Rotorua School

Education institution number:
1934
School type:
Full Primary
School gender:
Co-Educational
Definition:
Not Applicable
Total roll:
375
Telephone:
Address:

1249 Arawa Street, Rotorua Central, Rotorua

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Rotorua School - 29/06/2018

Findings

Rotorua School has made good progress in addressing the areas for development identified in the 2015 ERO report in relation to improving teacher practice. Students at risk of underachieving are now better supported. An important next step for the school is to appoint new school leaders to ensure that improvements made so far are sustained into the future.

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?

Rotorua School is located in central Rotorua and caters for students in Years 1 to 8. The current roll is 214. Of these, 96% are Māori, most of whom whakapapa to Te Arawa, the local iwi. There are also a small number of Pacific, Asian and Pākehā students.

The school is dual medium with five classes taught in English (Auraki) and five taught through the medium of Māori (Rūmaki). The school continues to enjoy close relationships with Ngāti Whakaue, the local hapū, who provide ongoing support for students in literacy in both English and Māori, as well as funding for other initiatives in the school.

Since the 2015 ERO report school leadership has remained stable. Board membership has changed over the past two years with a new chairperson in place mid-way through 2016.

The school is a member of the Te Maru o Ngongotaha Community of Learning|Kāhui Ako.

2 Review and Development

How effectively is the school addressing its priorities for review and development?

Priorities identified for review and development:

  • strengthen the use of assessment data at all levels of the school
  • complete the development of a local curriculum document
  • strengthen teaching practice
  • strengthen appraisal for leaders and teachers as well as other forms of internal evaluation
  • strengthen guidance and leadership for the teachers of the Rūmaki classes
  • strengthen school governance.

Progress

The school has strengthened the use of assessment data. Leaders have developed school-wide targets that focus on accelerating the progress of students identified as at risk of underachieving. These targets are included in the strategic plan so that the board can track progress in meeting them. Leaders have developed robust systems for the monitoring and tracking of at-risk students at syndicate and senior leadership level. A small number of at-risk students in each class are identified by the classroom teacher to be the focus of ongoing, evidence-based inquiry. This enables teachers to be more innovative and flexible in responding to the individual learning needs of each student.

The school has made significant progress in developing its local curriculum. Local iwi history is now taught systematically throughout both the Auraki and Rūmaki classes. Both the Auraki and Rūmaki sections of the school have reviewed the way curriculum content is organised and delivered. Leaders are working on ways to use local iwi history as the foundation and framework for the whole school curriculum.

Teaching practice has been strengthened. There are now clear expectations in place for many aspects of classroom practice including planning, reporting on and discussing assessment data, and presentation of classroom environments. Leaders have instituted robust systems to raise and maintain high levels of teacher performance. Teachers observed by ERO had warm and respectful relationships with their students. School-wide behaviour management systems assist teachers to promote a positive environment for learning. Strategies which make learning more visible for students such as the use of modelling books and success criteria are evident. Good use is made of learning progressions to identify individual student learning needs, particularly in reading, mathematics, pānui, pukapuka and pāngarau.

The services of an external appraiser have been used by senior leaders to assist them to improve their practice. In 2018 the focus of the appraisal is on the leadership team as a whole. A new appraisal system has been developed for teachers which aligns with current Education Council requirements and recommendations. Leadership and guidance for the Rūmaki teachers has been strengthened with the provision of both internal and external mentoring and support for leaders in this area.

Trustees have a good understanding of their roles. They are enthusiastic about new board targets which focus on student progress. They are fully involved in the development of the strategic plan and have shared ownership of the direction that they have set for the school. Trustees lead policy review. All trustees have been involved in ongoing training and development in order to more effectively carry out their responsibilities.

Key next steps

Ongoing development and improvement needs to continue, particularly in the following areas:

  • Leaders need to strengthen the analysis of assessment data in the Rūmaki section of the school and take a more strategic approach to identifying targeted actions to respond to trends and patterns. They should also ensure that the new appraisal system for teachers is consistently implemented.

Leaders need to complete the review of the local curriculum. This will include:

  • finalising the ways in which local iwi history becomes the foundation and framework for the whole curriculum in both the Auraki and Rūmaki sections of the school
  • developing clear expectations for the teaching of literacy, mathematics, te reo matatini and pāngarau.

Teachers need to continue to strengthen their practice. This will include:

  • developing systems that empower students to articulate and take responsibility for their own next steps in learning
  • aligning systems for providing feedback and feed forward to students about the next steps in learning
  • responding more effectively to the needs of groups and individuals in tuhituhi.

3 Sustainable performance and self review

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

Trustees have set a clear direction for the school and are well-informed about their roles. Many of the new systems and processes recommended in the 2015 ERO report have been embedded in school practice. Key teachers who are able to support school leaders to maintain the current direction are in place.

However, the school is currently in a period of change. Two of the three senior leaders, including the principal, have recently resigned. An acting principal has been appointed until a new one can start at the beginning of Term 4, 2018.

For this reason, ERO will continue to monitor the school’s targeted planning and progress.

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.

In order to meet its legislative requirements the board of trustees must:

  • strengthen anti-bullying policies and programmes offered to students so that they cover all relevant types of bullying. [National Administration Guideline 5]

4 Recommendations

Recommendations, including any to other agencies for ongoing or additional support.

  • the board of trustees access external support to appoint a new principal
  • trustees and leaders participate in an ERO internal evaluation workshop.

Conclusion

Rotorua School has made good progress in addressing the areas for development identified in the 2015 ERO report in relation to improving teacher practice. Students at risk of underachieving are now better supported. An important next step for the school is to appoint new school leaders to ensure that improvements made so far are sustained into the future.

ERO is likely to carry out the next review 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

Rotorua

Ministry of Education profile number

1934

School type

Full Primary (Years 1 to 8)

School roll

214

Gender composition

Boys 52% Girls 48%

Ethnic composition

Māori

Pākehā

Other

96%

1%

3%

Special Features

Dual medium

Review team on site

April 2018

Date of this report

29 June 2018

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Supplementary Review

July 2015

June 2012

June 2009

Rotorua School - 21/07/2015

1 Context

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

Rotorua School is located in the central business district and caters for students in Years 1 to 8. The school has strong affiliations to Ngāti Whakaue and Te Arawa. At the time of this ERO review there were 195 students, almost all of whom identified as being Ngāti Whakaue and Māori.

Rotorua School places a strong emphasis on promoting Māori values such as whanaungatanga, tika and mātauranga. Students are immersed in a school setting where tikanga and te reo Māori are actively fostered and promoted. Parents can choose to have their children educated in either rumaki or mainstream education. The school enjoys strong support from parents who take an active part in decisions that help support students’ learning. This partnership reinforces the school’s commitment to empowering students to become confident learners.

Recent school initiatives and developments have been the appointment of a new assistant principal in 2015 and teacher participation in school-wide professional learning and development in mathematics. The ‘Rangihakahaka’ initiative is a collaboration with Ngāti Whakaue to develop a school curriculum that strongly reflects their traditions, tikanga, history and stories as well as their aims and aspirations for the education of Ngāti Whakaue children.

While there have been issues over the years relating to concerns about governance, leadership and teaching practice, the most recent ERO report in 2012 noted the school had made good progress in these areas.

2 Learning

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

The school uses a range of assessment tools to gather information on student achievement. This data is used by the leadership team to make decisions about school targets and school-wide planning, inform teacher professional learning and development, and to identify students requiring learning support.

Internal moderation of assessment data as well as moderation with other schools has helped teachers make valid and reliable overall teacher judgements in relation to the National Standards and Ngā Whanaketanga Rumaki Māori. The board is well informed about student achievement and trustees make good use of this information to inform decision making about school resourcing and priorities.

There are good examples of teachers gathering a range of assessment data, including data from the previous year and beginning of year testing, to identify the levels, needs, strengths and interests of students. In some classes effective use is made of assessment data to differentiate learning for students. However this practice is not consistent across the school.

The Ngāti Whakaue Enrichment Centre is a significant resource to support student learning. Students have access to an extensive range of support programmes to accelerate their literacy needs in both rumaki and mainstream classes. Student achievement is carefully monitored and their progress is measured to determine the extent to which they have reached expected levels. This process further supports the learning for these students in classroom programmes.

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.

While there are good examples of the school using data effectively the analysis and use of student achievement information could be significantly improved. There is a need for:

  • the principal to take greater involvement in the analysis, use and reporting of student achievement data
  • school-wide targets that are challenging and measurable and are accompanied by regular progress updates as part of the principal’s reporting to the board
  • a planned and methodical approach to reaching the Ministry of Education targets for student achievement by the end of 2017.

Strengthening the management and use of school-wide student achievement data is likely to provide clear direction for future planning and development.

Since the ERO onsite visit, the school has developed monitoring and tracking systems for those individual students who are below or well below expected achievement levels.

3 Curriculum

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

The school’s curriculum provides a wide range of opportunities for students to experience success including sports, Education Outside The Classroom (EOTC) activities, performing and visual arts and Mandarin language. In classrooms, a range of strategies supports students to learn higher order and critical thinking skills. Teachers plan collaboratively to integrate the learning areas of The New Zealand Curriculum (NZC). The increasing use of digital technologies in classrooms is a new and exciting curriculum initiative for teachers and students.

The school is working closely with Ngāti Whakaue to devise ‘Rangihakahaka’, a systematic and sequential approach to teaching local history, knowledge, language and culture. A next step for senior leaders is to complete the development of a local school curriculum bringing together The New Zealand Curriculum, Te Marautanga o Aotearoa and Rangihakahaka.

A feature of the school is the positive and inclusive school tone and culture. Students are friendly, warm and caring. They understand the school values of pono, manaaki, and whanaungatanga which are well modelled in classes and the playground. Students demonstrate a positive attitude and enthusiasm for learning.

Teachers are committed to their professional growth and development. They are participating in a range of programmes and initiatives to strengthen their professional knowledge. Teachers in rumaki have sought relevant professional learning and development including te reo Māori to strengthen this aspect of their teaching practice.

Across the school, where ERO observed good practice, teacher planning clearly documented the specific strategies needed to help individual students to improve their reading, writing and mathematics. Teachers grouped students according to similar learning needs, and effectively used their knowledge of students to guide small group instruction and give constructive feedback and feed forward to students. Follow up work for students was purposeful and provided an opportunity for them to consolidate their learning.

A key next step is to continue to strengthen the quality and consistency of teaching practices across the school. Senior leaders are aware of the need to closely monitor and support teachers to develop their practice. To help strengthen consistency, senior leaders should develop an agreed model of effective teaching practice, and ensure these expectations are closely monitored through regular observations and feedback to teachers.

4 Sustainable Performance

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

The school is not well placed to sustain and improve its performance. There is a need for the principal to take a significant role in guiding the board and staff to lift student achievement, school performance and accountability.

In order to improve the capacity of the school to sustain and improve its performance, attention should be given to:

  • defining and documenting a localised school curriculum
  • improving the quality of teaching practice so that it is consistently high across the school
  • strengthening the quality of leadership, guidance and support for teachers in rumaki classes
  • raising achievement levels for those students who are below or well below expectations in reading, writing and tuhituhi
  • strengthening self review to improve outcomes for students
  • trustees undertaking regular board training to improve their understanding of their governance roles and responsibilities.

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.

In order to meet its legislative responsibilities the board of trustees must ensure the principal's appraisal is completed annually[(National Administration Guideline 3)]

Recommendations to other agencies

It is recommended that the Ministry of Education facilitate support for the school to address the issues identified in this report.

Conclusion

This report acknowledges school potential and recognises changes that have occurred following the ERO visit. Concerns remain about professional leadership affecting the school's ability to lift student achievement. There is a need for the principal to take a significant role in guiding the board and staff to achieve positive student outcomes.

ERO intends to carry out another review over the course of one-to-two years.

Graham Randell
Deputy Chief Review Officer Northern (Acting)

21 July 2015

About the School

Location

Rotorua

Ministry of Education profile number

1934

School type

Full Primary (Years 1 to 8)

School roll

195

Gender composition

Girls 51%

Boys 49%

Ethnic composition

Māori 96%

Pacific 3%

Other 1%

Special Features

Rumaki Education

Review team on site

May 2015

Date of this report

21 July 2015

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review May 2012

Supplementary Review June 2009