Taupo School

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School Context

Taupō School is a large Year 1 to 6 school located in the Taupō central business district. At the time of this ERO review, approximately 40% of the roll of 446 students identified as Māori. The roll also includes small numbers of students from diverse ethnic backgrounds. Since the November 2016 ERO report, an enrolment scheme has been introduced to manage the growing roll.

Since the long-serving principal’s retirement, the deputy principal has been acting in the role, working alongside a team of experienced school leaders. A new principal has been appointed and begins duties in Term 4, 2019. Most of the board of trustees are new since the 2019 elections and contribute a range of relevant skills and abilities to their governance roles.

Key focus areas for teachers’ professional learning during 2017 to 2019 have included: external development about teaching and learning in writing; mathematics; local curriculum development; and the learning through play initiative for students in Years 1 to 3.

The school’s achievement focus is on all students at risk of not achieving in reading, writing and mathematics across the school.

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

  • reading, writing and mathematics.

The school is a member of the Taupō Kāhui Ako and is in process of strengthening links with Ngāti Tūwharetoa.

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 excellent and equitable outcomes for all students. Schoolwide data for 2018 shows that in mathematics and writing the majority of students achieved expected curriculum levels. The same data shows that a larger majority of students achieved these levels in reading. School data gathered over a longer period of time shows that levels of achievement over the past two years have been consistent.

School data about gender and ethnic achievement comparisons shows that:

  • Māori students achieved at significantly lower levels than other groups of students in reading, writing and mathematics

  • girls are significantly outperforming boys in writing and to lesser extent in reading

  • boys and girls achieved at similar levels in mathematics.

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

The school is accelerating learning for some Māori and other students who need this. School data about rates of acceleration for those Māori students whose learning was at risk, shows that during 2018, almost half experienced accelerated progress in reading and approximately a third in writing and mathematics. The data shows that for other students whose learning was at risk, acceleration was effective in reading and mathematics and slightly less so in writing.

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?

A well-managed, well-informed and responsive approach is evident, to provide for and support students with identified higher learning and wellbeing needs. There is a variety of support programmes specifically designed to accelerate learning outcomes for these learners and thorough processes in place to track and monitor their progress. Outcomes for students with additional needs are regularly reviewed, reported to trustees and used to make ongoing responsive decisions about programme provision. This ongoing review is contributing to positive outcomes for these learners and whānau.

Partnerships with parents and whānau effectively support outcomes for students whose learning is at risk. Parents feel well informed about student achievement and progress and are engaged in genuine learning partnerships. The language, culture and identity of Māori whānau and students is recognised and affirmed across the school. Multiple strategies are used to gather parent voice, including the perspective of Māori whānau. These strategies enable the school to make inclusive and responsive decisions, such as the focus on building cultural competence in the school. Specific events are held to support the partnership in learning and build whānau knowledge of curriculum initiatives.

Teachers and leaders use many evidence-based strategies to plan and deliver teaching programmes. They know their students well, particularly those whose progress needs to be accelerated. Targeted in-class interventions reflect schoolwide teacher professional learning initiatives that are designed to accelerate progress for target learners. Examples of detailed planning to inform teaching and learning for priority learners are evident across the school. Student learning is well supported by respectful and affirming relationships and interactions between teachers and students. Leadership has significantly strengthened the way schoolwide achievement data is gathered and used. This has provided teachers with useful information to target student learning needs. It has also enabled responsive decisions at leadership and governance level. Collegial relationships among teachers and within teams are supporting other initiatives to accelerate progress and reduce disparity across the school.

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

There is a need to develop a more strategic approach to building leadership capacity across the school, with a focus on team leadership. Priority should be placed on:

  • establishing consistency of leadership practice within and between teams

  • consistency of practice in terms of formative assessment

  • mentoring emerging leadership

  • ongoing observations, modelling of practice, team and individual reflection focusing on improving practice

  • driving the implementation of schoolwide improvement initiatives consistently across the school.

Attention to these priorities should enable a more consistent approach to addressing in-school inequity in a schoolwide environment of building teacher capability.

Leaders and teachers need to review assessment practices to ensure tools and strategies support robust judgements about student learning in relation to the levels of The New Zealand Curriculum. This should involve the introduction of additional standardised assessment tools, along with building teacher knowledge about learning progression frameworks.

A useful start has been made to reviewing and developing a local school curriculum. There is a need to continue this work to establish and embed a local curriculum that shows coherent learning pathways across The New Zealand Curriculum and shared expectations for teaching and learning across the school.

It is timely to ensure that trustees engage in a sustained programme of training about school governance and management. This is necessary to make the best use of the many skills that are evident within the trustee team. A particular aspect of governance that needs to be addressed is establishing targets in the annual plan about accelerating progress for specific groups of learners, such as boys and Māori. These targets should provide a focus for ongoing review and reporting about how well school is addressing in-school disparity and equity for all learners.

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

5 Going forward

Key strengths of the school

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

  • support for students with identified needs that contributes to working towards equity and excellence in outcomes
  • parent-school partnerships for learning that are positively contributing to acceleration of progress for at-risk learners
  • aspects of teaching, learning and senior leadership that contribute to acceleration of outcomes.

Next steps

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

  • empowering school leaders to build teacher capability consistently across the school
  • reviewing schoolwide assessment information to make robust judgements about student achievement
  • developing a local curriculum to show a coherent approach to teaching and learning across the school
  • building trustees’ knowledge about school governance and management, and the use of achievement information.

Areas for improved compliance practice

To improve current practice, the board of trustees should:

  • fully and consistently implement the Ministry of Education Guidelines about the use of physical restraint
  • continue to review school policy and procedures to cover all necessary aspects of school operation.

Phillip Cowie

Director Review and Improvement Services Central

Central Region

23 October 2019

About the school

Location

Taupō

Ministry of Education profile number

1989

School type

Primary (Year 1 to 6)

School roll

440

Gender composition

Male 55%, Female 45%

Ethnic composition

Māori 42%
NZ European/Pākehā 44%
Other ethnic groups 14%

Students with Ongoing Resourcing Funding (ORS)

Yes

Provision of Māori medium education

No

Review team on site

August 2019

Date of this report

23 October 2019

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review November 2016
Education Review September 2013
Education Review October 2010

1 Context

Taupō School is a large urban school situated in Taupō. The school roll is increasing. The school is a member of the Taupō Community of Learners, and has established links with Ngāti Tūwharetoa. The long-serving principal and an experienced team of senior leaders work together to promote a culture that is focused on children’s wellbeing and learning. The Board of Trustees is made up of both experienced and new members who contribute varied skills and abilities that include leadership and service roles in the community.

2 Equity and excellence

The vision and valued outcomes defined by the school for all children are to be ' hooked on learning' and 'to provide an environment, which supports children to be self-managing, caring thinkers and learners who are actively involved'. The school wairua honours the past and aims for all children to be motivated and confident learners, respectful of others, and empowered to achieve their potential and take ownership of their accomplishments.

The school's achievement data shows that for 450 children 314 were at and above National Standards in reading, 348 in writing, and 337 in mathematics.

The achievement data for 166 Māori children shows that 102 were at and above National Standards in reading, 123 in writing, and 124 in mathematics.

The 2015 achievement data for 262 other learners shows that 183 were at and above National Standards in reading, 212 in writing, and 203 in mathematics.

For the small number of Pacific children, the 2015 achievement data shows that after a period of time in the school their reading, writing and mathematics improves. Some of these children are English Second Language Learners.

The school uses an appropriate range of standardised and teacher assessment tools to inform overall teacher judgements in relation to National Standards.

Since the last ERO evaluation the school has an ongoing focus on accelerating the progress of children who are achieving below expected levels. The following developments aim to improve equity and excellence for all children, particularly Māori and other children who are at risk of not achieving at national expectations in literacy and mathematics:

  • The 'Taupō School Change and Improvement Plan' in 2015.
  • The establishment in 2016 of an 'Action Plan for Raising Achievement for Māori Males'.
  • Internal review and analysis, which informs Board of Trustees funding of extra teachers, teacher aides and resources.
  • Programme to build learning partnerships with parents and whānau in reading and writing.
  • A 'Kawenata' memorandum of agreement between Ngāti Tuwharetoa and the school.
  • The use of assessment tools and school professional learning.
  • Accelerating Learning in Mathematics (ALiM), the Mahi Tahi initiative, and digital mathematics challenge.
  • Teaching as Inquiry.
  • Developing acts of teaching.
  • Transitioning programmes to school.

3 Accelerating achievement

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

School leaders and teachers are increasingly responsive to accelerating the learning and achievement of Māori children. They use achievement information well to identify Māori children who need to be progressing at a faster rate. The progress of identified Māori children is monitored and reported to trustees. School leaders should continue to evaluate current initiatives in relation to how they address the equity and excellence outcomes for Māori children, particularly for Māori boys.

The 'Action Plan for Raising Achievement for Māori Males' supports the overarching objective for Māori boys in reading, writing and mathematics. The school now needs to give consideration to evaluating the effectiveness of this plan.

The school currently tracks year level cohorts as they move through the school. This monitoring gives specific information about the achievement and patterns of Māori children. Further school-wide analysis of this achievement information should assist leaders to identify at risk groups and develop relevant achievement targets.

The school tracks all Māori learners and considers specific support systems likely to accelerate their progress. Children are placed in target groups within their respective classes and are supported by both teacher and specialist teachers. Regular evaluation provides a good basis for future programmes and resourcing.

The extended school focus on the ‘Accelerated Learning in Mathematics’ (ALiM) programme provides teachers with professional development to improve teaching strategies and monitor children's progress. This initiative is closely aligned to teacher inquiry and appraisal.

The school reports many examples of Māori children who have made accelerated progress in relation to the National Standards. Specific interventions such as the involvement of parents and whānau in reading and writing together, show accelerated progress for these children.

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

The school has responded well to other children whose learning and achievement needs acceleration. The school reports many examples of children who have made accelerated progress and achievement in relation to the National Standards. A next step for senior leaders is to undertake a comprehensive internal evaluation and inquiry into effective teaching practices most likely to accelerate progress of at risk learners.

The school's robust analysis of variance about student achievement outcomes in 2015 aligns reflective teaching practices to the specific needs of at risk children. This information in reading, writing and mathematics is shared with trustees. They use this information to inform decisions about funding of extra teachers, teacher aides and resources.

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?

A well-designed curriculum supports Māori culture within the school and wider community. The kapahaka group perform at pōwhiri and the Ngāti Tūwharetoa festival. This group involves a significant proportion of the school and effectively leads tikanga Māori throughout the school. The school has a 'Kawenata' with Tūwharetoa, which involves the support of iwi children. The school now needs to increase the place of te reo Māori within the curriculum.

The school's culture for learning is collaborative. There is an increasing awareness of cultural expectations by teachers. They are increasingly involving parents and whānau in positive learning relationships for the benefit of children. This approach fosters positive relationships and contributes to mutual understandings about the needs of children from different cultural groups.

Leadership is well informed and focused on building teacher capability. Senior leaders have developed expectations and guidelines that support teachers to respond effectively to the identified needs of children and accelerate their progress. This is leading to a more coherent school-wide approach to addressing the challenge of accelerating the achievement of Māori and boys.

Teachers are committed to raising achievement. They have target children and use assessment information to reflect on the effectiveness of their teaching strategies and design appropriate interventions to progress them at a faster rate. Teachers and school leaders listen to parent's ideas and work with them to better understand how to respond to the needs of children. These activities have had a significant influence on all children, particularly those whose progress needs acceleration.

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.

The school is well placed to build on current initiatives that sustain equity and excellence opportunities for Māori and other children who are at risk of not achieving positive education outcomes. The 'Action Plan for Raising Achievement for Māori Males' should assist the school to monitor the success of Māori boys' more deeply overtime. The school now needs to:

  • scrutinise assessment data in relation to National Standards
  • set specific targets that aim to address the disparity of identified groups
  • evaluate the impact of initiatives and plans for children, particularly Māori boys.

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

ERO recommends that the school continue to build teacher capability, and sustain a focus on raising the achievement of Māori children and other children who are at risk of under achieving. 

Lynda Pura-Watson

Deputy Chief Review Officer

22 November 2016

About the school

Location

Taupō

Ministry of Education profile number

1989

School type

Contributing Primary (Years 1 to 6)

School roll

507

Gender composition

Boys 50%

Girls 50%

Ethnic composition

Pākehā

Maori

European

Asian

Pacific

South East Asian

Indian

Other

50%

37%

4%

3%

2%

2%

1%

1%

Review team on site

September 2016

Date of this report

22 November 2016

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

September 2013

October 2010

November 2007