Tinopai School

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1. Background and Context

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

Tinopai School is a small sole-charge rural school on the shores of the Kaipara Harbour. It provides education for students from Years 1 to 8. The local iwi is Ngati Whātua, and many of the school’s current 20 students affiliate with the local hapu, Te Uri o Hau. The school roll increased from 15 in 2013 to 25 during 2014.

The 2013 Education Review of Tinopai School was conducted one week after the current principal took up the position. Between 2009 and 2013 the school had seven principals. A teacher who provides principal’s release has provided continuity for students over this time.

The current principal was a first time principal at the time of her appointment. She has taken part in the first time principals’ programme and continues to benefit from being mentored by an experienced principal. Recently, the Ministry of Education has provided a rural advisor to support the principal to make ongoing improvements at the school.

Since the 2013 Education Review, there have been changes to the school’s governing body. The board chairperson who was appointed in 2012 resigned and a new board chair was appointed in 2015. Two parent trustees have joined the board and are learning their governance role.

In 2014 and 2015 the school underwent refurbishment that disrupted the day-to-day running of the school. Access to the internet has been improved. A new teacher aide was employed in 2014.

2. Review and Development

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

Priorities identified for review and development

The 2013 ERO report identified many matters related to governance and management that required improvement.

These priority areas included:

  • improving systems to gather, analyse and evaluate student achievement information to ensure that it is valid and reliable
  • engaging students in their learning and establishing clear goals and ways for students to achieve their goals
  • developing and delivering a high quality curriculum that is relevant to students and supports their progress
  • strengthening the school’s partnership with parents
  • strengthening processes for managing and supporting staff
  • strengthening school evaluation and strategic planning.

Progress

Some progress is being made in the areas for review and development identified in the ERO 2013 report.

Partnerships with parents/whānau are being strengthened. Members of the community continue to volunteer at the school and listen to students read, and a group of parents is providing support to help with school events. A Ministry of Education programme is being introduced to guide parents/whānau to provide effective support for their children's reading.

The board has increased the number of parent representatives and is supportive of the staff. Governance training is planned with the New Zealand School Trustees Association (NZSTA). The board has begun reviewing school policies. The principal is working with the board to plan strategically and to evaluate progress towards meeting the school’s strategic goals.

The principal has developed better systems to gather achievement information. This information will support teachers to make judgements about how well students are achieving in relation to the National Standards in reading, writing and mathematics. Teachers are working with staff from other schools to ensure that assessments are valid and reliable.

The principal has strengthened performance management systems and is taking opportunities to learn about management skills and how to improve teaching and learning. Current professional development is focused on supporting students to make accelerated progress in mathematics.

Key next steps

ERO and the Board of Trustees agree that the school should now focus on:

  • continuing to develop a curriculum that supports students to be successful lifelong learners and that meets the educational needs of the school’s diverse learners
  • developing further strategies, including formative teaching practices, that motivate students to take greater ownership of their learning and behaviour and promote students’ thinking and inquiry
  • using self review to monitor and guide school operations.

3. Sustainable performance and self review

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

Further progress is required to ensure that the school can improve and sustain its performance. With a stable staff and more parent trustees working collaboratively with the principal, the school is in a better position to continue to improve. It is important that the school’s improvement focus continues.

Planned trustee training is likely to build the board’s capacity to govern the school. On-going support for the principal is also important to help strengthen teaching and learning.

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.

Recommendations

Recommendations, including any to other agencies for ongoing or additional support.

ERO recommends NZSTA support for the board to understand their governance role. In addition, it is recommended that the Ministry of Education continue to support the development of teaching and learning at Tinopai School.

Conclusion

Tinopai School is benefitting from stable staffing and a committed Board of Trustees. Progress is being made to address the areas requiring improvement. Support from outside agencies is now available to assist the school to strengthen its governance and management capacity and to help staff provide a relevant curriculum.

ERO intends to carry out another review over the course of one-to-two years.

Graham Randell
Deputy Chief Review Officer Northern

About the School

Location

Tinopai, Matakohe

Ministry of Education profile number

1114

School type

Full Primary (Years 1 to 8)

School roll

20

Gender composition

Boys      12
Girls         8

Ethnic composition

Māori
Māori/Samoan
Pākehā

14
  3
  3

Review team on site

August 2015

Date of this report

19 November 2015

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review
Education Review
Supplementary Review

June 2013
January 2009
February 2006

 

Findings

1.  Context

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

Tinopai School is a small sole charge school located in Tinopai, a relatively isolated community on the shores of the Kaipara harbour. Fourteen of the 15 Years 1 to 8 students are Māori. The local iwi is Ngati Whātua and some students affiliate with the local hapu, Te Uri o Hau. A third of the school's current group of students enrolled in 2012, across a range of different year levels.

In the last six years the school has had many changes of principal, with three changes in 2012 alone. The current principal had been at the school for one week at the time of this review and is a first time principal. She is supported by a teacher who is employed for two days a week. This teacher has been employed at the school for a number of years, and has provided continuity for students through the changes to staff.

Issues relating to the governance of the school have led to the resignation of some trustees. In October 2012 a new board chairperson was elected and two new trustees joined the board. Currently the board is made up of two trustees from the community, a staff representative and a parent.

A knowledgeable community member provides guidance on governance matters. Other support for the school from the local community includes organising fundraising activities and providing reading support for students.

In spite of the many changes in the board and staff, the tone of the school has remained positive and students have a strong sense of whānau. Children support one another, the older students often helping the younger ones. They are proud of their school.

2. Learning

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

The relieving principal employed during 2012 and 2013 provided parents and the board with useful reports on student achievement in relation to the National Standards. These reports included information about how parents could support their child’s learning at home. They provide a good model for the current principal to follow and further develop.

Student achievement information collected in 2012 indicates that some students achieve well. However significant improvements need to be made to improve student engagement, progress and achievement to ensure that students leave primary school ready to succeed at high school. Improvements are needed in:

  • the ways in which student achievement information is collected, analysed and evaluated
  • systems to ensure that student achievement information is reliable and valid
  • support for students to understand their levels of achievement and identify clear goals to guide their learning
  • systems for gathering information to determine the impact of the parent-supported reading programme on improving student learning.

3. Curriculum

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

The school curriculum document was reworked by the relieving principal at some time during 2012 or 2013, but was not available at the time of this review. Teaching programmes are planned around the local area and based on children’s cultural backgrounds, experiences and interests. The recent focus has been on the environment and has included marine studies and the restoration of a local wetland.

In the past, the curriculum has included an ongoing interest around growing food. The school is well equipped with a propagation house, garden plots and an orchard. The teaching staff are interested in using these resources as part of the education programme.

Students are well supported to develop their knowledge of tikanga and te reo Māori. The board employs a tutor to teach waiata twice a week. The current principal has the skills and knowledge to promote learning in these areas throughout the day. She frequently uses simple te reo in the context of the general programme.

The principal and ERO identify the following as important next steps for curriculum development:

  • developing teaching programmes and approaches that provide appropriate levels of challenge and that enable students to learn at their own level and pace
  • integrating the junior literacy and numeracy programme into the regular classroom programme
  • working in partnership with whānau to review the school curriculum so that it aligns with the values, principles and key competencies of The New Zealand Curriculum
  • ensuring that the teacher aide provides in-class support as appropriate, to meet the learning needs of the students.

4. Sustainable Performance

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

Although the many changes of principal over the last few years have compromised the school’s ability to sustain and improve its performance, recent school leadership changes provide a better foundation for ongoing improvement. The board is well led, and has improved the effectiveness of the ways in which it works to govern the school. Trustees have a clear goal of raising student achievement. They are positive about the school’s current position and optimistic about its future.

Trustees and the principal may find it useful to review the charter completed by the previous principal as they get to know more about the school. Members of the community have a role to play in making the new principal feel welcome and supported to do the best for the students.

After discussion with the Ministry of Education senior advisor and the board, ERO recommends that the board:

  • continue to focus on accelerating the progress of students who are at risk of not achieving their potential
  • strengthen partnerships with the whānau of students attending the school
  • continue with governance training to further understand board roles and responsibilities
  • develop action plans to support the achievement of the school’s strategic goals
  • employ an external appraiser to support the principal’s performance in her new role
  • review staff roles so that the benefit for students is maximised.

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.

The board chairperson acknowledges that a review of policies related to health and safety matters needs to be undertaken and that systems need to be strengthened to ensure that related procedures are followed.

During the ERO review policies and procedures that were identified as needing attention included those related to:

  • identifying and managing hazards
  • the regularity of fire and earthquake drills
  • the recording of meeting minutes relating to confidential matters
  • consulting with the community on the school’s health curriculum [National Administration Guidelines, and Section 60B Education Act 1989].

Recommendations to other agencies

ERO recommends that the Ministry of Education consider providing support for the school to improve the collection, analysis and evaluation of student achievement information.

When is ERO likely to review the school again?

ERO intends to carry out another review over the course of one-to-two years.

Dale Bailey

National Manager Review Services Northern Region

26 June 2013

About the School

Location

Tinopai, Matakohe

Ministry of Education profile number

1114

School type

Full Primary (Years 1 to 8)

School roll

15

Gender composition

Girls 9 Boys 6

Ethnic composition

Māori

NZ European/Pākehā

14

1

Review team on site

May 2013

Date of this report

26 June 2013

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Supplementary Review

Special Review

January 2009

February 2006

March 2005