Kawerau South School

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School Context

Kawerau South School is situated in the town of Kawerau and provides education for students in Years 1 to 6. The roll at the time of this review was 364 students of whom 83% are Māori.

The school’s vision is for their learners to be citizens of the school, their community, Aōtearoa and the world. This contributes to the school’s valued outcomes for learners to:

  • display the core values of being successful, unique, respectful and enthusiastic
  • enjoy learning and thrive in a culture of care
  • develop whanaungatanga, manaakitanga and kotahitanga.

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

  • reading, writing and mathematics
  • accelerated progress in reading
  • additional needs programmes and interventions.

The school has been involved in a range of professional learning and development (PLD) focussed on improving teacher practice. These include ‘Clarity in the Classroom’, Accelerated Literacy Learning (ALL) facilitated by Waikato University, Reading: Pause Prompt Praise, Oral Language Programme, and Positive Behaviour for Learning (PB4L).

Since the last ERO review there has been substantial roll growth and this has led to several new appointments to the leadership team, teaching and support staff.

The school is part of a Kawerau/Rangitaiki Community of Learning|Kāhui Ako. 

Evaluation Findings

1 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 responded well to achieve more equitable and excellent outcomes in reading and mathematics. Writing has been identified as a priority for 2018.

The majority of children are achieving at the appropriate curriculum levels in reading and mathematics. Improvements in 2017 saw 88% of children at the end of Year 6 leave the school at the appropriate reading level for their age.

However only half of all children are achieving in writing and this has been declining over time.

The disparity between Māori and Pākehā students over time has reduced. In 2017 achievement information showed that Māori students achieved at comparable levels to their non-Māori peers at the school in reading and writing, and that at higher levels in mathematics.

2017 achievement information also shows that boys are now achieving at similar levels to girls in reading and mathematics. In writing boys proportionally achieve at significantly lower levels than girls.

Included in the 2017 overall statistics are 12 children with high learning needs, including nine Ongoing Resourcing Schemes (ORS) funded students. All of these learners have made progress in their learning goals and several have exceeded their goals in verbal communication and social interaction.

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

The school has effectively accelerated the learning of at risk Māori and other students in reading.

A targeted approach to reading has seen a significant shift in progress for at-risk students. Achievement information shows that of the 195 students that were in targeted programmes for learning, 171 made accelerated progress.

The rates of progress data in reading for groups of learners shows that in 2017 90% of students made more than one year’s progress within the year. Of these students 89% were Māori and 72% non-Māori. Data at the start of 2018 shows this progress has been sustained.

There are 28 students that receive intensive in-class support. Achievement information reported by the school shows that all of these students are making progress and a significant majority are making accelerated progress towards their learning achievement goals.

The school is yet to show acceleration data for writing and mathematics. This is a focus for 2018. 

2 School conditions for equity and excellence

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

Leaders have effectively built relational trust and effective collaboration for school-wide improvement. With the support of trustees, leaders have taken a strategic approach to building teacher capability through targeted professional learning and development focused on effective use of data and explicit learning strategies. Leaders model in the classroom and invite colleagues to observe, to shift thinking and teacher practice. The leaders’ initiatives for improving the collective capacity of staff has seen a significant improvement in the targeted areas to accelerate learning, providing more equitable outcomes for all.

Teachers actively build strong, genuine, respectful and reciprocal relationships with students and their whānau. There are effective systems for the identification of at-risk learners and provision of high quality in-class support programmes. Support staff and teachers work in partnership with parents and whānau. For children with high additional learning needs, teachers and the Special Education Needs Coordinator develop individualised education plans and work collaboratively with external specialist agencies to support children and their families. There is a strong sense of belonging and inclusion for all children and whanau in the school.

The school is highly responsive to providing equitable opportunities to learn for all children. Several initiatives are funded by the board of trustees to provide more equitable access for children and remove barriers to learning. The community is actively involved in the school and many volunteers regularly support students with reading, writing, mathematics, sporting and cultural activities. The culture of care in the school enables children to participate in all aspects of the curriculum and achieve success.

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

In-school processes and practices need to be further refined to achieve equitable and excellent outcomes for all learners.

Trustees and leaders need to ensure a clear line of sight to at-risk learners through the alignment of targets. Regular evaluation and reporting to the board on the effectiveness of initiatives in accelerating the progress of target students is required. This includes refining the process for teaching as inquiry to more effectively use data to focus on individual students. Planning to meet their needs and strengths and regularly evaluating the effectiveness of strategies to accelerate learning is a key component to the process.

There is a need to strengthen the school’s response to promoting and fostering children’s language, culture and identity. Leaders and teachers need to build their collective capacity in culturally responsive practice by extending their confidence and competence in te reo and tikanga Māori. Teachers need to plan for the authentic integration of local contexts throughout the daily teaching and learning programme.

The board of trustees needs to ensure the process for review of policies and procedures occurs regularly to ensure they reflect current practice of the school and legislation changes.

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.

4 Going forward

Key strengths of the school

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

  • a culture of collaboration between leaders and teachers that builds collective capacity to improve educational outcomes for all students
  • an holistic approach to student wellbeing that actively creates an inclusive environment for learning
  • productive partnerships for learning with trustees, parents, whanau and community that provide equitable opportunities for all students to learn.

Next steps

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

  • aligning targets, action plans, teacher inquiry and regular reporting to monitor progress and acceleration for at-risk students
  • curriculum development and leadership for a rich, integrated, contextual programme that better responds to students’ language, culture and identity
  • internal evaluation processes and practices
    [the school has requested ERO to provide an internal evaluation workshop for trustees and senior leaders.] 

ERO’s next external evaluation process and timing

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

Lynda Pura-Watson
Deputy Chief Review Officer

Te Tai Miringa - Waikato / Bay of Plenty Region

15 May 2018

About the school 

Location

Kawerau

Ministry of Education profile number

1770

School type

Contributing (Years 1 to 6)

School roll

364

Gender composition

Boys                     53%
Girls                      47%

Ethnic composition

Māori                   83%
Pākehā                 13%
Other                      4%

Provision of Māori medium education

No

Review team on site

February 2018

Date of this report

15 May 2018

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review February 2015
Education Review July 2010
Education Review June 2007

Findings

Strong and long-standing relationships among teachers, students and the wider community contribute to the school’s positive atmosphere for learning. Appropriate priority is placed on literacy and mathematics in the school’s curriculum. Students requiring additional assistance benefit from having access to a wide range of support programmes.

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?

Kawerau South School, located in the town of Kawerau, provides education for students in Years 1 to 6. The school’s roll of 346 includes 275 students who identify as Māori. Many of these Māori students whakapapa to Tuhoe, Ngāti Tūwharetoa and Ngāti Awa. The school continues to provide education for students with high and very high learning needs in a specialist class. In 2012 the Ministry of Education (MoE) undertook a reorganisation of schooling in Kawerau. This, along with an increase in enrolments of students at five years of age, has resulted in a significant increase in the school’s roll.

Since the July 2010 ERO report school leadership has remained the same and there have only been minor changes to the teaching team. In 2013 a new chair and several new trustees were elected to the board. Significant refurbishment of classrooms and other school buildings has been undertaken. Teachers have participated in extensive professional development in mathematics, writing and to support the maintenance of the school's positive learning environment.

In consultation with the community, the school reviewed and refined its guiding statement of whanaungatanga by identifying the key dispositions of trusting, caring, sharing, aroha, supporting and helping. These dispositions underpin the positive climate for learning evident in the school.

ERO observed high levels of student engagement in meaningful learning programmes.

Students benefit from learning in spacious, attractively presented and well-resourced learning environments.

The school has a positive ERO reporting history and has effectively addressed the area for development in the previous review about reporting achievement information to parents.

2 Learning

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

School leaders have established comprehensive assessment processes that guide teaching practice. They make good use of assessment data to:

  • identify students that require additional assistance
  • monitor achievement trends and patterns
  • review the effectiveness of programmes and initiatives
  • report to the MoE and community.

Useful processes are being developed that support teachers to make reliable judgements in relation to the National Standards.

The board is well informed about student achievement and trustees make good use of this information to inform decision making.

Teachers collect a wide range of achievement information, particularly in literacy and mathematics. They use this effectively to group students for instruction. There are examples of teachers who make very good use of this information to plan, implement and monitor specific programmes relevant to individual student needs.

Parents are well informed about their children’s learning by written reports and at parent teacher conferences. Parents who spoke to ERO appreciate the many opportunities for informal discussions about their children’s learning with teachers and school leaders.

The school reports that many students starting school at five years of age have low levels of oral language and literacy. National Standards data for the end of 2014 indicates that approximately 70% of students, including Māori, achieved at or above the standards in reading, writing and mathematics.

Students’ achievements and successes are regularly acknowledged and celebrated at school assemblies, in school newsletters, and on class and school wall displays.

3 Curriculum

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

Kawerau South School's curriculum effectively promotes and supports student learning.

The school places high priority on literacy and mathematics learning.

A special feature of the school’s curriculum is the wide range of programmes provided to support students who require additional assistance, especially in literacy and mathematics. These programmes are taken by experienced and skilled specialist teachers, teacher aides and valued kuia. Knowledgeable lead teachers carefully monitor these programmes and report outcomes to the board. The school’s special education needs coordinators (SENCOs) access appropriate external expertise to guide and support teachers and learners. Students with high and very high learning needs benefit from opportunities to learn in the specialist class and designated home classes.

Other features of the curriculum include:

  • the use of the local environment to promote learning in meaningful contexts
  • frequent trips and camps
  • a wide range of opportunities for students to experience success in cultural, sporting and academic events and competitions
  • opportunities for students to develop their leadership skills.

Teachers have high expectations for student learning and behaviour. A particular strength of the school is the close and trusting relationships that teachers have with students and whānau. ERO observed many examples of teachers using highly effective strategies that support students as self-managing learners. To further build the consistency of these strategies, school leaders should:

  • develop, with teachers, agreed expectations for effective teaching and learning at Kawerau South School
  • link teacher professional development to support the implementation of these expectations
  • fully implement the recently reviewed teacher appraisal process.

The school is continuing to build strong learning partnerships with families and whānau that support student achievement. Well-planned transition processes assist students as they enter school aged five and when they move onto secondary school. These transitions are complemented by well-established relationships with local early childhood centres and Tarawera High School.

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

Teachers have high expectations for Māori students to experience success in their learning. They have long standing and close relationships with whānau that contribute to students’ strong sense of belonging and wellbeing. The school’s commitment to the principle of whanaungatanga affirms Māori student culture and identity. Māori students’ sense of identity is enhanced through marae visits, opportunities to participate in kapa haka, and learning about local history and traditions.

4 Sustainable Performance

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

Kawerau South School is well placed to sustain its performance.

Trustees are supportive of the principal and teachers. They undertake training to further their understanding of their roles as governors of the school, and bring a well-considered approach to decision making.

The experienced, knowledgeable and well-respected principal has strong community links and is focused on on-going school improvement. He is well supported by the deputy and assistant principals who play key roles in curriculum leadership and development.

The school implements a wide range of useful self-review processes focused on school improvement. Further developing these practices is likely to assist school leaders to better evaluate the effectiveness of key aspects of school operations.

The school continues to benefit from strong community support and involvement.

To further enhance sustainability the board and school leaders should establish a plan that identifies short and long term priorities for school development.

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

Strong and long-standing relationships among teachers, students and the wider community contribute to the school’s positive atmosphere for learning. Appropriate priority is placed on literacy and mathematics in the school’s curriculum. Students requiring additional assistance benefit from having access to a wide range of support programmes.

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

Dale Bailey

Deputy Chief Review Officer Northern Northern Region

10 February 2015

About the School

Location

Kawerau, Bay of Plenty

Ministry of Education profile number

1770

School type

Contributing (Years 1 to 6)

School roll

346

Gender composition

Boys 52% Girls 48%

Ethnic composition

Māori

Pākehā

Other

80%

17%

3%

Review team on site

December 2014

Date of this report

10 February 2015

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

July 2010

June 2007

June 2004