Tauranga Special School

Education institution number:
1762
School type:
Special School
School gender:
Co-Educational
Definition:
School for pupils with intellectual impairments
Total roll:
108
Telephone:
Address:

39 Eighteenth Avenue, Tauranga South, Tauranga

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Tauranga Special School - 12/09/2019

School Context

Tauranga Special School caters for students with very high and complex needs living in the wider western Bay of Plenty Tauranga region. Students at the school range in age from 5 to 21 years. The base school in Tauranga consists of four classrooms. The school includes eight satellite classrooms that operate on other school sites in the Tauranga, Pāpāmoa, and Te Puke areas. A specialist outreach service provides support for students living in areas of the wider Bay of Plenty more distant from satellite classes.

Since the previous ERO review three new satellite classes have been established and the roll has grown. The principal continues in his role and there have been some changes to the leadership team. There have been some recent changes to the board of trustees including a new chairperson. Several new appointments have been made to the teaching team to accommodate roll growth.

Learning programmes are supported by a large team of teacher aides and specialist therapists. The school’s vision is to provide opportunities for each child to access learning at their level and develop to their full potential as learners and members of their community.

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

  • listening, reading and viewing

  • speaking, writing and presenting

  • numeracy

  • managing self/communication.

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 highly responsive to Māori and other students’ needs for wellbeing and learning and is achieving equitable outcomes for all learners.

Collated school-wide data shows that in 2018 all students, including Māori, made progress in relation to goals in individual plans. This data also shows that patterns of student achievement have been consistent over time.

Data collated and analysed school-wide shows levels of progress in relation to standardised learning frameworks that align with early Level 1 of The New Zealand Curriculum (NZC). The expanded English Framework developed by specialist schools and informed by the Ministry of Education handbook includes the numeracy framework and literacy learning progressions.

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

The school’s individualised approach to planning and monitoring student achievement shows that all Māori and other students have the opportunity to make progress and accelerate their learning in relation to expected levels.

The time taken for students to experience accelerated progress and the degree of acceleration varies considerably across the school. This variation is a reflection of the wide variety of high and complex learning needs that are being addressed by the school.

Rates of progress for individuals and groups of students are closely monitored, collated and reported to trustees.

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?

Teaching and learning programmes are highly responsive to students’ individual learning and wellbeing. Teachers, school specialist personnel, and teacher aides know students well. They demonstrate adaptable and flexible expertise and address a very wide range of student learning and developmental needs. Programmes are planned in response to each student’s interests, strengths, wellbeing and holistic needs.

Relationships and partnerships at all levels of the school are strongly supportive of student learning and wellbeing. Parents and whānau share information about their children’s successes and challenges. They are involved and able to contribute to school decisions and practices. Parents are kept well informed and involved in decisions about their child’s education and key transition points. Parents appreciate the open communication and the support the school provides for their children and whānau. Partnerships with parents and community support student wellbeing and learning.

Progress is closely monitored and shared with parents through assessment narratives and use of a web-based system. The curriculum includes many opportunities for students to work in the community and develop life skills that promote independence and communication skills.

Teacher aides and specialist therapists provide targeted and ongoing support to enhance students’ holistic, physical and communication capabilities. The school actively draws on community resources and partnerships to ensure students are able to engage with the wider community events and people.

Achievement information is effectively managed and used at all levels the school. Teachers use achievement information to plan programmes that cater for all students high and complex needs. The development of school-wide learning progressions supports teachers to assess, plan and monitor individual student progress.

Leaders collate and use school-wide data to report to the board. This enables trustees to evaluate programme effectiveness for individual and groups of students including Māori and boys and make well considered governance decisions.

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

ERO and the school have agreed that leaders and teachers continue the current focus on reviewing and refining the local curriculum. This is consistent with school strategic goals and direction and will support recent developments in culturally responsive practice.

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 Tauranga Special School’s performance in achieving valued outcomes for its students is: Strong.

ERO’s Framework: Overall School Performance is available on ERO’s website.

5 Going forward

Next steps

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

  • continued whole school professional development to further strengthen the school’s local curriculum and culturally responsive practices.

This is consistent with school strategic goals and direction. It is also likely to enable ongoing improvement to local curriculum responsiveness and design.

Key strengths of the school

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

  • leadership for learning focused equity and ongoing improvement that is highly responsive to the holistic wellbeing and achievement of all students
  • relationships for learning that are underpinned by relational trust, genuine care and respect.
  • shared values and collaboration among the school community that prioritises positive outcomes for all students
  • a curriculum, teaching and learning practices that is highly responsive to students’ individual needs.

Phillip Cowie

Director Review and Improvement Services Central

Central Region

12 September 2019

About the school

Location

Tauranga

Ministry of Education profile number

1762

School type

Special School

School roll

91

Gender composition

Male 71 Female 20

Ethnic composition

Māori 44
Pākehā 36
Pacific 5
Other 6

Students with Ongoing Resourcing Funding (ORS)

Yes

Provision of Māori medium education

No

Number of Māori medium classes

Total number of students in Māori medium (MME)

Total number of students in Māori language in English medium (MLE)

0

Number of students in Level 1 MME

Number of students in Level 2 MME

Review team on site

June 2019

Date of this report

12 September 2019

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review November 2015
Education Review September 2019

Kaka Street Special School - 17/11/2015

Findings

Kaka Street Special School provides high quality education for children with special educational needs in safe and friendly environments. Teachers, therapists and support staff work as professional teams, responding to students and recognising their successes and progress. The school advocates for students and includes parents as active learning partners.

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?

The base school in Tauranga caters for students with very high needs, including a reception class that prepares students for satellite and mainstream classes as appropriate. The wider school serves an extensive area, reaching from Katikati in the north to Whakatane in the east. Three new satellite schools have been established in Brookfield and Welcome Bay Primary Schools, and Papamoa College. The school also provides a specialist teacher outreach service (STOS) to support inclusive education for ongoing resource scheme (ORS) students in mainstream schools across the wider Bay of Plenty region. A group of students from 18 to 21 years extend their learning and life skills in an off-site facility that prepares them for life beyond school.

Since the September 2012 review, the school has appointed a new deputy principal and there have been changes to teaching teams. Significant improvements to facilities and equipment have enhanced the quality of teaching, learning and care for staff and children. In addition, there has also been a substantial roll increase.

The school has made good progress in the areas for development signalled in the previous 2012 report. These related to improving success for Māori as Māori, and have strengthening the alignment between the strategic and annual plan by working closely with the School Trustees Association (STA) and the Ministry of Education (MoE).

Teachers are working with external literacy facilitators to support students as they move towards achieving Levels 1 and 2 of the National Standards.

The school vision expresses the aim of 'learning together and enhancing our potential' and reflects a number of bicultural values developed in consultation with the community.

The school celebrates its 50 year anniversary in November 2015, and after extensive community consultation, is changing its name to Tauranga Special School in 2016.

2 Learning

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

The school makes highly effective use of holistic information gathered by teachers, therapists and families to develop individual education plans (IEPs), or for older students, individual transition plans (ITPs). These plans set goals which are monitored to identify progress, and are used to report twice yearly to parents. Parents as valued partners receive detailed, regular information about their children’s progress and development. The school also uses this information to report on National Standards to the board of trustees and the MoE.

Therapists, teachers, and support staff work as professional teams to bring their combined experience, knowledge and commitment in promoting positive outcomes for students. ERO observed high quality teaching practices. Staff respond to individual students’ diverse learning preferences, and recognise and celebrate their successes and progress. They are supported by modern, specialised equipment specifically designed to assist students' to participate in the curriculum.

In satellite classes, students are fully included in the life of the host school. Teachers maintain positive and effective relationships with school management and staff. They plan programmes of learning that are highly engaging for students who learn in aesthetically pleasing, well-resourced and well-designed classrooms.

3 Curriculum

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

The curriculum is well-designed to respond to individual students’ needs in the essential learning areas of literacy and mathematics, and in physical and social skills and emotional wellbeing. The school makes extensive use of the Central Region Special Schools Cluster Curriculum which provides detailed learning progressions towards the essential learning areas in literacy and mathematics.

There is an emphasis on students' developing their ability to communicate their ideas, emotions, and needs. A variety of equipment, including information technology, is used to motivate and empower students to more independently manage their learning and relationships. Adults use oral language skilfully to enrich students’ understanding and ability to express themselves. Teachers and support staff have developed many effective strategies to share communication with non-verbal students.

The curriculum includes many meaningful contexts for learning, and interesting trips into the wider community are regularly planned. A calendar of celebrations and events includes families and whānau.

Teachers document children’s learning in attractively presented portfolios that enable them to share and revisit their learning with families and friends.

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

A kaiako with knowledge and skills in te ao Māori has the responsibility of leading the development of culturally responsive teaching and learning. Students participate in a curriculum that reflects Māori values. This includes:

  • whakatau to welcome visitors
  • karakia and waiata
  • Matariki celebrations
  • kapa haka in some host schools.

A number of staff are committed to undertaking a wananga course to develop their skills and knowledge in this area. The principal and teacher responsible participated in a Ngaiterangi Iwi Trust project for their professional development.

The next step for further development and improvement is to continue to build staff confidence and competence in implementing culturally responsive practices and the full intent of Ka Hikitia and Tataiako.

4 Sustainable Performance

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

The school is very well placed to sustain and improve its performance because:

  • a clear strategic direction has been established
  • experienced and dedicated trustees bring a range of useful skills and expertise to their roles
  • the principal provides respectful and effective professional leadership and demonstrates empathy for staff and students. He acts as a strong advocate for students and their families in accessing a high quality, inclusive education and he has established networks that effectively engage the wider education community
  • self review is being increasingly used in association with the strategic plan and appraisal to contribute to the development and improvement of the school
  • a positive and welcoming environment has been established for parents, children and the wider community.

An important next step for the management team is to build effective leadership through shared, agreed and clearly defined roles and responsibilities. It is important that the principal continues to access external support to further this development.

In addition, the school should strengthen self review by:

  • building more rigour into the teachers’ appraisal system by aligning with best practice and Educational Council criteria and expectations
  • improving the strategic plan by including indicators of expected practice and monitoring outcomes of the action plans to measure progress and improvement.

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

Kaka Street Special School provides high quality education for children with special educational needs in safe and friendly environments. Teachers, therapists and support staff work as professional teams, responding to students and recognising their successes and progress. The school advocates for students and includes parents as active learning partners.

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

Graham Randell

Deputy Chief Review Officer Northern

17 November 2015

About the School

Location

Tauranga

Ministry of Education profile number

1762

School type

Special School

School roll

78

Gender composition

Boys 59

Girls 19

Ethnic composition

Pākehā

Māori

Pacific

Asian

Indian

40

31

3

2

2

Review team on site

September 2015

Date of this report

17 November 2015

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

September 2012

November 2009

August 2006