Te Ra School

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Education institution number:
1613
School type:
Full Primary
School gender:
Co-Educational
Definition:
Not Applicable
Total roll:
151
Telephone:
Address:

89 Poplar Avenue, Raumati South, Kapiti Coast

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School Context

Te Rā School in Raumati is state-integrated. It provides special character education for students aged 6 to 13 years. The roll is 178 with 19% of students identifying as Māori.

The school’s curriculum is informed by The New Zealand Curriculum and the Rudolf Steiner philosophy. Assessment of literacy and numeracy learning is in relation to Federation of Rudolf Steiner Waldorf Schools in Aotearoa New Zealand Learning Steps (the learning steps).

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.

Since the July 2014 ERO report, a new board of trustees has been elected. A proprietors’ trust oversees the school’s special character. There have been several staff changes.

Te Rā School is part of the Rudolf Steiner Community of Learning|Kāhui Ako (CoL). Schoolwide professional learning opportunities is focused on developing cultural responsiveness and strengthening teaching and learning practices through CoL initiatives.

Evaluation Findings

Equity and excellence – valued outcomes for students

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

The school has yet to achieve equitable outcomes for all students.

Reported achievement data for 2016, indicates that most students achieve at and above in relation to the learning steps in reading and mathematics. Slightly fewer students achieve the expectations in writing, with boys’ achievement being below that of girls.

A large majority of Māori students achieve expectations in writing and mathematics, with higher achievement evident in reading. The school has yet to have Māori children achieving as well as their non-Māori peers within the school in reading, writing and mathematics.

1.2 How effectively does this school respond to those Māori and other students whose learning and achievement need acceleration?

The school responds appropriately to Māori and other students whose learning requires acceleration.

Groups of students including Māori, are appropriately targeted and some acceleration of their learning is evident.

Students with additional learning needs are identified and well supported. Planning for their learning is targeted to their needs.

2 School conditions for equity and excellence

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

Collaborative leadership practices support teaching and learning within the school’s curriculum. The curriculum is delivered through an integrated approach and supported by strong teacher-student relationships. Leaders and trustees recognise the importance of including te reo me ngā tikanga Māori in the localised and wider curriculum. Significant progress has been made in integrating te ao Māori in schoolwide practices.

Leaders have developed sound systems to track student progress, with clear guidelines for the monitoring and identification of student achievement in reading, writing and mathematics at all class levels. A suitable range of assessment tools provides appropriate information to identify students who require their learning to be accelerated. Processes for assessment moderation have been strengthened to support overall teacher judgements about students’ achievement.

The school has a strong focus on strengthening relationships with stakeholders through community consultation, response to feedback and strategic planning. Trustees are proactive in supporting the school’s growth and priorities to support equity and excellence.

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

Teachers are reflective practitioners and engage in a range of professional learning and development. They have begun to inquire into the impact of their classroom practice on the learning of students at risk of low achievement. Teachers recognise the importance of developing a collaborative culture where children’s progress is a collective responsibility. There are opportunities for further development of practice through collaborative inquiry to build capability, strengthening cultural responsiveness, and including more regular classroom observations in the appraisal process.

Leaders recognise the value of internal evaluation. They are developing their understanding of evaluative thinking and practices to promote learner success. This has resulted in useful changes to support students’ transition into, through and out of the school. Leaders agree it is timely to evaluate the effectiveness and impact of the curriculum on achievement of equitable outcomes for all students.

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. 

Actions for compliance

ERO identified non-compliance in relation to surrender and retention of property and searches of students.

In order to address this, the board of trustees must:

  1. develop a policy on surrender and retention of property and searches of students by the principal, teachers and authorised staff members.
    [Education Act 1989, Section 139AAA- 139AAF]

Areas for improved compliance practice

The board has completed review of administration practices and developed a policy framework to support improved operation.

To improve current practice, the board of trustees should closely review key policy documentation to ensure the school meets legislative requirements in relation to:

  • staff appointment procedures
  • education outside the classroom
  • bullying prevention
  • behaviour management practices.

Subsequent to ERO being onsite, the school provided additional information in relation to surrender and retention of property and searches of students and the areas to improve current practice. However, these still require further development.

4 Going forward

Key strengths of the school

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

  • collaborative practices for development and implementation of the school’s curriculum to respond to students’ learning needs and cultures.

Next steps

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

  • strengthening understanding and use of appraisal, teaching as inquiry and culturally responsive practices to support the quality of teaching and learning
  • evaluating the impact of programmes and initiatives on acceleration of achievement for learners at risk to build knowledge and use of what makes the greatest difference.

ERO’s next external evaluation process and timing

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

Alan Wynyard
Deputy Chief Review Officer Central (Acting)

Te Tai Pokapū - Central Region

1 February 2018

About the school 

Location

Raumati

Ministry of Education profile number

1613

School type

Full Primary (Years 1 to 8)

School roll

178

Gender composition

Female                                 54%

Male                                      46%

Ethnic composition

Māori                                    19%

Pākehā                                 76%

Other ethnic groups         5%

Provision of Māori medium education

No

Review team on site

November 2017

Date of this report

1 February 2018

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review July 2014

Supplementary Review June 2011

Education Review April 2010

Findings

The Steiner/Waldorf special character strongly influences the school’s curriculum and assessment practices. Students enjoy a wide variety of curriculum activities and specialist teaching. However, the programme for students in the junior classes needs review to ensure it responds to their needs, strengths and interests. The school reports that students make good progress over time, and those who complete Class 7 achieve at or above expected levels.

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

1 Context

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

Te Ra Waldorf School, located in Raumati, is a state-integrated school. It provides special character education for students aged 6 to 13 years (Classes 1 to 7). The school’s curriculum, including teaching and assessment, is based on the Rudolf Steiner philosophy of child development and education. The school roll is 147 with 18% of students identifying as Māori.

Prior to the 2011 ERO report the school’s curriculum documents were reviewed and developed to show some alignment with The New Zealand Curriculum. In November 2012, the Ministry of Education (the Ministry) and the Federation of Rudolf Steiner Waldorf Schools in New Zealand (FRSWS) formalised an agreement about how the National Standards should be implemented within the Steiner approach to learning. The FRSWS Learning Steps is an assessment framework which links to the Year 8 National Standards in reading, writing and mathematics at the end of Class 7.

Since the 2011 ERO report a new principal has been appointed, a new board of trustees has been elected and there have been several staff changes. The board and principal acknowledge that some events and community dissatisfaction of the past two years highlighted the need for review and development of aspects of curriculum, governance and leadership. Trustees and the principal have responded well to community concerns and aspirations. Plans, processes and guidelines have been developed.

In 2013 the school requested a Student Achievement Function Practitioner (SAF), appointed by the Ministry, to assist teachers to raise student achievement, strengthen partnerships with parents and whānau and better reflect te ao Māori within the curriculum.

2 Learning

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

There is variability in the extent to which teachers use assessment information to promote students’ learning and progress.

In the senior part of the school teachers use a range of useful assessment tools, including standardised tests to:

  • determine students’ achievement levels and next learning steps
  • sometimes group children according to learning levels or needs
  • identify students who may require additional support
  • share with students and their families their achievement and next learning steps
  • monitor overall student achievement and progress and report this to the board and to the FRSWS.

Limited use is made of achievement data to inform teaching and learning in the junior classes.

In 2013 teachers across the school began to use the FRSWS Learning Steps as part of their reporting to parents and whānau about the progress and achievement of their children in literacy and numeracy. The Learning Steps are also used to report schoolwide student achievement in reading, writing and mathematics to the board and the Ministry. The principal has identified that promoting consistent use of the Learning Steps is an area for further development.

The school reports that by the time students complete Class 7, most are achieving at and above expected levels, including the Year 8 National Standards.

The learning support teacher provides literacy support for identified students in classes four and above. She thoroughly tracks and reports the progress of these students.

With the support of the SAF, teachers have introduced a sound system to monitor the achievement of senior students in need of accelerated progress in literacy and numeracy. In addition, some class teachers have introduced a process that supports them to inquire into the effectiveness of teaching strategies on target students. If implemented well these initiatives are likely to lead to accelerated student progress.

Key next steps include:

  • continued teacher development in the use of the Learning Steps, including collaborative moderation practice to ensure robust teacher assessment judgements
  • increased use of assessment information to ensure teaching is targeted to the specific learning needs of individuals and groups, particularly in junior classes
  • professional development for teachers to support them to use teaching strategies which give students increased clarity about and responsibility for their learning and next steps
  • effective implementation of recent initiatives, introduced with the support of the SAF, aimed at accelerating student progress.

3 Curriculum

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

The school’s curriculum effectively promotes Steiner/Waldorf learning outcomes for students.

Learners have access to a wide variety of curriculum experiences. Specialist teaching within aspects of technology, the arts and special character learning areas enriches experiences for students. Integration of subjects increases students’ interest in much of their learning. Students take pride in the presentation of their work. The artistic skills of many older students are well developed.

Students are generally well engaged in their lessons and interact positively with one another. Students spoken to by ERO said that they enjoy school and feel safe.

Teaching approaches do not sufficiently engage some students in junior classes. ERO’s evaluation found that it is timely for aspects of practice to be reviewed with consideration given to current best practice and research about effective teaching especially in literacy and mathematics.

Leaders and teachers demonstrate a commitment to increasing the bicultural nature of the school curriculum. Te reo me ngā tikanga Māori and local history are increasingly integrated into lessons, particularly during morning circle time. Teachers should continue to find ways to consistently integrate te ao Māori into their special character curriculum.

Areas of The New Zealand Curriculum which need to be strengthened within the school's curriculum are:

  • the principles of Learning to Learn, Cultural Diversity, and the Treaty of Waitangi
  • the learning area of health and physical education
  • aspects of effective pedagogy including teaching as inquiry.

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

The school’s 2013 achievement data suggests that Māori students generally achieve as well as their peers, with most at or above age-level expectations.

Teachers and leaders are becoming more focused on increasing success as Māori, for Māori learners at Te Ra School. It is important that engagement and partnerships with whānau Māori are fostered and nurtured so that the voice of Māori and the aspirations of whānau can effectively inform plans and programmes to develop Māori student success.

A recently appointed kaiako is supporting teachers to develop their confidence and skill with Māori language and culture. ERO encourages this, and the use of resources such as Ka Hikitia: Accelerating Success, Tātaiako: Cultural Competencies for Teachers of Māori Learners, Treaty of Waitangi workshops for staff, and continued involvement with a SAF as strategies that are likely to support teachers to further promote the language, culture and identity of Māori learners.

4 Sustainable Performance

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

This school is well placed to sustain and improve its performance. However, trustees, leaders and teachers should continue to develop self review processes to ensure that the effectiveness of strategic initiatives, teaching strategies and curriculum programmes is evaluated and review findings lead to ongoing improvements for students. This should include evaluation of junior class curriculum and assessment practice.

Trustees are developing their understandings of governance roles and responsibilities well. They are committed to improvement and consultation. Recent review processes have led to clear strategic next steps. Trustees and leaders have been reviewing and developing board processes and policies.

Trustees and leaders are highly focused on increasing community engagement. Recent initiatives and planned next steps, including various ways of gathering community voice, are likely to lead to positive partnerships focused on success for students. Trustees should continue to review how well key policies are communicated to the community and whether parents and whānau have appropriate access to teachers, leaders and parent representatives on the board.

The principal encourages collegiality and shared leadership. She has led the school well through a time of challenge and change. She is reflective and committed to improvement for students.

The performance management system for teachers has been modified and is aligned to the Registered Teacher Criteria. It supports teacher development and encourages staff to reflect on their practice.

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.

Trustees recognise the need to establish a sound policy review framework. Several policies are in need of updating.

  • The board should maintain an ongoing programme of self review in relation to polices. [National Administration Guidelines 2(b)]

In order to improve practice:

  • the board is required to adopt a statement on the delivery of the health curriculum, at least once every two years, after consultation with the school community [Section 60B Education Act 1989]
  • the principal should report fully to the board on personnel matters. [State Services 120-120B Ed Act 1989]

Recommendations to other agencies

ERO recommends the Ministry of Education consider further SAF support to continue the work begun to strengthen aspects of teaching, learning and assessment practice.

Conclusion

The Steiner/Waldorf special character strongly influences the school’s curriculum and assessment practices. Students enjoy a wide variety of curriculum activities and specialist teaching. However, the programme for students in the junior classes needs review to ensure it responds to their needs, strengths and interests. The school reports that students make good progress over time, and those who complete Class 7 achieve at or above expected levels.

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

Image removed.Joyce Gebbie

National Manager Review Services

Central Region

22 July 2014

About the School

Location

Raumati, Wellington

Ministry of Education profile number

1613

School type

Full Primary (Years 1 to 8)

School roll

147

Gender composition

Female 58%

Male 42%

Ethnic composition

Māori

NZ European/Pākehā

Other ethnic groups

18%

80%

2%

Review team on site

May 2014

Date of this report

22 July 2014

Most recent ERO report(s)

Supplementary Review

Education Review

Education Review

June 2011

April 2010

December 2006