Takapau School

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Findings

Takapau School has made significant progress since the 2016 ERO review. There are good systems and processes in place for promoting sustainable development. The board, principal and teachers are continuing to strengthen and embed improvements to support increased equity and excellence.

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?

Takapau School, located in southern Hawke’s Bay, caters for students in Years 1 to 8. It has a roll of 118 students, of whom 37% identify as Māori. The shared core values of ‘respect, responsibility, resilience and relationships’ are recognised and understood throughout the school as the guiding framework for learning and behaviour. There is a strong focus on providing an inclusive environment for students.

Following the May 2016 ERO report, the principal developed a plan with key priorities for improvement. This has provided a framework to guide action planning and internal evaluation.

This 2017 ERO report evaluates the progress made and how well placed the school is to sustain continuous improvement.

2 Review and Development

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

Priorities identified for review and development

The May 2016 ERO report included the following recommendations:

  • improve the focus of the school strategic plan and improvement targets on accelerating the progress of students at risk of underachieving
  • develop a cohesive school curriculum to guide effective teaching practices, including culturally responsive strategies and increasing student ownership of learning
  • strengthen assessment practices for teachers and learners
  • continue to strengthen whānau, parent and community input into strategic decision-making and curriculum development
  • support teacher capability through appraisal and access to appropriate professional learning and development
  • ensure a robust governance framework is in place.
Progress

The school has made significant progress in addressing the above recommendations. The principal has developed a structure that supports ongoing change and improvement. She actively seeks external advice and support to aid developments.

School improvement targets are more focused on promoting equitable outcomes for learners. School reported National Standards data at the end of 2016 shows a significant number of students, especially Māori and boys, made accelerated progress in writing. Improvement targets for 2017 are appropriately focused on further increasing achievement in writing and mathematics for these groups of learners. In response, teachers are tracking and monitoring progress of those students requiring additional or targeted support.

Community consultation has informed recent curriculum development and strengthened relationships with parents and whānau. A framework to support and guide teaching and learning in literacy and mathematics has been established. Ongoing work is planned to clarify the school vision and valued outcomes for students within a 21st Century curriculum. Leaders and trustees are engaging with whānau and community members to support the reflection of te ao Māori throughout the curriculum and to build teachers’ culturally responsive practices.

Teachers are growing their understanding and use of student achievement information to make the purpose of learning more visible. This provides a good platform for ongoing curriculum developments that allow students to lead their own learning.

Professional learning and development (PLD) is prioritised and focused on building effective teaching. Staff work collaboratively to share and discuss good practice. Teachers are beginning to reflect on and inquire into the effectiveness of their practice to make improvements to teaching and learning. Continuing to strengthen this and teachers’ appraisal are key next steps.

3 Sustainable performance and self review

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

The board, principal and staff are well placed to sustain and continue to improve and review their performance. Strong partnerships are evident.

Trustees have made significant progress in establishing effective processes and practices to guide stewardship operations. They regularly participate in governance PLD and have recently taken part in a culturally responsive practices workshop with the staff. Trustees are active in engaging, informing and consulting with parents and whānau. They are focused on raising achievement and promoting equity and excellence for Māori learners and others whose learning and achievement need acceleration.

Review of policies is robust and the board and principal have worked with staff to become familiar with these, creating a sense of ownership. 

The principal articulates high expectations for student learning and achievement, and for teachers as professionals. She has identified, and ERO agrees, the school should continue to:

  • refine targets and action planning to support accelerated progress
  • undertake curriculum review and development to support cultural responsiveness and student-led learning
  • support growth in teaching and learning, including inquiring into the effectiveness of teachers’ practices
  • strengthen appraisal processes.

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

Takapau School has made significant progress since the 2016 ERO review. There are good systems and processes in place for promoting sustainable development. The board, principal and teachers are continuing to strengthen and embed improvements to support increased equity and excellence.

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

Joyce Gebbie

Deputy Chief Review Officer Central

21 April 2017

About the School

Location

Takapau

Ministry of Education profile number

2684

School type

Full Primary (Years 1 to 8)

School roll

118

Gender composition

Male 54%, Female 46%

Ethnic composition

Māori

Pākehā

Other ethnic groups

37%

53%

10%

Review team on site

March 2017

Date of this report

21 April 2017

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

May 2016

March 2013

January 2010

 

1 Context

Takapau School is a full primary school located in rural Central Hawke's Bay. It caters for 116 students, including 51 Māori learners. Continuity in personnel and governance is provided by long-serving staff members and a core group of trustees.

An experienced principal was appointed from the start of 2016. She has appropriately identified a number of key areas to improve. These include developing a cohesive school curriculum, culturally responsive practices and better use of assessment to improve learning. Initiatives to support effective teaching and learning are underway.

Teachers are about to re-enter Accelerating Literacy Learning (ALL) professional learning and development in term 2 2016, to improve student achievement in writing.

The school enjoys strong family and community support. Work on strengthening whānau connections has already begun. Students are provided with a wide range of learning experiences, including sports and leadership opportunities, in a well-resourced school. A strong focus on physical activity is a feature of the school.

2 Equity and excellence

The vision and valued outcomes defined by the school for all children are represented by 'TAKAPAU'. These are described under the following headings: Thinking, Attitude, Knowing, Achieving, Pride, Altitude and Unified. Each learner is seen as unique, having individual talents to be fostered and extended in their rural community.

A range of supporting core values such as; self-respect and respect for others, good manners, courtesy, cooperation, punctuality and honesty, underpin how the school operates.

The identified priorities for the 2016 school strategic plan focus on providing students with a high quality environment and curriculum, effective teaching and success for all learners, with an engaged community. Improving student achievement, particularly Māori learners' progress, is a key priority.

Strengthening relationships with the local kohanga reo, kura kaupapa and secondary schools are planned to support children's transition to and from primary education. Connections with the local marae, Rakautatahi, continue to develop.

A clearer strategic focus on how Takapau School is working to improve equity and excellence through the school charter, strategic plan and curriculum is a key next step. This should include monitoring and reporting on improvements to reduce disparity in Māori student achievement.

The school’s achievement information shows that since 2012, most students achieve at and above in relation to the National Standards in reading, writing and mathematics. However, there has been little sustained progress in increasing the numbers of students achieving in relation to the National Standards over time. Writing has been appropriately identified as an area that requires attention.

New school processes are in place for students who require support to achieve well. Schoolwide data was recently analysed in greater depth by the principal and teachers. This is assisting teachers to better identify individual learning needs. Class target groups should assist teachers to formally inquire into how well their practices accelerate individual students' progress.

Some useful early work has begun to help teachers to make more robust overall teacher judgements about achievement in literacy and mathematics. This work is ongoing.

School improvement targets and the supporting action plans require further refinement to increase their clarity around the numbers and needs of students. A sharper focus on accelerating the progress of learners at risk of underachieving, through closer monitoring and reporting of their progress, should be part of this process.

Until this year the school made limited progress in relation to addressing the areas for development identified in the March 2013 ERO report. A concerted effort to improve key areas is in place for 2016.

3 Accelerating achievement

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

The school is in the early stages of responding to Māori students whose learning and achievement needs acceleration. The principal provides clear professional leadership and has taken early action to address this issue.

The board has recently received useful information about Māori learners' progress in relation to schoolwide trends and other groups of students. More in-depth consideration of how disparity is being addressed has begun. The board is aware of the importance of the central role of whānau in supporting learning and decision making.

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

The principal, in her Special Education Needs Coordinator (SENCO) role, has developed relationships with key external support agencies. Experienced teacher aides ably assist learners. Increased planning, for learners who enrol during the year and require support, is being considered by the board to promote more equitable student outcomes.

Reporting the impact of external and school support on student progress and achievement, should enable the board to evaluate the effectiveness of resourcing decisions.

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 priorities for equity and excellence?

A positive, settled learning environment supports students' purposeful engagement in learning. Individual goal-setting is well developed and forms the basis for parent interviews and discussions. Teachers, parents and students value this collaborative process.

Reports to parents provide information about their child's progress in relation to learning, individual goals and other areas. It is timely to review these to ensure they provide more useful information about learning and achievement in relation to the National Standards.

Māori students benefit from increased opportunities to participate in pōwhiri, kapa haka and other activities that affirm language, culture and identity. This curriculum development is further supported through recent consultation with whānau Māori about the school's strategic direction and vision for students.

The school curriculum requires development. This was identified by ERO in the previous report. A key priority is to ensure a cohesive, culturally responsive and student-focused approach guides effective teaching. Longstanding school values, practices and ongoing community consultation should be used to assist this planned development.

Modern learning practices are at the early stages of implementation. Equitable provision and ready student access to digital technologies is a current priority.

Carefully considered strategic leadership focuses on improving student achievement through building teachers' capabilities. A positive start is evident in the reintroduction of teacher appraisal after a lapse in this practice. Useful individual goals are set, teaching observed and initial teacher reflections and evidence collated. Staff appreciate being part of a process that supports professional growth.

Trustees' capacity to undertake their governance roles and responsibilities has improved. They participate in regular professional development and utilise external expertise to guide their decisions and actions. Succession planning is underway to sustain continuity in governance.

Trustees should now complete the review of policies and procedures started in 2015. Responsive financial management has improved. Ensuring that a robust governance framework guides health and safety, personnel and other key practices, is a priority. This should include regular, planned policy and procedure review.

The principal has undertaken a systematic review of school systems to develop priorities for action. Teachers are beginning to inquire into their practices. Schoolwide processes for knowledge building and internal evaluation require development. This should support a more coherent approach to knowing the impact of school practices and initiatives on improving student achievement.

5 Going forward

How well placed is the school to achieve and sustain equitable and excellent outcomes for all children?

Leaders and teachers:

  • have not yet adequately built their knowledge of the children whose learning and achievement need to be accelerated
  • have not yet adequately established necessary conditions to effectively accelerate learning and achievement
  • are not well placed to achieve and sustain equitable and excellent outcomes for all children.

ERO intends to carry out a process of ongoing evaluation to support development over the course of one-to-two 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 Recommendations

The principal and board agree that the key next steps for Takapau School are to:

  • improve the focus of the school strategic plan and improvement targets on accelerating the progress of students at risk of underachieving
  • develop a cohesive school curriculum to guide effective teaching practices, including culturally responsive strategies and increasing student ownership of learning
  • strengthen assessment practices for teachers and learners
  • continue to strengthen whānau, parent and community input into strategic decision making and curriculum development
  • support teacher capability through appraisal and access to appropriate professional learning and development
  • ensure a robust governance framework is in place. 

Joyce Gebbie

Deputy Chief Review Officer Central

24 May 2016

About the school

Location

Takapau, Central Hawke's Bay

Ministry of Education profile number

2684

School type

Full Primary (Years 1 to 8)

School roll

116

Gender composition

Female 52%, Male 48%

Ethnic composition

Māori

Pākehā

Other ethnic groups

44%

53%

3%

Review team on site

April 2016

Date of this report

24 May 2016

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

March 2013

January 2010

December 2006