Rotokawa School

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School Context

Rotokawa School is a contributing primary school catering for Year 1 to 6 students located in Rotorua. The current roll of 217 includes 135 who identify as Māori. The school vision is ‘to improve your future, enjoy school, enjoy learning, consider others’. ‘Whakaaro nui ki ētahi’.

Since the 2016 ERO evaluation a new principal and assistant principal have been appointed and the majority of board members are new. Trustees have been involved in training and have had a smooth transition into their roles. The teaching and leadership team have been involved in professional learning and development in play-based learning, writing, incredible years and oral language. The school is a participant in the Positive Behaviour for Learning initiative.

In 2019 a formalised Memorandum of Understanding - Tatau Pounamu, was signed with Ngāti Uenukukopako to cement the relationship with Rotokawa School. Ngāti Uenukukopako Hapū have cultural, spiritual, historical and traditional association with the whenua and are recognised as the iwi/hapū who are mana whenua and kaitiaki of Rotokawa School.

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

  • reading, writing, mathematics and attendance.

The school belongs to the Rotorua East Kāhui Ako|Community of Learning.

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 working towards achieving equitable and excellent outcomes for all students. Student achievement data for Years 3 to 6 at the end of 2018 shows that the majority of students achieved at or above expected levels for writing and mathematics and most students for reading.

School data shows that non-Māori students are achieving better than Māori students and girls at higher levels than boys in reading and writing, and boys are achieving higher in mathematics.

ERO was unable to accurately ascertain student achievement levels over the last three years.

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

The school responds well to individual Māori and other students whose learning and achievement need acceleration. Classroom teachers have developed useful processes to track the accelerated progress of at-risk students. They can show acceleration for individual students. The 2019 mid-year data for these students indicates that almost all targeted students made accelerated progress in writing. The school has yet to collate and analyse schoolwide acceleration information for these students in reading and mathematics.

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?

Teachers and support staff work collaboratively to effectively assist students to be actively engaged in their learning. They respond well to student needs and there is an emphasis on holistic learning and wellbeing. Physical environments are well organised to support learning and reflect New Zealand’s bicultural heritage. School values are embedded throughout the school and there are clear expectations for behaviour and learning. Staff have established positive and reciprocal relationships with students and whānau. Students are highly engaged in learning activities reflecting the school strategic priorities.

The school is providing a localised curriculum that values local traditions and history. There is an appropriate emphasis on literacy and mathematics. Leaders and teachers have reviewed assessment practices to strengthen the use of student achievement information. Students are actively encouraged to participate in a wide range of academic, sporting, cultural and leadership opportunities.

Tuakana-teina relationships are central to the culture of the school. Teachers plan collaboratively for curriculum concepts and inquiry learning. Leaders and teachers are accessing targeted professional learning and development in te ao Māori, aligned to the localised Rotokawa history and culture.

Leaders and trustees are working constructively to provide an environment that effectively promotes student learning and wellbeing. A distributive leadership approach is providing opportunities for teachers to lead aspects of the curriculum and contribute to the life of the school and wider education community. The leadership team is building teacher capability through appropriately targeted professional learning and development to support teachers to reflect on and inquire into their practice. Trustees are committed to improving student wellbeing and achievement, and are engaging in training to support their governance role.

Learning for students with additional needs is well planned and managed. The special needs coordinator has developed robust systems for tracking and monitoring at risk learners. Teachers and teacher aides work effectively in partnerships with whānau and outside agencies to meet the needs of individual students. Transition into, within and out of the school is responsive to individual learners.

The school and community are engaged in reciprocal partnerships. Senior leaders and staff maintain a welcoming, family-like learning environment, where students feel well supported and confident.

Parents ERO spoke to felt well informed, their ideas valued, and expertise utilised. Partnerships with parents are effectively used to support learning and they are actively involved in school events and activities.

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 board agree that priority should be given to strengthening:

  • the collation and analysis of student achievement data to show progress and acceleration over time
  • student capabilities to enable them to articulate their progress, celebrate achievement and identify next learning steps
  • the evaluation of school initiatives and their impact on student engagement and learning outcomes
  • teacher understanding of te ao Māori to continue to build confidence and capability
  • the collection and use of all student achievement data to more specifically inform decisions related to student learning and achievement.

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 Rotokawa School’s performance in achieving valued outcomes for its students is: Developing.

ERO’s Framework: Overall Findings and Judgement Tool derived from School Evaluation Indicators: Effective Practice for Improvement and Learner Success is available on ERO’s website.

5 Going forward

Key strengths of the school

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

  • school values that are embedded throughout the school to provide clear expectations for behaviour and learning
  • leadership and the board who work collaboratively and effectively to provide an environment that promotes student learning and wellbeing
  • a localised curriculum that includes local traditions and history
  • partnerships with parents that are effectively used to support learning and actively involve whānau in school events and activities.

Next steps

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

  • evaluating school initiatives to determine their impact on student outcomes
  • strengthening student achievement data to show student progress and acceleration and inform decision making.

Darcy Te Hau

Acting Director Review and Improvement Services

Central Region

16 March 2020

About the school

Location

Rotorua

Ministry of Education profile number

1931

School type

Contributing (Years 1 to 6)

School roll

217

Gender composition

Female 101 Male 116

Ethnic composition

Māori 62%
NZ European/Pakeha 36%
Other 2%

Students with Ongoing Resourcing Funding (ORS)

Yes

Provision of Māori medium education

No

Review team on site

October 2019

Date of this report

16 March 2020

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review November 2016
Education Review August 2013
Education Review December 2010

1 Context

Rotokawa School, rests on land entrusted to Ngāti Uenukukopako, and which is located on the eastern boundary of Rotorua City. It provides education for students from Years 1 to 6. The school’s roll of 197, includes 116 Māori students, most of whom whakapapa to Te Arawa.

Since the previous ERO review in 2013, there have been significant changes in teaching staff and the senior leadership team. A new board of mostly new trustees was elected in 2016. The long standing kaumātua for the school is a member of the board. The school is a member of the Rotorua East Community of Learning.

2 Equity and excellence

The vision and valued outcomes defined by the school for all children are 'Whakaaro nui ki etahi, kia pārekareka ai te rapu mohiotanga, me anga hoki ki te whakakaha ia tatou'. Children to enjoy school, and learning, through stimulating, challenging, supportive, inclusive and relevant experiences. The vision is underpinned by the school values of Tū mana, Tū pono, Tū Koakoa ai me Tū tapu: Have fun, include others, be respectful, safe, responsible and truthful.

The school’s achievement information shows that over two thirds of Māori children are achieving at or above National Standards in reading, writing and mathematics. This is a consistent pattern over 2013 to 2015.

The school's achievement information 2013 to 2015 shows that over three quarters of other children achieved at or above National Standards in reading, writing and mathematics. This information also shows achievement levels in writing remained similar but declined in reading and mathematics. There are particular achievement challenges for a group of boys in the school.

Teachers use a range of tools and assessment information to inform overall teacher judgements in relation to National Standards in reading, writing and mathematics.

Since the last ERO evaluation the school has:

  • strengthened transition to school practices for five year olds in collaboration with parents and early childhood services
  • strengthened moderation practices to inform overall teacher judgements in relation to National Standards in reading, writing and mathematics
  • developed the school curriculum in consultation with the community and included learning progressions for literacy, mathematics, te reo Māori and other curriculum areas
  • focused on building learner-centred relationships with children and families
  • established and shared expectations for culturally responsive practice.

3 Accelerating achievement

How effectively does this school respond to Māori children whose learning and achievement need acceleration?

School leaders and teachers use achievement information well to identify individual Māori children whose learning and achievement needs acceleration. They use this information to design targeted responses that support teachers to more specifically plan, monitor and modify strategies to meet individual learning needs. Consideration should now be given to making planning for targeted achievement a more inclusive process. This is necessary to ensure that children and their parents understand their learning needs and how to respond.

The school's achievement information for 2016 shows that the rate of progress for Māori boys is needing greater acceleration. This data shows that eight out of twenty three in mathematics, eleven out of twenty in writing and nine out of twenty five in reading are making accelerated progress. All Māori girls who were below expectations in mathematics and writing are making accelerated progress.

Trustees and school leaders use school-wide achievement information to develop broad strategic goals. They now need to more specifically identify patterns, trends and develop targets for raising and accelerating achievement, particularly for Māori boys.

How effectively does this school respond to other children whose learning and achievement need acceleration?

The school's identification of and responses to other children whose learning and achievement needs acceleration is similar to that for Māori.

There is a range of interventions that complement classroom programmes. These are designed to accelerate literacy learning and achievement, and to promote social skills and confidence. A more strategic approach to internal evaluation should enable trustees, the principal and teachers to evaluate the effectiveness of responses designed to accelerate progress and achievement.

The SENCO supports teachers to implement programmes and monitor individual progress and achievement. She works collaboratively with parents, teachers and external agencies to develop responsive actions for children with high learning needs.

4 School conditions

How effectively do the school’s curriculum and other organisational processes and practices develop and enact the school’s vision, values, goals and targets for equity and excellence?

The school's vision and values are highly evident in the curriculum and reflected in the caring and inclusive school culture. The broad curriculum gives appropriate priority to literacy, mathematics, and science. Strengthening expectations about local contexts for learning and Māori knowledge is needed to make the curriculum more responsive to the interests, culture and identity of Māori children/learners. Connections to children's lives and experiences are acknowledged and affirmed.

Leadership for learning is well informed and is focused on promoting equitable outcomes for Māori and other children. Relational trust and collaborative partnerships with children, teachers, parents and the wider community is evident across the school. There is a well-considered approach to change management and a developing culture of professional sharing and learning focused on improving learner outcomes.

There are examples of effective teaching strategies being modelled. Teachers use assessment information well to plan, monitor and address the specific learning needs of those children at risk of not achieving. Well-considered action plans are used by teachers to implement deliberate acts of teaching that focus on the relevant learning needs of individual children. Further consideration should now be given to ensuring children are able to have conversations about their learning and know and understand what their next learning steps are.

'Teaching as inquiry' across the curriculum requires further development. This should assist teachers to focus their inquiry processes more specifically on children achieving below expected levels, particularly Māori boys. These processes should continue to accelerate progress and maintain achievement gains.

Sound learning partnerships are developing between teachers, parents and whānau. Teachers have positive and trusting relationships with parents. Whānau are actively involved and welcomed into the school. These partnerships could be strengthened to connect in-school and out-of-school learning activities and initiatives. Participation in learning-centred relationships promote positive and valued outcomes for students.

The board is strongly focused on children's learning and well being. Trustees use a range of student achievement information and feedback, including the perspectives of parents, whānau and community to support their understanding of what is going well and what needs to change. A more systematic and strategic approach to internal evaluation should assist them in identifying the successes and the crucial change required to improve outcomes for all learners.

5 Going forward

How well placed is the school to accelerate the achievement of all children who need it?

Leaders and teachers:

  • know the children whose learning and achievement need to be accelerated
  • respond to the strengths, needs and interests of each child
  • regularly evaluate how teaching is working for these children
  • need to systematically act on what they know works for each child
  • need to have a plan in place to build teacher capability to accelerate the achievement of all children who need it.

Current strengths are:

  • well-informed leadership of learning that is focused on promoting equitable outcomes for Māori and other children
  • stewardship is strongly focused on student learning, well-being, achievement and progress
  • well-considered action plans are used by teachers to implement deliberate acts of teaching that focus on the relevant learning needs of individual children.

Further development to improve learning outcomes for children are as follows:

  • The board and school leaders need to develop specific school-wide targets focused on at-risk learners. This would further sharpen the focus on achieving equitable outcomes for these children.
  • Teachers, parents and whānau could collaborate further to connect in-school and out-of-school learning in ways that support valued outcomes for students.

Action: The board, principal and teachers should use the findings of this evaluation, the Effective School Evaluation resource, the Internal Evaluation: Good Practice exemplars and the School Evaluation Indicators to develop more targeted planning to accelerate student achievement. Planning should show how processes and practices will respond effectively to the strengths and needs of children whose learning and achievement need to be accelerated.

As part of this review ERO will continue to monitor the school’s planning and the progress the school makes. ERO is likely to carry out the next full review in three years.

6 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 the following:

  • board administration

  • curriculum

  • management of health, safety and welfare

  • personnel management

  • 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

  • processes for appointing staff

  • stand down, suspensions, expulsions and exclusions

  • attendance

  • compliance with the provisions of the Vulnerable Children Act 2014

7 Recommendation

The board and leaders need to strengthen their approach to internal evaluation practice, and use this knowledge to evaluate the effectiveness of programmes/initiatives for at risk learners. 

Lynda Pura-Watson

Deputy Chief Review Officer

24 November 2016

About the school

Location

Rotorua

Ministry of Education profile number

1931

School type

Contributing (Years 1 to 6)

School roll

197

Gender composition

Boys 54% Girls 46%

Ethnic composition

Māori

Pākehā

Others

62%

26%

12%

Review team on site

September 20156

Date of this report

24 November 2016

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

August 2013

December 2010

May 2008