Lake Rotoma School

Lake Rotoma School - 29/06/2018

School Context

Lake Rotoma School is a small rural school located on Manawahe Road at the western end of Lake Rotoma, approximately 40 kilometres from Rotorua city. The school caters for students from Years 1 to 8. There are currently 10 students at the school, most of whom identify as Māori and whakapapa to Ngāti Pikiao.

Te Whare Tapawha, a holistic model for wellbeing that reflects Māori concepts and values, continues to strongly underpin the curriculum and school practices. The school continues its involvement with the Matawhaura network, a local cluster of Ngāti Pikiao schools, to identify and take action on areas for school development.

Since the previous review the roll has declined significantly. The school is now a sole-charge principal school.

‘Na to rourou, na toku rourou, ka ora ai tatou’ is the school’s guiding whakataukī. Through the beliefs of te taha hinengaro, te taha wairua, te taha tinana and te taha whānau and the values of respect, integrity, kindness and honesty, the school’s mission is to enable all tamariki to be:

  • self-directed learners through inquiry using resources and people in the Ngati Tamateatutahi Ngati Kawiti rohe
  • active and able citizens of society
  • given valuable and meaningful learning opportunities
  • respected.

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

  • reading, writing and mathematics.

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 publicly available achievement information shows the school is yet to achieve equitable outcomes for all its students.

In 2016, the majority of students achieved well in reading, writing and mathematics. Achievement data for writing and mathematics shows improvements over time. However, reading data shows a significant decline. Boys achieved less well than girls in writing. Girls’ achievement was significantly lower than boys in mathematics and reading.

Achievement data for the end of 2017 was reported against curriculum expectations.

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

The school is unable to identify rates of acceleration in progress, learning and achievement of students.

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?

Student’s language, culture and identity are supported and nurtured. Learning is fostered in a culturally inclusive environment. Purposeful experiences are planned to build students’ competence and confidence in te ao Māori. The Matawhaura network is building collaboration across the local schools enhancing opportunities, interactions and connections for students, teachers and principals. Students have a strong sense of belonging that is providing a foundation for enabling equity.

The localised school curriculum makes meaningful connections to learners’ lives through real-world contexts. A diverse range of learning experiences are provided that responds to students prior knowledge, emerging interests and ideas. The surrounding environment is utilised to extend learners’ understanding and knowledge of the world around them. Students’ understanding and awareness of who they are and where they come from is deepened and celebrated.

The school proactively identifies and draws on community resources to enhance learning opportunities. Parents and whānau are welcomed and actively participate in the life of the school. Strategies used to communicate and engage parents, whānau and community are strengthening relationships. The school is supporting parents to become increasingly involved in their child’s learning journey.

Whānau partnership is welcomed and fostered to support learners with additional needs. A wide range of learning experiences offers opportunities for challenge and risk taking. Strong relationships with external agencies and experts enhance progress and achievement of these students’. Learners with additional needs are actively encouraged and supported well to fully participate in all aspects of school life.

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

Extending the leader’s and teacher’s understanding of the effective use of achievement information to accelerate learners progress is needed. This should include:

  • building school-wide understanding of acceleration of learning
  • ensuring appropriate decisions are made in relation to curriculum expectations for learners are based on sufficient evidence for consistency and reliability
  • programme planning that intentionally identifies specific strategies to respond to individual’s learning needs
  • continuing to develop more frequent tracking and monitoring of progress and achievement towards robust school-wide targets
  • strengthening reporting to the board about progress of learning and achievement towards expectations.

Establishing school-wide understanding of evaluation, inquiry and knowledge building should support sustainability and inform ongoing improvement and innovation. This should include inquiring into the impact that strategies, programmes and interventions have on accelerating progress and achievement of those learners who require acceleration.

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 principal’s appraisal.

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

  1. undertake annual appraisal of the principal including observations of teaching practice.
    [Part 31 Education Act 1989]

4 Going forward

Key strengths of the school

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

  • educationally powerful connections to learners experiences, identities, whānau and iwi that enhances student motivation and engagement for learning
  • community collaborations that enrich opportunities for learning.

Next steps

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

  • extending the leader’s and teacher’s understanding of the effective use of achievement information to accelerate learners progress and achievement
  • establish school-wide understanding of evaluation, inquiry and knowledge building
  • targeted planning to accelerate learning [ERO will monitor and discuss progress with the school.]
  • internal evaluation processes and practices

[ERO will provide an internal evaluation workshop for trustees and senior leader.]

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

29 June 2018

About the school

Location

near Rotorua

Ministry of Education profile number

1788

School type

Full Primary (Years 1 to 8)

School roll

10

Gender composition

Boys 7 Girls 3

Ethnic composition

Māori 8

Pākehā 2

Students with Ongoing Resourcing Funding (ORS)

No

Provision of Māori medium education

No

Review team on site

May 2018

Date of this report

29 June 2018

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review May 2015
Education Review July 2013
Education Review September 2010

Lake Rotoma School - 15/05/2015

Findings

Students at Lake Rotoma School benefit from a broad range of academic, social, sporting and cultural opportunities in a small rural school setting. The board and principal have worked hard over the last two years to significantly improve the use of assessment information to raise student achievement in literacy and mathematics.

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

1 Background and Context

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

Lake Rotoma School is a small rural school located on Manawahe Road at the western end of Lake Rotoma, approximately 40 kilometres from Rotorua city. The school caters for students from Years 1 to 8. There are currently 39 students at the school, most of whom identify as Māori and whakapapa to Ngāti Pikiao.

Since the last ERO report the principal has continued to lead the school. There have been changes in both the board of trustees and staff. The Whare Tapawha, an holistic model for wellbeing that reflects Māori concepts and values, continues to underpin the curriculum and school practices.

The school continues its involvement with a local cluster of Ngāti Pikiao schools, to identify and take action on areas for school development. Recently the school has accessed Ministry of Education (MoE) professional development in writing, mathematics and digital learning.

The principal and board have worked effectively over the past 18 months with a special advisor appointed by the MoE to address the areas for review and development identified in the 2013 ERO report.

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 an action plan was developed to address the following areas:

  • board self review
  • performance management processes for teaching staff, including the principal
  • expectations for teaching practice
  • assessment practice and student achievement
    - the assessment of students in Years 1 to 3 in accordance with MoE guidelines
    - the effective use of student assessment information to raise student achievement
    - the evaluation of student progress made against the annual targets
  • engagement with the school community
  • budgeting for specific curriculum needs and the ongoing monitoring of curriculum budgets.
Progress
The Quality of Board Self Review

The new board has undertaken training in self review. They have written a new self-review policy that covers the strategic planning process and the ongoing review of board and school policies. They have made significant changes to their policy framework in line with current best practice. The board, along with the special advisor, have identified self review as an area for ongoing development.

The Performance Management of Teaching Staff, including the Principal

In consultation with the MoE appointed advisor, the board has adopted a new process for appraising the performance of the school principal. This process was used for the first time in 2014 by an external appraiser. Now that this first cycle of review has been undertaken, the board is evaluating the process to improve it for the second cycle in 2015.

The principal has developed a new process for the appraisal of teaching staff. It involves goal setting, teaching inquiries, observations and performance review against the New Zealand Teachers Council Registered Teacher Criteria. The process is well managed, robust and is leading to improved teacher performance. At the same time, induction processes for provisionally registered teachers have been strengthened. Provisionally registered teachers spoken to by ERO expressed satisfaction that they had received good support in their first year of teaching.

Expectations for Teaching Practice

Systems established in the school for improving expectations for teaching practice include:

  • the new performance management system, which also encompasses specific teacher inquiries in areas of interest that align with school priorities
  • the new support system for provisionally registered teachers
  • regular teacher planning checks 
  • ongoing professional development.

The principal agrees that these systems could be further enhanced by the development of a school curriculum document that clearly sets out agreed expectations for best practice in the teaching of literacy and mathematics at Lake Rotoma School.

Assessment and Achievement

The school uses an appropriate range of nationally benchmarked and diagnostic tools for assessing student progress and achievement, including for Years 1 to 3.

Teachers have received professional development in how to make valid and reliable overall teacher judgements (OTJs) of student achievement in reading. They undertake internal moderation to improve the robustness of their writing assessments, and agree that it is now necessary to extend this to external moderation with their local school cluster in order to broaden the range of samples they have for comparison. Work has begun to improve the quality of anecdotal record keeping in mathematics in order to strengthen the quality of OTJs in this area.

The principal has developed an effective system for the ongoing tracking and monitoring of the progress of all students. This new system encourages teachers to remain focussed on the specific learning needs of each student. New teacher planning systems enable them to respond more effectively to these specific needs. Other systems encourage them to look into the specific actions that the teacher can take that go beyond ‘business as usual’ in order to raise achievement.

The board receives regular reports on student achievement. They have developed an achievement target in the annual plan, and have a good understanding of the overall trends and patterns in student achievement at their school.

ERO observed effective systems in place for encouraging students to take responsibility for their own learning. Some students spoken to by ERO were able to articulate their levels and next steps in learning. The school needs to continue to improve the consistency of this student ownership of learning throughout the school.

The school uses an appropriate range of strategies for encouraging parents to be involved in their children’s learning. They agree that it is now timely to investigate further ways of developing collaborative partnerships with parents, which enable them to support the specific learning needs of their children.

Effective engagement with the school community

Since the 2013 ERO review, the principal and board, in consultation with the MoE advisor, have focussed on building strong, positive working relationships with parents and whānau. Several events and activities have been organised to further this work. The development of an attractive and up-to-date school website supports these initiatives. At the same time, the board has reviewed ways to collect parent and whānau views about the school. ERO observed and heard about several effective strategies from both staff and parents.

A current board priority is the further development of a strong relationship with the newly established early childhood service on the school site, and to support smooth transitions for students from one institution to the other.

Further to this priority, the principal and board have undertaken training in how to respond effectively to complaints and have extensively revised the school complaints policy and procedures. There is now a good understanding of the importance of effective communication with parents and whānau and the importance of responding in a timely manner to parent concerns.

Improving engagement with the school community continues to be a major focus for the board in its 2015 strategic plan.

Budgeting for specific curriculum needs and the ongoing monitoring of curriculum budgets

School accounts are now managed by an external accounting agency. The MoE’s advisor reports that in 2014 the MoE had no material concerns about the financial performance of the school. 

3 Sustainable performance and self review

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

The school is now well placed to sustain and continue to improve and review its performance.

As a result of improvements in the above areas, the board now has a greater understanding of its governance role, and a greater working knowledge of its policy framework. The board is focussed on improving student achievement through its strategic and annual planning processes.

Increasingly robust systems for collecting, analysing, monitoring and responding to student assessment information significantly increase opportunities for students to experience accelerated progress in literacy and mathematics. The principal is managing teacher performance in a way that also encourages them to focus on this goal.

The work already done to improve parent and whānau engagement in the school, and the board’s ongoing focus in this area, are likely to strengthen the school community as a unified group in promoting positive outcomes for students.

Key next steps

It is important that the principal and board continue to improve the school’s strategic planning to ensure that parent feedback is effectively taken into account. It is also important to review the timing of the various stages in the process so that the strategic plan can operate as an effective planning and self-review tool for school improvement and for raising student achievement.

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

Students at Lake Rotoma School benefit from a broad range of academic, social, sporting and cultural opportunities in a small rural school setting. The board and principal have worked hard over the last two years to significantly improve the use of assessment information to raise student achievement in literacy and mathematics.

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

Dale Bailey
Deputy Chief Review Officer Northern

15 May 2015

About the School

Location

Rotoma, Rotorua

Ministry of Education profile number

1788

School type

Full Primary (Years 1 to 8)

School roll

39

Gender composition

Boys      23
Girls       16

Ethnic composition

Māori
Other

38
  1

Review team on site

March 2015

Date of this report

15 May 2015

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review
Education Review
Supplementary Review

July 2013
September 2010
March 2008