeed as Māori.

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

To support children to make accelerated progress, teachers should develop a shared understanding of the difference between annual progress and accelerated learning.

Teachers and the board should develop more specific annual achievement targets. These should focus on the number of students who need to make accelerated progress in order to successfully access the curriculum and further their education. Regular reporting to the board by the principal, against specific achievement targets, should help maintain a focus on achieving high and equitable outcomes for all children.

Teachers have put in place interventions aimed at accelerating student learning and achievement. However, these actions should also be supported by more specific targets for individual students’ progress. Teachers should use student assessment data to more directly pinpoint the next learning steps for students. They could then share these learning objectives with students and teach directly to the needs of individuals and small groups of students.

The school would benefit from strengthening its internal evaluation processes. It is timely to establish a regular review cycle for all aspects of school operations. Review should focus on the impact interventions and resourcing have on outcomes for all students. It should also focus on how well the board is meeting its obligations and, legislative requirements, and the progress being made towards strategic and annual 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 Vulnerable Children Act 2014

Areas for improved compliance practice

To improve current practice, the board of trustees should:

  • use external support documents and websites to rationalise school policies and ensure they are all updated and in line with the latest legislative requirements
  • plan how to review policy implementation in a structured and ongoing way.

4 Going forward

Key strengths of the school

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

  • a responsive and flexible curriculum that provides opportunity for students’ holistic development
  • positive relationships and connections with parents and whānau and the local community that promote learning and engagement
  • work being undertaken with external providers that builds leadership and teaching capacity. 

Next steps

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

  • setting and monitoring specific annual achievement targets to achieve equity for all groups in the school and raise levels of achievement
  • targeted planning at the class level to accelerate learning for individual learners, achieve equity for all groups in the school and raise levels of achievement
  • strengthening internal evaluation and review for all aspects of school operation.

ERO’s next external evaluation process and timing

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

Violet Tu’uga Stevenson
Director Review and Improvement Services

Te Tai Raki - Northern Region

18 October 2018

About the school 

Location

Dargaville

Ministry of Education profile number

1105

School type

Full Primary (Year 1-8)

School roll

30

Gender composition

Girls       18
Boys      12

Ethnic composition

Māori                              5
Pākehā                          24
other ethnic groups          1

Students with Ongoing Resourcing Funding (ORS)

No

Provision of Māori medium education

No

Review team on site

September 2018

Date of this report

18 October 2018

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review            October 2015
Education Review            December 2013
Education Review            November 2010

1 Background and Context

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

Tangowahine School is a rural Year 1 to 8 school that provides education for students of the Kaipara district of Dargaville. Māori students comprise 33 percent of the school’s roll, and other students are New Zealand European/Pākehā. The school roll has trebled since the beginning of 2014. Tuakana-teina relationships are a feature of this small school.

The 2013 ERO report identified concerns about aspects of the school’s performance. These concerns included the quality of governance, school leadership and student achievement. For this reason ERO decided to continue to monitor the school’s progress through a longitudinal review process.

In February 2014 the Secretary of Education appointed a commissioner to replace the board of trustees. The commissioner’s role was to return the school to effective self-governance. By November 2014, the Ministry of Education (MoE) was confident that the school could operate effectively with a board of trustees, the commissioner intervention was revoked and a board was elected. The ex-commissioner continues to work with trustees in an advisory role.

In January 2014 a new principal was appointed, as well as new teaching and support staff. Together with the commissioner, and subsequently the board, the principal and staff have helped to address the concerns raised in the 2013 ERO report. The commissioner and principal agreed that the focus of the 1 to 2 year review would be to strengthen the quality of governance, leadership and teaching. ERO has visited and evaluated the school’s progress over the past two years.

This concluding report assures the Tangowahine School community of the progress in the designated priority areas. The school now has a number of positive features and practices that are improving educational outcomes, potentially for all students.

2 Review and Development

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

Priorities identified for review and development

Following the 2013 ERO report, the board and ERO developed three overarching goals to build:

  • leadership capacity
  • governance capability
  • the quality of teaching.

Tangowahine School has made good progress with each of these goals.

Progress

The new principal and staff have worked successfully with the commissioner and external advisers to address agreed priorities and have made very good progress. They show commitment and high levels of interest in students’ learning and achievement.

Teachers know students well and they provide programmes that are responsive to their learning needs and interests. Targeted programmes enhance learning opportunities for students at risk of not achieving. Teachers increasingly involve students in knowing about their achievement and taking responsibility for their learning. They plan to support students to more regularly reflect on their learning and identify next learning steps.

Well-managed multi-level classes ensure that students’ diverse learning needs are well catered for. Learning environments celebrate students’ learning and progress. Students benefit from a good range of relevant resources and frequent use of digital learning opportunities.

Teachers provide students with a flexible curriculum. Students experience daily literacy and mathematics and they appreciate opportunities to learn through inquiry in other curriculum areas. Inquiry learning programmes are often based around future-focused, real-life contexts. Students are involved in planning and evaluating inquiry programmes.

The principal acknowledges that it is timely to develop a guiding curriculum document that aligns with The New Zealand Curriculum principles, values and key competencies and reflects current teaching practices observed.

More reliable data are used to form teachers’ judgements about student progress in relation to the National Standards. Assessment processes have been reviewed and modified. The principal reports to the board more frequently on student achievement and on the progress towards meeting charter targets to raise student achievement.

The school’s achievement information indicates that the majority of students, including Māori students, achieve the National Standards. Reading achievement is higher than national and regional achievement. The principal and staff have worked to raise achievement in writing and good progress is evident. They are considering seeking professional learning to support writing and mathematics learning and achievement next year.

3 Sustainable performance and self review

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

The board, the principal and staff are well positioned to sustain and continuously enhance the quality of education they provide for students. They are successfully developing an appreciative and optimistic environment. As a result the school has a more settled and inclusive culture.

Communication between the school and the community is more transparent and positive. Families and whānau have opportunities to share their perspectives through surveys, consultation evenings and the multiple school events. Positive profiles of the school are publicised on the school website and in newsletters, informing the wider school community of events, successes and celebrations. The principal and the board continue to seek ways to meaningfully consult with Māori whānau.

The board is working collaboratively and productively. Trustees are benefiting from training to understand and grow their governance role and skills. They recognise the need to develop the school’s charter and use it as a pivotal, working document to drive school planning and review.

Students benefit from good quality teaching practices. Teachers work collaboratively and with external advisers to enhance students’ learning experiences. They are open to learn, trial and innovate to motivate and engage students. Good use of assessment data to guide learning programmes and teaching practices is also evident in the teacher appraisal process.

Regular consultation, networking and school events assist trustees, leaders and teachers to gauge parent opinion and gain insight into community perspectives. Recent consultation is assisting the board of trustees to purposefully consider the school’s long term direction and to review and develop the school charter.

The principal, board and staff acknowledge the value of ongoing self review. They appreciate the need to regularly document evidence to support their inquiries and evaluations. Evidence-based evaluation would be a sound guide for ongoing improvement.

The principal and board agree that other priorities for development include:

  • further building relationships and partnerships with families, whānau and the wider community
  • ongoing evaluation to show progress in relation to charter goals and targets
  • annual collection of evidence of all Practising Teacher Criteria as part of teachers’ appraisals.

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.

Compliance matters noted in ERO’s 2013 report have been successfully addressed.

The board is aware of its responsibility in completing the review and updating of the school’s policies. A review schedule is being developed to guide regular policy review so that trustees can be assured that the board is meeting its legal requirements.

Conclusion

Tangowahine School provides good quality teaching and learning for Years 1 to 8 students. A responsive, inclusive culture and student-centred teaching motivates students to engage and make good progress. At all levels of the school there is openness to learning. This feature has supported significant improvements in leadership, teaching and governance.

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

Graham Randell

Deputy Chief Review Officer Northern

14 October 2015

About the School

Location

Tangowahine, Dargaville

Ministry of Education profile number

1105

School type

Full Primary (Years 1 to 8)

School roll

33

Gender composition

Boys 17

Girls 16

Ethnic composition

Māori 11

Pākehā 21

Filipino 1

Review team on site

September 2015

Date of this report

14 October 2015

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review December 2013

Education Review November 2010

Education Review November 2007